Canada's Coastlines:

The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World


Government and Private Assets Involved in Maritime Surveillance and Search and Rescue

– Part 1 –

Maritime Surveillance

The first part of this appendix lists Canadian maritime surveillance assets. It starts by discussing the Department of National Defence’s (DND) standing commitments and listing the Canadian Forces (CF) patrol aircraft and its entire fleet. It then reviews the Canadian Coast Guard’s (CCG) plans for ship replacement and enforcement, and lists its helicopters and contracted aircraft. The last section lists the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) vessels, and Provincial Airlines Limited’s (a private company) maritime surveillance aircraft.


DND Maritime Surveillance Commitments:  

The CF and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) have signed a memorandum of understanding concerning maritime surveillance. It states that the CF and DFO will negotiate on an annual basis the number of sea days and flying hours that the military will provide for coastal patrolling. The CF flew 720 hours in 2001-02, but operational demands resulted in a cut to 580 hours in 2002-03. The CF supplied DFO with 155 sea days free of cost in 2003-04 (125 for the east coast, 30 for the west coast).  

It is not CF policy to always have a ship patrolling Canada’s territorial waters. However, every CF ship at sea must report any sightings to its headquarters  on the Atlantic or Pacific coast. This data is integrated into the Recognized Maritime Picture which the navy maintains and which is accessible by other federal departments and Canada’s allies. The Maritime Forces headquarters on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts also maintain a Ready Duty Ship. This vessel is on 8 hours notice to respond to unforeseen situations. Given the circumstances, it could be underway in 30 minutes.  


The Navy Fleet:  

Iroquois Class Destroyer: these are helicopter-carrying ships. In the early 1990s, the destroyers were re-fitted for an area defence role. They were given the self-defence, communications and sensor capabilities that they needed to serve as "command and control ships."  

The destroyers can reach speeds of 27-9 knots. The main air-defence weapons on this class of ships are 29 vertically-launched surface to air missiles, a 76mm Super Rapid gun, and a 20mm Phalanx close-in weapons system. They are also equipped with 12.7mm machine guns. The anti-submarine warfare weapons include two torpedo-carrying helicopters and 6 ship-launched torpedos. Defensive armaments include tube-launched shield decoys, chaff, flares, off-board decoys, torpedo decoys and radar.  

The ships in this class are:  


Halifax Class Frigate: In the late-1980s, after decades of anti-submarine warfare, the Halifax class was re-fitted for a broader multi-purpose purpose role. The changes enabled the ships to deploy singly or as part of a task group anywhere in the world.  

Halifax class vessels can reach speeds of 29-30 knots. Their main armaments are the long-range Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles, Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, a Bofors 57mm rapid-fire gun, a 20mm Phalanx anti-missile close-in weapons system, anti-submarine homing torpedoes, and machine guns. Defensive armament includes infra-red suppression, shield decoys, chaff, flares, a towed acoustic decoy, and radar and sonar jamming devices. The ship's torpedo-carrying helicopter extends its range of operational effectiveness.  

However, not all Halifax class vessels are available throughout the year. The 2001 Report of the Auditor General noted that “Halifax class vessels are supposed to have a total of 12 weeks scheduled each year for corrective and preventive maintenance. But they averaged only 6.1 weeks in 1997, 7.8 weeks in 1998, and 8.7 weeks in 1999.”  

The ships in this class are:  


Protecteur Class (Auxiliary Oil / Replenishment Ship): These ships replenish Canadian Naval Task Groups at sea with food, munitions, fuel, spare parts and other supplies. They also have larger medical and dental facilities than the frigates and destroyers. Protecteur class ships have limited capacities as troop carriers, but can embark vehicles, landing craft and up to three medium / heavy helicopters. They can carry 14, 590 tons of fuel, 400 tons of aviation fuel, 1, 000 tons of dry cargo and 1, 250 tons of ammunition.  

Protecteur Class ships are capable of 21 knots. They are armed with two 20mm Phalanx anti-missile close-in-weapons systems, and six 12.7mm machine guns. They have self-defence systems like chaff and radar.  

          The ships in this class are:  

          HMCS Protecteur  
          HMCS Preserver  

Kingston Class: The Navy has 12 Kingston Class coastal defence vessels. These ships can be fitted for route survey, bottom object inspection and minesweeping. Kingston class ships are crewed primarily by Naval Reservists and, according to the DND Internet site, are intended as a coastal surveillance and patrol platform.  

Kingston class ships are capable of 15 knots. They are armed with one Bofors 40mm gun and two machine guns. Six are stationed on each coast; two are on extended readiness on a rotational basis.  

But while they do a lot of patrolling and fulfill a valuable presence function, the vessels’s enforcement capabilities are limited. Navy Captain (retired) John Dewar testified to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence that the vessels are “turning in yeoman service at this time,” but in “high sea states, they do not get there very fast and it is not a particularly comfortable ride.” He added that “You would not necessarily want to deploy boarding parties from those ships, but you make do with what you have.”  

The ships in this class are:  


Victoria Class Submarine: Canada acquired four Royal Navy submarines in 1998. The boats are conventionally-powered and have sophisticated hydrodynamic and marine engineering systems. Victoria class submarines are well suited to coastal security tasks like law enforcement, immigration, fisheries, and environmental patrols.  

The submarines are capable of 12 knots on the surface, 20 knots submerged, and 12 knots while ‘snorting’ (through an extendable air breather). They can dive below 200 meters. The submarines have 6 torpedo tubes and can carry 18 anti-ship / anti-submarine homing torpedoes. They are also equipped with acoustic ‘bubble’ decoys that can confuse ships using radar.  

The ships in this class are:  


However, none the submarines were operational as of Fall 2003. The VICTORIA has arrived at CFB Esquimalt. It is not expected to be materially ready to fire weapons until the end of 2004. The CORNER BROOK is now conducting qualification training near Halifax and is scheduled to begin Canadianization in Halifax early 2004. The WINDSOR is finishing Canadianization, and is expected to commence sea trials in January 2004. It will be operational later that year. The CHICOUTIMI is still officially known as the HMS UPHOLDER. It is in the final stages of reactivation in Britain, and will be accepted and moved to Canada in the Spring of 2004.


Air Force Maritime Patrol Aircraft:  

CP-140 Aurora Long-Range Patrol Aircraft: The Navy uses the CP-140 Aurora as a multi-mission reconnaissance and anti-submarine platform. The CF received 18 Auroras commencing in 1980. The Aurora is capable of 750 km / hour and has a range of 9, 266 km at 648 km / hour. It carries sophisticated avionics to conduct low and high altitude patrols. This includes a forward-looking infrared camera (FLIR), sonobuoy, magnetic anomaly detector, fixed 70mm camera, gyrostabilized binoculars, hand-held camera and night vision goggles.  

This aircraft is presently in the midst of the comprehensive, multi-phase Aurora Incremental Modernization Project. The first contract was awarded in August 2000, and the project is due to be complete in 2008. The upgrade will enable the Aurora to serve as an interoperable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. However, it is not clear what impact this program will have on Canadian Forces operations.  

CP-140A Arcturus Long-Range Patrol Aircraft: the CF purchased 3 of this aircraft in order to augment its CP-140 Aurora fleet. The Arcturus is capable of surface marine surveillance, search and rescue, drug interdiction and serving as a training platform. The Arcturus is essentially the same aircraft as the Aurora, but it has significantly different mission avionics and is not configured for anti-submarine warfare.  

For budgetary reasons, the three Arcturus (and two Auroras) will not be a part of the Aurora Incremental Modernization Project and will eventually be phased out.  

CH-124 Sea King: The Sea King is a ship-borne maritime helicopter with day and night vision capabilities. The CF possesses 29 Sea Kings, which have a range of 648 km and a top speed of 211 km / hour. Its maximum flying time is 3h 45 minutes. Since the end of the Cold War, the Sea King has become increasingly responsible for disaster relief, search and rescue, and helping other federal government departments conduct counter-narcotic operations and fisheries and pollution patrols.  

However, the Sea King, which was procured during 1963-69, has developed serious serviceability problems. For example, the Report of the Auditor General for 2001 “reviewed 61 post-deployment reports on the use of the Sea King aboard ships from 1 April 1995 to 31 March 2000. We found that 54 of the reports mention at least one of the following problems: scheduled mission that was cancelled for aircraft maintenance; mission degraded by aircraft's lack of serviceability; poor serviceability that had a negative impact on training; major snags that caused significant downtime; and aircraft that were grounded.”  


CCG Assets:  

DFO is going through a re-assessment and re-alignment process.  A capital plan for ship replacement will flow from this exercise.  But as of July 2003, this plan was still several months from completion.  

DFO has established an inter-sectional working group of Senior Regional and Headquarters staff to review its enforcement functions. The CCG is included in this review. But as of April 2003, a decision regarding the CCG and enforcement had not been made.  

The CCG has 108 active and 24 vessels inactive vessels in its fleet at about 60 stations. For the complete list of vessels (including vessel names, type, length and home station), see the appendix to this document.  


CCG Helicopters –  

The CCG owns fifteen BO-105 light twin-engine helicopters, five Bell 212 medium lift twin-engine helicopters, and five Bell 206 single-engine seven-seat helicopters. They are based throughout the country. The CCG also owns a Sikorsky S-61N heavy lift helicopter, which is based in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. These helicopters conduct conservation and fisheries patrols and monitor ice flows. They can be embarked on ships that have the required facilities.  


The CCG operates two Transport Canada aircraft under contract:  

an Ottawa-based de Havilland Dash 8, which does pollution control patrols over the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, and parts of the east coast; and  

a Vancouver-based de Havilland Twin Otter, which flies fisheries and pollution control missions along the east coast.


Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Vessels:  

The RCMP has five commissioned patrol vessels. These catamarans have a crew of four and a top speed of 36 knots. They are floating detachments, and are not meant for regular patrolling far from the coastline. The vessel names, sizes and home ports are:  

The Inkster is 19.75 meters long and is based in Prince Rupert, British Columbia;  
The Nadon is 17.7 meters long and is based in Nanaimo, British Columbia;

The Higgitt is 17.7 meters long and is based in Nanaimo, British Columbia;

The Lindsay is 17.7 meters long and is based in Nanaimo, British Columbia; and  
The Simmonds is 17.7 meters long and is based out of Burin, Newfoundland & Labrador.

In addition, the RCMP will construct a 6th commissioner class vessel, to be based in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia.


Private Maritime Surveillance Assets:  

Provincial Airlines Limited (PAL) –  

PAL utilizes three King Air 200 aircraft. Each of the aircraft possesses radar, forward-looking infrared, data management, night vision, and satellite communication capabilities. Two of the PAL aircraft are capable of flying for 6.5 hours, while one has longer-range fuel tanks and can fly missions lasting 7.5 hours.


Government and Private Assets Involved in Maritime Surveillance and Search and Rescue

– Part 2 –  

Search and Rescue  

The second part of this appendix lists Canadian search and rescue (SAR) assets. It runs through the Canadian Forces (CF) SAR aircraft and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) SAR vessels. The CCG vessels are grouped by region.  


CF SAR Assets:  

CC-115 Buffalo: is a transport aircraft with a short take-off and landing capability. It is used primarily for SAR. There are 6 Buffalos in the CF. They have a range of 2, 727 km and a top speed of 416 km / hour. 

CC-130 Hercules: is a versatile long-range transport plane. It is used in SAR operations, to airlift troops, equipment and cargo, and to refuel fighters in the air. There are 32 Hercules on strength in the CF. They have a top speed of 556 km / hour and a range of 3, 960 km to 9, 790 km.  

CC-138 Twin Otter: is a highly manoeuvrable light transport aircraft with a short take-off and landing capability on floats, skies or wheels. The CF’s 4 Twin Otters fly SAR missions throughout the north. They have a range of 1, 427 km and a top speed of 337 km / hour.  

CP-140 Aurora: is a very capable SAR platform. It can fly an impressive 9, 260 km without refuelling, and can achieve speeds of 750 km / hour. The Aurora has sophisticated surveillance equipment, such as a forward looking infrared camera and night vision goggles. The Aurora’s versatility was demonstrated in 1996, when it dropped survival gear to the crew a sinking vessel, all of whom were saved.  

CP-140A Arcturus: is a coastal patrol aircraft that is essentially the same as the Aurora, but with different mission avionics. The CF’s 3 Arcturuses are capable of undertaking SAR missions.  

CH-113 Labrador: is a twin-engined helicopter. It is the workhorse of the CF SAR effort. It has a watertight hull for marine landings, a rescue hoist, emergency medical equipment, and a 5, 000 kg cargo hook. There are 12 Labradors in the CF. They have a top speed of 275 km / hour and a range of 1, 110 km.  

CH-124 Sea King: is a ship-borne helicopter that was initially procured for anti-submarine warfare. However, domestic roles such as SAR have become increasingly central. The CF’s 29 Sea Kings are equipped with forward looking infrared radar. The Sea King can go as fast as 280 km / hour, and has a range of 648 km.  

CH-146 Griffon: is a utility transport tactical helicopter. It performs a variety of roles, including SAR. The CF has 99 Griffons. The Griffon has a cruising speed of 220 km / hour, a top speed of 260 km / hour, and a range of up to 500 km.  

CH-149 Cormorant: is a new SAR helicopter that came into service in 2002. Ample cabin space enables the Cormorant to carry 12 stretchers or a 5, 000 kg load. The Cormorant is equipped with two 273 kg rescue hoists, a 4536 kg cargo hook and frame, storage racks for SAR equipment, and 12 stretchers. Its top speed is 278 km / hour and its range is 1, 018 km. The CF has acquired 15 Cormorants.


Coast Guard SAR Assets: 

Vessels Names and Home Stations in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region:  

Harp - St. Anthony, Nfld & Labrador  
W. G. George - Burgeo, Nfld & Labrador  
W. Jackman - Burin, Nfld & Labrador  
Cape Norman - Port-aux-Choix, Nfld & Labrador  
Cape Fox - Allan's Cove, Nfld & Labrador    

Vessels Names and Home Stations in the Maritimes Region:  

Bickerton - Bickerton East, N.S.  
Sambro - Sambro, N.S.  
Clark’s Harbour – Clark’s Harbour, N.S.  
Spindrift - Louisbourg, N.S.  
Spray - Shippagan, N.B.  
Courtenay - Saint John, N.B.  
Westport - Westport, N.S.  
Souris - Souris, PEI  


Vessels Names and Home Stations in the Québec (i.e., Gulf of St. Lawrence) Region:  

George R. Pearkes - Québec City, Québec  
Martha L. Black - Québec City, Québec  
Cape Rozier - Québec City, Québec  
Sterne - Québec City, Québec  
Tracy - Sorel, Québec  
Cap-aux-Meules - Cap-aux-Meules, Québec  
Sipu Muin (hovercraft) - Trois-Rivières, Québec  
Waban-Aki (hovercraft) - Trois-Rivières, Québec  


Vessels Names and Home Stations in the Central (i.e., Great Lakes) and Arctic Region:  

Eckaloo - Hay River, NWT  
Dumit - Hay River, NWT  
Tembah - Hay River, NWT  
Traverse (Lake of the Woods) - Kenora, Ontario  
Bittern - Kingston, Ontario  
Griffon - Prescott, Ontario  
CCG 119 - Prescott, Ontario  
Simcoe - Prescott, Ontario  
Samual Risley - Parry Sound, Ontario  
Cove Isle - Parry Sound, Ontario  
Tobermory - Tobermory, Ontario  
Cape Storm - Tobermory, Ontario  
Caribou Isle - Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario  
Gull Isle - Amherstburg, Ontario  
Advent - Cobourg, Ontario  
Cape Hurd - Goderich, Ontario  
Thunder Cape - Meaford, Ontario  
Cape Mercy - Port Dover, Ontario  
Cape Lambton - Thunder Bay, Ontario  
CGR 100 - Port Weller, Ontario  
Sora - Amherstburg, Ontario  


Vessels Names and Home Stations in the Pacific Region:  

Sir Wilfrid Laurier - Victoria, B.C.  
Bartlett - Victoria, B.C.  
Point Race - Campbell River, B.C.  
Point Henry - Prince Rupert, B.C.  
Cape Sutil - Port Hardy, B.C.  
Cape Calvert - Tofino, B.C.  
Cape St-James - Bamfield, B.C.  
Kestrel - French Creek, B.C.  
Mallard - Powell River, B.C.  
Osprey - Kitsilano, B.C.  
Skua - Ganges, B.C.


The Cutter Recommended by John Dewar and the United States Coast Guard Option 

This appendix discusses the specifications of a new cutter that would enable the Canadian navy to police and protect Canada’s coasts.


Dewar’s Vessel:  

On 2 June 2003, Mr. John Dewar testified to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence that Canada should purchase a corvette-sized ship, also called a ‘cutter,’ for use by the navy in the performance of law enforcement functions.  

He recommended a vessel measuring 75 meters that was able to operate in a high sea-state, move quickly (25 knots minimum using diesel propulsion), and remain at sea for 30 days. He said that a landing deck or hanger for a large maritime helicopter like the Sea King is essential. A helicopter would assist in the identification of ships and extend the visible range from the vessel. Typically, sailors can see 6-10 nautical miles from their ship, but most maritime helicopters have a range of 150 nautical miles.  


Comparison with Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) Cutters:  

CCG cutters do not meet the criteria outlined by Dewar. The Gordon Reid and Tanu are not as fast or large. The Gordon Reid is 50 meters long and has a top speed of 16.5 knots, and the Tanu is 50.1 meters long and has a top speed of 13.5 knots.  

The Sir Wilfred Grenfell, Leonard J. Cowley, and Cape Roger are large enough, but are too slow. The Sir Wilfred Grenfell is 68.5 meters long and has a maximum speed of 16 knots, the Leonard J. Cowley is 72 meters long and has a maximum speed of 15 knots, and the Cape Roger is 62.5 meters long and has a top speed of 17 knots.  

In addition, of the CCG’s five multi-task cutters larger than 50 meters, two (the Cape Roger and Tanu) are at least 25 years old and should therefore be replaced.    

Dewar’s Vessel – Cost:  

Dewar estimates that the vessel would cost CDN $ 55-100 million per unit. Since it would be used for law enforcement, commercial construction and procurement practices could be adopted to lower the per unit price. Civilian sources could be relied upon for service support throughout the life of the vessel, further reducing the cost.  

The main factor in the vessel’s cost would be the sophistication and density of its radar, sensors, communications equipment and weapon systems. There is a wide variation in the types of sensors and radars. A working group should be convened to determine the specific requirements so that the right balance between affordability and capability can be found. A consultancy process is necessary because of the number of government and departmental jurisdictions involved.  

Keeping the size of the cutter roughly as specified is important because the vessel needs good sea-keeping ability. The size of a ship is not directly proportional to its cost. The ship’s physical dimensions are a small part of its total cost, but they have a significant impact on performance. Dewar testified before the Committee that the cutter should be around 75 metres long in order to conduct boardings and have the desired sea-keeping capability.  

Dewar’s Vessel – Specifications:  

Dewar believes the capabilities needed for the law enforcement function are:  

· The ability to operate in high sea states  
· A high maximum speed for positioning and pursuit  
· High endurance to maximize deployment time  
· The ability to operate a large helicopter (e.g. CH124)  
· The ability to transport and deploy boarding parties  
· Ice tolerance (first year ice)  
· Sophisticated sensors (e.g., radar, ESM, electro-optic, sonar)  
· The ability to participate in network-centric command and control regimes  
· Sophisticated communications capability  
· Armament commensurate with enforcement functions (e.g., small arms,  
machine guns (e.g., 50 Cal), medium calibre weapon (e.g., 57mm or 76mm) and close-in self-defence weapon system (e.g., Phalanx)  

Dewar recommends that the vessel have these specifications:

· Length (waterline):     minimum 75m
· Beam:                         minimum 12m
· Displacement:             minimum 1600T, desirable 2000T
· Propulsion:                 Twin Shaft, 2 x Medium Speed Diesel
· Maximum Speed:       minimum 25 knots
· Time on Station:         30 Days
· Complement:              maximum 40 (mixed gender)
· Accommodation:        for 40 more personnel (boarding teams, etc.)
· Helicopter:                  Large helicopter (e.g., CH124) - minimum landing deck, hangar desirable
 ·Estimate cost:              $55M - $100M per unit (ROM)


United States Coast Guard (USCG) Alternative:

The USCG is implementing an Integrated Deepwater System Program. Under this major multi-year fleet upgrade and recapitalization program, an Offshore Patrol Corvette (OPC) with specifications and capabilities similar to the vessel recommended by Mr. Dewar will be constructed. The OPC will join the USCG fleet in 2013.

The price of the ship has not been determined. The USCG and the defence contractor (which is Integrated Coast Guard Systems, a joint venture established by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman) do not know the cost at this time. The per-unit cost could be decreased and the construction timetable advanced if countries like Canada decided to purchase the vessel (Israel already has).

Canada could buy into the OPC production line as a straightforward military purchase. It could also enter into a co-operative agreement with the US to acquire a Canadianized version. It would not be difficult to equip the OPC with less sophisticated systems than the US model in order to reduce cost.

Canada would pay for the Canadianized features it wanted, and the US would do the same. The cost for the standard elements would be shared.


The Rationale Behind the 12, 24 nautical miles zones and Exclusive Economic Zone 

This appendix lists Canada’s maritime zones and discusses what rights and jurisdiction Canada has in each of them.  



The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) established the 12 mile territorial sea, the 24 mile contiguous zone and the 200 mile exclusive economic zone. These represent the compromises reached between the interests of maritime powers in maintaining the freedoms of the seas (notably for navigation) and the interests of coastal states in increasing their jurisdiction. (Note that while “mile” is being used, these distances are actually in “nautical miles” which are slightly larger than regular miles.) 


12-mile Zone: 

As agreed upon in UNCLOS, this zone encompasses the sea within 12 miles of baselines (usually the low water mark along the coastline). This is known as the territorial sea, over which a state has sovereignty. Foreign vessels retain the right of innocent passage through this zone.  

Prior to UNCLOS, common claims for the territorial sea were three, four or six miles in breadth. A few states claimed territorial seas of 200 miles. By the early twentieth century, state sovereignty over a narrow strip of coastal water was widely accepted under customary international law. Coastal state interest in a territorial sea derived in part from security concerns, though considerations such as exclusive access to resources were also important. The narrow breadth of the territorial sea was dictated by the limited ability of coastal states to control waters further from shore, and by the interest of the maritime powers in unrestricted marine navigation.


24-mile Zone: 

According to UNCLOS, the contiguous zone is measured from the baselines to 24 miles. However, contiguous zone provisions essentially apply to the area 12 to 24 miles from shore that extends beyond the territorial sea. Within the contiguous zone, states can prevent or take action with respect to offences within its territory or territorial sea related to fiscal, immigration, sanitary and customs law. 

The antecedents of the contiguous zone are found in the “Hovering Acts” of the early 1900s. These were intended to address smuggling activities by vessels that would “hover” just outside the territorial sea. The contiguous zone has since developed as an area where states can “take [the] steps necessary…to protect themselves and their territory (including their territorial sea) from certain activities that would be prejudicial to them.”[1] 

Exclusive Economic Zone: 

UNCLOS provides for a 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in which the interests of coastal states and maritime powers are balanced. Coastal states have sovereign rights over the exploration, exploitation, conservation and management of the living and non-living resources in their EEZ. A coastal state also has jurisdiction over certain matters, such as marine scientific research and environmental protection. States other than the coastal state enjoy freedoms, notably of navigation and overflight, in the 200-mile zone. 

EEZs began to emerge after the Second World War. They reflect how technology has brought the high seas within the reach of states and exposed the finite nature of ocean resources.


Comparison of the Cost of Satellite

Surveillance, Aerial Surveillance, and Ground-Based Radar Surveillance 

This appendix briefly reviews the cost, according to Department of National Defence (DND) estimates, associated with some of the main types surveillance technology that could be used to monitor Canada’s coasts.  It should be noted that cost is only one of the factors that should be considered when choosing an appropriate platform.



Maritime surveillance is most crucial with respect to the high-traffic ‘choke points’ on both coasts.  Essentially, these areas comprise 200‑nautical mile square zones (102,400 square kilometres) around the entrance to the Straits of Juan de Fuca (west coast), the entrance to Halifax Harbour (east coast), and the Cabot Strait entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  DND notes that within these areas the “surveillance revisit requirement is 6 hours.”  In that time, “a potential target traveling at 20 knots the vessel could travel 80 nautical miles between visits,” meaning that it could be spotted before it was halfway through the zone.  



Obtaining the desired coverage with a commercial imaging satellite would cost about $140,000 CDN per day, per surveillance area ($51,100,000 a year).  A satellite has the advantage of being able to see a large area with different levels of resolution.  Generally, it cannot identify the contact.  However, DND notes that satellites typically only visit an area once every 24 hours, and it might not be possible to reacquire the target on the next pass over the area.  Depending on the satellite, there could be a 3-20 day delay in revisiting coverage areas.  Another DND concern is that the country controlling the satellite could decide to limit access to the information.



Aircraft would cost $12,000 CDN per day, per surveillance area ($4,380,000 a year).  They can travel to and cover an area relatively quickly, and have the added benefit of being able to conduct a more intensive surveillance than radar stations or satellites.  However, the endurance of aircraft is limited, and it is possible for a large object to be missed during a pass.



Radar stations would cost about $3,500 per day, per surveillance area ($1,246,000 a year).  Stations can provide continuous coverage of a large area.  According to DND, they have a nominal range starting at 35 nautical miles from the site that extends out to 150-200 nautical miles, with an azimuth range of 120 degrees.  The major weakness of this system is high-frequency signal clutter, which can mar signals from true targets.


Air Canada Pilots Association 

Air Canada Pilots Association
Association des pilotes d’Air Canada 

Via Fax (613-995-1686

September 25, 2003

The Honourable David M. Collenette, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport
House of Commons
Room 104, East Block
OTTAWA, Ontario
K1A 0A6 

Dear Minister Collenette:

The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) has long held the belief that the ongoing terrorist threat is attracted to the “weakest link”.  We are not surprised that this assessment, central in the development of our own in-house security analyses and plans on the heels of 911, has been affirmed by a recent United States Department of Homeland Security advisory.  This advisory, from 03 September, highlighted the threat presented to the continental United States through “hijacking airliners transiting near or flying over the continental United States – but not destined to land at U.S. airports”. 

This threat assessment was based on the real and growing differences between a tightening American security environment and the less restrictive arrangements found within neighbouring nations such as Canada.

For our own part, we have witnessed the divergence of American and Canadian aviation security measures on a first-hand basis.  We are particularly concerned with the glaring imbalances being generated within the areas of the command and control of security resources and personnel, protection of the airborne cockpit environment and screening of airside personnel and vehicles at major airports.  These deficiencies need to be addressed on an urgent basis, if we are to close the widening gap between the Canadian and American security environments and reverse our “weak link” status. 

In the area of command and control, our Association has been consistent in highlighting the requirement for one federal government agency, subject to public oversight, to oversee all aspects of the aviation security network.  This type of arrangement is resident within the United States Department of Homeland Security and permits the direction of resources, in conjunction with intelligence-based plans.  Unfortunately, the Canadian Aviation Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) is not capable of such coordinated activities, as it is removed from intelligence gathering agencies and a host of vital inputs – including those resident within the airborne environment in the form of pilots.  It is understood that changing the organisational structure of CATSA to accommodate these very real requirements would be a lengthy process.  We see, however, a very real need to begin this change process and kick it off with the immediate establishment of a direct working link that encompasses Transport Canada, CATSA and national pilot communities.  National security concerns need to be expanded beyond the current CATSA mandate to incorporate the airborne environment - and pilot participation is key in fulfilling this requirement.

In the area of protecting the airborne cockpit environment, American aviation has generated an increasingly large gap relative to its Canadian counterpart.  This divergence has been brought about by the introduction of both the “armed pilot” and the enhanced air marshal programs.  The former provides for a positive deterrent, while the latter includes an expanding air marshal presence on both domestic and international operations.  For our own part, we have been advocating a “double-door” system to properly fortify the cockpit environment, along with the expansion of the Canadian Air Carrier Protection Program (CACPP) beyond current limits.  The “double-door” concept has been endorsed by the January 2003 report of the Senate Committee for National Security and Defence and we have attempted to open discussions on this topic with your department.  These efforts, however, were sidelined because of “higher priorities”.  We suggest, in light of the assessed threat to Canadian aircraft, that it is time to open these discussions.  We also suggest that it is time to expand the operational mandate of the CACPP, which pales in comparison to many other countries.

In the area of airport security, American authorities have moved aggressively to vet the backgrounds of all those having access to the secure areas of the nation’s airports.  This one measure has resulted in the replacement of hundreds of workers with unsuitable credentials and, undoubtedly, greatly enhanced the security of ramped aircraft.  As a member of the Transport Canada Airport Security Working Group, we supported a Group recommendation to institute a similar background check requirement in Canada that has yet to be implemented.  This is a grave concern to our Association, as our members question the security status of the aircraft which they take airborne – particularly from high threat airports such as Pearson International. 

We believe that Pearson International, representing the fourth largest Port of Entry to the United States – after New York, Los Angeles and Miami – represents a special Canadian case that demands special attention.  This fact is borne out by its proximity – both to the American border and sensitive Canadian installations – and is reflected in the enhanced screening procedures that it affords Air Canada flight crews.  Given the nature of the current threat, Toronto’s proximity to lucrative targets and the uncertain nature of Pearson’s workforce, it would be prudent to implement the Working Group recommendation regarding background checks.  In the interim, it is also critically important to initiate a screening policy at Pearson that scrutinizes all personnel and vehicles proceeding airside.  These “side-door” gaps have long been recognized as weak links by blue ribbon panels – such as the Senate Committee for National Security and Defence – and need to be addressed immediately.

The Air Canada Pilots Association is compelled to engage these serious security concerns at the earliest opportunity.  We sincerely hope that this is effected through a dedicated exchange with officials in your department.


Captain Don Johnson


cc         Senator Colin Kenny, Chair – The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defense (by fax)
M. Jacques Duchesneau, President and CEO – Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (by fax)
M. Gerry Frappier, Director General – Security & Emergency Procedures – Transport Canada (by fax)
M. Jean Barrette, Director – Security Operations, Transport Canada (by fax)
Mr. Louis A. Turpen, President and CEO – Greater Toronto Airports Authority (by fax)
Superintendent Ed Toye, Peel Regional Police – Airport Division (by fax)
Captain Rob Giguere, Vice-President – Operations, Air Canada (by fax)
Captain Kent Hardisty, President – Air Line Pilots Association – Canada Board (by fax)
Captain David Lynch, Chair – TSD, ACPA (by e-mail)
Captain Matt Sheehy, Chair – Security Committee, ACPA (by e-mail)
MEC (by e-mail)

[1] John H. Currie, Public International Law, (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2001) chapter 7, part C-2-C. Available at: 

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