Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue No. 9, Evidence - Meeting of November 21, 2016
OTTAWA, Monday, November 21, 2016
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day
at 1 p.m. to examine and report on Canada's national security and defence
policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities (topics: harassment in the
RCMP; the reserves).
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence for Monday, November 21, 2016.
Before we begin, I would like to introduce the people around the table. My
name is Daniel Lang, senator for Yukon. On my immediate left is the clerk of the
committee, Adam Thompson.
I would like to invite the senators to introduce themselves and state the
region they represent.
Senator Kenny: Colin Kenny from Ontario.
Senator Dagenais: Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais from Quebec.
Senator Lankin: Frances Lankin, Ontario.
Senator Pratte: Senator André Pratte from Quebec.
The Chair: Today we'll be meeting for three hours as we continue our
examination of issues related to the defence policy review, specifically related
to the army and the reserves, with representatives from the Canadian Space
Agency and from the Department of National Defence. We will also follow up on
our 2013 report on sexual harassment in the RCMP following the historic apology
and settlement that was announced a few weeks ago.
Joining us on our first panel as we continue our examination of issues
related to the defence policy review, we are pleased to have with us Sylvain
Laporte, President; Luc Brûlé, Vice-President; Éric Laliberté, Director General,
Space Utilization; and Eric Veilleux, Manager, Planning and Management Financial
Resources, all from the Canadian Space Agency.
Welcome, Mr. Laporte. I understand you have an opening statement. Please
begin. We have one hour for this panel.
Sylvain Laporte, President, Canadian Space Agency: Thank you, Mr.
Mr. Chairman, honourable committee members, let me begin by thanking you for
the invitation to speak to you today and answer your questions about the
activities of the Canadian Space Agency, or the CSA, and to discuss the
strategic role of space and space technology in supporting Canada's defence and
For the benefit of the new members of this committee, allow me to speak
briefly about who we are and what we do.
The CSA was created in 1989 with a mandate to promote the peaceful use and
development of space, to advance knowledge of space through science and to
ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits
As a member of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ISED,
portfolio, the CSA is responsible for assisting Minister Bains with the
coordination of the space policies and programs of the Government of Canada. In
so doing, the agency plans, directs, manages and implements programs and
projects relating to scientific or industrial space research and the development
and application of space technology.
Twenty-six years after its creation, the CSA has seen the federal government
space user community grow significantly with the rapid development of
technologies and applications stemming from space systems. Today, there are
roughly 20 federal departments and agencies that depend on Earth observation
data, satellite communication or positioning and navigation capabilities to
support their mandate and daily operations, including of course the main
Canadian defence and security actors, namely the Canadian Armed Forces, the
Canadian Coast Guard and Public Safety Canada.
My appearance before you in April provided the opportunity to discuss the
vital role that space and space technologies have come to play in Canadians' way
of life, from supporting the economy, environment, sovereignty and the defence
and security of Canada. Now let me provide you with a brief update on the CSA's
activities since we last met.
Following the last federal budget, the government announced that Canada would
extend its participation in the International Space Station until 2024,
providing the CSA with $379 million in new funding to maintain its role as a key
partner in the ISS. Canada is responsible for the operation of the robotics
systems that comprise Canadarm2 and Dextre, the technological icons that were
crucial to building the station and now play an important role maintaining it
and helping to dock incoming supply spacecraft.
This important commitment also provides extended opportunities for Canadian
scientists and engineers to conduct important research in fields such as life
sciences and to conduct technology demonstrations that will drive innovation and
produce tangible benefits on Earth. This commitment will also allow for more
flights for Canadian astronauts in the future.
In May, Minister Bains announced that Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques
had been assigned to a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station
(ISS) that will start in November 2018. This will be the seventeenth space
flight for the Canadian Astronaut Corps, more than any other nation, except for
the United States and Russia.
In June, Minister Bains launched Canada's fourth astronaut recruitment
campaign as the CSA is seeking the next generation of space explorers to pave
the way for potential future space missions. We received 3,772 applications from
all over Canada. The selection process is progressing well and is now entering
the physical and psychological testing stage with 160 men and women remaining.
We expect to announce the names of the selected candidates next summer.
Also in June, the Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Microsatellite, known as
M3MSat, was successfully launched with the goal to improve Canada's space-based
ship detection and marine traffic management. A collaboration between the CSA
and Defence Research and Development Canada, M3MSat is now circling the globe in
a polar orbit at an altitude of 505 kilometres and travels over Canadian waters
approximately 10 times a day. This mission is a great example of collaboration
and partnership between government, industry and academia.
Another success that I am pleased to report is this summer's launch of NASA's
OSIRIS-REx mission that will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu,
reaching its target in 2018. The spacecraft will collect sample material for
return to Earth in 2023. Canada's contribution to this mission is the laser
altimeter instrument that will be used to map the asteroid's surface and
topography. This mission is particularly significant as it will help answer
fundamental questions about how our solar system formed and how life began.
The Minister of Transport and Canada's first astronaut, the Honourable Marc
Garneau, announced last month that a Quebec company called Carré Technologies
(Hexoskin) was awarded a $2.4-million contract from the CSA to continue
advancing technology on Astroskin, an innovative bio-monitoring system for use
aboard the International Space Station. Consisting of a "smart shirt'' and
remote health monitoring software, Astroskin will collect valuable scientific
data on astronauts' vital signs, sleep quality and activity levels during their
CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques will test Astroskin during his mission in
2018. Astroskin may have many applications on Earth, such as medical monitoring
of those confined to their homes by illness, people living in remote areas with
limited medical access, and those working in hazardous environments or in
military theatres of operations. It is yet another example of space technologies
that can improve life on Earth.
Canada became a world leader in Earth observation satellite technologies
because of our geographic challenges. As the second largest country in the
world, with a variety of landscapes and climatic conditions, bordered by three
oceans, Canada recognized the practical and economic benefits of using space for
Earth observation early on. The RADARSAT Earth observation satellites enable us
to acquire images of the Earth day or night, in all weather conditions, through
cloud cover, smoke and haze.
We first launched RADARSAT-1 in 1995, and it was operational for 17 years,
followed by RADARSAT-2 in 2007, still operational today and used by over 20
departments in support of their mandates. The data has found a range of
applications, from supporting Canadian troops on the ground to natural resource
exploration and precision farming.
The CSA is now working on the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, which is
scheduled to launch in 2018 and is expected to operate until 2025. The RCM's
three-satellite configuration will provide daily revisits of Canada's vast
territory and maritime approaches, as well as daily access to 90 per cent of the
RCM will be a strategic asset that will provide Canada with game-changing
capacity for maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem
monitoring. The Department of National Defence is a significant partner in the
RCM project, contributing to the development of both the manufacturing of the
system and to the ground infrastructure that will support the mission.
In closing, I'm also very thrilled with the announcement made by Minister
Bains last week at the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada Aerospace
Summit in Ottawa regarding the development of a new Canadian space strategy to
be launched in June 2017. This strategy will be developed with direction from
the minister's revitalized Space Advisory Board and will be shaped through
extensive consultations with industry, research and governmental stakeholders.
Looking to the future, the success of Canada's space program will depend on our
collective ability to create strong partnerships with stakeholders at all
I hope I have succeeded in conveying to you today that space is increasingly
embedded in Canadians' modern-day life. Not only is space vital to the
operations of government, space is part of the infrastructure that supports both
our national and global economy.
Thank you very much for your attention, and I look forward to your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Before we begin, colleagues, if you
can just let the chair know if you have a question so that we can put you on the
list and keep things in a manner that will allow me to chair the meeting.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your presentation Mr. Laporte. I had
the privilege of visiting the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert and of
seeing the famous Canadarm. It was very impressive. I really appreciated that
You talked about the considerable increase in the use of space by technology
companies that are constantly inventing all kinds of things. Is there a risk
that Canada's vulnerability in security and military terms will increase because
of that traffic, which the human eye cannot necessarily see?
Mr. Laporte: When you say the increase in traffic, are you referring
to the danger from debris?
Senator Dagenais: I know about the debris floating around in space.
Does the increased technology in space not run the risk of making Canada more
vulnerable in security or military terms? Space is a very busy place these days.
Mr. Laporte: Your question is a little outside my area of expertise.
The Canadian Space Agency is involved only in the peaceful use of space. Your
question is more about defence matters. It would be more appropriate to ask the
people responsible for defence.
From our point of view, the danger is increasing because of the number of
craft travelling in space and because of debris coming from space naturally or
from collisions between satellites. Like a good number of other countries,
Canada has an eye on those craft; we keep a list of them and we make sure that
information is communicated in order to avoid collisions. In terms of security,
we contribute to the efforts to prevent collisions. That is an exclusively
Senator Dagenais: Debris can be a danger for the Canadian Space
Agency, because people use space but do not clean everything up before they
Mr. Laporte: Exactly.
Senator Dagenais: What recommendations would you have for the
committee? What would you like our report to contain in order to improve your
agency's participation in these great technological issues, peacefully, as you
said? Are there particular points that you would like to see in the report?
Mr. Laporte: In the context of this examination of national defence?
Senator Dagenais: Among other things.
Mr. Laporte: For the agency in particular?
Senator Dagenais: Yes, exactly.
Mr. Laporte: In the context of the examination of national defence, we
work closely with the department.
We have collaborated in missions, including one to send an application into
space. We have always contributed to National Defence efforts to determine
whether there is something they can add or something we can add. Their efforts
and ours go hand-in-hand. There is so much to do in space, whether in the field
of communications, in the North or elsewhere, or in observing Earth from an
environmental point of view, or to make sure that missions are successful. Our
support in improving the department's ability to use space is always well
received, and it works both ways.
Senator Dagenais: I would like to go back to the occupation of space.
If you had to help us to visualize space, how would you make the parallel
between the past and today? Am I to understand that space today is very busy or
somewhat busy? Is there room for new technologies?
Mr. Laporte: Space is very busy. Several thousand satellites are in
orbit around the Earth. Generally speaking, new technologies have enormous
potential. All countries are focusing on innovations that provide added value.
New satellites in space have much more added value than in the past.
Technology is allowing satellites to become much smaller. A satellite that
once was the size of a school bus is the size of a two-drawer filing cabinet
today. There is talk of nanosatellites, twice the size of a Rubik's Cube. Those
little cubes are full of technological devices. So we are seeing increased
access to space. Commercial innovations are making it easier to send things into
space. Miniaturization means greater proliferation.
There is still a lot to be done in using space for our well-being here on
Senator Beyak: Thank you very much, Mr. Laporte. You addressed most of
my questions in your presentation about the funding and the new initiatives, but
I wondered if you could elaborate a little on the Emerson report. It was called
Reaching Higher: Canada's Interests and Future in Space, and it
recommended funding of $10 million per year over the next three years for the
Canadian Space Agency. Do you know if that's being honoured? Has it been
discussed with you?
Mr. Laporte: Absolutely. That specific recommendation of the report
dealt with a particular program of ours that aims at developing and testing new
technologies. It's called the Space Technology Development Program.
When the report was issued, the STDP was spending $8 million to $10 million a
year, and the objective was adding $10 million per year afterwards. We've now
doubled the budget of the STDP. We're in the $20 million and some per year
range, with the objective of stabilizing it around that level of funding until
we receive new monies. So yes, we have looked at increasing the budget in that
Senator Beyak: During the study of the issues in the defence policy
review, the committee heard that Canada should strengthen and expand its space
defence capabilities. What recommendations would you put forward to strengthen
Canada's space defence capabilities, if you could?
You said you're talking with them now and things are going well.
Mr. Laporte: Absolutely. There are two key areas of collaboration at
this point. One is improving communications in the North, which is a priority
for them, and clearly we can achieve that in many different ways. One of the
ways being considered is through new communication satellites for the North that
would orbit the North in periods of time that are sufficiently long enough for
them to be useful for military operations.
The other one is improvements in Earth observation. The more images that we
can provide to commanders in the field, whether to support operations or whether
to support disaster management, will be good for defence.
Currently I would say that those would be the two areas where we would
benefit most from more effort in that part.
Senator Beyak: Thank you very much.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for your presentation. I want to
touch on the issue of fragility of satellites. From your previous testimony to
this committee, I came to the conclusion that satellites are vital to our
defence. My concern is that when a glitch interrupted a single Anik F2
satellite, in the whole of Nunavut the cellphones were not working, the planes
could not get proper instructions, and it went on and on. My preoccupation,
given that the health, safety, security and economic well-being of many
Canadians is dependent on satellites, has been why are we not making satellites
critical infrastructure as we do for others, such as dams and things like that?
Luc Brûlé, Vice-President, Canadian Space Agency: Thank you for the
question. We saw what happened with Anik F2, and it's true that it created
difficult times for people in the North. In designing platforms like this, we do
take into consideration the fact that things could fail. We usually bring
redundancy on board the spacecraft so that when there are failures on board, we
can reconfigure the spacecraft and so forth. The importance here is really to
think in terms of redundancy and being able also to think in terms of resilience
in our infrastructure.
When we talk about infrastructure, in fact we are talking about bringing
redundancy and resilience. Having only one satellite in some key applications is
risky, so we need to bring more elements to the system. These days we see the
beginning of constellations of satellites. When one fails, others can be used to
replace the ones that have failed. We need to have depth in our infrastructure
to be able to cover that.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you for that answer. Can you tell us what
lessons we learned from the last failure, and have we implemented what we
This has nothing to do with the first question that I'm asking, but I
understand — and you're the experts — there are a lot of other satellites as
well. When you talk about clusters, having other satellites that are not under
your control, if I'm correct, how do we regulate all that?
I'm asking you two questions.
Mr. Brûlé: Yes, in terms of lessons learned, I think the failure of
Anik F2 occurred a few years ago, and it took quite a while to recover from it.
When it happened the second time, our commercial operator, Telesat, was able to
quickly reconfigure things so the downtime was less than the first time. That's
really how we manage this, having redundancy in the configuration of our
In terms of regulation, we do work in the portfolio of ISETC. We work with a
group responsible for frequency coordination and also licensing of satellites.
Issues like this need to be discussed when it's time to issue licences for the
operators so that we understand the recovery plan if they have a failure.
Senator Jaffer: I just want a clarification. When you say the first
time the failure happened it took a certain amount of time, how much was the
downtime the first time and how much for the second time?
Mr. Brûlé: I think it was in the order of maybe more than 24 hours the
first time, and the second time was in the order of 10 hours. I'm going from
Senator Jaffer: That's fine. Thank you.
Senator Lankin: I'd like to ask a supplementary and then ask my
question, if I may.
Senator Jaffer began with asking why this is not categorized as critical
infrastructure, although you referred to it within the Canadian Space Agency
context as critical infrastructure. Is there a particular meaning to that
designation from a national perspective? Is there anything that that designation
would bring to you in terms of looking at your capability or building redundancy
or whatever that you're unable to do now? I may be missing the point, but I
didn't quite hear a response on that.
Mr. Brûlé: It's an interesting question in the sense that when we
define the operational needs and we define the solutions to satisfy those needs,
that's how you can really determine if you have critical infrastructure or not.
It requires a policy decision to make it a critical infrastructure.
At the CSA, we make proposals and work with the department and move forward
on the solution. We're promoting the idea of classifying many of our satellites
as critical infrastructure. I think we're succeeding in reaching out and
explaining the criticality of that. An event like the Anik F2 is one where we
could see that this was critical to the well-being of people in the North. With
time and the necessary investments, we will be able to achieve that level of
reliability in our systems.
Senator Lankin: Thank you. I had wanted to follow up a little bit from
your discussion of the STDP. While this committee is primarily focused on
defence and security, I'm interested in the innovation and economic development
implications of your work and your partnerships with the private sector. The
federal government has certainly, by supporting the development program and
beyond that by looking at a structure in which you do work in partnership with
the private sector, given its nod and its support to economic government goals.
I come from Ontario. I'm aware that other parts of the country have an
interest, but Ontario and Quebec certainly have a key capacity in the aerospace
industry. Both provinces have had economic development strategies that include
sectoral strategies for aerospace or cluster strategies for aerospace, and you
see leading companies like Spar and the Canadarm or CAE and simulation
technology, and there are a lot of them.
From your operational perspective, what does it mean to have this partnership
and to have this goal around supporting economic development and innovation, and
how does that change the way you may work as an agency, as opposed to one that
was just purely interested in the functional capacity that we need in space?
Mr. Laporte: Excellent question. I'll clearly show my colours in my
answer of one that is in the portfolio of ISEDC.
We talked about STDP before, more from a grant and contribution perspective,
and we're in the order of $20 million, but the bulk of the agency's budget that
we contract out to industry is all related to ensuring that we make progress
from an innovation perspective. So STDP is a small program on the side, but all
of our contracts that go out are all about getting industry to develop new
technologies, to push the envelope of science and technology and to take us to
the next level.
So now we're into the world of hundreds of millions of dollars, and the CSA
no longer builds stuff from the inside. We contract that out to the economy
because it also is a lever with respect to economic growth and building
capacity, both in Canadian industry to innovate, but also with academia, because
we do quite a bit of work with scientists out in academia. We look at the
collaborative opportunities with academia and universities. So the bulk of what
we do, in terms of satisfying a government mandate through the use of space, is
also an investment in an innovation agenda.
Senator Lankin: Do you have any measurements of the economic impact
spinoff multiplier from those investments, those contracts?
Mr. Laporte: There are two types of spillover effects. For us, a
spillover effect is where we have given a contract to a company and they are
able to leverage what they built and sell it in a commercial environment.
Sometimes the needs that we will contract out are so specific that the spillover
effect will be, on average, 1.2, so not a whole lot. But in many other cases,
when we do something like the Canadarm, for example, the spillover effect has
been in the order of 20-something, but on average the spillover will be about
To satisfy a government mandate, we have both worlds where we really are very
pointy-ended and focused. There may not be a whole lot of commercial
applications. So when there is a commercial application, like Astroskin, which I
mentioned in my introduction, we expect the spillover for that will be
fantastic. So from 3 to 1.2 as average, but then we hear of the 30 multipliers
for some of the really great technology breakthroughs we were able to achieve.
Senator Pratte: I would like to go back to the matter of space
infrastructure. What are the risks associated with space infrastructures? Is
redundancy our only method of protection?
Mr. Laporte: When we talk about risks, there is, first of all, an
inherent one. Space is a very risky place because of the extremes of
temperature, because of meteorites, and because of debris.
In a broader defence context, everything is considered, everything is at risk
and everything can be a target for any aggressor. Some international agreements
provide for good collaboration in space; they are built on what has worked well
for everyone. Specific frequencies and orbits are assigned so that everyone is
able to operate safely in space.
Risks from radiation are considerable. The satellites that present the
highest risks are equipped with propulsion devices. Others are launched and will
stay in orbit until they stop and crash to Earth. However, the propulsion system
for the satellites that we would like to keep in operation for longer lets us
avoid debris or meteors; we can reposition the satellites in one way or another.
With that system, the satellites' lifespan can be increased.
At the Canadian Space Agency, we are more about the idea of survival in
space, whereas our colleagues in the Department of National Defence are more on
the military and defence side of things.
Senator Pratte: You see satellites as infrastructure. So some of your
infrastructures designed for defence could be the target of attacks. We cannot
completely rule that out. They are not protected in the same way as a dam or a
nuclear power station. Is that kind of protection not in place because it is not
necessary or because it is not possible?
Mr. Brûlé: There are conventions governing the peaceful use of space.
Our satellites are for peaceful, scientific purposes. We have talked a lot about
redundancy. We have discussed the possibility of having satellite
constellations, which would be very useful.
In areas that are little more military, the technologies on board can sustain
some attacks. There can be attacks on satellites with powerful radar, but the
satellites are equipped to deal with those situations. At the agency, our focus
is on peaceful uses.
In my 25 years of experience, no attack has been launched on peaceful
satellites or Earth observation satellites. As we see it, the greatest risks are
related to the fact that we are in a very dangerous environment. Given the
presence of debris, we have ways of manoeuvring.
The sun keeps us warm, but it is still a star that sends many particles
towards us. Satellites must be constructed to handle those conditions. Up to
now, that has been the case and things are working well.
Mr. Laporte: Collaboration in space is excellent. Most satellites,
especially the critical infrastructures like telecommunications satellites, are
useful for many countries. A desire to attack infrastructure like that would
have disastrous consequences.
That collaboration also serves as protection because we are all in the same
boat. There are exceptions, specifically China, which tends to act on its own,
but other countries work closely together. If a country were to take strong
measures, it would be in a delicate situation, knowing that its citizens would
experience an interruption in satellite communication.
The Chair: Do you have a supplementary? Senator Lankin?
Senator Lankin: Thank you very much. I understand the point that
you're making in terms of the multiple and shared interests of nation states and
the conventions that we observe.
If we're talking about terrorism, though, and whether it be radiation
emissions, other things to disrupt communications or other critical
infrastructure that might peacefully be supported by those satellites, are there
areas of concern we should have with respect to that? What's the thinking of
that, and does that fall into an area of counterterrorism intelligence and/or
military defence of these benign assets? Is there anything in that field we
should be exploring with you?
Mr. Laporte: Clearly, we're into the area that resides with National
Defence, because should a terrorist organization be able — and that's a big
question — to launch an aggressive spacecraft up there, yes, it could do a lot
of damage. So the objective would be to ensure that does not happen from a
Senator Lankin: Is there something in terms of the electromagnetic
pulse technology, other things that are possible to be within the capacity of
terrorist organizations in the foreseeable future, as opposed to launching
spacecraft or some kind of missile in space?
Mr. Brûlé: I'm sorry to say this, but I think the experts on this are
really with the Department of National Defence.
Those impulses that you're suggesting, we're not designing those for our
missions. We are for peaceful use. I understand some military satellites are
designed to withstand those events but not in our domain of activities.
Senator Jaffer: To follow up on my questions earlier, and my
colleague, Senator Lankin, also asked you the question, did I understand that
you have asked about policy on critical infrastructure? You have suggested, but
the policy decision obviously doesn't rest with you, and critical infrastructure
is where the challenge is?
Mr. Brûlé: In general space is a very new domain. Canada has been at
it for 50 years now. The idea of proposing this as critical infrastructure takes
time. Many of those first missions were really just for science purposes. We had
to demonstrate the usefulness of it, so it takes several missions before people
finally see that there is usefulness. We must do a lot of outreach and explain
how useful it is. With time people will finally agree this is critical
infrastructure for Canada. We are at a cornerstone in terms of making space a
critical infrastructure for Canada and for the world.
Senator Jaffer: Second, how can you assist in developing more
satellites? You have said in other reports that there are smaller companies
developing satellites. What do you see as your role in developing satellites and
in encouraging the building of satellites? In the risk narrative section of its
2016-17 RPP, you explained that small satellites are an important factor going
forward by saying:
. . . the CSA will support the development of small satellites technology
which will provide timely and cost effective responses to government needs .
So where are we?
Mr. Laporte: Building satellites or putting technology in space is
what we do. That is our mandate. With respect to a satellite itself, we have the
option of developing a satellite that is self-contained or putting Canadian
technology on someone else's satellite.
Internationally, we do both. Everyone does the same. So it's not about the
satellite count or how many unique Canadian satellites has Canada put up there.
It is really about how we leverage the technology in space for the benefit of
Earth. So one of my success metrics is not how many satellites we put up there.
It is really about meeting government mandates and then improving the quality of
life of Canadians.
We have as many technological systems in other country's satellites as we do
have in our own. We pursue future opportunities in the same vein. Is it better
for us to put all of the Canadian stuff into one satellite or to spread it out
with others? It's a question of cost. It's a question of capability. It's a
question of international collaboration as well. So we push the two sides of the
same equation with our unique Canadian needs.
RADARSAT Constellation Mission, RCM, is 100 per cent uniquely Canadian.
M3MSat is again 100 per cent Canadian. In OSIRIS-REx, where we would get a
sample from the Bennu asteroid, we provided one of the most critical elements of
that spacecraft which is the laser altimeter. We take as much pride in both and
we do both as much as we can in satisfying our mandates.
Senator Jaffer: My question was not so much how many you develop but
what support are you giving to the development of small satellites technology?
Mr. Laporte: In the space industry world, there are three or four
large companies and then the rest are all SMEs. We encourage the SMEs in a
number of ways, one through our STDP, Space Technology Development Program,
where we help them demonstrate new technology, but also through other programs
where we work with the larger companies to make sure that they bring in the
Canadian SMEs on board with their various contracts.
So we do have as an objective to scale up the SMEs in the space industry. The
Canadian space industry is still quite vibrant in Canada. They achieved about $5
billion worth of sales last year, and about 60 per cent of that is through
exports, so that's an additional positive criteria.
The industry at this point employs about 10,000 direct employees, and most of
them by nature of being rocket scientists are all in the HQP category, the
highly qualified persons category. Another objective of the government is to
grow this category. By asking industry to build satellites or even getting to
miniaturization of satellites and involving more and more businesses, we are
always contributing to scaling up these companies through innovative
development, but also it's an investment in developing more and more HQPs in
Canada. We do quite a bit of development from that point of view. We do have
missions where we concentrated specifically on developing microsatellites going
forward because we want to engage Canadian industry specifically in those areas
Senator Beyak: The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and
Defence has a large audience because Canadians care, especially when the
Canadian Space Agency is here as witnesses. Could you elaborate more on the two
priorities? You just piqued our interest with the North and the troops on the
ground. Can you give us more detail on those priorities?
Mr. Laporte: With respect to the northern communication priorities,
first and foremost that's a Defence initiative. Defence has some hard
requirements in terms of supporting their operations in the North.
To satisfy those operations, a portion of their requirements is through
regular satellite communications, something called broadband. It is the type of
communication satellite that you and I would use for our cellphone, or if you
live in Chelsea like I do, you receive your TV reception through a satellite
dish, so broadband has a more civilian bent to it.
When Defence meets their requirements for the North, given they have a
broadband requirement, then we piggyback on top of that. There is a portion of
their initiative which is purely defence. We're not engaged in that. That is for
tactical operators on the ground. There is no peaceful use for that, but when it
comes to broadband, we're looking at collaborating. If we are placing a
communications satellite in a polar orbit, how else could we benefit from that?
There are only a few polar orbiting satellites. Most tend to orbit the equator
because that's where the money is. There are fewer people living in the North,
so there are fewer satellites there to serve our purposes. A polar orbiting
satellite serves Canada, but also some of the other northern countries.
As part of the defence program, we're looking at other uses for that
satellite. Is there an additional payload over and above broadband which could
be useful for scientists in Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada or
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, that could benefit from a polar orbiting satellite?
Then the collaboration happens between Defence and us in terms of making sure we
leverage that opportunity of satisfying one of their requirements, but then
having the rest of government benefit as well.
Senator Beyak: Thank you.
The Chair: I would like to follow up on this and refer specifically to
the defence policy review, looking ahead and seeing what commitments your
organization will be making in respect to working with the Defence Department to
help meet their goals as well as yours.
How much money is committed to the RADARSAT Constellation Mission for 2018,
and is the money in place to proceed with the launching of that particular
Mr. Laporte: The RADARSAT Constellation Mission is three satellites.
It is a plan for 2018. The initial budget was about $1.2 billion, which Defence
contributed to as well.
Defence will be one of the biggest users of the constellation in terms of
image use, but also because over and above the Earth observation technology on
the satellite, there is another payload looking at maritime surveillance. That
will be almost for the exclusive use of Defence as well.
The Chair: My question was whether or not the money was in place for
the purposes of the launching of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission in 2018. Is
the total amount $1.2 billion, or is it $1.2 billion plus whatever Defence puts
Mr. Laporte: No, sir; $1.2 billion is the total, and we are 100 per
The Chair: It is committed?
Mr. Laporte: It is committed.
The Chair: You referred to what could happen in the polar area of
Canada, and basically the satellite I'm referring to is PolarSat. There were
also discussions taking place with Telesat and other organizations about whether
they could cost-share such a program and whether it would be beneficial to do
that. Could you update us on that?
Mr. Laporte: You are correct. Maybe five, six or seven years ago, a
mission profile was developed called PCW — Polar Communication and Weather.
That did not go forward as originally defined, and over time, as technology
evolved and as the defence requirements evolved, it has morphed into this latest
initiative I just described. We call it "ESCP.''
Éric Laliberté, Director General, Space Utilization, Canadian Space
Agency: Enhanced Satellite Communications Project.
The Chair: Is it PolarSat with another name?
Mr. Laporte: Without the weather payload, and likely something else
has a different payload. But even in the PCW, Polar Communication and Weather,
the communication has evolved from narrow band to narrow band and broadband; so
even the communication aspect of the old PCW has evolved. It's different than
what it was.
The Chair: I'm trying to get a sense of the resources required to do
this. What are the projected costs for that program?
Mr. Laporte: The mission hasn't been defined to be able to give you a
The Chair: This is strictly conceptual. There is nothing on paper that
gives you any indication of what your financial commitments would be if you went
ahead with it?
Mr. Laporte: That portion is more generic because of the civilian
communication satellite part of it; we have just begun the discussions with
respect to that.
Other parts of that program are looking at communications in the North and
carry with it a separate defence-specific element. I don't have any information
The Chair: I want to pursue that, being a senator from the North, in
respect to the weather component that was initially recommended to be part of
the initial program. Do you say that the question of weather and being able to
do the necessary forecasts will not be involved anymore? Right now you're not
able to do those forecasts.
Mr. Laporte: Well, even from a weather perspective things have
evolved. At this time, given the opportunity for a polar orbiting satellite,
we've begun the consultation process with other government departments to
identify what their needs would be of a polar orbiting satellite.
The Chair: Wasn't that done a couple of years ago?
Mr. Laporte: It was done way back in the PCW time frame, but over five
years the technology has improved so much that we need to refresh everything to
find out that there is a tonne of new requirements in terms of using space.
The Chair: When do you expect that to be completed so you will be in a
position to make a decision?
Mr. Laliberté: That is very much linked to the DND initiative; so the
defence policy review is instrumental in getting the timeline for that. As the
president mentioned, it's really the opportunity to combine needs in order to be
more efficient in terms of putting a satellite forward.
The Chair: I understand that. I'm trying to get a sense of where we're
going so that as we do this defence policy review, we have an idea of what
commitments Canada will be making going forward in respect to meeting all the
commitments we will have to meet.
Mr. Laporte: It is fair to say we have not kicked off a formal program
initiation. We're in the requirements phase, given the opportunity, so we've
initiated those discussions with other government departments. By no means have
we launched a program. We have to wait for other elements, including some of the
results of the defence review before we can formally launch the program. It's
only when we formally launch it that we will able to put costs and timelines in
place. Before then, we are into the requirements definition phase in the hope
that something goes forward.
The Chair: Talking about the North, what is your involvement, if any,
in replacing the early warning system? What role will satellites play, when it
comes to replacing the obsolete system?
Mr. Brûlé: The short answer is that we have no involvement in the
replacement of the early warning system. We're not involved in that program.
The Chair: There are no satellites involved in respect to replacing
and modernizing that system when it becomes obsolete?
Mr. Brûlé: There are a suite of radar sites across the North. The
future program might still rely on satellite communications which will be
provided. In the case of the warning system today, the communication backbone of
that system is the satellite communication, Anik F2. That is relaying all the
radar information from the North to North Bay. That's how it's being done. For
future systems, will they use satellite communications to relay the radar
information? We don't know at the CSA. National Defence will be able to answer
The Chair: Do you have the technical capabilities of doing that?
Mr. Brûlé: The CSA?
The Chair: Yes.
Mr. Brûlé: It's not in our mandate.
The Chair: I didn't ask if it was in your mandate. I asked if you had
the technical capabilities of doing it if you were permitted to do it.
Mr. Brûlé: Of course we have the technical capability. We are able to
build radar that is flying in space; so we would be able to build
ground-receiving radar as well.
Senator Kenny: You referred to the maritime oversight component that's
funded. We're talking about MSOCs TRINITY and ATHENA, and perhaps also the one
at Niagara Falls for the Great Lakes?
Mr. Brûlé: I don't think we're involved. Do you mean maritime
Senator Kenny: Right.
Mr. Brûlé: We have a small satellite in orbit called M3MSat that
collects all the information from transponders on ships, and then we can build
an image of where all the ships are on the oceans. We are not involved in the
ground systems for maritime surveillance. We do that from space.
Senator Kenny: I can't tell you the number of military officers that
have talked to me about the information they're expecting to come to the Marine
Security Operations Centres. I presume you folks were talking about RADARSAT,
and this is all —
Mr. Brûlé: I now understand the question.
There will be equipment on board RADARSAT that will receive and collect all
the messages from ships navigating the oceans, and we will be able to relay that
information to the operations centres of the Canadian Navy.
The Chair: Weren't you doing that when we were hosting the Olympics?
Wasn't the Canadian Space Agency involved in ensuring and helping with the
security in respect to the ocean and the ships that were in the ocean?
Mr. Brûlé: In those days, we relied primarily on RADARSAT-2. We did
provide maps of ships navigating in the vicinity of the Vancouver area,
approaching the West Coast and the Pacific Ocean.
The Chair: Senator, if I could follow up on your question, they were
trying to find out exactly what the relationship is in respect to the defence
policy review, your capabilities and technology and everything else you have in
respect to the Department of Defense. We're all in this together and trying to
figure out what your commitments are so that we understand, going forward, what
commitments have to be made to you so that the Defence Department can do what we
ask them to do.
Obviously you're involved. We just found that out. Where else are we involved
so that we know, going down the road, where we can help support the Canadian
Space Agency in moving forward and getting the necessary budgets to provide for
Mr. Laporte: I think the way to look at the relationship between the
two is that, like in every other country, there are unique defence requirements
where their national space agency does not get involved. So we have some of that
The Chair: We understand that.
Mr. Laporte: For all of the rest, we collaborate extensively, so if we
can leverage from each other's opportunities, we will do so.
With respect, for example, to the northern requirement for broadband, it's
the rest of government that will piggyback on a Defence requirement. In the case
of RCM, Defence put in their maritime surveillance on top of the Earth
observation payload. We have that hybrid view where we always collaborate in
With respect to the defence review, you can consider the CSA to be in a
support role. Should there be a defence requirement that is more than just
defence, where others can benefit, we come in. We coordinate the
rest-of-government picture to be able to leverage the defence opportunity.
We are clearly here in a support role until such time as we identify the
initiative and see the type of role that we will play. We are not in a forward,
active role with respect to the defence review.
The Chair: Colleagues, time is passing us by here. I'd like to thank
our witnesses for appearing. It was very informative, and I'm sure we'll have
you back again. I don't think we can emphasize enough what an important role
your agency does play on behalf of Canadians. Unfortunately, most Canadians
don't realize it. That's why forums such as this are very important, so that
Canadians know exactly what you do. We appreciate what you do.
Joining us on our second panel of the day, as we consider issues related to
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, are Ms. Linda Davidson, Ms. Janet Merlo and
Ms. Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk.
In 2013, the committee conducted a study of sexual harassment in the RCMP and
submitted a report in June of that year with 15 recommendations, including
calling for an ombudsman within the RCMP.
In light of the recent historic settlement of the class-action suit and the
official apology from the Commissioner of the RCMP, the committee has invited
three former members to discuss the RCMP's efforts to address sexual harassment.
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk was very helpful to the committee in 2013 and submitted
a written brief describing her experience as a former RCMP officer. She was the
victim of harassment at the hands of her colleagues and noted that unresolved
conflicts poison the workplace and slowly create a toxic work environment.
Frequent tales of retaliation against those who bring forward harassment
complaints can also leave victims and bystanders feeling helpless in trying to
address the problems.
Ms. Davidson, Ms. Merlo and Ms. Benson-Podolchuk, we are glad to have you
here today and hope you may be able to help us better understand the challenges
you face and learn from you about how and where things have changed in the RCMP.
I invite each of you to make an opening statement, if you wish. We have one hour
allocated for this panel.
Linda Davidson, as an individual: Thank you for having us. The
invitation is an honour.
I think I'll preface my colleagues' remarks by helping you understand where
we were and why. It boils down to five points: The recruiting that we did at the
time the finances at the time, the training, the promotions and the government
put us where we were. There are a number of points that lay beneath those five
Today we're at the stage of setting off and staging a change. The change is
going to affect the five points I mentioned previously. Where we will be in the
future depends on — a few years ago, Harvard came out with a statement referred
to as the "tone at the top.'' The tone at the top reflects your organization.
Our organization reflects the tone at the top, which is government. It's not the
commissioner; it's the government. If there's a will for the government to
change the RCMP and what is occurring inside of it, it's a simplistic way to
remedy the situation. But the tone at the top has to have the will to make the
change. Those are my prefacing remarks.
Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk, as an individual: Mr. Chair, honourable
senators, thank you very much for the invitation. My perspective is a little bit
I think the RCMP has to be looked at like a living organization; in other
words, people come in, people go out, and it grows. Whatever attitudes society
has, those are what will end up being those of officers in there. A lot of it
has to do with recruitment.
So if you have an organization with a toxic workplace, it's the
go-along-to-get-along people who will tend to become promoted. Once they're
promoted, who will they hire? They will tend to hire like minds. That's where
the RCMP as a living organization can't just change.
With regard to the lawsuit, this is not the endgame; this is just the
beginning. I think we have to look at it continually, similar to the military in
the early 1990s when they had a huge investigation into sexual harassment and
assault in the military. They had so much training, and then they thought the
problem was resolved. In 2015 they realized, no, we're right back where we
Sexual harassment and a respectful workplace have to be an ongoing process,
with training not just once in your career but ongoing. It starts not just with
the recruits, but once they leave Depot, where it's very insular, right back
into when they go into the detachment and then maybe on a yearly basis so that
people become indoctrinated into what a healthy and respectful workplace looks
like. That's not just for today's generation; that's for the future generations
and also the RCMP organization as a whole.
The Chair: Thank you. Ms. Merlo?
Janet Merlo, as an individual: I would also like to thank you for
inviting me to be here today. It means a lot to be able to speak with you.
About six weeks ago I was here for the announcement of the settlement, and
one of the things that I really hoped to take away from that particular day was
the hope that Commissioner Paulson's apology was sincere and his promise to
clean things up was also sincere. I remembered a comment he had made a couple of
years prior to that in regard to the class action. He had said he couldn't help
it if the aspirations of some exceeded their abilities. That was in reference to
the class, I guess.
That has stayed with me for a long time. We weren't a group of people who
didn't have the ability to be good police officers, and we weren't a group of
people whose ambitions outweighed our abilities. We had a lot of ambition and a
lot of abilities. Now the RCMP finds itself in the position where it has the
ability to clean itself up. It has the legislation; it has the policies; it has
what it needs to clean itself up. Do they have the ambition to do it? That's
what I'm waiting to see.
I'm still hearing from people weekly who are frustrated and frantic by the
thought of having to give up their career because the bullying is still going
on. I guess I'm waiting to see when this change is going to begin.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much to all three of you. As I sit here
and listen to you, I have to first say that I really respect the fact that you
are here. It takes a lot of courage. This is not easy. You have laid your lives
on the line, not so much for you but for the future. What has happened to you
will never be erased. I know I speak for the whole committee when I say we thank
you for being here and we appreciate your courage.
I want to look ahead. I want to say to you — and I hope you will take this in
the vein in which I am saying it, not in a rude way — the fact that there was a
settlement, for me, then there was silence. I would have liked to have heard or
the public to have heard, not the personal details, but what happens in the
RCMP. By having a settlement, we won't hear that. I'm disappointed, I have to
tell you, because I would have liked to hear that for the next steps.
For me, I hear on a regular basis, and I have relatives who work with you who
tell me there is still not a safe work environment, even today. Even today there
is harassment happening. Since there was silence with this class-action
settlement, we will not hear it.
So what I want to hear from the three of you is what needs to happen
immediately to stop the workplace environment harassment. I'm not talking just
about sexual harassment. I'm talking about the whole thing.
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk: I think there has to be willingness. Sometimes
you have to hit people in the pocketbook, which is unfortunate. I think many
people spoke up and continue to speak up, but no one's listening. This is where
you have to have those in positions of power within the organization be willing
to enforce those policies. They're only as effective as the people willing to
enforce them. Otherwise, the new RCMP Act and all the changes they made are only
fancy words on a piece of paper.
So when you have a small town with a small-town detachment, there is always
an opportunity for — it depends on the leader. If you have someone who continues
to belittle anyone who is considered the other — it could be men as well,
anybody who doesn't fit in — the message is clear to the other five officers
that this is a place of bullying and it's open season. Most people will not say
anything because they'd rather be on the side of the sharks in the feeding
frenzy than the little minnow swimming around trying to speak up.
It has to boil down to being willing to enforce those policies, even though
it doesn't make you popular, and hiring leaders who have the right stuff, and
those are people who effectively communicate. They like to collaborate. They are
willing to try new things. They have effective conflict resolution skills. They
don't allow their ego and their whole identity to be wrapped up into the RCMP so
that they can step out of the boundaries of the RCMP and the culture that they
have and see a better way to resolve the conflict, the problems, and bring
everybody on board to have a more inclusive workplace.
But that will take time. I don't see this being resolved in the next 10
years. It will take a complete change of many of the mindsets where eventually
the workplace becomes so uncomfortable for the bully that you can't change their
personality but they just won't be bullies.
Ms. Davidson: There's a lot to what you say that is very truthful. The
situation we're in right now, you have to have the will. As I said before, the
tone at the top is our government. You must have the will to pass it down
through Mr. Goodale's office, the Prime Minister's Office, Treasury Board, right
down into the RCMP. There has to be the will to make the changes effective.
When we hire leaders, we hire the skill set that's just beginning. It's our
responsibility as an organization to provide the training, to develop this
leadership, to provide them with people management skills and abilities, and we
don't do that. What's the first thing cut in an organization when there's fiscal
restraint? The training goes out the door.
Then we come along and have the senior members who have been there for years
and have learned to train and do things in a certain way, and they pass this on
to the young recruit. Now the young recruit is just carrying on this disability
all the way through the ranks, with no change, and we're not doing anything to
change it. The culture remains the same.
You want to change the culture; you want to make the bullies a scarce thing
within the force. You'll never eliminate it completely, but you certainly will,
as you said, make it very uncomfortable for them to exist in the force.
So the government has to step forward, has to fund the RCMP. I just read last
week that the RCMP's pay raise is non-existent. There's your morale aspect.
Where are the training funds? There's the cultural issue. It's not the
commissioner. He said "the fist of God'' in our settlement discussions or
announcement. He is trying very hard. In fact, I believe his head is flat on one
side from banging it off the wall because he has no funding to do it with.
Government is famous for coming to the force and saying, "We want you to
implement this, but you're not getting any funding. You want a pay raise? Fund
it from within.'' The RCMP is 57 out of 83 comparable police forces on the pay
scale. What is that? We're your national force. We are unique.
You want to stop and change the culture? You want to stop this from happening
again? Fund it. Give them the money to make the changes. Make us proud once
It's very dear to my heart. I loved my job. I loved the force and I loved
what I did in it, and I left way too early. I would still love to be there
making change, but that's not to be because of what has happened in the past.
Ms. Merlo: Everything is in place now for the change to happen, and I
agree with you that the settlement kind of shut down the whole process that
people were waiting to see: Where is this happening? Who are the players? What's
Unfortunately the civil process was the only avenue we had left, and the
civil process never would have brought it to that conclusion anyway. That's one
feedback I get from the settlement, that no one is ever going to be held
accountable. No one's going to be named. No one's going to be charged; no one's
going to face anything punitive, anything under the RCMP Act. That's where this
needs to change. They need to start enforcing the rules they already have in
place and have had in place for a long time, but a certain select potent
minority have let things slide.
They did a full investigation into my claims of harassment and came back two
years later saying nobody witnessed anything. That's wrong. Those people were
investigators. I knew of women who gave statements in support of what happened.
Where did those statements go? They were never provided to me. It's just
Until you get rid of those bad apples that are still there denying that this
is ever happening and turning people away when they complain, you need to build
back some structure within the force where people first of all feel comfortable
going and lodging their complaints, someone that they have some confidence in to
hold an accurate investigation and come back with the findings, and then you
need to start punishing the offenders. We have males in the RCMP who have raped
female members, and nothing has ever been done. The victim has gone to the
police, the RCMP, laid the complaint. One person I know of was promoted and
transferred, and the victim, her application as an applicant for the force was
There's no faith in the system for women to come forward, and that's the
first thing that needs to be changed. They need to find some way to build up a
system where, first of all, people feel comfortable and know they're not going
to lose their careers if they make a complaint.
Senator Dagenais: I listened to your testimony and I understand your
situation very well. When I was the president of the Sûreté du Québec police
union, a harassment policy was implemented because officers were harassing
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk, you are quite right. Harassment goes on in detachments,
including at the hands of lieutenants and captains. Often, the employer protects
the officer. Our union had to represent and defend our employees. Despite the
assistance of lawyers and the support of the union, that was not easy.
Unfortunately, you have no union, just voluntary associations. I feel that you
are very brave. In my opinion, a harassment policy, with clear, straightforward,
and specific rules, would protect employees more and force employers to put
measures in place.
I watched Mr. Paulson shedding tears as he apologized. I do not believe it
for a minute. It was a show. I cannot believe that a police chief would be in
tears, given that he was fully aware of what was going on and denied it. The
officers also denied it. There is a culture in your force, a culture I know very
well. I was a member of the Canadian provincial police association for 30 years.
I knew Mr. Delisle and another person from Ontario, whose name I forget, and I
can assure you that the culture in the RCMP is changing. You are right, a
harassment policy is needed. The apologies came too late and are no way to solve
the problem. Stricter measures have to be put in place instead. The officers are
protecting each other.
Do you believe the apologies and that the culture is changing? Do you believe
that it is going to happen? If so, I find you very brave and very optimistic.
What they need is a solid and serious kick in the pants.
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk: I saw Commissioner Paulson's apology. I don't
know him personally, so it's not fair to comment on his authenticity, but what I
did see was somebody who is really concerned about how this has tarnished the
RCMP. I think he really, truly loves the organization. What he may not have
realized is that we loved it too, and we have been damaged because of other
people who may have loved it, but they loved themselves even more.
Thank you very much for sharing that.
With regard to a union, we do have members who are division reps, and the
problem with that is that it's a temporary thing. They might be two years as a
division rep and then they go back into the ranks, and if they make management
angry, what's going to happen to them?
I remember when I first spoke up, years ago, they said, "Sherry, they're not
going to do anything. What do you want me to do, ruin my career?'' And I thought
wait a minute, didn't I vote for you? This is your job; you're supposed to be my
voice when I have none.
When I finally decided that's it, I'm leaving, packed my box and left the
building, the division rep said, "Well, I didn't think they were going to do
anything for you anyway, so there was no point in me saying anything.'' And
basically, "Sherry, they want to either ruin you financially or drive you to
suicide,'' so why would he put his neck out for me?
If we end up not having a union, then maybe have our members who are not
hired from within our ranks, who might even be officers who have no financial
gain or careers that could be ruined from within the organization. From my
perspective, that's always an option as well.
Ms. Davidson: I would like to add to that and say thank you for your
I believed the commissioner when he made the statement. He took on the
responsibility of apologizing for previous commissioners and things that had
occurred. Whether it comes 20 years ago or 10 years in the future or it happened
now, it's going to mean the same thing. It was just an apology that was given.
It's not going to stop what's occurring.
You're absolutely right; the culture has to change immensely. How do you
change culture? Through training. I can't emphasize that enough. You have to
break the FIDO effect. The FIDO effect is "blank it, drive on,'' where an old
recruit trains a young recruit and they see something happening and they just
drive on. We all know what the F stands for. That has to change. There needs to
be that caring, that cause and effect; train me, teach me, and then I'll show
someone else what I can do.
Thank you, sir, for your comments.
Ms. Merlo: I feel more that the only way to stop this is to start
holding investigations into the people who are currently under investigation for
harassment and start calling some people on the actions and punishing them
accurately and saying, "Okay, who's next? Where is this going to end?''
I went to my division rep when they tried to punitively transfer me away from
my husband and kids when I started to speak out and said, "I feel like every
right I have is being violated here — my civil rights, my human rights,
everything.'' And he told me, "Well, the RCMP can violate any rights that they
want because there are enough loopholes in the RCMP Act for them to do that and
get away with it.'' And it was basically, "That's all I can do for you.''
Senator Dagenais: Last June, Commissioner Paulson appeared before our
committee as part of the study of Bill C-7 on unionization. He agreed with the
bill, which provided for cases of sexual harassment or misconduct to be taken
out of the normal arbitration process since the RCMP has the funds it needs to
handle those matters internally. What do you think about his statement?
Ms. Davidson: No, absolutely not. I couldn't disagree more with the
commissioner. There needs to be an outside independent group of individuals who
examine the wrong type of behaviour that's occurring.
We cannot police ourselves, nor should we even try. For the commissioner to
say that, no, I definitely disagree. Bring in an independent body and definitely
let them deal with it.
Senator Kenny: Thank you for coming and appearing before us. It's very
helpful to have your views straight from the mouth.
The committee spent a great deal of time on Bill C-7 in the belief that it
was a step in the right direction and that by providing the RCMP with a union it
would be a significant tangible step forward in changing the culture within the
I think it's fair to say that we're surprised that we have not heard back
from the government on the series of amendments that we provided to the
legislation. And for the record, I need to add that the amendments we put were
only designed to bring the RCMP's contract into line with every other police
service in Canada.
I would welcome your views on this subject. Do you think that a union, as
amended by this committee in the spring, would be a useful step forward?
Ms. Davidson: Sir, a union in most circumstances is a good thing. It
helps their workers.
I'm afraid the union is going to become a place for the bullies and the
harassers to actually hide behind; that now they will have the finances, they
will have the individual speakers, they will have people to shield them, and
that makes me afraid of just what are we getting into.
However, to have a union in place to discuss our finances, to go to the pay
council to discuss those issues, yes, absolutely. We need to be there because
obviously we didn't get a pay raise.
Again, when I say "we,'' I still think of myself as being an active member,
which I'm not; I'm retired. But yes, there's a place for the union, and I
believe it's on the administrative side of things. I'm not so sure it's there to
do the independent investigations in regard to criminal activities or harassment
or bullying. That needs to be a separate thing completely from the force.
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk: I actually think a union would be very
beneficial, but it just depends, once again, who is in those leadership roles.
If the person in charge of the union is a bully and allows bullying, then he
will obviously be protecting the people who are bullying and committing criminal
It's all in the leadership, but I think, if anything, I look from my
perspective in years back because this is no longer about me, it's about future
generations and those serving today. I think it certainly would have been nice
and would have helped. When I was thinking about changing jobs because of the
stress, I went to Winnipeg City Police and Regina and they both have unions.
When I was explaining why I wanted to leave they just shook their head and said,
"That wouldn't happen here.'' Whether it does or not, I'm not sure. I think
harassment happens in many different places, but they have a union and there was
some protection for people who were speaking up. Once again, it depends on those
who are in the leadership roles within the union.
Ms. Merlo: I agree. I think there is a place for a union within the
RCMP for sure because that will get rid of some of the problems of having junior
people given courses that senior people deserve, but then for example, "I don't
like her.'' We had a thing where the guys were given courses but the girls had
to earn them. If they didn't earn them, they didn't get them. In terms of things
like that, I think it would.
The harassment, however, I tend to agree that until it gets under some kind
of control it will need some outside help. It will need the intervention of some
outside authority to come in and straighten it up and beyond that let the union
carry it forward.
To break through that wall that they have built up around them and actually
start making some changes, I think it's going to have to come from outside.
Senator Carignan: Is bullying part of the RCMP culture, especially
bullying based on sexual orientation or on gender?
I am talking about intimidation, pure and simple. When something is not to
the liking of managers or bosses, there is intimidation. That is what I have
heard in connection with the accreditation system. There are attempts to put
obstacles in the way of the process for signing cards for accreditation. Some
people are afraid and feel threatened. Are those all acts of intimidation?
Ms. Davidson: After the settlement, after we did the live broadcast, I
made phone calls across Canada to individuals who ran detachments and friends
and different members asking them the feel within the force of the changes we
were going to be effecting down the line. Most of them said there was an email
that came from the commissioner but that was it. Then there were comments made
that we won the lotto; we're going to be rich over this settlement; women, once
again, have screwed us over; they don't belong in the organization, et cetera.
If that's the type of comment that's being made from the coffee clubs
Canada-wide after the announcement and after the zero-tolerance stand of the
organization, could you believe there is intimidation? Absolutely, there is
intimidation. There is intimidation for courses and for promotions.
We need to start making managers who stand up and do the right thing, people
who stand up and say that is wrong. Until we have that, the intimidation, the
bullying and the harassment in all ranks, senior management included, are going
to continue, and it's going to get worse.
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk: You're absolutely right with regard to the
intimidation. When people wrap their whole identity around their badge, around
the scarlet uniform, around the image of the RCMP and the prestige you have —
the RCMP is recognized all over the world and highly respected. So if your whole
identity is wrapped in that, and then you see some bullying, you don't say
anything because you don't want anything to tarnish your own image, because if
it tarnishes the RCMP, it in fact tarnishes you.
When you have people like that — and there are many people like that — they
are willing to turn their back on something that they know is criminal, illegal,
immoral, unethical, and they are willing to blur those lines and in some cases
have those ethical and moral lines completely disappear because all they want to
do is protect that image. That's where the intimidation comes in. Yes, it does
happen a lot, and sometimes by their silence and sometimes by their actions.
Ms. Davidson: A couple of years ago I had breakfast with a
commissioner — not this commissioner but a couple of commissioners back — and we
had a discussion on recruiting. What was said to me was, "Oh, Linda, you're in
human resources. Don't worry about this. People will join the force because of
the uniform.'' I stopped and I thought, "Does he really believe this? People
will join because of the uniform?''
You join because you want to make change. You join because you want to help
our fellow citizens and Canadians. The uniform is a plus. It's something that
you're so proud of. I couldn't get over that his whole idea of recruiting was
they're going to join because of the uniform.
If that's his tone at the top, what has filtered down? It's going to take
generations to change that and bring it back. And there has to be a will.
I will make a prediction right now in front of this Senate committee. I will
state that you will be back here in the next few years dealing with this
situation and a worse tone. That's my prediction. I hope I'm wrong. I really do
hope I'm wrong.
Minister, you made a statement earlier about being head of the Sûreté du
Québec, the union. You know what I'm talking about. You know we're going to be
back here at this table. There has to be a will to change. Government has to
direct that will.
One of the things we put into our lawsuits, the RCMP said to us, "We're going
to try and bring down the harassment and bullying.'' I would not accept that,
and I don't believe you accepted it either. We said, "Zero tolerance or take it
completely out of the lawsuit.'' It has to be zero tolerance. It has to be
addressed, or I will be speaking to you probably in five years from now, maybe
Senator Lankin: I appreciate Senator Jaffer's words at the beginning
in commending you. I won't repeat those words, but I feel them profoundly. I
appreciate Senator Dagenais's entry into this and explaining how he understands
and lived through a similar situation.
I myself was one of the first female correctional officers in the province of
Ontario to work in a male institution. I also was an active member of the union,
on the executive and then went on staff for the union in the area of equal
opportunities to deal with areas of harassment and other issues involving gender
Unionizing on its own won't solve this. Unionizing, where women get involved
in the union and state their rights and engage in the bargaining processes in
collective agreement around harassment will get us a step closer. That's what
this committee did its work on in terms of ensuring that was one of many issues
that was not excluded and was allowed for in free collective bargaining.
I tend to agree with your prediction, and I would like to see if there is
anything we could do to change that.
Last year, retired Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps commissioned and
produced a report on the military. And the things you are describing are true of
every military and paramilitary organization, whether the military, the police
or corrections, and these structures are ones in which intimidation is part of
the rule of command, and ones in which there has been traditionally a very male
culture that has been challenged by the introduction of women into these roles.
There is much change that's required. The change didn't come easy and it
doesn't come fast, but we've been at it a long time, and we're still facing
these same issues.
In Justice Deschamps's report, she called for sweeping changes in the
macho-military culture. She said it's a culture that is hostile to women and
leaves victims of sexual assault and harassment to fend for themselves. And
that's what we've heard.
I've been listening carefully to you about what can we do. Funds for
training, I think the issues that you raise around salary increases in the
public sector are across so many sectors, and those morale issues are there, but
that's not specific to this specific issue. Funds for training and focused
training around these issues, enforcement and this zero tolerance, what does it
mean and how do you bring it to life in the organization, and accountability? I
can't believe that we will see change unless there is accountability. Those are
the things that I heard you talk about.
Could you suggest what you think the mechanisms are? The tone at the top —
I've heard you — you've said government must fund and must commission the study.
Maybe that actually is an inquiry and looks to accountability.
I want to know what you think the actual instruments are at this point in
time, because for us to say there should be accountability without saying how
we're going to get there will be additional noise in the airwaves but not
practical action. I'm looking for your steps of action.
Ms. Davidson: It goes back to where we come from. It has to change.
You stated earlier our recruiting has to change. It definitely has to change.
Back in the day when we recruited, we recruited the 19-year-old male at that
point in time —
Senator Lankin: Who wanted to be in the uniform, by the way.
Ms. Davidson: "Yes sir, no sir, and three bags full. I'll jump in the
air. Stay there, sir. Tell me when to come down.'' And then they moved to an
organization that is another mom and dad to him. Tells him what to do, how to
dress; tells him what to investigate, what not to. So the culture maintains.
Inside of that he comes into the force and he is mentored by the FIDO report guy
who then passes on all the mentoring bad categories to him.
Then there are the finances. I mentioned that before. It really impacts
morale. I'm coming from a top-down view as opposed to coming upwards as a victim
of harassment. The equipment has to change, and the funding has to change. The
CPIC has to change. We have to fund these things. These are all tools of the
trade, servant leadership.
Then you go to training. We do not make leaders. We do not provide our
individuals who are in the leadership positions with any sort of people
management training. They're the FIDO guys who get into the position. They have
learned to get there by bullying and harassment, and they will carry that
onwards and are training it downwards. It has to change.
That brings us to promotions. Most of the individuals who are promoted now
are not leaders. They're individuals who are in most cases grabbing at that
extra $2,000 a pay cheque because they have families and vacations and schooling
and things they have to pay for. With no pay raise in the last 10 years, they're
looking for the extra cash because all the little emollients, the excesses, the
supplements to your salary aren't there any longer, and they have been taken
Now we have the promotions. We are getting people in there who are the FIDO
people. You have to change that. You have to break that.
Fifth, we're a guardianship. The RCMP is not a business. They don't earn
money. They spend money to protect Canada's citizens, to promote that social
fabric of our communities, to make it a safe place, as the commissioner says,
for our homes and our people. In order to do that, I would love to have
professional individuals who are capable and well trained to do that job.
The government comes to us and says that terrorism is the thing now. It is.
It's happening. However, they robbed Peter to pay Paul to cover the funding for
terrorism. Where is the extra funding for that? There are all kinds of things
that impact what has happened at our level and where we are now. It's not just
the fact that I was harassed or I was sexually attacked or whatever. It's a
conglomerate of things that come together and produce that idea of who they are
and how they get ahead, and we have to break that chain. In order to break that
chain, you must change those five areas. Make the tone at the top, our
government, accountable as we will be, and make the commissioner accountable to
effect the change down the line. However, the government must have the will to
make that happen. A union is not going to change that. We have to do it. We have
to work together and we have to do it.
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk: I think you're looking for specific measures to
make it a functionally equitable place. One is why does the RCMP have to hire
training from inside? There are so many great places to hire conflict resolution
experts, cultural change experts. Why not hire someone from the outside who will
come in? I took my degree in conflict resolution, and I met oodles of people who
have brilliant ideas. I met people from all over the world travelling around as
a speaker focusing on workplace bullying who could help the organizational
change, who can come in and understand it but not be part of it and then help
encourage that change and that healing from the inside. It comes from training,
I remember doing a talk and a chief of police came up to me and said "Now I
get it.'' He was in charge of the complaints department of his hundred and
something different officers. He said, "I never saw how violence in the
workplace can escalate, how people can be intimidated to speak up.'' He said, "I
will go back and understand that you start solving the problems early before
they become huge and then you end up with huge lawsuits or people killing
themselves or being destructive.''
A lot of it is training and hiring the experts who can provide that sort of
knowledge base and grow from there. This is going to be a growing process for
the RCMP. This is the beginning, and I have to say, I am an optimist. Fifteen
years ago no one said anything about this. Now look at this. This is our fourth
or fifth time we're having meetings about the RCMP harassment. That's change.
That's awesome. Is there more to go? Yes, for sure.
From my perspective as a victim who is on the other side of healing, the
organizational change will come from inside with the accountability training and
hiring people who have that expertise. That really would be beneficial. So
you're not using people within the ranks who are already a little twisted or who
might not think harassment is a big deal.
Ms. Merlo: When I first came forward with my complaints of harassment,
my husband at the time — we're now divorced — he was a municipal employee at the
police station, a jail guard in the cell block.
When I started my process, they went to him and were asking him daily what
was going on with Janet. He said, "I'm not at liberty to say.'' On and on it
went; they were in this his face, sitting on his desk in front of him and
turning his computer aside and saying, "I want to know what's going on with
Janet.'' He said, "She's contacted a lawyer and I'm not at liberty to speak.''
They said, "We can't fire Janet, but we'll fire you. So if we see you leave
this building with a pen in your pocket or a paper clip, we will get you for
internal theft and your job will be gone.''
So the poor guy for months after was going into work, searching himself
before he left work to make sure he didn't have a pen in his pocket. He was
going to work sick if I bought a TV dinner that was the same brand they bought
for the prisoners because if someone saw him eating his lunch, they would think
he had stolen it from the freezer. So he went to work with his TV dinner in his
hands so he would be seen on camera. That went on and on and still goes on
today. He stayed there. We divorced. I moved away, and he will get a fax in his
office that says, "Hey peon, we're coming down for coffee.'' That is just the
tip of the iceberg. He's still listening to it years later, and we divorced in
I go back to enforcement on this, all the time. You can do all the training
you want, you can have all the rules written out, but if there is no enforcement
of the rules and no punishment, nothing will change. It's not worth the paper
it's written on. That's not going to be done within the organization as it
So my suggestion would be to advise the RCMP that you are creating an outside
entity to deal with the harassment. I don't know if you can do that. You cannot
leave it up to them to man their own ship. Obviously this was a topic in the
1980s, and here we are still talking about it. An outside entity is needed where
the people who are still engaged can feel comfortable and safe. Knowing that I
can't complain to that guy because my spouse is a member and their lives are
going to be made miserable, that is such bullying and intimidation, you wouldn't
The Chair: Colleagues, in our report of 2013, we recommended the
appointment of an ombudsman for the purposes of hearing complaints in a
confidential setting for the membership, the rank and file of the RCMP. That
recommendation was put forward because of what we heard and the fact that there
wasn't confidence by any member of the RCMP to think that they had a place to go
to be able to share their experience and think that they would get some remedy
and at the same time be held in confidence. What are your thoughts about the
appointment of an ombudsman so the rank and file has an opportunity to speak to
somebody if that necessity arises?
Ms. Davidson: It's a very good idea, but it has to be outside the
auspices of the RCMP.
The Chair: Be independent?
Ms. Davidson: Yes. Anything with the force has to be separate from the
organization. There has to be somewhere they can go where they're not going to
be noticed or seen and give them that complete anonymity to speak freely. It's a
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk: I agree. That's a very good idea, but what would
their powers be?
The Chair: That's what you would have to determine, what their
responsibilities would be, but it would be independent and it would give that
avenue for the rank and file so you wouldn't have this situation where
intimidation would carry the day, necessarily. I just want to raise that as one
of the recommendations of our report.
It's very important because what was said earlier was that because of the
settlement we couldn't speak nor hear about what happened in the previous years.
Senator Jaffer raised that point. That does concern me from the point of view of
learning from the past to move forward.
Are you saying there would be no consequences as a result of this settlement
to any of those individuals who had been involved in criminal activity or
anything of this nature?
Ms. Davidson: Janet can add to this, but when we meet with the justice
and I go in and tell him my stories, I would say that in 1977 I met with
so-and-so, this happened, and they go back and go to four or five detachments
and look at who was stationed where at the time to verify that I was actually
there and it happened. No one person is singled out in regard to what they did.
At that point in time, it's my call in that office, when I'm speaking to the
justice, to determine whether I wish to go forward with legal charges or not. Do
I name my aggressors or not? Because within six months after the award is given,
all that material is going to be destroyed. There will be no record of it. We're
supposed to just let it all fall; it never happened.
Janet is a plaintiff. We get no special consideration. We have to go in and
sit before the justice and explain why we lost our job, who we lost our job to,
relive every single thing that has occurred in order for us to get a minute
amount of compensation. That's wrong, but those are the negotiations that took
place. I wasn't part of them. I don't know if you were in the room when they
were going on.
It's up to the individual at the time whether they wish to name their
aggressor and pursue the criminal charges. Most of them aren't healthy enough to
Ms. Benson-Podolchuk: I wrote my book, Women Not Wanted. That
was my voice. Names are changed, of course, but I thought before I agree to
anything, I'm going to write this and get it out there. If anybody really wants
to know what they have gone through, you could read that.
Twenty years ago, Jane Hall wrote a book called The Red Wall. There's
literature out there that victims have written that is very accurate. So even
though they cannot comment about the settlement, they can read the books and
formulate their own ideas that this is a systemic problem. The books validate
their concerns about the intimidation, the ripple effect of the bullying and how
that affects their work, the co-workers, and everyone involved with them,
including their families.
Ms. Davidson: I was an inspector in the force at the time that I was
sexually assaulted. I remember coming back to my office and sitting there and
talking to a gentleman who worked with me and saying, "I can't believe this just
I'm a seasoned police officer, a leader, management, and I still didn't know
what to do. Can you imagine what it's like for a constable entering the force
and then coming up through the ranks and having to deal with it? It's the silent
The Chair: Obviously, this is a topic we could pursue at length, but
our time is coming to an end here. Undoubtedly, we'll talk about it again.
Senator Jaffer: I read your book. I know it's in the book, but the
concern I have is women who wanted to be in the force are out and the men who
committed the act are getting promoted. That's where I have the issue.
Ms. Merlo: Absolutely.
The Chair: I want to thank you for coming before us. I commend your
courage to come forward and letting the public know what has happened to you in
the past. This committee's responsibility is to ensure that there is a public
conversation. In this case, I believe we have stepped up to the plate from 2012
to now in respect of this issue and how it happened in the past, but most
important, how it's going to go forward.
Joining us on the third panel of the day is Major-General Paul Bury, Chief
Reserves; and Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Chief of Staff, Army Reserve.
Gentlemen, welcome. I understand that you have an opening statement. Please
begin. We have one hour for this panel.
Major-General Paul Bury, Chief Reserves, National Defence and the Canadian
Armed Forces: Thank you, Mr. Chair and honourable committee members. First
of all, I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this
afternoon and to address your questions with respect to the resourcing and
training of Canada's Reserve Force.
I am Major-General Paul Bury, Chief Reserves, and I am joined today by
Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Chief of Staff, Army Reserve.
The Primary Reserve is a critical component of the Canadian Armed Forces'
ability to contribute to the priority of delivering excellence across the full
spectrum of operations through the delivery of specific skill sets and
As Chief Reserves, I possess a unique vantage point in that I am not nested
within one of the environmental commands. As such, I can coordinate, on behalf
of the Chief of the Defence Staff, pan-reserve initiatives such as the Chief of
the Defence Staff Initiating Directive on strengthening the Primary Reserve,
which was signed on October 9 of last year.
Nested within this direction was clear guidance to address the need to grow
the size of the Reserve Force to 28,500 by July 2019, to conduct a comprehensive
compensation and benefits review, and to continue with the professionalization
of the Reserve Force by continually updating our training practices to ensure
the Reserve Force will be trained to the same standard as those in the Regular
The CAF acknowledges there will be an experiential gap between the two
components. However, these gaps will be addressed through additional preparatory
training just prior to any domestic or international deployment.
Additionally, and as directed by the CDS, as of April 1 of this year, we have
ensured that reserve funding is managed within a corporate account that provides
a single portal to demonstrate the government's valued investment in the Primary
Reserve and how these funds are earmarked for Primary Reserve pay and operations
and maintenance funding lines.
We have completed much work this past year in considering the following
problems: How do we meet the recruiting challenges to ensure that all Canadians
wishing to serve their country on a part-time basis can do so in an efficient
and timely manner and that Primary Reserve units have the number of trained
soldiers, sailors and aviators that they require?
How do we reimagine a training approach that delivers personnel to their
operational function point, fully trained and effective, sooner without
compromising the standards?
How do we ensure the training paradigm is suitable and remains within reach
for all manner of reservists while recognizing that part- and full-time
personnel must be integrated in order to be ready for both domestic and
The good news is that the precipitous decline in Reserve Force numbers has
been arrested, and I am optimistic that our collective efforts in processing
recruits in a timelier manner, coupled with ensuring they have access to
attainable training programs, will pay dividends into the future.
The training of the future Reserve Force must be delivered in an adaptable
style that considers the fact that not all reservists are capable of providing
unrestrained, lengthy periods of time to be trained, and that quite often must
balance civilian careers or academic pursuits along with family demands and
other reserve commitments.
The take-away from this is that consideration must be given to accepting
multiple career paths that train and develop reservists in conjunction with
their non-Canadian Armed Forces lives. This may not appear to be the most
efficient model to some; however, it does provide the Reserve Force with a
unique opportunity to leverage the civilian career experiences gained by
reservists who provide diverse perspectives that can and should be utilized for
New and emerging capabilities for the Canadian Armed Forces, such as cyber,
will rely on the Reserve Force to leverage those who are civilian practitioners
and those who have focused their academic studies in these areas of our
interest. This is a prime opportunity to demonstrate the value-added dynamic of
the Reserve Force and for the reserve to demonstrate its connection with
Canadians in many communities where the Reserve Force is, in many cases, the
face of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The roles and missions assigned to the Reserve Force will naturally evolve
over time. This change is embraced by the Reserve Force as it remains an
adaptable and relevant component of the Canadian Armed Forces. Irrespective of
the change in roles or missions, the principles of expedited local recruiting
coupled with a dynamic approach to training the diverse reserve population base
are the keys to success in the future, which will deliver on the Chief of the
Defence Staff's vision for the Reserve Force.
I will now turn to Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Chief of Staff, Army
Reserve, for his comments.
Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Chief of Staff, Army Reserve,
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you. Mr. Chair,
honourable committee members, thank you for inviting me to participate in
today's session and for giving me the opportunity to speak about the Canadian
My name is Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, and I am the Chief of Staff
of the Army Reserve, which means I am the senior reserve adviser to the
Commander of the Canadian Army. Let me give you a snapshot of today's Army
First let me say that the army sees the Reserve Force as an integral part of
the army team. Beyond its operational role, the Army Reserve acts as a familiar
local face of the Canadian Army in communities across Canada. Based on current
infrastructure, 97 per cent of the Canadian population lives within a 45-minute
drive of an Army Reserve armoury. Being dispersed throughout communities across
our great nation, reservists form a vital component of the Canadian Army.
The role of the Army Reserve is a professional part-time force that provides
local engagement and a responsive integrated capability, at home and abroad, in
support of the army's mission. Being part time, the Reserve Force is trained to
the same standard but not to the same breadth as the Regular Force. Additional
preparatory training just prior to deployment will always be required.
There are 123 Army Reserve units and 10 brigade headquarters located in 117
communities across Canada. Those Army Reserve units are critical to our
community footprint, and while we intend to reinforce success in some units
where the population base can support an intake increase, there is no intent to
close any reserve units.
Now I would like to provide you with a brief snapshot and update on efforts
that are ongoing to implement the Chief of the Defence Staff's directive on
strengthening the reserve, as well as the work being done to implement
recommendations by the 2016 Office of the Auditor General's report on the
Canadian Army Reserve.
In June the Commander of the Canadian Army signed a directive laying out our
plan to address the tasks assigned in the CDS directive and also in response to
many of the concerns raised by the Auditor General's report. On taking command
of the army in July, Lieutenant-General Wynnyk provided further direction on his
intent to reduce recruiting time, to decentralize training to the armoury floor
where feasible and to bolster Regular Force support.
One of the first tasks we undertook was to review our funding model. I am
pleased to report that, as of April 1 of this year, the separate corporate
account was established, which will increase transparency over reserve funding.
We are also in the process of developing a new funding model to assign funds
to units based on their size and expected outputs. In addition to increasing
transparency, the model will also ensure that all Army Reserve units and
formations clearly understand their assigned tasks.
You will be pleased to note that we have taken concrete steps to address the
recruitment issue. As part of the directive to strengthen the reserves, the army
will assume responsibility of Military Personnel Command for all aspects of Army
Reserve recruiting beginning in April 2017. This will allow us to streamline
policies and processes to meet the Canadian Army's specific needs for reserve
recruiting. The goal is to allow us to enrol new recruits within a matter of
days, not weeks or months. Trials will begin in early December 2016, this year.
The army takes pride in the world-class training it offers its soldiers to
ensure that they are well prepared for any mission. All our reserve training is
tailored to ensure that reserve soldiers can effectively integrate with their
Regular Force colleagues. Of course, part of our ability to perform the tasks we
are given includes having the right equipment to perform the job.
This is why the Canadian Army is reviewing the equipment it currently holds
and where it is located, in order to identify what resources need to be procured
in the future. It is important to remember that while not all equipment may be
available to every reserve unit for financial or practical reasons, all reserve
units will have access to equipment that they need prior to any deployment.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate that the Army Reserve is an integral
part of the Canadian Army, essential to its success, and we are fully committed
to it. I will continue to work with Canadian Army leadership to develop an Army
Reserve for the future.
Mr. Chair, I would like to thank you for the opportunity today and the
honourable committee members for your attention. I would be happy to take any
questions that you may have at this time.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Before we begin with Senator Jaffer, I
would like to ask members if they would indicate to the clerk if they wish to
Senator Jaffer: Thank you for your presentations today. My question is
on the loss of reservists. The Auditor General's recent report on the state of
the reserves has indicated that you're severely on demand, while the Canadian
Army has provided funding for 21,000 Army Reserve soldiers. My understanding
from the report is that there are only 14,000 active and trained members.
I understand recruitment and training have proven challenging. The report
claims that you have lost 1,000 soldiers a year. The loss of reservists is a
concern to all of us, especially when we consider the great work they've done in
Afghanistan and also in helping our communities. As you both have stated,
reservists are very much an integral part of keeping us safe.
In the committee's hearings in September, witnesses offered some reasons as
to the loss of reservists. I would appreciate it if you two could tell us what
you think the reasons are for the losses in the past and how we can encourage
more reservists to join in the future, and also how we can obtain a more
representative reservists force, one more representative of Canada.
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Thank you, senator, for your question. I would start
by addressing the loss of the reservists. As I indicated in my opening remarks,
and you are absolutely correct, we went in 2012 from an average paid strength of
approximately 25,500 to an average paid strength on March 31, 2015, of 21,349.
That's pan-reserve, and we have started to rise now, and I think that we have
One of the issues that impacted those losses, if you will, was the change in
tempo from a very high operational tempo in Afghanistan, which was sustained
over a number of years, coupled with the recruiting dynamic and how reservists
move through their career.
We have distinct blocks of time of how reservists move in their career, and
we have a high attrition rate at year 5, at year 10 and at year 15 as those
individuals go through and complete schooling. They establish themselves in a
civilian career and get married and start to have children, and all those things
start to impact on the reservists' life and their military career, and they all
have to balance across the civilian career, the military career and their family
As we go forward, we have understood how all of those factors are impacting a
reservist's life. We have a much better understanding of that now and are taking
steps to address that through a whole-of-Canadian-Armed-Forces retention
strategy, fluidity across the regular and the reserve components to address
those changes in lifestyles and working with the force generators — the army,
navy, air force, health services — to create a dynamic which speaks to a
part-time career of choice as opposed to a student-driven summer job, if you
We have spent a lot of time working on that problem and are well poised to
move forward and address not only the recruiting but the retention issues.
Senator Beyak: I think you addressed most of this in your
presentation, but I'm wondering about young people, if you're going up to the
campuses across Canada to recruit reservists there.
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Thank you, senator. Certainly we are looking to job
fairs and career fairs; and universities, colleges and high schools certainly
offer those employment options, and that won't change.
As I mentioned in my earlier comment, we are looking to expand into the more
non-traditional type of recruit who is looking for a part-time career of choice
and moving forward with that.
I will speak to a couple of points there. You talked about the university
colleges and student dynamic. We have done a lot of work in the past with high
school co-op programs, the army and the navy, and have established a number of
We are working with universities and colleges across Canada to establish a
Canadian military leadership pilot, an initiative which is a cooperative program
between several universities or colleges and local Primary Reserve units to
develop leadership opportunities for students and primary reservists.
Senator Beyak: Some of the regiments seem to be at risk. I talked to a
young reservist on the airplane a few weeks ago, and they are at risk of being
disbanded if they are not able to get a certain number of recruits. Do you know
if that is happening, and if so, can you tell us how many are at risk and what's
being done to ensure they don't disband because of the numbers they are bringing
Maj.-Gen. Bury: I will speak to that and let Brigadier-General
MacKenzie chime in.
The Chief of the Defence Staff's Initiating Directive on strengthening the
Primary Reserve was absolutely specific that we would not close units and we
will not zero-man a unit, which means that we understand that the number of
soldiers, sailors or aviators in those units will ebb and flow over time, but we
won't zero-man and certainly we will not close a unit.
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Absolutely true, and I may go down to the next
level of fidelity there. The targeted growth, we took some time to assess where
best to grow based on the Chief of the Defence Staff's directive, and for the
army that was 950 positions. That growth is targeted across 16 units largely in
the best demographics in Canada, the major centres in British Columbia, Ontario,
and Quebec, and we were very clear to say that no units will be disbanded.
We did say that over time and in the next phase as we see success in areas,
we will look to units that may be seeing a status quo, and if they have blank
space, positions they do not fill, that we could use those to reinforce success.
That's not to take away from a success anywhere, but if a location, based on the
demographics of Canada, doesn't support something, we would sooner use that in a
place where it does. That's the clarity we provided.
Senator Beyak: Thank you. The reserves have such an incredible
reputation; I would hate to see anything like that happen.
Senator Pratte: Let me see if I have the numbers correct here. October
30, 2016, there were 18,800 members in the reserve; that's correct? The goal is
to have 28,500 on July 2019; is that correct?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: So the numbers, the 18,000, sir, was an Army Reserve
Senator Pratte: Oh, that's an Army Reserve, I'm sorry.
Maj.-Gen. Bury: As opposed to the 28,500 in 2019.
Senator Pratte: What's the total for the reserve? The whole reserve,
what's the total, corresponding to the goal of 28,000?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: On August 31, sir, it was 21,993.
Senator Pratte: You're looking to hire 7,000.
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Yes, sir.
Senator Pratte: Plus some that you would lose, losses which would be a
few hundred or a thousand, whatever. You're looking to hire 7,000. Can you
elaborate more? It is still an ambitious goal.
Maj.-Gen. Bury: It is, senator, and in fact this will be an extremely
difficult undertaking. Part of the issue is that there are a number of
reservists who are not currently parading, and those numbers are not reflected
So while we are making very ambitious efforts to attract, to recruit and
increase the efficiencies and file processing to get the recruits through in a
more timely manner, we are also making significant efforts at retention. We
understand that the people who are already in the force need to be kept in the
force, and we need to work with them to help them to stay, to make the
commitments to the reserve a priority in their life so we can keep them.
Senator Pratte: Could you tell me who would be your typical recruit
today as far as age, education, gender?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: A typical recruit, sir, is between 18 and 24 years
old. They're usually a student. They're male and they come from major
We're looking to significantly diversify as we recruit. We're looking to
attract many more women into the Canadian Armed Forces. The Chief of the Defence
Staff set a target of 1 per cent increase per year over the next 10 years and
we're working hard to ensure that the reserve contributes to that, as well as
diversity. We're looking at how to attract visible minorities into the reserve
far more than we have in the past.
The Canadian Armed Forces needs to reflect the communities that it resides in
and we're working hard to do all of that.
Senator Pratte: Thank you.
Senator Lankin: I want to understand how you're going to go about
doing that. When I heard you talk about targeting demographics, that's really
about where large populations are you've got a better chance at recruiting.
Forgive me, I'm trying to translate language, but you use positions to
reinforce success, and I think that's about if you can't hire in smaller areas
where there are reserve units you may take some of the numbers there and move
them into the cities, which has implications that I would be interested in your
Major-general, you spoke about being well positioned in recruitment to make
this a part-time career of choice, but you didn't say how you're well positioned
to do that, and I don't know what's the difference today going forward from what
you did in the past.
I'm interested in this young population that's school-based, which takes this
up as an opportunity to gain some skills and credentials and have some
employment, but that's a long way from a part-time career choice, and I wonder
about the relationship between career planning and having this as part of your
overall career. I wonder about the relationship between employment levels in
general, the relationship between an economy that has moved more and more to
part-time precarious employment and what role this can play as an anchor in
There is a whole lot that is varied in the things you're mentioning that for
me are quite strategic about how you would move forward to actually accomplish
it. Could you talk about your analysis of that and what steps will move you
towards success on this goal?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: What you're speaking to is not only the attraction but
a significant retention piece.
Going forward, we will certainly be far more people-centric than we have been
in the past. We have been focused, certainly in the recent past, on operations,
support to operations and force generation, but this next year we're looking at
being people-centric and focused on some transactional items like compensation
and benefits and ensuring that we are attractive to the individuals we're trying
to attract to the military. Also, we're looking at items such as career
management, family support, mental health and wellness, making sure that our
soldiers, sailors and aviators have access to and understand what is available
We're also looking at fluidity across the components: the Regular Force and
the Reserve Force. I mentioned in answer to an earlier question about ensuring
that we can work with the soldiers, sailors and aviators at different points in
their life to accommodate what they require. Historically they probably would
have quit because we were a little less flexible than we should have been,
understanding today that in the Regular Force individuals are looking for
options going forward and moving back and forth between the Regular Force and
the Reserve Force components. Certainly that adds to retaining people and making
the Canadian Armed Forces, whether it's part-time or full-time, a career of
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: I would like to address three parts of the
question, if I could. I'll start with recruiting, and I mentioned we have
targeted 16 units across the country; we will grow them in building blocks of
those units — sub units, as we call them, or sub-sub units.
As we stand today, the recruiting process has been very long and slow, and it
takes too long for a young person to join the Canadian Forces today. They simply
will go somewhere else.
In our complete redesign of how we're going to do business, we will give
units at the local level the kind of tools they need to bring people in and
we'll streamline as much as we can. There has been a lot of work over the last
number of months across our Military Personnel Command, recruiting organization
and the army, as well as other components so that we can bring people in and
start training sooner. There are parts of the process we currently do that we
can undertake while they're in training. This will allow us to bring those
younger folks in more quickly. I think that will be a huge asset for the young
Canadians, the millennials, so they won't walk away after a period of time. For
a good percentage of people, we see that taking two visits: an initial contact
and a couple of visits to do the initial parts, to actually get them in the door
and starting to be part of the organization. That's an important new step.
That's the vision the Commander of the Canadian Army has and he has the
endorsement of the CDS to move forward and continue planning.
That is a huge component. Without being able to succeed in bringing people in
the door and start that initial training faster than we've been doing it, we
will not achieve the numbers we need.
The second piece is that although retention is extremely important and we do
want to retain and see a more fluid transition between components or regular
reserve and the like, I would note that a good percentage, 48 per cent of the
army Reserve today, has five years or less service.
We do want to retain many of them; however, I would say for young people in
Canada, if they have done schooling or university or technical college and their
life situation changes, family or career wise, and they decide to leave, it only
enhances our society to have those young people having had that initial
experience in the forces.
Although we will continue to work hard at that, having a larger cohort of
youth that have served will, I think, serve us better as well.
Senator Lankin: You made reference to improving recruitment and
retention, but recruitment with respect to considerations of diversity, so
whether it's ethno-racial, gender, those are all issues on your agenda. In the
revamping you've done you mentioned specifically timelier recruitment, but there
must be other issues. Have you done, for example, a gender-based analysis to
help you understand what the barriers have been to recruiting young women coming
in? Have you done an analysis to understand what the barriers are to reach out
to ethnically diverse and racially diverse communities?
Certainly in the population bases you are going to you will have a lot better
opportunity for that kind of recruitment, but what are the specific steps you've
taken and based on what analysis to help you have a chance at success?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: An initial analysis was done by our Military
Personnel Command, but as we transition through a trial period, so beginning
this December through the next year, as we look at how we're going to bring in
young folks, or folks of any age, we will go through a trial period specifically
in the Maritimes with not only a population base that's large but also in areas
that are more remote to actually assess there what the outcomes are and what
lessons we can learn from that over the next year.
We will continue to work as of April 1 across the country doing what we want
to do, but we will look at a more specific and supported evaluation of that
trial in Eastern Canada. That's the best answer I can give at this point in
Senator Lankin: Would you say there is a methodology in gender-based
analysis that can help identify some of those barriers and some of the things
you might need to address? I'm sure others can advise you with respect to ethnic
diversity as well.
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Military Personnel Command and Canadian Forces
Recruiting Group are certainly aware of the gender-based analysis. I don't have
that information at the tip of my hand. We will take that on notice and get back
to you with what steps they have done exactly to analyze that problem.
Senator Dagenais: I agree with you that it is excellent training for
young people. At the age of 16, I belonged to the Royal Canadian Hussars and the
2nd Field Artillery Regiment after that. It's a privilege to serve in the
reserve, and it provides good basic training for young people starting out in
Mr. Bury, do you have the funding you need for training and equipment in
order to meet the army's operational needs? How do you see the next five years?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Thank you, senator, for that question.
To your initial point on whether we have enough financial resources,
certainly, as I mentioned, we started that corporate account to assign a
singular portal for Primary Reserve funding, for reserve pay and operations and
maintenance, and that is briefed to senior management on a regular basis.
I am confident that at this point in time there are no significant issues
with the funding assigned to the Primary Reserve for reserve pay and operations
and maintenance. No flags have been raised certainly at this point in time.
Specific to equipment, I will note that each of the L1s, the army, the navy
and air force and health services, have procurement items in line with that.
I will note and I will echo the comments of Brigadier-General MacKenzie when
he noted that access to training opportunities and equipment exists and will
continue to exist for certainly the Road to High Readiness but for collective
training opportunities also. We do a lot of work to ensure that units, while
they may not physically hold the equipment suites, have access to the equipment
to train on.
I'm confident that the access to equipment and the opportunities to train on
that exist and will continue to as the training demands go forward over the next
Senator Dagenais: Mr. MacKenzie, you brought up the problem of
retention in the reserves. You mentioned that 28,000 men and women serve in the
reserve. How many do you not currently have? How much would it cost you to meet
your objective? Is it a budget matter that prevents you from moving forward?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you for that question, senator.
The number that we have today is less than ideal. We do want to meet the
target within that 28,500, so upwards of 21,000, and we're now today at 18,800.
The speed at which we can bring people in we will improve, but we still have to
train them, and that takes time.
We currently, year on year, train about 4,000 people at various levels of
training. We do intend to push not just basic training but qualifications in
their trade and arm, infantry, armour and the like, down to the armoury, where
practical, to assist in training people locally. But money won't just fix that.
We do have to have the time to train those people. So that is what will take us
a little bit of time to get to achieve the number we want to be at. So it is
time more than money in this case.
The Chair: Could I ask for clarification here? We were told a figure
earlier of 21,993 and now we're told a figure of 18,800. I'm not quite clear on
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: The first number you mentioned, 21,000, we're
funded to that number. And out of that funding —
The Chair: You have 18,800?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: That's correct. However, that does include not
just part-time reservists but full-time reservists that provide support to units
and schools and the like. And that is a very substantial portion of that budget.
Senator Jaffer: Yes, the 21,000 is the funding. The auditor, if I'm
not mistaken, said you had 14,000, so I imagine that since his report there are
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: If I could clarify, that number was those that
were completely trained. As I mentioned, we have, on average year on year, about
4,000 in training. That includes people we have in training — full-time,
part-time, the entire number — when I say 18,800.
Senator Jaffer: So the 4,000 would not be ready to go, if needed? The
number available is 14,000?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Yes, that's correct.
The Chair: Could I follow up on this? I want to get this clear for the
defence policy review because the target is 28,500. Presently, if they were
there today, in your budget you don't have the financial resources to pay for
28,500? You have resources for 21,900?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Yes, there's a bit of confusion between the Army
Reserve numbers that Brigadier-General MacKenzie was talking about and the ones
that I articulated that are pan-reserve, the army, air force and navy.
The Chief of the Defence Staff asked for 28,500 by 2019, pan-reserve, army,
navy, air force, health services and CANSOFCOM. So the funding will be there for
The Chair: The question that I have is: In order to be able to provide
the resources for these positions, knowing that we have 21,993 as of today, what
are the additional costs that are going to have to be put in place to provide
for another 7,000 to 7,500 personnel?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: As we move into the near future, those costs will be
defined. There are a number of avenues of funding that will be identified such
as the defence renewal.
The Chair: We're looking at the defence policy review and we're trying
to get a sense of what the resources are and what is needed over and above to
meet these various aspirations that we have. If we hit that 28,500 number, could
you provide the committee with what are the projected additional costs going to
be to the military in order to do that?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: We'll provide that.
The Chair: And sooner than later, please.
Senator Lankin: So I understand, I thought you said that money had
been identified and provided for and there is a year-down-the-road target. Or is
there a shortfall in the funding that has not been committed?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: No, for the strengthening of the Primary Reserve
Initiating Directive, no new funding was identified. It is a reallocation of
funding through defence renewal that will pick that up. We will have to go back
and ask for any new funding required.
Senator Lankin: Is the reallocation only within your reserves, or is
there reallocation coming from other parts of defence?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: No, from across defence.
Senator Lankin: It's not committed at this point in time but being
Maj.-Gen. Bury: In coordination and in conjunction with the Defence
Renewal Team who are looking at various initiatives across the department to
identify cost savings.
The Chair: I understand your problem, but this is like shadowboxing.
In order to be able to identify this envelope for the reserves — and the reason
we're asking these questions is we are very concerned about the future of the
reserves. We understand fully the importance of the reserves. Without the
reserves, quite frankly, we are not going to have a first-class military. We
must get that on the table here. Looking ahead in respect to what we're doing
here, my understanding is a really good decision was made a couple of months ago
to make and define a distinct financial envelope for the purposes of the
reserves. They couldn't be reallocated if the military finds renewal in another
area of responsibility and wanted to move that money out.
That being said, for Senator Lankin and myself, we want to know that we've
got the money for what you want to do now. Also we want to know what that number
is in order to be able to meet the targets that we would like to meet.
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Yes.
The Chair: This is to Major-General MacKenzie. I want to go to the
question of the Canadian Rangers. What is the optimum size or numbers for the
Rangers and their responsibilities as we move forward?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you. Today the number is roughly 5,000. We
are across Canada at around that number of 5,000, very close, in fact. We just
undertook, about a month ago, a Canadian Rangers National Working Group. It's
held annually. It is to look at and assess exactly where in Canada any
communities could support Rangers patrols. That work will take some time because
in smaller communities, it can be demanding to try to increase numbers. It's not
a simple matter of wanting to increase here and there by 100 and so on. We are
doing a truly consultative review through the Rangers groups to find out where
growth is practical.
I also asked him to look at over this next year as well, as part of the
mandate letter, their roles and what is practical and what is in the realm of
the possible. I'll give an example; a ground search and rescue is not in their
stated role. However, across Canada quite often they're supporting local law
enforcement and other agencies in that. We do want to look at those types of
roles for the Rangers to see what we can help them with through additional
We undertook two courses this year. One was a basic patrol course. It's a
military indoctrination-type course for Rangers. That was something we didn't
have in the past. Second was a patrol leader's course to help them with the
leadership roles and organization. Rangers are considered trained when they're
enrolled, so they come in with those skill sets.
The Chair: Could you provide us with that mandate letter so that we
have an understanding what that is?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: When I refer to the mandate letter, I mean the
portion of the minister's mandate letter to increase the size of the Rangers,
that one statement. It's a very short statement, but we take many assumptions
out of that. It's not a simple matter of one number and one place.
The Chair: My understanding is that the aspirations were to increase
the size of the Rangers to approximately 6,000. Is that correct?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: There was no number.
The Chair: I thought there was a number. A number of years ago was
there a number of 6,000? I thought that was being discussed.
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: I'm not sure of the answer. The 5,000 was a
target we did have previously, and we've hit that. I'm not sure when that was
The Chair: Colleagues, I wanted to touch on working with the
universities and the reserves. A number of universities had stepped forward, I
understood, that were going to work towards reserve units. Perhaps you could
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Thanks, senator. We've done work on the Civil Military
Leadership Pilot Initiative, which links local Primary Reserve units with
universities and colleges in their area. There is an accredited certificate
program at the University of Alberta which was up and running as of September 1
of 2015. That provides leadership opportunities and mentorship to students who
are members of the Primary Reserve, be it officer or non-commissioned member,
We are looking and have explored opportunities to export that initiative to
different locations across Canada. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I met with
the University of Calgary, who are quite receptive to that. There are other
universities and colleges across Canada that are also looking to that.
The Chief of the Defence Staff Initiating Directive called for a total of
five locations across Canada, and we're working quite successfully moving
The Chair: That is very good news. Do you have something to say,
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: We are also working with some of the technical
colleges across the country, for example, the British Columbia Institute of
Technology, NAIT, Fanshawe College and others, to look at a program that's
established for credit for military service or leadership training, in other
words, advanced prior placement learning program. So universities and technical
colleges are another aspect of this. Many of them already have the ability in
their curriculum and their governance structure to grant credit for military
leadership courses. So that's another aspect that I think is very promising for
us as well.
The Chair: That is very good news. Do you have the financial resources
committed in your budget to be able to do these programs?
Maj.-Gen. Bury: Yes, we do. This is using space within already
existing Primary Reserve units in the local area and leveraging the resources of
universities to create the program. It is a great initiative that links the two,
and it is, for the military, at minimal cost.
The Chair: I think it's a great program, and it's one that we should
really encourage across the country. It's nice to see the number of universities
and post-secondary institutions that are prepared to recognize it and put those
programs in place, because that's not easy to do from their point of view.
Colleagues, I want to thank our witnesses for appearing. It's been very
informative. I would like for us, once we've excused the witnesses, to go in
camera for a few minutes. Once again thank you very much for your informative
(The committee continued in camera.)