Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 2 - Evidence,  February 25, 2004


OTTAWA, Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 12:20 p.m. to examine and report on the need for a national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Honourable senators, I call the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence to order. It is my pleasure to welcome you. Today the committee will hear testimony in preparation for its third annual visit to Washington, D.C. in March 2004.

My name is Colin Kenny, I am a senator from Ontario and I chair the committee.

On my immediate right is the distinguished Deputy Chair, Senator Forrestall, from Nova Scotia. After an early career as a journalist with The Halifax Chronicle-Herald and as an airline executive, he entered politics and was first elected to the House of Commons in 1965. He has served the constituents of Dartmouth for more than 37 years. He has followed defence matters throughout his parliamentary career and has served on various parliamentary committees.

On his right is Senator Banks, from Alberta. Senator Banks is well known to Canadians as one of our most accomplished and versatile entertainers and as an international standard bearer for Canadian culture. A Juno-Award- winning musician, Senator Banks has achieved national and international renown as a conductor or music director for many noteworthy events, such as the opening ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympics. In 2003, he was appointed Vice Chair of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Urban Issues. In addition to serving on this committee, Senator Banks is the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources and the Chair of the Alberta Liberal Caucus.

Beside him is Senator Cordy, from Nova Scotia, who is an accomplished educator with an extensive record of community involvement. She has served as Vice Chair of the Halifax-Dartmouth Port Development Commission and as Chair of the Board of Referees of the Halifax Region of Human Resources Development Canada. Senator Cordy is a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology and Vice Chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Beside Senator Cordy is Senator Atkins, from Ontario. He came to the Senate in 1986 with a strong background in the field of communications. Senator Atkins has also served as an adviser to former Premier Davis of Ontario. During his time as a senator, he has concerned himself with a number of education and poverty issues, as well as championing the cause of the Canadian Merchant Navy veterans. Senator Atkins is also a member of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Beside him is Senator Munson, from Ontario. He is best known to Canadians as a trusted journalist and public affairs specialist. He was nominated twice for a Gemini for excellence in journalism. He reported news for close to 30 years, most recently as a television correspondent for the CTV network. After a brief period of consulting with the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, he joined the Prime Minister's Office, first as Special Communications Adviser and then as Director of Communications. Senator Munson is also a member of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages.

On my left is Senator Day, from New Brunswick. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Royal Military College in Kingston, an LL.B. from Queens University and a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall. Prior to his appointment to the Senate in 2001, he had a successful career as an attorney. His legal interests include patent and trademark law, and intellectual property issues.

He is also Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance and our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, and he is an active member of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

At the far end of the table is Senator Buchanan, from Nova Scotia, a member of the Nova Scotia Legislature for 23 years. He served as minister of public works, of fisheries and of governmental affairs. In 1978 he was sworn in as premier. Appointed to the Senate in 1990, Senator Buchanan serves on the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources and on the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

Our committee is the first permanent Senate committee with a mandate to examine security and defence. Since the committee's inception in mid-2001, we have completed a number of reports, beginning with ``Canadian Security and Military Preparedness.'' This study, tabled in February 2002, examined major defence and security issues facing Canada.

The Senate then asked our committee to examine the need for a national security policy. To date, we have released four additional reports on various aspects of national security: ``The Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility,'' in September 2002; ``Update on Canada's Military Crisis: A View From the Bottom Up,'' in November of 2002; ``The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports,'' in January 2003; and ``Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World,'' in October 2003.

The committee is continuing its long-term evaluation of Canada's security and defence policy. However, it has interrupted its work for the moment to hear witnesses in preparation for an upcoming visit to Washington, D.C.

Our witnesses today will be Mr. Grégroire, Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, Transport Canada. He was educated in Montreal. Early in his career he worked as a pilot, instructor and engineer. In 1983 he joined Transport Canada and occupied a series of challenging positions. He assumed the responsibilities of Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, in February 2002, and was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, in September 2003.

He is accompanied by Mr. Gerry Frappier, Director General, Security and Emergency Preparedness, who is well known to this committee; and by Mr. John Read, Director General, Transport Dangerous Goods.

Welcome to the committee, we are pleased to have you with us.

Mr. Marc Grégoire, Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, Transport Canada: Honourable senators, we have used up some time already and you may have had a chance to read my statement, which is rather long. Perhaps we could use the time better if I were to summarize the statement in a few minutes. We would then have more time for questions.

The Chairman: That is an excellent idea. If you would give us a brief synopsis, we will proceed with questions.

Mr. Grégoire: I will do that.

[Translation]

Over the last few months, we have made considerable progress in the area of marine security and aviation security. I would like to highlight the main initiatives.

We are now introducing new requirements in the area of marine security. These requirements will implement all of the mandatory requirements as well as most of the recommendations made in the International Ship and Port Facility Code, commonly referred to as the ISPS. These requirements are set out in the proposed regulations on marine shipping. In fact we have sent out a copy of this document which was used for public consultation. The regulations will implement other clauses on the basis of risk assessment and the need to avoid impeding Canadian shipping trade.

[English]

The main components of the regulations are as follows: a clear accountability structure, laying out the legal responsibility for implementation by operators of vessels and marine facilities and port administration; requirements for security officers and other personnel with duties related to security; security drills and exercise requirements; requirements for record keeping and equipment; declarations of security; vessel/marine facility security assessments and facility security plans; coordinating plans for port administration; and special requirements of the cruise-ship industry, ferries, barge industries, certain dangerous cargos and port administration.

[Translation]

In order to implement the ISPS code, the regulations will require that we develop a marine security plan for ships, marine facilities and port facilities. Transport Canada expects to revise more than 400 marine facility plans and more than 300 ship plans.

In order to increase marine security, we are now discussing the implementation of a security clearance program with different stakeholders. This program will include a mandatory background check for all port workers. All port workers who have access to restricted areas will be subject to this screening.

[English]

On February 16, 2004, the Minister of Transport announced the non-passenger screening program. This has been a subject of interest to this committee, and we were very pleased to get it going.

Under this program, non-passengers and goods in their possession, including vehicles, will be subject to CATSA screening when they enter restricted areas at airports. Any employee who refuses to be searched will have to leave the restricted area and have his/her pass taken away.

[Translation]

During this time, we have noted similar progress in other areas of aviation. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, or CATSA, recently issued two requests for proposals to improve pass systems in restricted areas. Air carriers are now updating their training program for crew members in order to comply with the new requirements which will come into effect on February 27, 2004. Carriers have one year to comply with the new requirements and to meet with each one of the cabin crew members.

We are looking into air cargo security to determine what improvements can be made in order to increase air security and to standardize Canada's approach with that of the international community.

In cooperation with the United States, we have officially struck two new working groups, with the goal of strengthening security and improving the normal flow of commercial trade.

The Canada-US cooperation group on transport security, which several officials from Transport Canada are a part of, including Mr. Jerry Frappier, who is here, and the Transportation Security Administration, will focus on issues relating to baggage inspection, the Security Code, the transport of dangerous goods and security of intermodal containers.

Jointly with the US Coast Guard, we have created a working group entrusted with standardizing principles of regulations, compliance and implementation.

[English]

With that brief update, Mr. Chairman, I will be pleased to take any questions that you have.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Grégoire.

Senator Banks: As the chairman said, we are considering matters precedent to a trip to Washington. Many things mentioned deal with concerns that are raised in Washington when members of this committee go there. These include airline safety and port safety, and are areas in which I will concentrate my questions.

They are also matters of great interest domestically, and the ongoing concern of this committee. The third report that the chairman referred to deals specifically with airport security. You have begun to address our concerns, Mr. Grégoire.

Do this in a little more detail for us. I have envisioned, from what you have said, from the written piece that you gave us and from the newspaper reports, that people working in terminals and terminal areas, who normally have to go back and forth through security from time to time during the day, will be randomly checked, and you have discussed the consequences of not having the appropriate identification or having something that they should not.

Will that extend to other people who have access, in the normal course of honest business, to other parts of airside?

We have heard testimony to this effect concerning the passenger areas of terminals and for other airside access as well, such as caterers and delivery trucks that bring things to the airport. Also, we have heard of the lack of opportunity for security measures to be taken to ensure that those people do not have something with them each time they enter.

Would you expand a little on the extent, number and kinds of different situations that will be subject to these random tests and will you assure us that they will, at some point, take into account all access to airside, including restricted areas?

Mr. Grégoire: I can assure honourable senators that this is what will happen. This is not exactly how we started the program. We are concentrating efforts in the beginning at the restricted point of entry in the terminal area. However, our regulations and our request to CATSA also include screening vehicles and people around aircraft, when needed, on a random basis. Yes, it does include that and it will be implemented as time passes.

Senator Banks: It seemed to us at the time of issuing our report, and before this, when we were talking to Mr. Frappier and many other people, that these things were so patently obvious that they ought not take much time to put into place. I know things are complicated and there are things that I do not understand.

We have been concerned about this issue since before 9/11, when this committee began studying these questions. This was some years ago, and now these measures that we referred to many months ago are coming into place. Can you tell us what the impediments are to moving more quickly with respect to these things, because Canadians, who use airlines in large numbers, have a reasonable right to expect that they are being done?

Mr. Grégoire: We have increased, honourable senators, our security measures significantly in the last two years and we are trying to address a large variety of fronts at the same time. This is why some things do not go as quickly as you would wish. However, on the airport workers' situation, our thinking was founded on the fact that we had one of the best background check systems in the world. It is not just anybody who can walk freely into the restricted areas of an airport. You need to have a background check of your past history.

You need to obtain a security clearance. What we are doing with this non-passenger screening is adding another layer of security. We will have an even better system than we had before.

Senator Banks: We have had testimony that there are people getting to airside and restricted areas with no security clearance, no background checks, but who have, as a matter of course, daily access to those places.

It is the industrial parts of airports, for example, to which people are getting access but are not subject to those kinds of checks. I do not want to ask, will they now be checked?

We have heard testimony to the effect that this has not been the case. How quickly will you be able to move to ensure that people who have access to airside from the non-main passenger terminal parts of airports will be subjected to background checks, will require security clearance and will be susceptible to those random checks that you are talking about? How long will it take, and are you going to do that on the non-passenger-terminal airside?

Mr. Grégoire: We will do that, but I do not believe we will do it everywhere in the airport. It really depends on the portion of the airport you are talking about. It depends on whether it is a restricted area or not. We will definitely do that around any commercial aircraft.

We will do that at the gates around the airport. However, we will do that, as you mentioned, on a random basis and where there will be the most payoff.

Senator Banks: Will that include commercial aircraft that operate from private commercial terminals, chartered aircraft and the like?

Mr. Grégoire: I do not think we are there yet.

Mr. Gerry Frappier, Director General, Security and Emergency Preparedness, Transport Canada: The program will not apply to aircraft that leave from fixed-based operations, if you like, the private area, because those are not deemed to be the areas that are of interest to us.

Senator Banks: Pardon my naïveté, but I am assuming, as a bystander, that the reason we are subjecting people to these checks is to ensure that one of them is not carrying a bomb or some biological material, or anything, in fact, that we do not want them to have.

It seems to me patently obvious that if I were a bad guy and wished to do some nefarious thing, God forbid, that I would be able to observe fairly easily that the best way for me to get on to the tarmac at an airport is through the private terminal because no attention is paid to these things there. That is pretty easy to do.

Are we not, by omitting those things, announcing, ``Hey, bad guys, here is where your entrance is,'' and maybe, ``Here is where your exit is?''

Mr. Frappier: I forgot to mention that if you were to move from those areas into a restricted area, wherever that transition takes place, there are gates, as Mr. Grégoire mentioned, and at that point, a pass would be required to be shown.

Senator Banks: I can take you to several airports at which there is no such gate.

Mr. Frappier: Let me rephrase that. If you are moving from the non-restricted area into a restricted area, there are controls in place to ensure that only those who have clearance to be in the restricted area will, in fact, be allowed in.

Senator Banks: Can you describe those controls?

Mr. Frappier: Sure. There could be, as was mentioned, gates.

Senator Banks: There are not. Mr. Frappier, you and I have both been to many airports where the private and chartered aircraft operate from a tarmac that is directly contiguous to the Air Canada-WestJet tarmac. There is no gate. There is no security officer. There is no stopping anyone who is walking along there or driving a truck, unless there is something that you and I both do not see every time we get on an airplane.

Mr. Grégoire: Actually there are fences all around the airport, and even at the FBO there is a fence, with an operator. He is not supposed to let in anybody who does not have a right to be on the FBO tarmac. If someone does enter, there are procedures in place — he is supposed to call the police immediately. There are police on the airport to pursue this person. It is not a free world out there on airport tarmacs.

Senator Banks: I will speak only for myself. I do not share your confidence in that fact, Mr. Grégoire. We have heard testimony to the effect that those things just are not true, and that someone can have fairly easy access to many of those, if I can so characterize them, industrial areas, and it is something to which I commend your attention.

Mr. Grégoire: Maybe I can add, Mr. Chairman, on that aspect, I think we have a secure fence around the areas, but if we do not, this is why we are now adding this layer, the screening of non-passengers, which will include random checks of cars or any other kind of vehicles on the tarmac. If we are doing a random check and we find a car that has no business there, it will be costly for that person.

Senator Banks: You give me great confidence that we are sometimes randomly protected from incursions by bad guys. I am not sure how much confidence that engenders in folks who are travelling.

I will just introduce a second subject and then allow what I suspect will be a flurry of supplementary questions.

As expressed in our third report, we are very dissatisfied with the level of training that is given to in-flight crews, and the kind and level of information given to properly equip them to respond to in-flight emergencies of one kind or another. We have talked to Mr. Frappier before about this.

We have heard in the past undertakings from various witnesses who appeared before us about fixing that. We have heard from the people who are directly involved in that on a day-to-day basis that it has not been fixed, or had not the last we heard, and that there are great impediments to fixing it, having to do with the relationships between the regulations and the capacity of the airlines, and the fact that the airlines did not want to, understandably, I think, spend a lot of money training people for something and then find out that the rules had changed.

My second concern, which I would hope you would address at some point today, would be the question of the training for proper response and information being given to in-flight crews to deal with in-flight emergencies.

Mr. Grégoire: Honourable senators, I am pleased to report, as I mentioned in my presentation, that the regulations dealing with that will enter into force soon. Actually, the regulation will be published in the Canada Gazette Part 2, I understand, by the end of the week, and the air carriers will have one year to train all of their personnel. It took longer than your committee had requested, indeed, but every party was consulted. The unions were consulted. All of the airlines were consulted. Everybody is on board now. As far as I know, training can start next week and it will take approximately one year. The reason for that is all of the flight attendants, pilots and others must take a refresher course once a year. The security portion has been integrated into the refresher course. All of the on-board airline workers will go through that training within a year, starting this week.

Senator Cordy: My supplementary question deals with the non-passenger screening program that was announced on February 16. I read in the newspaper that this will start at the Toronto airport. Has it started, or when will it start?

Mr. Grégoire: It started last week in Toronto.

Senator Cordy: My assumption is that it will then move to other airports?

Mr. Grégoire: It will be moving to other airports, and every week we will add another. By the end of May, we will have implemented that in all major airports. By the end of the year, it will be implemented in all airports where it will be applicable.

Senator Cordy: How exactly does it work, this random screening? Do you have machinery set up every so often?

Mr. Grégoire: It will be varied. I will let Mr. Frappier handle the details, but just on a general level, it will depend. If we are talking about random screening on the tarmac, as we discussed with Senator Banks, in that case, of course, you would not have a portal, you would just have a hand-held wand. Other than that, some portals will be installed. Some temporary portals may be installed.

Mr. Frappier: As Mr. Grégoire mentioned, this will be a dynamic sort of screening area, so that CATSA will be installing themselves in certain access points and they will be equipped with either portals, if it is one that they expect to be using often, or with hand wands, and do hand searches of people's tool boxes, bags, whatever it is they might be bringing into work.

There are also provisions for them to be screening vehicles and things in the vehicles. The exact procedure for that will be worked out as we get more experience.

Senator Cordy: I assume you would have had to go through many discussions with the unions in terms of their personnel.

Mr. Grégoire: This is one of the reasons that it took longer than we expected. Again, this was a very sensitive subject for the unions and the workers who will now be subject to those searches. However, the process has begun.

Senator Cordy: When we talk about random searches, how often is ``random?''

Mr. Grégoire: Random is as often as required. We can crank it up to 100 per cent, if we think it is necessary for specific reasons or threats. We would have the capacity to raise it to 100 per cent.

Senator Cordy: Would you also use intelligence-gathering information to determine the need to push up the frequency?

Mr. Grégoire: Absolutely, yes.

The Chairman: I have some supplementary questions on this subject. On the matter of ``random,'' the committee feels great skepticism when you say that you can move it up to 100 per cent. Simply put, I find it difficult to believe that you have the capacity to search 100 per cent of the airside workers at Pearson on any given day. Pick a day when you could search 100 per cent of the workers and vehicles, and we will come down to see it happen. Until we see it happen, we simply do not believe that that is a possibility. We do not think you have the capability to do it, and we do not understand why you come before us and suggest that ``random'' means you can go up to 100 per cent.

Mr. Grégoire: As I mentioned, Mr. Chairman, it depends on the threat.

The Chairman: Let us pick a day. You tell us when you will do it, and we will come to Toronto to watch you search 100 per cent of the workers at Pearson.

Mr. Grégoire: The whole system is based on our belief that we have an excellent background check system. I mentioned that it is one of the best in the world.

The Chairman: Let us talk about that. Your background check is a CPIC check and a CSIS check. You do not perform a thorough check at all on those people; you simply put their names into a computer. If a name shows up, then you may or may not look further. You do not check where they live. You do not do the kind of security check that takes place for your clearance to come here. It is a very cursory check. In fact, it is the lowest level of check you can do on an employee. Can you think of a lower level of check than the one you do on airport workers?

Mr. Grégoire: Do we do lower level checks?

Mr. Frappier: We do not.

The Chairman: That is because there is nothing lower than that.

Mr. Frappier: No, I think there are many places where a security check would involve a simple review of whether you have a criminal record — as you mentioned, a CPIC check. In many places, that is considered an acceptable background security check. We certainly go beyond that.

The Chairman: Tell us how, Mr. Frappier.

Mr. Frappier: For instance, we also do the check with CSIS, the agency responsible for terrorist activity and counterterrorism, which has that kind of indicator from their intelligence. We include a check on people's credit ratings to determine whether they are more susceptible to bribes. We would certainly do more than what some places would call a ``security check.''

The Chairman: We have received testimony in this committee that there are people with criminal records working at Pearson. Air Canada witnesses have told us that they employ them. Is that correct, Mr. Frappier?

Mr. Grégoire: Maybe I will answer that question, Mr. Chairman. Yes, of course, there are probably people with criminal records, but we examine each case one by one because each is specific. Within the Canadian populace, there are large numbers of people with criminal records. We ask ourselves whether that person represents a threat to aviation security at that airport. If the person does not represent a threat, although he or she has a criminal record, then that record is not relevant or has no impact on aviation security. How could we not give that person a clearance in such a case? If we revoke, suspend or deny a clearance, each of those workers would have a right of appeal in federal court. We would be required to present a case as to why we will not give the individual clearance to work. We look at each one on a case-by-case basis.

The Chairman: We have been advised that some people who have had their licences suspended and cannot drive on a regular road are driving vehicles around Pearson.

Mr. Grégoire: I cannot comment on that.

The Chairman: We have had testimony before this committee. It is on the record.

Mr. Grégoire: I cannot comment on that, sir.

Senator Banks: Could you give us an example, Mr. Grégoire, of a criminal conviction at which you would look and say ``Ah, that does not make any difference. We will give this person access to work at an airport?'' What kind of criminal charge and conviction for that charge would be okay to have and still work at an airport?

Mr. Grégoire: There are many examples, but one could be a very old criminal record. It could be that someone made a mistake at a young age that involved a criminal matter. They may have gone to prison, paid their dues to society and then been clean for 20 years. For such a case, we have a special committee comprised of, I believe, one of Mr. Frappier's staff from security and people from CDSA, Justice Canada and a few others. They look at each case individually and ask the question: Does this person represent a threat to aviation? If yes, they do not issue a clearance; if no, they do. I would say that according to our statistics, the number of people with a criminal record is much lower than in the general population.

Mr. Frappier: Perhaps I could add that the most common group in our workforce with a criminal record to whom we would still give security clearances would be those convicted of drinking and driving, which is a criminal offence. However, in our estimation, that would not be grounds for us to remove their right to work at an airport.

The Chairman: They could be driving vehicles in active areas of the airport.

Mr. Grégoire: I would hope, Mr. Chairman, that they are not doing that.

The Chairman: We would hope so, too.

Mr. Grégoire: That would be a safety concern more than a security concern. I would hope that the employer would be made aware of the record and would not allow that person to drive. I would say that a minority of airport workers drive on the tarmac, for which they require a special permit. They need to pass an exam to be qualified to drive on the tarmac. The majority of people work in other areas.

The Chairman: In this case, it was the employer who was providing us with the testimony.

Mr. Grégoire: The employer?

The Chairman: Yes. We have had requests from fixed-base operators that there be security there. You can get on any charter plane at a base without going through any of the CATSA procedures.

The gate that Senator Banks was referring to is 100 yards wide. We have testimony that the person on duty sleeps — the people who pass that gate on a daily basis note that the man is asleep. We do not see much change in the testimony year to year from your department.

Mr. Frappier: As you mentioned, and I agree 100 per cent, there is no screening by CATSA of charter operations and private aircraft at the FBOs.

The Chairman: These are big planes.

Mr. Frappier: Yes, these are big planes.

The Chairman: If they flew into a building, the same kind of damage could be done that we saw happen to the twin towers.

Mr. Frappier: I would not disagree with that.

The Chairman: We are not doing anything about it. Correct?

Mr. Frappier: Right now, we have some awareness programs for the management of FBOs. We have placed a greater emphasis on checking for the appropriate identification of pilots. If you are asking us whether there is a federal screening program associated with it, no, there is not.

The Chairman: We are describing a huge hole, a part of the airport from which people can take off and do all kinds of damage. Yet you are sitting there in front of our committee saying that everything is fine. It is not fine. You have a problem.

Mr. Grégoire: We are not saying that everything is fine.

The Chairman: You are not saying that you have a program to fix it.

Mr. Grégoire: We do not have a program to fix it. That is what we are saying. However, we are addressing the matter of our program. We are developing our program based on a risk approach. We do not feel this is where the risk is highest at this time.

Screening of non-passengers was much more urgent than addressing the situation at FBOs.

The Chairman: It makes sense to screen every passenger getting on an Air Canada flight and to pay no attention to anyone flying out on a charter plane that could do exactly the same level of damage?

Mr. Grégoire: You have to take into account the size of those aircraft. Generally speaking —

The Chairman: Compare a G5 to a regional jet. Are they about the same size?

Mr. Grégoire: Yes.

The Chairman: Is that a popular charter jet?

Mr. Grégoire: Generally speaking, G5s are not accessible to just anyone from the public.

The Chairman: You get on them at the Dairy Road entrance.

Mr. Grégoire: These are private, corporate aircraft and you cannot access them that easily.

The Chairman: You do not know that because you have no one checking them.

Mr. Grégoire: We did not say we have no one checking them. We have people in the airports, inspectors, who go there once in a while. We did say that currently CATSA is not screening those passengers.

The Chairman: Right. Thank you.

Senator Forrestall: I will move on to ports. We are now moving into the adoption of virtually all the ship/port facilities security codes. We have our own security levels, but I wonder how we are getting on with our friends to the south. Are they ahead of or behind us in adopting an updated code?

Mr. Grégoire: They are ahead of us in the regulatory framework, most definitely. We must remind ourselves that the U.S. Coast Guard —

Senator Forrestall: We do not have much time today. Could you list the specifics?

Mr. Grégoire: They published their final regulation in October and we will publish our preliminary regulation at the end of March. We hope to have the final regulation by mid-June. They are ahead of us but we are working together. I met with Adm. Collins and RAdm. Hereth in Washington in order to establish a relationship and to ensure that we look at the marine security regulations, and their enforcement, in a similar manner.

Mr. Frappier, as part of the two groups I mentioned earlier, will be meeting next week with both TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard to further develop the agreement. That is on the regulatory framework. Our ship owners and operators and our port operators are preparing their plans, as are their counterparts in the U.S. They are sending their plans to us. It is difficult to know if we are ahead or behind because I do not have the exact numbers. I know that we firmly intend to be ready at the same time — July 1, 2004.

Senator Forrestall: How will we advise Canadians that all of this has happened? Will the United States have met all of the requirements by then? I am assuming that they have not to date.

Mr. Grégoire: On the regulatory framework, yes. Will all airports and ships be compliant? I do not know. We will have to wait until July 1 to know that. Certainly, the intention in the U.S, as in Canada, is to meet those dates.

Senator Forrestall: Have we bothered to advise our neighbours that we are progressing and on track for July 1?

Mr. Grégoire: I would say that we are in regular contact with the U.S.

Senator Forrestall: I am asking specifically. Have we told them and have they not bothered to tell us where they are?

Mr. Frappier: We have extensive contacts with the U.S. Coast Guard and in several forums. Some are to do with policy and to whom we want all these regulations to apply; some with the regulatory avenue to ensure that the regulations are harmonized; and some with operations, whereby we are looking at the number of ports and vessels. We have teams in discussions on a weekly basis.

Our view is that the regulations will be well harmonized between the two countries by July 1. Operationally, we have been indicating the numbers of security assessments that we have versus the number of ports and vessels. I would say that we are in a comparable situation with the U.S. The Americans have given us some indications of the percentage of ships and port facilities that have submitted their plans to date. I do not have the numbers before me, but they change, obviously, from day to day as more come in. We are in the same ballpark, I would say.

Senator Forrestall: I am extrapolating a little here, and if I am wrong, let me know. The code includes three maritime security levels. I do not know whether you can tell us what the specifics are for level 1, 2 or 3, but they are designed to trigger a level of action with respect to insurgency in a port or an incident that might impair the port or its capacity to continue to serve.

We have that pretty much in place now, I hope. Do the Americans have a similar code, and have we simply adopted one that they have in place? Are the two the same? If they are not the same, where do they differ? Why do they differ, given the inherent danger of conflicting regulations?

Mr. Grégoire: I believe that both countries have adopted the levels as recommended by IMO. As I was going to explain before, the IMO proposal was largely developed by the U.S. Coast Guard. Therefore, we are just closing the loop so that all the member countries of the IMO are adopting the same level.

Senator Forrestall: Could you give an example, if it is not classified, of what might trigger level 1, 2 or 3?

Mr. Frappier: As you mentioned, we are certainly working with the Americans and all countries in IMO to ensure that we have a common language with respect to marine security levels. This is important, because a foreign vessel coming into a Canadian port might be at a different marine security level than we are because of her level of risk or a threat. Procedures are required to ensure that we can assure them of their security.

If intelligence indicated that a certain country's vessels are being targeted for terrorist activity, and if we deemed that to be a threat to Canadian vessels, then we would raise the marine security level of Canadian vessels.

Senator Forrestall: Would a vessel of that nature be in a Canadian port facility?

Mr. Frappier: As the flag state for Canadian vessels, if you like, we are responsible for setting the security level on Canadian vessels. If the vessel were from Australia, it would be up to the Australian government to instruct the vessel on the different levels. If an Australian vessel were on the way in to our port, for instance, and if our port were at a higher level of security, then we would inform that vessel before it would be allowed to come all the way to port, or, if it were already in port, we would find out from them what their intentions were. We would expect them to raise their own marine security level to meet the level being applied.

Senator Forrestall: Do we have any plans in place now to do similar background checks on employees in the ports who have access to critical or sensitive areas? I do not think I will belabour the history that has been revealed to us with respect to activity in our ports. What kind of checks do we do? Are they similar to those you are doing with respect to airside? Could you tell us something about it, please?

Mr. Grégoire: We do nothing at this time on port workers, but the government has announced its intention to implement a background check system similar to what we are doing at airports. We are now developing the regulatory framework for that. We are hoping to be able to implement that in the fall of 2004.

Senator Forrestall: This fall.

Mr. Grégoire: Yes.

Senator Forrestall: I like to say that I am not from Missouri, I am from nearby Cape Breton. That is pretty much the same thing. If you have real problems, I can resurrect the Halifax Rifles, and they will look after a port.

Senator Day: Mr. Grégoire, your discussion with respect to the regulations and training for personnel working on aircraft prompted me to be think. We have made a good number of recommendations, some of which have been implemented and some of which have not. We will explore that to determine why.

Could you tell us if are there any recommendations or any programs with respect to safety that you would like to implement in Canada that, either at marine ports or airports, are being held up because legislation has not yet been passed or regulations promulgated?

Mr. Grégoire: That is a good question, senator. We always have things in the works, and we are continuously reassessing the security measures that we can put in place to improve the system. The most pressing item is the passage of Bill C-7, the public safety act. I understand that you were covering that on Monday. That would be the one that comes to mind.

Senator Day: Are you able to share with the committee aspects of Bill C-7 that are important for you before you can do some things you want to do?

Mr. Grégoire: I do not have much to add to what Mr. Wright told you. These are key points for us.

Senator Day: Mr. Wright spoke to this committee a few days ago. You have had a chance to review his testimony.

Mr. Grégoire: Absolutely, yes.

Senator Day: I am glad that you are following our deliberations.

Mr. Grégoire: It is very important.

Senator Day: Your document that I have before me is dated February 12, 2004. I refer to the subject of restricted area identification cards, biometrics, smart cards and biometric readers, primarily for non-passengers, people working at airports. You say that contracts are to be awarded in February 2004. We do not have much of February left. Have the contracts been awarded?

Mr. Grégoire: I will meet with Mark Duncan of CATSA in a few hours. I will know by then, but at this minute, I do not.

The Chairman: Perhaps you could inform the committee later.

Mr. Frappier: The contracts are out there and the requests have come in. They are doing an evaluation. They were either awarded in the past week or will be next week.

Senator Day: When you determine that information from Mr. Duncan, let us know through the clerk. If the contracts have not been awarded, could you tell us then when you anticipate that they will be and whether your other projected dates for trials and full implementation remain valid or will necessarily have to be put off as well?

Mr. Grégoire: This information is recent. It is a week old, so we will hold to those dates. The end of the month is Sunday. If that changes, I will advise the clerk by next week.

Senator Day: Thank you.

Senator Atkins: The Americans have brought in the colour alert system. Are there any procedures that, since they adopted this process, have been implemented in Canada? For instance, is there a code orange?

Mr. Grégoire: Again, I believe you discussed that at length with Mr. Wright on Monday and CBSA levels with Mr. Jolicoeur. We do not have colour coding in Transport Canada. We will have, as explained, levels 1, 2 and 3 in marine security.

We are in regular contact with our colleagues. If your question is specific to aviation, we are in regular contact with our colleagues in TSA. If the threat level is raised to orange, we decide, with them, on the kind of threat. We then decide on various measures to be implemented in the different modes.

We sometimes change our security measures when the code changes in the States, but not always. How many times has it changed in the last two years?

Mr. Frappier: Three times, or something like that.

Mr. Grégoire: Three times.

Senator Atkins: There is no particular procedure you would incorporate once they establish the code?

Mr. Grégoire: It depends on the type of threat and where it is. Is the threat at the airport? Is it specific to one city? Is it to the entire system? Is it to aviation? Is it to all modes?

It really depends on a case-by-case analysis, but we have regular discussions with them. We put in place the appropriate measures to ensure a good level of security here.

Senator Atkins: If they bring in a code orange, they would let you know the reasons why?

Mr. Grégoire: We would hear it from PCO, because PCO would learn it from DHS, or the White House, I believe now, through exchanges between Minister McLellan and Secretary Ridge. That would filter down to us.

Most of the time, we learn about it through that process. Sometimes we have learned of it maybe a few minutes previously from our TSA contact, but it is a matter of minutes. Rarely have we had advance notice, though.

Senator Atkins: We asked this question of Mr. Wright, since the purpose of this session is to brief us for our trip to Washington. Have you any suggestions for things that we should be discussing with the Americans that perhaps Mr. Wright did not bring to our attention?

Mr. Grégoire: No, but I do not know exactly with whom you are meeting. Are you meeting with people in TSA only?

Senator Atkins: We are meeting with the Department of Homeland Security and a number of different groups to discuss security matters. My question is general. Is there something on your mind that we should be discussing?

Mr. Grégoire: No.

Mr. Frappier: I do not think so. The relationship with our counterparts in the U.S. is excellent and involves much discussion.

If anything, one of the key messages to send is how valuable this type of relationship is and the importance of ensuring that our security measures properly reflect whatever threat they have identified or measures to which they are moving.

The key message is that we must continue to work together and maintain a strong dialogue.

Senator Atkins: Communication is essential?

Mr. Frappier: Yes.

Mr. Grégoire: One difficulty we have between colleagues is lack of advance notice of proposed regulatory measures. This may be due to Congressional rules, but it would be appreciated if we could have their material before it is published.

Senator Atkins: That is helpful to know.

The Chairman: Could you prepare for the committee a document that lists anomalies between Canada and the United States in relation to ports, airports or any areas in your jurisdiction, where they are moving faster than we are or we are moving faster than they are? We do not want to be surprised when we go down there by having someone say, ``We have already accomplished everything related to the searching of baggage going on aircraft.''

Mr. Grégoire: That is a good example.

The Chairman: Yes. You are not going to do it for another couple of years. On that particular issue, we understand that some of their airlines are having great difficulty meeting those standards. We would like you to give us examples of where things are not working out in terms of how we are moving forward. Is that sort of list possible to create?

Mr. Grégoire: It is difficult to do for any subject. Certainly, the example we gave can tell you that.

The Chairman: We do not have time to do it now. Can you do that list or do I need to ask someone else to prepare it?

Mr. Grégoire: No, we can prepare a list of differences, within Transport Canada, as to where we are with ports and airports vis-à-vis the U.S.

The Chairman: Indicate where they have moved ahead of us and where we have moved ahead of them, and where there are anomalies, if there are. That would be very helpful.

Mr. Grégoire: Yes, for instance, we are ahead of them on background checks.

The Chairman: If you could give a list in each case, that would be useful.

Mr. Grégoire: It may be difficult for us to make a comprehensive list, but we will do our best in the next week. If you could indicate exactly where you want to see differences, it would be helpful.

The Chairman: Do you anticipate any changes, either through regulation or ministerial exemption, to the ratio of flight attendants to passengers on Canadian aircraft in the near future?

Mr. Grégoire: That is a question I will be pleased to take up with the minister.

The Chairman: I do not understand your answer, sir.

Mr. Grégoire: I will raise this question with the minister. We are entering the regulatory process, and we are consulting this month with the unions on what will change. However, there is no change in the ratio as we speak.

The Chairman: Therefore, the ratio is 1 to 40?

Mr. Grégoire: It is 1 to 40, yes.

The Chairman: How many types of aircraft have exemptions?

Mr. Grégoire: Those that carry less than 50 passengers. It is 1 to 40 passengers at this time. The new proposal would be 1 in 15 seats, or vice-versa. We can give you the details.

The Chairman: Could you give us this in writing?

Mr. Grégoire: We will.

Senator Cordy: Getting back to our trip to Washington, I have two short questions dealing with Canada and the U.S. One issue concerns Canada not allowing our pilots to be armed, so what do we do in Canada when we have flights coming in from the United States with armed pilots? How do we deal with that?

Mr. Frappier: At this time, flights from the United States are not allowed to have armed pilots when coming into Canada. We do have arrangements for their sky marshals. We call them ``aircraft protection officers.''

Senator Cordy: Have Canada and the United States agreed upon common biometrics for border crossings?

Mr. Frappier: On the biometrics, it sounds like a simple question, but I hesitate, because we have been talking with them about biometrics associated with transportation work and identification cards. However, there has also been much work on customs — you may have spoke a little about that yesterday — and on some commonalities. I am not sure what sort of discussion there has been in the immigration area, because there is much work presently being done on trying to establish some standards associated with biometrics across borders. We are meeting with them and keeping them informed. It is an area in which we are probably a little ahead of them on the transportation side. This is because we are moving ahead with biometrics through the program. We talked about this earlier and they are very interested. We have been giving them information.

Senator Cordy: Can you include that on the list?

Mr. Frappier: That will be on the list.

Senator Banks: I am assuming that you would all like to move further and faster in respect of protection, security and safety in airports and ports. This has been and appears to be the case. Is lack of money at any level, in any agency, a significant reason for our inability to move more quickly?

Mr. Grégoire: We are very proud of what we have accomplished in the last two years. We have increased significantly the level of security. I do not believe that money would have made a difference as to the speed at which we are going.

Senator Atkins: As a follow-up on that, in terms of the purchasing of equipment, are you finding that it is available, or is there a long period between the time you order and delivery? Is that slowing you down in any way in terms of security measures?

Mr. Grégoire: You are talking about the airport equipment? I do not believe that the acquisition —

Senator Atkins: Or ports, by the way.

Mr. Grégoire: VACIS would be my colleague from the border agency's area, but CATSA, in my understanding, does not have any problem in acquiring equipment. The problem is related to the installation and airport modifications that are required, but not to the equipment itself.

Senator Buchanan: I am standing in for Senator Meighen. This has been very interesting. I am very pleased to be here and that you have as your chief adviser, John A. Read, a native of Sydney, Cape Breton.

The Chairman: I thank our witnesses for appearing before us. I apologize for rushing in this meeting. Having said that, the Senate bells are ringing and this committee cannot sit while the Senate is sitting. I am grateful to you for coming and we will look forward to receiving the information from you on not only the comparisons, but on the question of flight attendants and the ratios to seats or passengers, or to both. That would be very helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please visit our Web site by going to www.sen-sec.ca. We post witness testimony as well as confirmed hearing schedules. Otherwise, you may contact the clerk of the committee at 1-800-267-7362 for information on contacting members of the committee.

Colleagues, the meeting is adjourned. There is further information vis-à-vis Senator Austin's comment yesterday that will be circulated by the clerk.

The committee adjourned.