Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 4 - Evidence, June 19, 2006
OTTAWA, Monday, June 19, 2006
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day
at 10:05 a.m. to examine and report on the national security policy of Canada.
Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the chair.
The Chairman: Before I move on with the usual introductions, I should
like to note for the record the passing of our friend and colleague, Senator
Michael Forrestall. He was a stalwart member of the committee since it was
founded. He was vice-chair of the committee. He was devoted to issues relating
to the military and to the security of Canada. We observed a moment of silence
for him at our last meeting and also in the chamber. A remarkable number of
senators flew to Halifax for his funeral together with the Prime Minister of
Canada to honour a man who had devoted over 40 years of service as a
parliamentarian both in the House of Commons and in the Senate. We miss him very
much. It will be an adjustment not having him sitting right here.
On behalf of all members of the committee, our condolences go out to his
I should now like to introduce the members of the committee who are present.
On my far right is Senator Poulin from northern Ontario. She is a former deputy
minister in the Government of Canada and a broadcast executive. She is a member
of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
Beside her is Senator Moore from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is a lawyer with an
extensive record of community involvement and has been a member of the board of
governors of St. Mary's University. He also sits on the Standing Senate
Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and on the Standing Joint Committee on
the Scrutiny of Regulations.
To my immediate right is Senator Atkins from Ontario. He came to the Senate
with 27 years of experience in the field of communications. He served as a
senior adviser to former federal Progressive Conservative leader Robert
Stanfield, to Premier William Davis of Ontario and to Prime Minister Brian
To my left is Senator Campbell from British Columbia. He was Mayor of
Vancouver from 2002 to 2005 and is a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police. His experience as chief coroner inspired the Gemini-award- winning
television series, Da Vinci's Inquest. He is also a member of the Standing
Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and the Standing Senate Committee on
On my far left is Senator Banks from Alberta. He is chair of the Standing
Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. He is well
known to Canadians as a versatile musician and entertainer. He provided musical
direction for ceremonies at the 1988 winter Olympic Games. He is an Officer of
the Order of Canada and a Juno-award-winning recipient.
Before us today, colleagues, we have Alain Jolicoeur, President, Canada
Border Services Agency (CBSA). He has been president of the Canada Border
Services Agency since December 2003. He has been with the public service of
Canada since 1973 and has served in a number of different positions with
Environment Canada, the Department of National Defence and the Treasury Board
Secretariat. In July of 1999, he became Associate Deputy Minister of National
Revenue and Deputy Commissioner of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. In
December 2002, he was named Deputy Minister of the Department of Indian and
Northern Affairs, a post he occupied until assuming his current position.
Mr. Jolicoeur is accompanied by Barbara Hébert, Vice-President, Operations
Branch, Canada Border Services Agency. Welcome to both of you. I understand you
have a brief statement, Mr. Jolicoeur.
Alain Jolicoeur, President, Canada Border Services Agency: I am
pleased to join you today. It has been about eight months since my last
appearance at your committee.
I would like to thank you for your support in passing our legislation. As you
know, this has given the CBSA the legal authority necessary to continue forward
with our modern border management agenda.
I am happy to share with you some of our progress that we have made since
last October and some of the key priorities currently facing our agency.
We are moving ahead and further refining our three basic approaches — with
their accompanying tools and technology — to manage, control and secure border
operations; collect advance information and turn that information into
intelligence; and expand our pre-approval programs to expedite legitimate travel
and trade at the border.
Examples of progress include the Advance Passenger Information (API) and
Personal Name Record (PNR) agreement that we signed with the European Union. As
well, the Advance Commercial Information program, which has been operational in
the marine mode since 2004, will be fully implemented by this summer for the air
mode. We have integrated training programs for new recruits so that new border
services officers can operate technology, work with newly implemented systems
and better manage risk. Thus, they will be better able to keep pace with the
evolution of our business. We ran successful NEXUS air and marine pilot
programs. We continue to invest in research, development, and the acquisition
and deployment of radiation-detection technology. The first units were installed
in Saint John where testing is taking place. Further deployments are planned for
2006 in Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver. Once fully implemented, our
radiation-detection program will allow us to screen virtually 100 per cent of
incoming marine cargo immediately upon its arrival in Canada.
We continue to deliver on our plans to provide enhanced connectivity for
remote ports and we have made significant progress to connect unconnected sites.
Most sites are now connected with only three seasonal sites left to fully
connect by the end of summer 2006. We are replacing the existing Primary
Automated Lookout System files with an updated system to ensure that border
services officers have access to the information they need. We will continue to
invest in building a smarter, more secure and trade-efficient border that relies
on technology, information sharing and biometrics.
The CBSA will receive $239 million over the next two years to help fund some
of the highest profile initiatives under the Security and Prosperity Partnership
of North America (SPP). These initiatives include NEXUS air, e-manifests,
business resumption planning, partners in protection, and the passenger name
record program. We are moving to the next generation of smart-border management.
These SPP initiatives will improve border security by complementing our existing
risk-management strategies. They demonstrate innovative measures to ensure the
free flow of trade and travel across a secure border.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is the most important
bilateral border issue currently facing Canada. We share U.S. security
objectives and want to work with them to ensure that both countries continue to
streamline the movement of low-risk traffic in both directions. Prime Minister
Harper and President Bush discussed the issue earlier this year and agreed to
appoint Public Safety Minister Day and Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff as
the leads to discuss this matter. They created a working group led by me on the
Canadian side and by the head of the US-Visit program and the new Commissioner
of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Ralph Basham. This working group will
examine issues and develop proposed solutions for discussion at the ministerial
level. We have had a number of meetings and conference calls to date. Minister
Day and Secretary Chertoff met in April and plan to meet again this July.
Specifically, as part of the SPP, we are now actively engaged with our U.S.
counterparts to identify jointly acceptable document security standards that
will help us to identify other alternative secure documents in addition to the
passport and the USPASS card, already announced as acceptable. The CBSA will
receive $100 million over the next two years to begin the process of providing
frontline border services officers with side arms and of ensuring that they are
no longer required to work alone. We plan to arm approximately 5,000 officers,
not only at land border crossings but also at marine ports and, in some cases,
inland. We plan to have the first group of officers armed by the fall of 2007.
We are actively engaging the union in our implementation planning.
I am committed to broadening our intelligence networks and to ensuring that
CBSA staff are well trained and well equipped. We must constantly invest in new
and modern tools, adopt innovative approaches and capture the benefits of the
best science and technology. The CBSA has built strong partnerships within the
security community, as was made clear by our participation in the investigations
that led to the arrests earlier this month of the 17 terrorist suspects in
We continue to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the
security of Canadian society by removing individuals that might pose a danger to
the public or to the national security of Canada. We are investing heavily to
ensure that our intelligence networks and tools are the best. We recently moved
detainees under security certificates from provincial remand centres, where all
high-risk immigration detainees are held, to the newly operated Kingston
Immigration Holding Centre to improve conditions of detention for our security
This is an overview of the progress since October 2005 when I last appeared
before the committee. As senators are aware, I am committed to the CBSA evolving
into an innovative science- and technology-based learning organization.
Achieving security and prosperity simultaneously is an enormous responsibility
and a constant balancing act between security and facilitation that requires
diligence, innovation and flexibility. Thank you for this opportunity and I look
forward to your questions.
Senator Banks: We are pleased to hear your reference to improvements
made since you last joined us at committee, Mr. Jolicoeur. We are in the process
of developing a report card of the recommendations we have made to the
government in those respects. Your visit here is timely. Almost one year ago,
this committee issued a report called Borderline Insecure to which we
drew the attention of the government and all Canadians to some of the issues you
The first one is the connections that you said have been made with respect to
land border crossings and to the central intelligence capacity with the computer
system. I understood you to say that they have been connected except for three
seasonal posts. Are the connections via high-speed access? Could you tell us why
those three seasonal posts are not connected yet?
Mr. Jolicoeur: When CBSA was created, 110 offices were not connected.
You have asked me on other occasions to report on the status of those offices.
During 2005, we connected an additional 31 offices, which leaves us with work to
do on 21 offices. The three remaining seasonal offices that are not connected
are small but I agree that it could be a problem. We have asked Public Works and
Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to secure a contract for CBSA for satellite
connection for these three offices. They are working hard to obtain that
contract for us. I am not sure why but there has been an administrative delay.
We are confident that these offices will be connected through satellite before
the end of the summer. It should have been done by now, but it is not done yet.
Senator Banks: Has anyone explained this to you? If you and I wanted a
high-speed connection from the middle of the Gobi Desert, we could get it in
very short order. Why is this delay happening?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Procurement in the public service is something that can
be problematic on occasion because of the challenges and rules.
On a different note, we have spent a year and a half trying to obtain new
uniforms for our employees. We are approaching the end of the process and will
finally be getting our new uniforms. It is a complex process. Those questions
may be better directed to PWGSC. We are approaching the end of the process and
these offices will be connected.
I want to refer to another 18 offices that have been connected for some time.
We are not comfortable with the high- speed connection or wave-length aspect,
the space sufficient for them to obtain all the services other offices are
We are planning to first analyze how the connection works with these three
final examples. If satellite connection provides us with everything we think it
will, that will probably be the solution for the other 18 offices that are not
Senator Banks: At the moment, let us talk about the three examples
that are absent. We will take this to Public Works and Government Services
Canada. We see the minister every day in the Senate and we will ask him those
I can understand why you must get competitive bids on which uniform
manufacturer to use. However, matters directly related to national security,
particularly at these times, seem to be able to leapfrog those considerations in
With respect to those three "offices'' as you call them, I am presuming they
are small and are probably manned by an officer at a given time. Is that a
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, they are small. They are probably one-person
Senator Banks: How does that person get information about an emergent
event? How is that person told that a truck driving up to their office might
have something wrong with it, might contain something that ought not to be
there, or has people in it about whom they should be careful? How are they
Mr. Jolicoeur: If there is advance intelligence about something such
as a vehicle, a person or an event to be aware of, we can always contact those
Senator Banks: By what means?
Mr. Jolicoeur: We would speak to them directly by phone.
Senator Banks: In the event there is something untoward based on
advanced intelligence, would you be able to get additional people to that office
in short order?
Mr. Jolicoeur: I could not tell you right now how long it would take
to get a person to these three offices but I can look into that. If there was
such a need, we would send someone for sure.
Senator Banks: This is one of the questions addressed in our report.
If that vehicle drives through the land border crossing and does not stop,
and there are a number of instances of that happening, can you tell us about the
recordkeeping in that respect? How many instances were there in Canada last year
of vehicles that just drove through a border crossing and did not stop? What is
the percentage of those vehicles that were likely to have been found after the
fact? Do we have that information?
Mr. Jolicoeur: You recommended to us and we agreed that we needed to
start measuring and reporting on that, which we have done. I do not have the
exact number but we started reporting last year.
If you recall the first time you raised that issue with us, the number used
the year before was 1,600 across the country over a year. So far, for the six
months of this year, we have a number in the 300 range. There has been a
significant reduction of those occurrences.
They are reported, and that reporting has lead to about 70 people being
arrested. I do not have the exact number but I do have that information if you
Senator Banks: Will you please send that information to the clerk of
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes.
Senator Banks: I think most Canadians would be surprised, shocked and
unhappy to learn that 300 vehicles in half a year drive through the border, are
not stopped and get away with it, at least for a while. Whomever or whatever
they have in their trunk could be let out in fairly short order.
In a case such as that, the policy of CBSA now is to notify the police. The
police may or may not be able to do something about it. We have had other issues
about how quickly the police are able to respond to that, and it has not been
Will that policy change when your border officers at those land border
crossings are armed? When there is an armed and dangerous person known to be
coming to the border, or when a vehicle crosses the border without stopping,
will that policy change when your officers arrive?
Mr. Jolicoeur: The policy in terms of what to do when someone crosses
the border without stopping will not change when our people are armed. Our
policy will be similar to that of the U.S. They will not be allowed to use their
guns to shoot at a car that passes through or anything like that. They will
advise the police when someone runs the border. That policy will remain the
Senator Banks: We will still have to rely upon a police response, and
sometimes they are too busy or cannot get around to it. Will CBSA officers have
an added capacity to pursue a car or truck that has crossed the border without
Mr. Jolicoeur: No, we have no means to pursue; we are not foreseeing
situations where we will need the means to pursue those cars ourselves. We will
continue relying on the police.
Senator Banks: In that case, we are interested in receiving
information about the number of vehicles that are somehow intercepted and how
long it takes to find them. They could have offloaded whatever it was they had —
which is presumably the reason they ran the border — in 20 minutes.
Mr. Jolicoeur: I agree. However, I should point out that we have
reduced those numbers significantly using signage and different methods. We need
to continue reducing that number.
At the end of the day, yes, we are dependent upon the police to capture the
Senator Banks: We have already heard from CBSA officers that the
police sometimes cannot respond and when they do it takes a long time.
If I drive a car across the border with a 20-minute head start, there are a
lot of places in Canada I could go where you would never find me again. Is that
Mr. Jolicoeur: That is true at the moment. The solution is to reduce
the number of people crossing without stopping and to get quicker service from
the police. There may be alternative solutions in areas where it is difficult to
obtain that service rapidly.
The Chairman: I have a supplementary question on that, Senator Banks.
Just so we are clear, Mr. Jolicoeur, you said that 300 vehicles ran the
border in the first six months of this year?
Mr. Jolicoeur: The number is roughly 300 vehicles over six months.
The Chairman: Only 70 of those vehicles were apprehended?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, I think it is about 70.
The Chairman: Is it correct that there are 230 vehicles in the country
about which we have no clue?
Mr. Jolicoeur: That is true. I would like to point out that it is a
very significant reduction over the previous number and it is our belief that
the vast majority of cases where people run the port is by confusion. People are
confused about signing. The vast majority think they have gone through the whole
process when they have not.
The Chairman: If that is the case, why do you not have a barrier? It
is easy to raise and lower a barrier.
Mr. Jolicoeur: We could put barriers everywhere. This will slow the
process considerably, but it is a possibility. There is also a cost to that.
The Chairman: There is a barrier when you go into a parking garage
and, when someone wants to leave, it is a matter of someone pushing a button and
saying, thank you very much, have a nice day and they drive off.
Mr. Jolicoeur: We could have barriers everywhere. I would point out
again that our process is measured by seconds. There are cases where it might be
a problem, but that could be a permanent solution.
The Chairman: For people running the border, why not have something
farther down the road, not by the post, that incapacitates the vehicle? We see
police dragging across spikes and it would be an easy matter to automate that
and have the vehicle incapacitated 200 metres farther down the road, not at the
Mr. Jolicoeur: There are locations where this could be considered. I
am not sure it would be applicable to all locations because of the width.
The Chairman: I agree. It is not applicable to all. I am not hearing
you say we are really concerned about the 230 that are getting through.
Mr. Jolicoeur: I am concerned, and this is why we have moved from
1,600 to a much smaller number. We need to keep on reducing that by using
different techniques, and one of them might be, at the end of the day to bring
it down to zero, to consider what you are suggesting.
The Chairman: I am surprised that I am suggesting them to you. I am
surprised that you are not saying, I am sorry to report that 230-plus folks made
it into the country, but here is our plan: One, we are going to put up a barrier
to stop the ones who are just doing it accidentally and, two, we have figured
out a way to stop the other vehicles. You seem passive about these issues and I
do not understand why you are not coming before us and saying — here are the
problems and, by the way, we have solutions that we are working on. We will test
some of these and have some in place by this date. You come and say, well,
Public Works is slow putting in equipment and we are also having problems with
uniforms and, by the way, 230 vehicles with maybe more people snuck into the
country, but I do not have anything to tell you about the solutions to stop
Mr. Jolicoeur: Let us take this problem one by one. We are flagging
the port running and the difficulty we are having with port running. The last
time we discussed that with you, we were collectively unhappy with the number of
port runners, which was at 1,600. The plan that we discussed and implemented was
to work in the area where that was most prevalent. We flagged two areas where we
had some difficulty — one port in B.C. and a secondary commercial one at
Windsor. We have worked on both and this is why we have progressed a lot.
I am not saying we are finished, but I am saying we have progressed a lot and
we will continue to do so. If we do not find a better or more practical way to
bring it close to zero — it is never going to be zero — we will use barriers.
However, sometimes this occurs when our ports are closed. We get information
about some people crossing the border point when the port is closed.
Senator Banks: That is not okay. How is it possible to say in this day
and age, with everything that is happening, that if a criminal finds a border
post that is closed, he or she can just drive across it? It is not okay that we
have made progress in these things. Following the chairman's point, at each and
every land border crossing in Canada, there is a road that vehicles have to
drive down before they get to the fork in the road or the maze of streets or the
other highways. There is a choke point, to use your language, by the use of
which, the numbers of vehicles that drive into Canada without having been
stopped and inspected, could be zero. You know better than we do what they are.
There is a hydraulic mechanism in the road that stops the car or a set of teeth
that come up and ruin tires, which half the parking lots in the country use.
Are you planning those kinds of things? Are you going to install those things
so that the next time we talk to you the number of cars coming into Canada
without having been stopped will be zero? Making it better is not good enough
days, is it? Does it not have to be zero?
Mr. Jolicoeur: I understand your frustration and I would also like
this to be zero, but as you know and as I have reported, we have many roads that
are unguarded between Canada and the U.S.
If I take all of the former border crossing points and turn them into
fortresses, at some point there is a limited return on the investment because —
Senator Banks: Is that the consideration — it costs too much?
Mr. Jolicoeur: The governing consideration is if you have a chain and
you try to strengthen three or 15 of the links to make them better, it does not
make your security any tighter because of the other ones. So, at some point we
have to live with the reality that we have this huge border and there are many
places where people can actually go through.
Senator Campbell: With all due respect, you are copping out. I am new
here. I cannot believe this. I just cannot believe what I am hearing here. Are
we serious about taking care of terrorism and people crossing our borders here?
You cannot cop out by saying there are hundreds of places you can cross in this
country. I know there are hundreds of places. You are responsible for the
crossings. You came here in October. At that time you said there was no log
being kept that would tell you how many people were jumping the border. Now we
have a number of 1,600. Where did that come from?
Mr. Jolicoeur: The number of 1,600 was not a formal number. It was a
number that was captured by, if I remember, employees across the country that
reported on these things. Now we are —
Senator Campbell: There was no formal process of keeping it so the
number could have been 3,200 for all you know — correct?
Mr. Jolicoeur: That is correct.
Senator Campbell: And so now we know that there are 300 in half a
Mr. Jolicoeur: That is correct.
Senator Campbell: You say there are lots of places to cross. You are
responsible for making sure that people do not cross that border. Is that
correct, at the crossings?
Mr. Jolicoeur: We are responsible at the crossings. We will reduce
that number of 300 in six months.
Senator Campbell: This is not good enough.
My second question is — you cannot tell me that you should not have a pursuit
vehicle at those big crossings. You simply cannot tell me that. It does not make
any sense. What you are telling me is a joke. If someone runs the Vancouver
crossing, chances are they will probably get popped because the Surrey-White
Rock detachment is there. If someone runs North Portal in Saskatchewan, you do
not have a prayer unless you have a helicopter there.
Either Canada is serious about this or we should stop telling the public that
we are. I look at all of this and it does not make any sense. Let us go to a
single officer at a crossing. How many of them do we have?
Mr. Jolicoeur: In the last budget, we received resources to double up
in all of these areas. We will need 400 new employees to ensure that in each
single-officer location, there will be two officers on each shift.
Senator Campbell: How many places are there?
Mr. Jolicoeur: I believe there are 138.
Senator Campbell: In 2005 there were 139, so we have taken this
seriously. Why do we not forget about the new uniforms and put two people at the
border so that they are safer? This is simply not acceptable. What are your
priorities in order here — new uniforms? Last year you said you would do
something about this. You pledged $101 million to begin arming the border
officers and eliminating work-alone posts. How many of those work-alone posts
have you eliminated? One, according to these figures. What is the timeline for
eliminating them? When are we going to not have single officers sitting in the
middle of Saskatchewan, Alberta or Manitoba?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Do you want me to speak to the question of single
Senator Campbell: I do.
Mr. Jolicoeur: In Budget 2006, we have, for the first time, money to
deal with work-alone posts. Now, we have to hire people and train them for which
we have a plan. I admit that it will take about three years before we have no
work- alone posts in Canada. That is the time it will take to complete the
recruitment and training, given the space we have at our training centre.
However, this problem is being resolved.
Senator Campbell: If this is so important, why are you not sending
trained and knowledgeable people from the big border crossings to be the second
officer and then putting a rookie into the big offices where they could be
trained? There had better not be someone killed at one of these work-alone
border crossings during the next few years. There is a way around this. I
understand about bringing in more officers and the training. However, simply
take 139 trained officers from the big offices across Canada and put them into
these smaller, work-alone posts. My biggest fear is that someone working alone
will be hurt at one of these crossings. Worse, the fact that there are 230
vehicles wandering around likely has nothing to with their missing the signage,
as you suggested. If you cannot read the signage at Windsor, then you are coming
across with something to do something. This is not acceptable.
Senator Banks: Is the principal constraint money?
Mr. Jolicoeur: For what?
Senator Banks: Doing all of these things, such as ensuring that no
sign at a border crossing indicates "Closed for the night. Come back later,''
which is kind of silly.
Mr. Jolicoeur: If we want barriers, rules and a system that prevents
people from crossing illegally then, yes there is a money consideration.
Senator Banks: Has that money been requested? Does CBSA have a plan
for which it has requested the funds to reduce these numbers to zero? This
committee argued with the previous government about it not providing sufficient
resources. We will not change our minds on that simply because the government
has changed. The previous government was deficient in providing the necessary
resources for these jobs. However, you need a plan to take to the government in
order to secure the appropriate funds to fix the problem. You need to tell the
government how much it will cost. Have you made such a plan?
Mr. Jolicoeur: We make requests to every federal budget for additional
resources for CBSA. This year, we received over two years $365 million for two
improvements to security across Canada.
In the last budget, our request included a piece specifically dealing with
running the port. No, I did not have a piece there. We of course were asked to
prioritize all of our requests. No, there was not a specific request for that in
the last budget. If we were to consider all of the areas where we could
strengthen the border then, you are right, the amount requested to fund all of
them would be very high. It would take a significant amount of money to add the
number of people we would like to have at the borders and consider the areas
between border points and post-border points — much more than we are talking
Senator Banks: Most members of this committee believe that most
Canadians would think that that would be money well spent. Aside from the
specifics of border crossings, it would have a great impact on relations with
our neighbour and the things that they suspect are happening in Canada. We argue
against some of those suspicions when we send people to Washington to argue the
incalculability of the costs. It is not only the fact of those 230 vehicles
whose locations we do not know, but also the impact of that on our overall
situation. Most Canadians would be extremely supportive of the necessary funding
to ensure that we do not have "closed for the night'' signs on our border
The Chairman: Mr. Jolicoeur, you just described a plan that you have
laid out in order of priority. Could you make a copy of that available to the
Mr. Jolicoeur: Do you mean in terms of the funding in Budget 2006?
The Chairman: No. We know those figures. We would like to know what
you did not receive in that budget and we would like to see your list, in
priority, of issues that you want to address across the spectrum. For example,
are barriers on your list? Do you have a list of other deficiencies? We are
anxious to know that you are on top of the job, and we do not want to be
unreasonable in terms of our criticisms of what you are doing. If you have a
plan in place that is not being funded, we would like to see what that plan is.
We would like to have a look at what you have been arguing for so that we can
see that you have a system that will resolve some of these problems. Failing
that, we have to assume that you are not focusing on some of these issues.
It would be much fairer to you and to the agency if you were to provide us
with what you think you need and what you have on your lists for material,
equipment and devices, et cetera, to ensure that the border crossings work in
the way that we expect them to work. Can you provide us with that?
Mr. Jolicoeur: That is fine. Yes.
The Chairman: Thank you.
Senator Poulin: Safety has become a major concern for Canadians
because of a bad experience in the United States and also during the past few
weeks. The quality of our relations with the United States is important to us.
Since you are responsible for managing our border posts along the longest border
in the world, could you tell us how many border posts there are and over how
Mr. Jolicoeur: The border is about 8,000 kilometers long. Along the
land border, we have 119 border posts. When one talks about the border, one
should not forget that it refers to all the points of entry into Canada. In
addition to the land border, we have a number of marine ports. The three major
border posts in importance for the number of containers are Halifax, Montreal
Senator Poulin: We only have three?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Those on the largest ones. We also have marine points
of service which are not always open.
We also have small marinas which open occasionally. There are also 200
airports that are used as points of entry into Canada.
Senator Poulin: What is the annual budget of the Canada Border
Mr. Jolicoeur: It will be between 1.2 billion and 1.3 billion dollars
Senator Poulin: Considering the environment we have been living in
since 2001 from the point of view of security, have you developed a plan
identifying clearly the black holes? You have referred to long sections of the
border without any post. What would be the solution to this problem and how much
would it cost?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, but I was referring to the management of the
border as a whole. Our responsibility is limited to entry points. Despite that,
we have discussed the possibility to create something equivalent to what the
Americans have, which they call the Border Patrol and has a responsibility
between the official points of entry. In our case, this responsibility belongs
to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Senator Poulin: Are you saying that the responsibility for the border
is shared between two agencies?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Indeed I am.
Senator Poulin: Does that not create problems for needs
Mr. Jolicoeur: Obviously, especially since 9/11 but it had started
earlier. The agencies work in close cooperation. We have common groups with
staff from both organizations who cooperate, among other things, on the «high
belt» concept, in an integrated manner, with all the safety agencies and U.S.
agencies. We are wondering now if it would not be better to have one single
agency at the border instead of two. It is an open question.
Senator Poulin: I was a bit surprised to learn that the new government
has given only 101 million dollars in the last budget for an issue as important
as border post security. We are informed that this budget should allow us to
eliminate single agent posts. The other objective was to provide weapons to
officers at the border. You stated of while ago that even if the officers were
armed, the present policy would not change. Why give them weapons, then?
Mr. Jolicoeur: In the 2006 budget, the first objective of the 101
million dollars was to give weapons to our staff. That was not the only amount
for our organization. In total, for the first two years, we got $ 365 million.
So there are many other important projects that have been financed in the last
budget. The plan to give weapons to our officers was not specifically aimed at
resolving the problem of people running the border but rather to give some tools
to our employees when they are faced with dangerous situations at the border. In
those cases, our operational policy will change because, if our officers are
armed, they will be called upon to intervene more directly in those situations
whereas they could not do so in the past when they had no weapons.
To put that in context, we talk to our American colleagues about their level
of comfort with our strategies and with what we are doing. It is important to
underline that we continuously compare our operational methods and our
effectiveness to those of our American friends and that they are comfortable
with them. Improvement is continuously made on both sides on the border as we go
Senator Poulin: Do American officers have weapons?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, since the seventies.
Senator Poulin: Will our officers receive training on carrying and
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, we are working with the Police Institute in
Nicolet and with the agency training American officers to develop a course that
will last about three weeks. That course will ensure that our people have the
proper knowledge and training to use their weapons.
Senator Poulin: This is roughly what this committee had recommended a
few weeks ago.
Senator Atkins: While at airports, one gets the impression that the
Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has all the personnel it needs
and then some. Can you tell us how many personnel you have increased by since
the last time we met?
Mr. Jolicoeur: I do not know the exact number of increase but we will
have about 13,000 employees within a year. It has been a gradual increase since
The difficulty in reporting an exact number is that CBSA was not created in
one shot. It was created gradually by adding pieces. Our numbers have been
increasing steadily since our creation.
Senator Atkins: Getting back to the barrier question that the chairman
addressed, if someone arrives by plane and goes through immigration, they see an
officer who interrogates them and are then given a card in order to be put
through another process where that card is examined.
Is there not a simple way of implementing a system where you could avoid
having vehicles go through the border without examination, such as by having
some form of barrier that could not be broken unless they provide evidence they
have been examined?
Mr. Jolicoeur: If you are relating to the point raised by Senator
Banks and Senator Campbell, to develop a physical means of completely preventing
people from racing through the border, the answer is yes, it is certainly
doable. There is significant cost related to it, but it is doable.
Senator Atkins: Would that process require more personnel?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, more personnel and more capital to build
Senator Atkins: Have you any idea of the number of people or the
amount of capital needed?
Mr. Jolicoeur: No, I do not have an estimate on that.
Senator Atkins: That would be helpful.
Do you have a waiting list of people applying to be members of your service?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes. Every time we open a competition, there are many
applicants. However, our budget allows us to hire only a certain number. At the
moment, the real challenge is to schedule training for these people through our
institute at Rigaud. It is fully booked for at least a year.
Senator Atkins: With regard to the infrastructure for training, can
you handle the increase of personnel or will it require serious adjustments to
your training process?
Mr. Jolicoeur: There is no question that we need additional financial
and human resources on the training side because of what I just described. We
obtained additional resources in the last budget specifically for the new
training aspects that are coming with the arming of employees. There will be a
requirement for additional space and expertise due to that. We received the
resources and have a plan to deploy that over the coming years.
Senator Atkins: I understand that you are extending the training
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes. It is a bit more complicated because now we are
one organization. Our employees are coming from three different organizations.
We have created a new integrated course that includes all the expertise that was
covered by three organizations in the past.
Senator Atkins: What are the three?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and customs. We have
created a new program that is currently being tested that is more integrated.
Senator Atkins: Is three weeks long enough to train a student?
Barbara Hébert, Vice-President, Operations Branch, Canada Border Services
Agency: The training we give our students covers the requirements they have
to carry out their assigned responsibilities. Our students do not fulfil the
full range of responsibilities that a regular border services officer would
Earlier you expressed interest in the air mode. Using that as an example,
even full-time indeterminate officers would receive three weeks of training if
they were to work in the air mode. A student who is to work in the air mode
would also receive three weeks of training to do primary processing. From that
perspective, they are quite compatible. If a student were asked to do more than
that in the example I just gave, additional training would be provided.
Senator Atkins: Do you have the facilities to provide that training?
Ms. Hébert: The students are trained locally and regionally. They do
not go to our training facility in Rigaud. That facility is for our
The Chairman: Are the students on land crossings fully trained?
Ms. Hébert: The students who work at the land borders also receive
three weeks training. They receive the training required to carry out the
responsibilities they are assigned.
The Chairman: That is a vague answer. Are there times when students
are working alone and unsupervised?
Ms. Hébert: No, Senator Kenny, they are not.
The Chairman: What would you say if we produced examples of that
Ms. Hébert: I would like to have that information because it is the
policy that they should not be.
The Chairman: This is a policy that you monitor and that you are
certain is in place?
Ms. Hébert: I can assure you that I regularly raise it with my
The Chairman: Do they monitor it?
Ms. Hébert: I believe they do.
The Chairman: How often do they tell you that it is not observed?
Ms. Hébert: I have had this conversation with them no less than once
every quarter in the last year, and I believe that any discrepancies have been
The Chairman: You are telling me that on a number of occasions in the
past year you have found that students were in charge of a border post?
Ms. Hébert: No, that would not be an accurate statement.
The Chairman: Clarify for us, if you would, what you meant when you
said that any discrepancies were corrected. You need not correct something if
there is no problem.
Ms. Hébert: Students are never left alone at a port. I was referring
to the latter clause of your sentence. Students would not necessarily be only at
the port of entry.
The Chairman: My question stands. Have instances been reported to you
of students being alone?
Ms. Hébert: Instances have been reported, as a result of appearances
before this committee, and I have taken action to deal with my management team
as a result of those representations.
The Chairman: In the past year, how often have you found that there
were students working there alone?
Ms. Hébert: I am not aware of any student in the last six months who
has been working alone. You asked about a year. Off the top of my head I am not
aware of any, but I do not want to mislead the committee. However, I am sure
about the last six months.
The Chairman: You can be assured that every time you appear before us
that question will come up. If you could, double-check before your next
Ms. Hébert: To be clear, I believe that we have no students working
alone now and have not for some period of time.
Senator Banks: Some students have done wonderful work.
Ms. Hébert: I agree.
Senator Banks: A student is not a bad thing. However, the policy is
that students are always working under the supervision of an experienced
officer, most of whom I assume would be indeterminate officers.
Exactly what does "under the supervision of'' mean? I know that if a student
is in a booth at a border crossing, there will not be an experienced officer
sitting beside him in the booth. How far away is the supervision under which
that student is working, and what exactly does "under the supervision of'' mean?
Is the experienced officer at a different place or at home where he could be
reached by telephone, or does it mean that there is sight contact with the
Ms. Hébert: You are absolutely correct about a student working at a
primary inspection line (PIL) booth. There will undoubtedly be people working in
the office or at the commercial primary inspection line. The supervisory
presence to which I referred could be in another booth or inside the actual
facility at the port, but would absolutely be on site.
Senator Atkins: With regard to PIL booths, it has been suggested to us
on other occasions that there is an unofficial time allotted for the processing
of a car. Is that a practice that is implemented by your senior people?
Ms. Hébert: We have statistics that indicate the average processing
time for the average traveller over the course of history.
Senator Atkins: What is that?
Ms. Hébert: I believe it is 30 seconds.
Senator Atkins: I believe we heard that it is 20 seconds.
Ms. Hébert: I would generally use 30 seconds. That is certainly the
average time history has shown us. Having said that, I am not aware of any
instance where we direct officers that they shall take no more than 30 seconds
or, in your example, 20 seconds.
Officers are expected to exercise discretion and process the traveller until
he or she, being the officer, is satisfied that that traveller can be admissible
to Canada. Some processing might take 17 seconds; some might take much longer
Senator Atkins: Therefore, they would not be penalized if they are
slow in their operation?
Ms. Hébert: That is correct.
Senator Atkins: How is CBSA working with the RCMP to combat organized
crime in the ports?
Mr. Jolicoeur: We are working at different levels, but the main
instrument we are using is the IBET, the integrated border enforcement teams we
have across the country. They are led by the RCMP but with participation of our
agency as well as others. We also share intelligence regularly at different
levels and feed that intelligence through our national risk assessment centre to
the local level when it is important that the information be available. We are
working as teams.
Senator Atkins: Could you describe the experiment in Saint John?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Are you talking about RADNET?
Senator Atkins: Yes.
Mr. Jolicoeur: RADNET is a system that we have developed in house to
measure radioactivity that might be present in containers. We first deployed
RADNET to Windsor. It is a sophisticated way to discriminate between radiation
readings that would be problematic and related to something illegitimate and the
radiation readings that you get regularly from products that properly contain
radiation. We have that system in place. Every container is basically screened
or read by the readers and the information fed into our risk-assessment system
TITAN and compared with the information we have on the importers and carriers,
et cetera. A decision is made on the system as to whether or not there is a need
to flag a concern and trigger an action by our officers locally. It is a
more-advanced system than what they have in the United States for making that
decision and will be deployed to other ports this year.
Senator Atkins: I am surprised you would pick Saint John because there
is not that much container traffic there.
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, but when you test a system and deploy a big
machine, a big system, you want to do it in a secure way. You do not want to
create havoc so the decision was made to start there for that reason. It could
have been somewhere else.
Senator Moore: I want to follow up on what Senator Atkins was asking.
In your opening statement, Mr. Jolicoeur, you have mentioned at the bottom of
page one that once fully implemented our radiation detection program will allow
us to screen virtually 100 per cent of incoming marine cargo.
When do you anticipate the implementation to be complete?
Mr. Jolicoeur: This calendar year, I believe.
Senator Moore: By the end of December 2006?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes.
Senator Moore: Senator Banks was asking at the beginning about the
type of technology used in the connections of the various posts. You mentioned
there were three unconnected posts but you were waiting for a contract to be
procured and there are 18 others that you may upgrade to that type of new
technology. Will all 21 be via high-speed Internet?
Mr. Jolicoeur: That is what we are aiming for. That is why we want to
continue with those 18 to bring them to the level of high-speed Internet but it
is a separate line. I could not describe more precisely than that but it is at
that level, yes. It is the same level that the others have.
Senator Moore: When you started out there were 110 not connected and
now you have it down to three, but 18 you want to upgrade. Are all the others
connected via high-speed Internet?
Mr. Jolicoeur: I would not call it high-speed Internet but it is that
standard or better. We have our own network.
Senator Moore: It is not dial up then?
Mr. Jolicoeur: The others, no; they are not dial up.
Senator Moore: I am interested in the Canada-U.S. border Western
Hemisphere Travel Initiative. We had your colleague, Andrea Spry, before our
Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce on June 8. On that day
we also heard from U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter from the state of New
York. We were talking about access, moving people, equipment and goods across
the border but primarily part of that discussion focused on tourism. When
Congresswoman Slaughter crossed the border she was told she had to have a
passport. When Ms. Spry gave her presentation she said that was not required. I
am wondering where the idea came from whereby the border officers required that
visitor and her staff to provide a passport. Are we now moving towards
implementation of passports only, or are we using photo ID and citizenship or
Mr. Jolicoeur: At the moment the passport is not required. It may be
that some officers have asked for that but our direction at the moment is that a
passport is not required. It is not required in the air mode when you go to the
U.S. either and they are asked all the time. However, it is not required.
Senator Moore: How often does the working group that you chair meet?
Mr. Jolicoeur: In the last two months we have probably had three
meetings. The U.S. is presently into a rule-making process where they have
limited ability to communicate on WHTI while decisions are being made about the
specifics of the requirement for the air and marine modes at the moment.
The Chairman: What is the WHTI?
Senator Moore: That is the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. It is
referred to as WHTI.
The air and marine crossings have one date. What is their date when a card or
some other type of identification will be required?
Mr. Jolicoeur: January 1, 2007.
Senator Moore: Is land the following year?
Mr. Jolicoeur: That is correct.
Senator Moore: We heard evidence that there are 123 million crossings
each year of people going back and forth between Canada and the United States.
We are aware that the United States Senate has passed an amendment to the
immigration bill extending the implementation dates by one year, and that the
House of Representatives has not.
Do you have any information, in terms of your meetings with colleagues in the
U.S., on the likelihood of that one- year extension being put in place?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Everyone is planning on the basis that those target
dates will remain the same. There may be some changes at the end; first, the
immigration bill would have to pass in the House of Representatives. People do
not think that the date will be changed and there will be an amendment in place
that will effectively change those dates. If there is a change, it would come
close to the end. There is no question that both sides feel we have to plan for
those dates to remain in place at the moment.
Senator Moore: Is there any possibility that the provisions with
respect to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative would be carved out of that
immigration bill and, perhaps, dealt with separately or do you think we are
locked into that bill?
Mr. Jolicoeur: At the moment, I believe they are part of that bill and
their survival is linked to the survival of the other bill.
Again, there could be other amendments introduced in the future. There could
be some changes. We do not believe we will see, certainly before the end of the
calendar year, a change in the official implementation date.
Senator Moore: You do not think there will be a change?
Mr. Jolicoeur: No.
Senator Moore: That is certainly the position of Secretary Chertoff a
little over a week ago. He said they are sticking by those dates and they think
they can do it. What do you think will be the card or document of preference
here, given that only 20 to 24 per cent of U.S. citizens have a passport, and
they do not think they would support a NEXUS card, for which I understand the
application fee is $100?
Mr. Jolicoeur: I think it is $80.
Senator Moore: Okay, $80 for a NEXUS card and I think there are less
than 100,000 of those in existence — 75,000 to 100,000 have been issued. We are
talking about millions of travellers. Practically speaking, given these dates of
implementation, how will that be achieved?
Mr. Jolicoeur: First, I have said many times I do not think they will
be ready, if we define ready as meaning that people will have cards to cross the
border. I know the official administration position is that they will be ready.
Senator Moore: Practically speaking, I do not see how they can be but
you are closer to it than we are.
Mr. Jolicoeur: I do not think they will be ready. In terms of what we
are doing about it, we are trying to get an agreement with the U.S.
administration on a standard under SPP — the Security and Prosperity Partnership
— that could be met by different documents. If they meet that standard, then
they would become acceptable under WHTI.
Senator Moore: Is this is part of your committee's working group tasks
— to come up with some combination such as we have now, the photo ID plus your
birth certificate to show citizenship? Is that one of your objectives?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Our objective is to have as many acceptable cards that
are properly secured as possible.
The Chairman: May I have a supplementary on this? In June 2005, this
committee recommended that cards be developed — that the standard should be
tamper-proof, machine readable, biometrically enhanced and based on secure and
reliable documentation. Are those the standards that you are pursuing?
Mr. Jolicoeur: There are three categories of standards that need to be
addressed and which are being addressed. One is the robustness of whatever cards
or documents are used to ensure that they cannot be modified or tampered with
and so on.
Senator Moore: You mean secure?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes. Some have to do with the card itself. Others have
to do with the information that you put on the card — that is, biometric, which
one, et cetera.
The third category concerns how they are delivered. For example, is the
infrastructure secure, can the blank be stolen or not? All of the delivery
systems need to be secure as well. Those are the three things.
The U.S. is working on a fourth category, on which we will have to agree —
namely, the exact formatting and technology that will be used to read those
documents. We are working on the four areas and discussing them.
The Chairman: We are talking about a card that can be read by just
swiping it like a credit card — is that correct?
Mr. Jolicoeur: Beyond that — it can be read at a distance.
The Chairman: What about the documentation that is considered to be
secure and reliable — in other words, the very premise of the card itself? What
will constitute satisfactory identification to get the card? How will you be
certain that the identification that you are provided with is reliable?
Mr. Jolicoeur: We have a document integrity exercise that actually
started in Canada. At the provincial and federal levels, we have an initiative
to strengthen the base documents. We have offered the work we have done to the
United States as being the first element of those standards that both sides
would accept. What documents will be accepted finally and deemed to be secure,
either as final documents to cross or as documents to be used to justify
obtaining those documents, are decisions that have not yet been made.
Senator Moore: I have a further question. Do you want to ask a
supplementary question, Senator Atkins?
Senator Atkins: Where do you draw the line on privacy?
Senator Moore: I was going to lead to that area next.
Senator Campbell: You are both reading each other's minds — so much
Senator Moore: There has been some discussion that the cards may have
certain personal information imbedded in them, and that not only could they be
waved and read at a border crossing, but they could be tracked in terms of your
movement within, in this case, the United States. To me, that would be quite a
substantial invasion of privacy. Is that one of the issues you are considering
in your working group to ensure that does not happen?
Mr. Jolicoeur: A big debate that we have internally and with the U.S.
— and it is one of the reasons why we do not have formally approved standards
for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative yet — is the question, which is
linked to privacy, of whether we will go with vicinity cards or proximity cards.
Senator Moore: Could you explain the difference between these, Mr.
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes. They define proximity cards as cards that would be
read only within 10 centimetres.
Vicinity cards are the cards that we are using currently with the NEXUS
program where you can flag them a few metres from the reader and they would be
seen from a greater distance.
The debate is the following. From the perspective of the logistics of
managing the border, we almost need to go to vicinity cards. One of the reasons
NEXUS works well is that you do not have to stop every time and touch something
or speak to something; you have been pre-approved, accepted as someone who is
okay. The challenge with the vicinity card at first is whether it can be read at
a greater distance. Other people can read it, too, if they have a mechanism to
read the card.
The second question is — what do you put on the card? Do you put personal
information? It is not required because we will have databases. Thinking of
NEXUS, we have a database of people so it can only be a reference to the
database, a number. A number does not tell much about an individual, so it is
less of a concern.
However, the debate is not finished. The concern is that, even without
knowing anything about you, if I can read your card illegitimately with a
machine, just knowing your number gives me an advantage because I can more
easily follow you in the future since I know that number is associated to you.
We are looking at ways to protect that number so it can only be read when the
person wants it to be read when crossing the border. The technological challenge
here that is not resolved has to do with the privacy question.
Senator Moore: We are told that no more than 100,000 NEXUS cards have
been issued. Do you know how many of those have been issued to Canadians?
Mr. Jolicoeur: It is probably close to half and half. I do not know
the number. It is 95,000 for land and about 6,000 for air. However, we believe
that, because of WHTI, many more people will want NEXUS cards.
Senator Moore: Is there a different card and a different application
depending on whether you are a regular air or a land traveller?
Mr. Jolicoeur: At the moment, yes, but we are moving towards a
one-card, one-enrolment process, and a card that would give you access to all
Senator Moore: To get one of those cards, do you have to go through an
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes.
Senator Moore: Where is the application made?
Mr. Jolicoeur: We have points where it can be done.
Senator Moore: I understand Toronto and Vancouver but are there more
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes.
Senator Moore: Is there an office in the country where you can do that
Ms. Hébert: You are correct that Toronto and Vancouver are the big
sites. There are a couple more. They can be located either on the U.S. or the
Canadian side. As you are aware, this is a joint bi-national process so it
requires a comfort level by both Canadian and American inspection agencies that
a candidate is acceptable to the program.
Senator Moore: Is your application reviewed by each side when you
Ms. Hébert: You are correct. An interview is done with the candidate
at those limited number of sites where the application is processed. We are
pursuing having what we call "urban enrolment centres,'' so that people in key
urban areas would have greater accessibility to the program. It is an evolving
The Chairman: Regrettably, we have run out of time. We have about a
dozen other questions we would like to put to you, Mr. Jolicoeur. I wonder if we
could do it by letter and if you could respond to us in writing.
Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes.
The Chairman: I would be very grateful for that. We will put them to
you and append them to the record of the meeting today.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you both very much for
appearing. These subjects are a matter of continuing interest to the committee,
and we appreciate your providing us with the information you have this morning.
Our next witness is Jim Judd, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service (CSIS) since November 2004. He joined the Department of External Affairs
in 1973 and has had a long and distinguished career serving, among other
positions, as Secretary of the Treasury Board and Deputy Minister of National
Mr. Judd, this is your first appearance before the committee. We are pleased
that you are here today and look forward to your responses to questions. We
understand that you do not have a prepared statement.
Jim Judd, Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service: That is
Senator Campbell: I can only imagine in my wildest dreams how busy you
are. You are to be commended for taking the time to appear before the committee.
Our objective today is to gain an understanding of first, the threat posed by
homegrown terrorists and second, the efforts made by CSIS to mitigate the threat
of terrorism from abroad. The committee heard testimony from your Deputy
Director, Mr. Hooper, and from Commissioner Zaccardelli of the RCMP. They gave
us considerable insight into the difficulties of the current world and where
Canada sits. In his testimony, Mr. Hooper indicated that CSIS does not have the
capacity to properly screen all individuals who come to Canada from troubled
parts of the world. I believe he mentioned Pakistan and India. We were taken
aback by that comment. Could you comment on the issue and advise us of any
efforts underway to address that problem?
Mr. Judd: As senators are likely aware, anyone seeking to immigrate to
Canada or acquire refugee status in Canada is screened through the broader
government system by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border
Services Agency. On behalf of the government, CSIS undertakes security screening
of a proportion of those people who seek to enter the country. Globally
speaking, on an annual basis we would be asked to do security screenings on
about 10 per cent of all those applicants. It is a risk-managed business in the
sense that it involves a kind of triage assessment of individuals, initially by
our partners. Based in part on their assessment and then our assessment, we
conduct security screening on about 10 per cent of the total annual intake. CSIS
regularly reviews screening levels of activity in different jurisdictions
related to different nationalities in conjunction with our federal government
partners, including the Canada Border Services Agency, Citizenship and
Immigration Canada and Foreign Affairs Canada. We do an annual assessment of
that to determine whether we are doing the right numbers in the right places.
My own sense, notwithstanding the comments of my colleague, is that we are
not doing badly in respect of those countries, bearing in mind that it is all
predicated on a risk assessment of the individuals concerned. Where the risk is
determined to be out of the ordinary, we would then be asked to conduct a
broader security screening of those individuals. CSIS does look at that annually
to reassess and refocus both people and energy accordingly.
Senator Campbell: That clears up some of the question. I had been
thinking that Canada could only manage 10 per cent but it would seem from what
you are saying that countries comparable to Canada are also averaging 10 per
cent per year. Their screenings are also based on risk management and the
country of origin of the immigrants. I am sure you do not ever want to be in the
position of screening 100 per cent of the people who come to Canada — or do you
Mr. Judd: No. The fact is that many people who come to this country
have quite legitimate, well-established and well-known backgrounds. Therefore,
there is no need to have a system with 10 per cent screening. It would represent
a substantial degree of overkill in the screening process, particularly since we
already face a backlog in international applications of people seeking to
immigrate to Canada.
Other Western jurisdictions that are net-immigrant-receiving countries
probably operate on a similar risk-managed basis in terms of the screening.
Certainly, from my discussions with international colleagues, I would say that
Canada is doing it as well as any country in the Western world.
Senator Campbell: It was interesting that Mr. Hooper discussed the
aspect of homegrown terrorism versus imported and then, shortly thereafter, 17
people were arrested and charged. Do you share this concern? Are you satisfied
that CSIS and the other components of the security community are fully prepared
to prevent and respond to the terrorist threat?
Mr. Judd: We are probably better known by our failures than by our
successes. That is true of any intelligence service. With respect to the
phenomenon of homegrown threats, I would say it is a rather globalized
phenomenon these days. We have seen examples of it in a number of Western
European jurisdictions, most recently in the London transit bombings in July
2005. We have seen it in the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, et
cetera. It is inherently more difficult to deal with because, historically,
intelligence and security and police agencies tended to focus their efforts in
the terrorism domain on individuals who were relatively recent arrivals to a
country and who had a particular pedigree if you will — a known organizational
link with a terrorist entity or a known experience in Afghanistan, Chechnya,
Bosnia or other middle Eastern conflict zone. For example, there was the
Algerian insurrection in the 1990s.
In a sense, those individuals were more readily identifiable because they had
known antecedents after the time of entry. The phenomenon of the homegrown
threat is more difficult to deal with because, in many cases, they are people
likely to be citizens of our own country, perhaps born here or arrived in Canada
at a very young age. These people were essentially raised in Canada. As we have
seen in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands, for example, it is
intellectually more difficult to identify such individuals ab initio.
Senator Campbell: I know this is one of those questions I always hated
but can you ever be fully prepared? You can do the best you can, but do you ever
get a sense that we are ready, or is it a continual growing process and a
continual process of investigation and determination?
Mr. Judd: It is a continuing process. If you asked anyone involved in
my line of work in the Western world what they worry about, they would probably
say they worry about what they know and more about what they do not know.
In the case of the phenomenon of so-called homegrown terrorism, there has
been much analytical work done in a number of jurisdictions, from Australia to
the United States to the United Kingdom. A number of continental European
countries have done a lot of work on it as well. There has been a lot of
academic work done in some places, particularly in France.
My sense is, despite all the work that has been done, no one has come up with
a single paradigm that provides for a definitive 100 per cent certain assessment
tool. The motivations and the factors at play are diverse. While there may be
similarities among individuals involved in this phenomenon, there is no single
pattern that has yet been commonly agreed upon or identified.
The Chairman: I have a supplementary question.
In light of the fact you do not have a paradigm, what message do you give
Canadians about the sort of assistance you would like in addressing this
problem? Do you have anything you would like to say to Canadians about how they
can help with this concern?
Mr. Judd: I would relay the same message that any police service would
give to a community. Canadian citizens have civic obligations and
responsibilities to ensure that the law is obeyed and the work of police or
organizations such as ours is facilitated. They should be diligent in
discharging that civic responsibility.
If you talk to people in the legal profession or policing business, they
would say that no matter how well your courts or police function or how
brilliant your laws are, if you do not have support from the community being
policed, it is incredibly more difficult to do effective policing and upholding
of the law.
The Chairman: In this case we are not talking about upholding the law,
are we? We are talking about things that might happen a long time before the law
Mr. Judd: Yes.
The Chairman: What is your outreach? How do you address this issue? Is
there a phone number that people should call? How does a citizen participate in
assisting you with your mission?
Mr. Judd: We have done a lot of outreach activity across the country
over the last while, including with the RCMP and the Canada Border Services
Agency, principally to give communities a better understanding of who we are,
what we do, how we do it, what we do not do and so on.
The message we conveyed in those discussions was very much around questions
of civic responsibility and the need for communities to be actively vigilant
about misbehaviour, whether criminal or otherwise.
The RCMP has a tip line and we will be looking at sharing that tip line with
them. We are also doing more in the way of public document distribution
throughout the country as well as public speaking about who we are and what we
do in order to demystify ourselves. In some instances, we try to allay fears
that we are unfairly profiling or targeting particular communities, for example.
It is a rather broadly based effort. Whether we are doing enough and doing
the right things are questions we are constantly looking at, as our colleagues
in the RCMP are doing as well.
Senator Campbell: Both the commissioner and the deputy spoke to us
about problems they have with regard to the collection, sharing and use of
information between the two agencies. This is because there are different levels
of threshold. CSIS requires reasonable ground to suspect and the RCMP requires
reasonable ground to believe.
This is a two-part question. First, is there a solution to that issue? Is
there a point where you can come together on that? Second, has the lack of this
solution impacted negatively on security for the country?
Mr. Judd: I am afraid to say it is a more complicated situation than
that. It is a situation that applies in most Western jurisdictions, and much of
it relates to the issue of disclosure of intelligence information in the
criminal prosecution and whether the intelligence information meets evidentiary
standards of a court for criminal prosecution.
We have a good working relationship with the RCMP and municipal and
provincial police forces, and we do work closely together with them. Generally
speaking, we are in a world where some changes may be required with regard to
how we do our work in terms of recordkeeping that would meet a criminal
Since March or April of this year, we have been engaged in a trilateral
discussion with the RCMP and the Department of Justice around disclosure issues.
The Department of Justice has a group of lawyers working on how best to address
this from a legal perspective and what it would mean for us and the RCMP in
My guess is that if the lawyers come up with a legal response that fits the
bill, there will be some consequential changes to how we do business currently
so as to be able to meet evidentiary standards.
This is an issue that comes up certainly in my discussions with heads of
foreign agencies as well. Some have more experience than we do. For example, the
British Security Service, MI5, has been more routinely involved in criminal
proceedings for, I think, the last 15 years. It has provoked a significant
change in how they do business in order to accommodate the legal standards for
The Chairman: Last year, you got an increase of around $15 million in
your budget. Adjusted for inflation, that is about a 10 per cent increase or $10
Mr. Judd: Your math is probably better than mine. I will take your
The Chairman: Our sense is that your funding is somewhat less than
robust. Take us back a decade and tell the committee what happened to your
funding and staff during the 1990s. Tell us where you are relative to that now.
Mr. Judd: That is perhaps easiest to do in terms of how many bodies we
have. At the beginning of the 1990s, we had over 2,700 staff. In the mid-1990s,
as part of the overall deficit-elimination program of the then-government, we
had what was called program review. Significant reductions were made in
government operations, including in my organization, to the extent that by, I
believe, the year 2000 we had fallen to around 1,900 or 2,000 personnel.
Post-9/11, the federal budget of late 2001 — December, I believe it was —
provided an infusion of funding to a number of agencies, including ours, that
had some relationship to security and so on, as a consequence of which our
personnel numbers are now up over 2,400 and projected to grow over the next
several years as well.
All that said, my minister had asked some time ago that we undertake an
assessment for him of our resource situation. We expect to have that completed
by next month. There is one piece still outstanding in terms of an external
assessment of our information technology requirements, and that would be the
basis for discussions with the minister and others in government as to the way
forward on the resource situation generally.
The Chairman: If I understand you correctly, five years after 9/11 you
still have 300 fewer people than you had 10 years before 9/11?
Mr. Judd: Correct.
The Chairman: The people you are bringing into the agency do not have
nearly the experience they would have had if you had not lost so many people in
Mr. Judd: It is partially that. Partially, it is by virtue of the fact
that we are dealing with the demographic reality facing every public and private
sector institution in the country, which is that the baby boomers are checking
out. It is a preoccupation for us. The generational phenomenon is a
preoccupation for our friends in the United States, Australia, Britain and some
others, as well as the reductions of the 1990s. If you look at most Western
institutions, after the end of the Cold War a number of defence and security
establishments had their budgets reduced because it was the dawn of a new era, a
new world order, as you may recall the phrase.
We are all now facing a significant challenge in bringing in many new people
who, as you say, unfortunately, do not have the experience of the ones who are
leaving but who, in many respects, are terrific people educationally and in
terms of background and work experience, linguistic capability and so on.
If I were to take you to a class of our recruits, you would be quite happy
with them, other than their youthfulness.
The Chairman: I will not take that personally. Do any of the countries
you mentioned spend as little as $10 per capita on their intelligence apparatus?
Mr. Judd: Most other intelligence apparatuses do not tell people how
much they spend.
The Chairman: Do you know?
Mr. Judd: Inadvertently, though, senior American officials in the
intelligence community in the course of this year allowed as to how the United
States spends something in the order of $44.5 billion annually on intelligence
and employs in excess of 100,000 people in the business. That, of course, is
spread over 16 or 17 agencies now.
I do not think our British colleagues publish a global number, so it is
impossible to distinguish between what is spent on GCHQ (Government
Communications Headquarters), MI5 or MI6. We could try to get that information
for the committee.
The Chairman: We think it would be instructive.
How long is the lag time that it takes an analyst or someone working for CSIS
to become effective? At what point do you normally find that someone is able to
function on their own and when do you consider you have a mature and competent
individual working for you? That is without taking anything away from the talent
that you think is bright to start with.
Mr. Judd: It varies in terms of what we are expecting them to do. I
could differentiate between three different kinds of jobs: an intelligence
investigator who is out in a Canadian city somewhere working with the population
at large, tracing leads, checking things and so on; someone in more of an
analytical job; and someone who is shipped overseas for that kind of work. On
average, my guess would be a minimum of five years. Some would say seven to 10,
depending on the kind of job and the individual's temperament. It would be in
The Chairman: When you are talking about the resources and the number
of people you have, our understanding is that there are — plus or minus 10 —
around 50 organizations of concern to CSIS in Canada and perhaps 350 individuals
— plus or minus whatever per cent — but that is sort of the range.
How many people working for you does it take to keep track of an individual
or an organization? Start with perhaps the most difficult, where you are trying
to keep someone under surveillance for a period of time without them knowing it,
and then move to the other end of the spectrum, generally staying current with
what is going on in an organization.
Give us some sense of the number of people it takes to keep track of a person
of interest, a potential problem.
Mr. Judd: Without getting into the details of how we conduct business,
I would say that you could probably divide that into three or four parts.
Physical surveillance, which is to say surreptitiously monitoring someone's
physical movements, is extraordinarily resource intensive if you want to avoid
having your surveillance identified. One individual in a major urban setting at
any given time could require up to 20 people.
The Chairman: That is over an eight-hour period so would you multiply
that by three for each shift?
Mr. Judd: We always hope that the people we are following are
The Chairman: Those are referred to as "sleeper agents''?
Mr. Judd: You modulate it over the course of a 24-hour period.
Second, there are a variety of technological means of monitoring an
individual. That, in turn, requires someone to effect the technology
installation plus monitoring what comes out of it.
The third mechanism would be our reliance on what we call "human sources''
across the country — that is, people who monitor and are actively aware of the
movements of some of the individuals we target.
The Chairman: You gave us a number for the first category but you did
not give us a number for the second, which was technological monitoring and
analyzing what you pick up from that, or the third. Can you give us some sense
of the number of people needed to do those different tasks?
Mr. Judd: One off-installation would require as many as a dozen
individuals. Depending on how many hours per day monitoring was done, that would
probably require several individuals. On the human source side, we often have
multiple human sources dealing with a particular group or target, so it
fluctuates depending on how we judge the risk and degree to which we are
successful in getting effective human sources on the target. It would be hard to
give a precise number on that category.
The Chairman: If you have 2,400 employees, presumably a significant
portion of them handle payroll, personnel and what I would call support
administration. Assuming there are 50 organizations and 350 individuals of
interest to CSIS, you do not have a lot of people to be focusing on the bad
Mr. Judd: Again, it is a risk-management issue. We constantly assess
and reassess our targets and adjust the resource levels that are thrown against
We are as good as anyone in the world on the technological side, although we
do have challenges because of the pace of change in technology, particularly
with Internet service providers and other communications means.
The Chairman: Are you including the Communications Security
Establishment (CSE) in this?
Mr. Judd: No. As you know, CSE does not do anything inside Canada so
we are, in effect, the domestic signals intelligence agency.
It is constant triage, assessment, reassessment and change in the level of
coverage that you undertake. In some cases, we may take an interest in an
individual or group, conduct an investigation and then cast them off to the side
because we find they do not really pose a threat. We discontinue investigations
on individuals. Every month or two an assessment is made that someone is benign
and does not merit further investigation. We drop them and move on to other
things. It is constant juggling.
Senator Banks: To pursue the question the chair just asked about CSE,
they do not do intelligence-gathering inside the country but both of you do
outside Canada. Is your technological expertise and equipment of approximately
the same standard as that of CSE? I know it is not the same "stuff.'' However,
you have to do intelligence-gathering outside the country, too. Do you rely
entirely on them or do you have your own discreet system? Are you roughly
comparable in terms of capacity with CSE?
Mr. Judd: We collect intelligence overseas that is related to our core
national security mandate. We do not collect intelligence overseas on the
comings and goings of foreign governments or foreign intelligence in that sense.
We and CSE are in somewhat different businesses. Our organization is
principally a human intelligence agency with a signals intelligence component
that we use to supplement our human intelligence activity. CSE is a signals
intelligence agency. They probably have technological and technical capacities
that we do not have and really do not need because we are not engaged in the
same activity that they are.
They are part of the broader security and intelligence community, and there
is some exchange of personnel between the two organizations that helps keep us
current about technologies that might be of interest to us in our work.
Senator Banks: When you need "stuff'' from them, do you get it without
Mr. Judd: I do not think we have had any problems with the
Senator Banks: In our meetings with governments of other
jurisdictions, it has been pointed out that historically Canada had a seat at
the table when it came to the trading of security intelligence matters
internationally which, particularly during the Cold War, was based not so much
on Canada's capacity to gather intelligence — because that has always been
limited — but rather on our particular expertise in the processing of
intelligence. Intelligence needs to be processed in order to be made useful.
We were told at one point we had lost some of that capacity. Have we regained
it, and do we have a good seat at the table now with regard to the exchange of
security intelligence information internationally, or are we regarded as
Mr. Judd: As you say, historically we have been judged to have been on
the short side in the collection of foreign intelligence and, therefore, seen as
somewhat deficient in our capacity to share with our foreign partners. I think
that today we are still a net importer of intelligence but I do not have the
impression that we have lost a seat at the table, although the environment in
which we function now is completely different than it was 20 years ago. These
things continue to move. We have very good relationships with principal Western
partners and a number of partners elsewhere in the world, but the bottom line is
we are a net importer still.
Senator Banks: At one time there was not a committee such as this in
the Senate; some of us are charter members of it. One of our first comments to
one of your predecessors — actually it was a criticism I suppose — based on our
knowledge, was that CSIS had limited knowledge with respect to operations and
the gathering and collection of intelligence information outside Canada. I
gather that has changed somewhat in that there are now more CSIS officers
operating overseas, presumably in specifically targeted areas. In other words,
we have not tried to spread the butter so thin on the toast that we have tried
to cover the whole world but we identify things that are of particular interest
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Banks: Without getting into any numbers or areas, to what
extent has that proportion changed? Are you satisfied at the moment with that
proportion of operations that you are able to stand up outside the country?
Mr. Judd: I do not have precise numbers but it is certainly my sense
that the degree to which the organization is operating outside the country has
been on the increase over the last five years.
We have more people now deployed on a full-time basis overseas than we ever
have in the past. We also have more people operating from offices in Canada but
assigned overseas on a part-time basis in pursuit of a particular case or
investigation. It is not unusual for any of our given offices across the country
to have someone in a foreign country for the purposes of pursuing an
investigation related to a case here in Canada. However, I cannot give you a
precise number. Certainly the sense is that we are growing.
In terms of where we are on a full-time basis, again, we are doing a
reassessment of that this summer in order to try and determine whether we are
actually in the right places or whether we can get out of some places and move
to some other places that might be of higher interest to us. I expect we will
probably change our profile over the course of the next year in terms of our
overseas presence as a consequence of this review.
Senator Banks: We would never want you to tell us exact numbers or
exact locations; that would not be a good idea.
We have noticed that you have been advertising in newspapers across the
country for people in operational and support and clerical positions.
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Banks: "Recruiting'' would be the way to put it. Are you
meeting with some success? You partly answered that question earlier. You have a
quotient. Are you meeting it?
Mr. Judd: We are being too successful. In the ordinary course of a
year we would get thousands of applications on our website or in our offices.
When we did the public advertising this spring the number jumped by
approximately 3,000. I say that is a problem because it creates an issue in
processing because, unfortunately, it takes a long time to get someone from the
street into the organization because of the screening and security vetting
processes that take place.
Senator Campbell: You do not want any good ones to go by so you have
to do them all.
Mr. Judd: Yes. In that sense, it is a nice problem to have but it does
create a bit of a bottleneck issue for us.
Senator Banks: Is it going okay, though?
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Banks: Do you have specific requirements in the agency as to
language skills? There are certain circumstances, surely, in which if you want
to send someone to Italy you need someone who can speak colloquial Italian. Are
you having success in that respect? Also, do you find that your agency, in terms
of its overall complement, is becoming more reflective of the Canadian
Mr. Judd: We currently have a linguistic capacity in the service that
covers 85 or 90 foreign languages. It is a requirement for the service, as an
intelligence officer, that one be bilingual before embarking on the job. On
average, I think somewhere between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of our
intelligence officer recruits over the last number of years have had a third or
fourth or fifth language as well.
We do language training ourselves for languages other than English or French
for foreign assignments. On demography as a whole, we are about 60 per cent
anglophone, 40 per cent francophone. We are about 51 per cent male, 49 per cent
female. In terms of employment of visible minorities, I believe we are around 11
per cent now, which puts us above the federal public service average.
Senator Banks: When you say it is a requirement that inductees into
the organization be bilingual, do you mean French and English?
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Banks: Would a francophone who also speaks Farsi be welcomed
Mr. Judd: Yes. We provide the language training in official languages.
If we see someone of interest to us who is, say a francophone and Farsi speaker
but has no English, we would teach that individual English, or vice versa.
The Chairman: There has been a huge focus on terrorism since 9/11. It
must have come at the expense of something. What has happened to the threat from
espionage? How are you addressing that? Have you fewer concerns about that? Is
that part of your job just seeing fewer resources?
Mr. Judd: The concerns are still there but they are fundamentally
different from 20 years ago in the period of the Cold War. We do retain an
interest and active operations in counter-espionage because there are, at any
given time, a number of foreign governments who try to conduct espionage
operations in Canada or, alternatively, interfere in the affairs of émigré
communities in the country. We take exception to those kinds of things and try
to actively monitor those activities and, where necessary, intervene to stop
Senator Atkins: Why do you want to demystify CSIS?
Mr. Judd: It is a common phenomenon among most Western agencies such
as ours. It is partly because there is a view among agencies like ours that we
are wrongly accused of conduct or activities that are detrimental to the
interest of individuals or communities — issues around targeting, profiling and
It is also reflective of the fact that intelligence agencies, for good or bad
reasons, have been more publicly prominent over the past five or six years, in
part because of so-called intelligence failures. You have seen in the United
States, for example, a full-bore congressional inquiry into the intelligence
business, followed by the 9/11 Commission, followed by the Rob Silverman
Commission. Those sorts of things create an environment for better public
understanding of what is going on.
You have seen the same thing happen in the U.K. as a consequence initially
with the Butler Report — because of the decision by the British government to go
into Iraq — and most recently by the parliamentary committee that investigated
the July transit bombings last year. You have seen the same thing happen in
Australia and some other Western jurisdictions.
In Canada, together with the RCMP and other federal agencies, we have been
heavily involved in the O'Connor commission on Mr. Arar's circumstances. With
Bob Rae's review of Air India last year and the inquiry that Mr. Justice Major
is about to launch on Air India, willingly or not we are being dragged more into
the public light. Both to address misconceptions that exist about what we do,
who we are and so on, and also by virtue of having to appear before commissions
of inquiry or parliamentary committees, we have been probably more front and
centre with this committee or committees on the House side because of the
anti-terrorism legislation review. There are a variety of reasons.
Senator Atkins: Can you win that?
Mr. Judd: I am an inordinately optimistic person so hope springs
eternal for me, but it is a long haul.
Senator Banks: Some of us were part of an all-party committee of both
Houses of Parliament that was examining parliamentary oversight in terms of
security intelligence matters. Canada does not have any, in a sense. Even if
this committee were to ask you certain questions — and most of us know not to do
that — you would be obliged often to respond that you cannot answer that
question here in these circumstances because we do not have the necessary
But the government is about to bring forward a version, at least of the
previous government's plan to bring about security — the scrutiny by
parliamentarians beyond ministerial scrutiny and oversight of security
intelligence systems. Would that make you uncomfortable, in light of the fact
that the U.K. has it, Australia has it and the United States has it in a degree
that we have not even suggested here? Are you concerned about that at all?
Mr. Judd: I have no difficulty personally with the idea of a
parliamentary committee in this domain. I have had the opportunity since I have
been in this job to meet with the former chairwoman of the British committee
and, more recently, with the chairs of the Senate and House committees in the
U.S. Congress. I have also had an opportunity to talk to my colleagues in the
United States and in the United Kingdom about their experience with committees.
My own view is that having a parliamentary committee engaged in this would be
useful in terms of giving parliamentarians a better understanding of who does
what, how, why and so on in this business. The only caveat I would add is that
CSIS is currently probably the most reviewed entity in the federal government.
We are subject to review by all the agents of Parliament currently, from the
Auditor General to the Information Commissioner. We are subject to review by the
Treasury Board Secretariat in terms of how we spend money. We have two review
agencies established in our own legislation — the Inspector General and the
Security Intelligence Review Committee.
My hope would be that, were there to be a parliamentary committee, there
would have to be some consequential recognition of a need to rationalize all of
the various review mechanisms that we currently have in CSIS. The problem is a
bit exacerbated for us at the moment because of Mr. O'Connor's and Mr. Major's
inquiries, which imposed even further burdens on us. However, that is a more
The Chairman: The parliamentary review that Senator Banks is referring
to looked at very different models. The U.K. and Australian models, to put it
bluntly, are toothless. The House and Senate select committees in Congress have
considerable resources and ability to derive a great deal of information. Are
you comfortable with either model?
Mr. Judd: Based on my experience dealing with the U.S. Congress, it
generally has much greater resources than any parliamentary system I have ever
seen, be it ours or the British or the Australian. At last count, I think there
were 25,000 staff working on Capitol Hill for committees, individual legislators
and the various congressional bodies, which puts it in a completely different
world than we are used to in Canada. I do not have an adequate sense of the
functioning of the congressional committees versus the British committee to be
able to give you an intelligent answer as to which I would prefer. Certainly,
the British committee has been portrayed to me, both by its former chairwoman
and others in the British system, as being a fairly effective body. Whether
parliamentarians here share that view is open for debate.
The Chairman: It is staffed and is an adjunct of the Prime Minister's
Office over there. The proposed legislation here was to have the staff for the
Canadian committee staffed out of the Privy Council Office (PCO). That struck us
as being a little unusual inasmuch as some of the folks in PCO would be the
people of most interest to this committee — no need to comment.
Mr. Judd: I understand your conundrum.
Senator Atkins: When we met with the head of the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, we found out that he reported to the President every morning.
Do you have a morning report or a system in which you report to the Prime
Minister on a regularly scheduled basis?
Mr. Judd: We have a daily reporting regime that is shared with a
number of decision makers in government at the political and bureaucratic
levels, and face-to-face meetings and briefings are done on an as-needs basis.
The Chairman: Our clear impression — and I am speaking from our
experience on the special committee to which Senator Banks referred — is that
the system here is very much "push up.'' In other words, organizations like
yours find themselves pushing information up as opposed to being in a pull
situation where leaders are asking for information from you. There is inherently
less interest in these sorts of issues in this country than there might be, and
requests on you from prime ministers generally speaking — and I am going back
over any number of prime ministers — tend to be certainly not on a daily or even
weekly basis but could best be described as on an occasional basis. Do we have
the right impression?
Mr. Judd: That is an impolite question, senator.
I have only been in this job for 18 months and have served under two prime
ministers. My experience has been that the system provides a constant stream of
material to them. Certainly to the extent that they generate an interest in an
issue, that is satisfied as immediately as possible through personal briefings.
The upside of this is that it is probably a happy comment on our circumstance
in Canada that political leaders do not have to be preoccupied with these issues
on a daily basis.
The Chairman: That leads right to this question: Now that the 17 have
been arrested in Toronto, can we all rest easy? Are things in good shape or are
there concerns out there that, if they are not causing other people to lose
sleep, are they causing you to lose sleep?
Mr. Judd: If they were, my BlackBerry would have gone off several
times during the course of this hearing and so far it has not. I take that as a
positive sign at the moment.
The Chairman: So for today things are okay?
Mr. Judd: Yes.
The Chairman: How about in a general sense? I participated in a
hotline show a couple of weeks ago and, of 15 questioners, 14 said we did not
have anything to be concerned about in terms of terrorist activity in Canada.
The fifteenth said if we did have concerns, the Americans would take care of
them for us. What do you feel about that? Do you sense that there is an "all is
well'' view in the population, generally speaking, and that Canadians do not
have a good understanding of the sorts of threats and risks that exist? Or do
you have the impression that Canadians understand well what dangers may be
Mr. Judd: As a general proposition, I am not sure that the average
Canadian understands many of these issues. Obviously, public concern has risen
as a consequence of what happened in Toronto earlier this month. Comparatively
speaking, we are in better circumstances than many other jurisdictions in terms
of our national security circumstances. I suspect most Canadians are of a view
that they pay us, the RCMP, law enforcement agencies and other agencies and
services to ensure that things are maintained in a secure fashion in the
Assessing relative risk is always difficult. As you know, it can fluctuate
from time to time but I am sleeping as well as ever of late.
The Chairman: Should Canadians be concerned or should they go to bed
each night saying that things are okay?
Mr. Judd: I think Canadians should be conversant with these issues in
the broader environment. I do not know that I would recommend Canadians go to
bed and toss and turn all night worrying about these things.
The Chairman: Should they say a short prayer, perhaps?
Mr. Judd: Praying is generally seen as a useful daily thing.
Senator Atkins: I will follow up on that comment by asking you about
industrial espionage. Is there an increase in concern with regard to the issue?
Are we on top of it?
Mr. Judd: Are you referring to industrial espionage by foreigners?
Senator Atkins: Yes.
Mr. Judd: It is a concern here as it is, I think, in most advanced
industrialized economies. Periodically, there are instances of individuals being
apprehended with intellectual property that they should not otherwise have in
their possession. It remains a concern here in Canada as well. We work with the
private sector to try to apprise them of some of the risks they face on that
sort of thing. We do have the odd investigation related to that kind of activity
Senator Atkins: It is certainly out there, is it not?
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Atkins: We heard this morning from CBSA about border security.
How much of a concern do you have about the influx of weapons, drugs and those
sorts of things that are coming through, based on the information we heard this
morning? With regard to the proliferation of weapons, for instance, is that
really increasing? Are the Americans right when they say that we are a zoo?
Mr. Judd: I do not know enough about that issue to give you a sensible
answer. I missed Mr. Jolicoeur's testimony. I know there has been a longstanding
issue in this country as to the origins of firearms in Canada, particularly
weapons other than the usual automatic weapons, et cetera.
As to our success in dealing with their capture or identification at the
border, I have no information at all on that.
Senator Atkins: This is not an area that you really concentrate on.
Mr. Judd: In some cases, we take an active interest but it tends to be
focussed on specific individuals, if you will, in a particular investigation.
Yes, there have been instances of our having concerns about that.
Senator Atkins: We found in our travels in the U.S. that there was a
lot of disconnect between the different agencies. Are you satisfied that we have
dealt with this in Canada and that all the different agencies which are
responsible for the security and safety of the country are working together the
way you would like them to work?
Mr. Judd: By and large, I think we are doing a pretty good job in
Canada. My impression is that we are doing better than some other jurisdictions
in the Western world on that front. I do not know whether we have achieved an
ideal state, but we have certainly spent a lot of time in our organization
trying to improve our operational working relationship with the RCMP and other
police services, with the Canada Border Services Agency, Foreign Affairs Canada,
the Canadian Forces, the Department of National Defence and so on. We have a
good relationship with the people in those organizations, by and large, better
than some other countries I have seen.
Senator Moore: Of the 2400 personnel at the establishment, what
percentage would be involved in administration?
Mr. Judd: It is probably less than 10 per cent.
Senator Moore: Does the overseas complement include the United States?
Mr. Judd: Do you mean how many people?
Senator Moore: Yes, percentage-wise.
Mr. Judd: It is about 2.5 per cent.
Senator Moore: Does that include the United States?
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Moore: Senator Campbell was asking about immigrants and
screening. You mentioned that you were asked to check about 10 per cent of the
total annual intake. What is involved with such a screening and who would ask
you? Depending on what you find as a result of your investigation, who has the
final decision as to whether the person should be recommended or should be
denied? Is it just CBSA or Foreign Affairs Canada or Citizenship and Immigration
Canada (CIC) that would ask you to do it? Does any other department or agency
within government ask CSIS to do an investigation of an immigrant applicant?
Mr. Judd: No, it would be Citizenship and Immigration Canada or CBSA.
We would do the screening which is, as I say, about 10 per cent annually.
The length of time and the degree of complexity of the screening process
would vary by individuals, country and circumstances.
I will double-check the figures and communicate back to the chair formally,
but I think we probably do several hundred negative briefs annually out of those
numbers. The decision is ultimately not ours. It is the decision of the
Senator Moore: Is Citizenship and Immigration Canada the lead
department in these situations?
Mr. Judd: Yes.
Senator Moore: What is involved when you do a screening of an
Mr. Judd: We would try to conduct background trace checks on the
individual through local law enforcement or security agencies.
Senator Moore: Would that be of the country of origin?
Mr. Judd: Yes, it would. If we got particularly excited about someone,
we might check the individual out with other agencies outside that country to
see whether there was a history there, particularly if you are dealing with
someone who is rather migratory in his or her life.
Senator Moore: I would like to confirm that it is Citizenship and
Immigration Canada in the final analysis. That department will take whatever
evidence your people provide but it is their call. CIC does not necessarily have
to take your recommendation and follow it?
Mr. Judd: That is correct.
The Chairman: Yes. When you provide a negative report, are you advised
in each case if your recommendation is not accepted?
Mr. Judd: That is a good question. I do not have the answer. I will
get it for you.
The Chairman: It would seem to us that if your recommendation is not
accepted, you suddenly have another person of interest in the country.
Mr. Judd: I want to be absolutely sure about my answer, so I will
check with my folks and communicate back to you later today.
Senator Banks: My question is about persons of interest. Refugee
claimants in this country are often released into the population before a
determination is made about the success of their application, unlike other
countries who detain them until a decision is made. Is it the responsibility of
your agency or CBSA to try to keep tabs on those claimants for refugee status? I
am assuming that, in some cases, if there has been some kind of flagging, it
might be yours. Are you involved in that?
Mr. Judd: The broader responsibility would be that of CBSA. Again,
depending on the circumstances of an individual case, we might take an active
interest in the individual as well and supplement whatever CBSA was doing in the
monitoring of the individual.
Senator Banks: We would have to ask CBSA, but I think it has limited
resources in terms of following those folks and keeping track of them. Would it
be the case that CBSA would notify you if it had lost track of someone of
particular interest who had fallen through the system? Would CBSA tell CSIS that
that person of interest is somewhere in Canada? Would you assist them in
tracking down that person?
Mr. Judd: I believe that is the case, yes.
The Chairman: Recently there were reports that officials working for
you had been in contact with the families of some of the people arrested in
Toronto earlier this month. An effort was made to persuade them to assist you or
cooperate with CSIS. How is the trade-off done between seeking out that sort of
support and assistance and tipping off individuals who may be problematic? How
does the organization make judgments of that nature?
Mr. Judd: It is done pretty much on a case-by-case basis. If someone
could be convinced to put his or her energies into some other endeavour — be it
academic, professional, sports or anything other than being a risk to national
security — we would be happy if those individuals chose that route. However, the
assessment, monitoring and investigation done by our folks are on a case-by-case
Often, people will be interviewed by our personnel in an investigation
directly and will have some awareness that they were of interest to us to begin
The Chairman: If they clearly have an interest, is it then a question
of persuasion as opposed to disrupting or blocking?
Mr. Judd: Where our staff makes a judgment that some individual might
be deterred from proceeding further down the path and redirecting his or her
energies into something more productive, they would be prepared to take a shot
at that, including getting the family involved as a kind of pressure mechanism
on the individual to change their ways.
Senator Moore: If there were 200 or so negative reports in a year, how
many actual investigations would you do?
Mr. Judd: Let us say ballpark that there are 250,000 people coming
into the country then we would do 10 per cent, which would be 25,000. It would
be less than 1 per cent.
The Chairman: How many field investigations would you do for people
being hired for sensitive jobs within the government?
Mr. Judd: In total — and I am going on memory now — for the last
fiscal year we were approaching half a million clearances — immigration, refugee
and employment in the federal government where a security clearance is required.
We also do clearances for those kinds of individuals in the province of Alberta,
the province of New Brunswick, the nuclear industry and some other so-called
"sensitive'' sectors, for example, truckers who have fast access over the
Senator Moore: The provincial government would contact your agency and
ask you to provide that service for them for security-sensitive positions?
Mr. Judd: That is correct. Two of them do that now.
The Chairman: When I refer to a "full field'' investigation, what sort
of resources does that involve?
Mr. Judd: All of our offices in Canada have full-time screening
investigators who do nothing but screening. Some of the work tends to be
cyclical. We do screening for the military. If the military is moving into a
major overseas operation and all of a sudden we have 5,000 to get done, we will
bring people back on contract if need be to help expedite the clearance process.
Our population of screeners varies over the course of a year in response to the
screening level at that time of the year.
The Chairman: What is the lag time between request and product?
Mr. Judd: It varies. I can get more precise data and communicate that
back to you. It depends on the category of screening but we have standards to
meet in terms of how fast we do the turnarounds. I think we have data on that
which we can provide to you.
The Chairman: You are talking about 500,000 screenings and you have a
staff of 2,400.
Mr. Judd: We also have contractors, when required. We might add
another 200 over the course of a year as part- time contract staff.
The Chairman: Shifting the questioning briefly, where is the line or
what are the bounds when you are involved in a blocking or disruption solution
with individuals who are problematic? Where do you find yourself getting close
to the edges of what the law permits?
Mr. Judd: I think we do operate within the law on everything that we
do. We have at least two agencies as part of our legislation that spend most of
their time reassuring Canadians that we do operate within the law, in addition
to our own justice department legal team in CSIS which helps us deal with legal
issues, warrants and so on.
The determination on that kind of intervention, in terms of trying to deter
someone going further down the path, would depend in part on how far we thought
they were along; in part on how interconnected they were; and in part on what
our overall sense of comfort was about understanding their connections,
domestically or internationally. A package of factors would go into that.
Senator Banks: You said that, among the security checks you do, you
include members of the Armed Forces who are going overseas. What are the
circumstances in which that would happen?
Mr. Judd: We respond to the military. The military have certain
standards that they deem necessary for their personnel who are in operational
Senator Banks: For example, would personnel going to Afghanistan be
subject to a security check before they leave the country?
Mr. Judd: Probably, but we are just responders to the Canadian Forces.
The Chairman: Your predecessor, Ward Alcock, said that it was not a
question of if Canada will be faced with a terrorist attack but a question of
when. Do you subscribe to that? Do you believe that statement is still accurate?
Mr. Judd: If you look at what has been happening in the world over the
past five or six years, the level of terrorist activity globally is on a
constant increase. We have seen in a number of Western jurisdictions now,
starting with the United States and 9/11, Madrid, Spain, London, the Netherlands
and other Western European countries, plots and conspiracies that were actually
realized, and in a number of jurisdictions plots and conspiracies that were
apprehended before they could be realized. I do not know that some of the
underlying causes that are promoting terrorism in the world today will be
disappearing in the near term. I would like to be more optimistic than my
predecessor and say that it is certainly possible, but if it all works out the
way we hope it works out, we would be successful in averting any such kind of
incident in this country.
However, as you know, over the course of the last 25 years, we have had some
tragic circumstances in this country starting with the Air India bombing and
activities by Armenian terrorists directed at Turkish diplomats and diplomatic
missions here, and so on. We are by no stretch of the imagination immune or
isolated from the world around us. It is still a possibility. We are still one
of the six countries listed by al Qaeda as a preferred target and we are in the
interesting situation of living next to the number one target of terrorists in
the world today.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Judd, on behalf of the committee. We
appreciate your appearing before us today and look forward to receiving the
additional information you have undertaken to provide. Today has been very
instructive for the committee. We are grateful to you for your assistance.
The committee continued in camera.
The committee resumed in public.
Our next witnesses are from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency
Preparedness Canada. Mr. William J.S. Elliott, Associate Deputy Minister, is
relatively new to his position, having taken on his role in May of 2006.
Previous to that, he served as National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister
in the Privy Council Office. Mr. Elliott's last appearance before the committee
was in December 2002, in his capacity as Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and
Security Group, Transport Canada. The focus of our discussions at that time was
airport security. We welcome him back before the committee today and look
forward to his testimony.
Accompanying Mr. Elliott from the Policing, Law Enforcement and
Interoperability Branch are Diane MacLaren, Assistant Deputy Minister, and
Patricia Hassard, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister.
Mr. Elliott, please proceed with your opening statement.
William J.S. Elliott, Q.C., associate deputy minister, Public Safety and
Emergency Preparedness Canada: Mr. Chairman, Senators, I am pleased to
appear before you today.
I only recently joined the Department of Public Safety and Emergency
Preparedness Canada as Associate Deputy Minister. However, during my time at the
Privy Council Office, I had ongoing dealings with some parts of the department
and of the public safety portfolio, so, therefore, I might be in a better
informed position than my six weeks on the job might otherwise suggest.
My colleagues, Patricia Hassard and Diane MacLaren, and I will do our best to
provide you with information that we hope will contribute to the committee's
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, or PSEPC, together with the
agencies that make up the public safety portfolio, has a total annual operating
budget of about $6 billion and employs more than 55,000 people across Canada.
The portfolio includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service, the Canada Border Services Agency, Correctional Services
Canada and the National Parole Board. Each of these organizations has a specific
mandate. I understand that the committee has already heard today from my
colleagues Alain Jolicoeur and Jim Judd at CBSA.
PSEPC's mandate is to provide leadership and coordination within this complex
public safety portfolio and to work with the provinces and territories, with
foreign governments and international organizations and with key stakeholders in
the private sector to advance public safety for the benefit of all Canadians. In
today's threat environment, it is critical that security organizations share
information and work in a coordinated and integrated manner. The job of the
department is to help facilitate that mandate by building and implementing
national policies for emergency management and national security and by working
with our allies including — and very important — the United States. We must
carry out our important responsibilities in a way that fully reflects and
supports key Canadian values of democracy, human rights, respect for the rule of
law and pluralism.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada is not a first responder.
That responsibility lies with law enforcement agencies and other emergency
response workers, the majority of whom are not federal public servants. It is
essential that we work together to prepare to respond to threats and
emergencies, whether they originate from terrorists, natural disasters or
pandemics. A prime example of our efforts in support of first responders across
Canada is our chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training courses
that are offered at the Canadian Emergency Management College in Ottawa. The
college is operated by our department.
I would like to touch on a number of recent developments, including some
recent machinery of government changes, that impact the public safety portfolio.
First, on June 1, 2006, the Privy Council Office made Public Safety and
Emergency Preparedness Canada responsible for the working group dealing with
Then, last month, government announced that the Canada Firearms Center would
now come under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The government made a number of commitments relating to public safety in the
Speech from the Throne in April of 2006. Helping to protect Canadians and to
build safer communities has been identified as one of five main priorities of
the new government. Budget 2006 provided for significant additional resources to
fight crime, improve border security and strengthen Canada's emergency
management capacity. These investments include $161 million over two years for
the RCMP to begin recruiting more officers and for federal prosecutors to focus
on such law enforcement priorities as drugs, corruption and border security.
Federal agencies that combat money laundering and terrorist financing will
receive $64 million.
As senators have no doubt heard from the Canada Border Services Agency, the
government will invest $101 million over the next two years to begin arming
border officers and to eliminate work-alone posts; $303 million over two years
for low-risk trade and travellers within North America while helping to protect
Canadians from security threats; and $19 million per year to PSEPC to enhance
our capacity to deal with catastrophes and emergencies. These and other
investments will enable the department and portfolio agencies to build on some
of the gains that have been achieved on the national security and emergency
management fronts. We are continuing to address the issues of concern to this
committee and to Canadians.
PSEPC has responsibility within the federal government for exercising
national leadership and emergency management. The department is doing this, in
part, by supporting the work of federal, provincial and territorial ministers
responsible for emergency management. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Canada led the establishment of a forum that brought ministers together for the
first time in more than ten years in January of 2005. At that time, ministers
established an eight-point action plan. Deputy ministers responsible for
emergency management met in Ottawa about three weeks ago to receive a status
report and to discuss the next steps in implementing that plan. Ministers are
scheduled to meet again in September of 2006 to continue this work.
Your committee has probably followed the efforts made to reform the
legislative framework relating to the management of emergencies in Canada.
Bill C-12, the proposed emergency management act, received first reading in
the House of Commons on May 8. Its aim is to provide the Government of Canada
with a strong legislative platform to meet the challenges of emergency
management in the 21st century. The proposed legislation reflects the elements
of modern emergency management: prevention and mitigation, preparedness,
response and recovery, and critical infrastructure protection. A key goal of the
bill is to strengthen coordination for emergencies. For example, the bill
recognizes the minister's leadership role in improving the coordination of
response plans between PSEPC and our federal partners, the provinces and
territories and the private sector. The bill would promote standards and
information sharing and would protect sensitive information provided in
confidence to the Government of Canada.
As I mentioned, PSEPC is not a first responder organization. Canada's
emergency management framework places primary responsibility for emergency
management and response with the provinces and territories which, in turn, place
primary responsibility with municipalities. The federal government works with
and through provincial and territorial governments to support local efforts
during an emergency.
The Government Operations Centre, established in 2004, plays a key role. The
centre is housed within our department and provides 24/7 coordination on behalf
of the government to emerging or occurring events affecting the national
interest. It facilitates the coordination of response and communications among
federal departments and agencies, with provincial and territorial governments as
well as with non-governmental organizations and with industry. To enhance
federal, provincial and territorial emergency response cooperation, the
Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has been leading the
development of the national emergency response system.
This approach aimed at government as a whole facilitates communication,
cooperation and coordination between all stakeholders in order to ensure a
quicker and more harmonized federal and provincial reaction to emergencies,
whatever they may be.
Initial work focused on developing the federal component of the system. We
are now working with our provincial and territorial colleagues to develop the
federal-provincial-territorial interface and coordination mechanisms to support
common emergency response processes. Our goal is to ensure that the federal
system is harmonized with, and complementary to, the existing provincial
The Department of Public Safety also participates in the Integrated Threat
Assessment Centre — or ITAC — housed within CSIS since 2004. Staffed by members
of Canada's security intelligence and law enforcement communities, ITAC assesses
risk, identifies potential threats and, if an event occurs, contributes to the
government's response. It develops and shares threat assessments with key
partners in the intelligence community and with other government departments
and, through the Government Operations Centre, with provincial and territorial
partners who, in turn, share the information with first responders such as
police and fire departments.
The United Kingdom's response to the London bombings in July 2005 illustrates
the importance of exercising and establishing an effective emergency management
system. I am pleased to report that the Department of Public Safety's National
Exercise Program will now include an additional rail and urban transit exercise
series that will partner with key jurisdictions and stakeholders to carry out
complex inter-jurisdictional exercises including tabletop, command post and
full-scale live exercises. These exercises are essential in preparing officials
at all levels of government as well as infrastructure owners and operators,
first responders and law enforcement for their roles in emergencies. Delivery of
these exercises will be supported by a budget 2006 commitment of $8 million.
In the meantime, two recent exercises, Exercise Maritime Response, or EXMR,
in March and Ardent Sentry in May of this year, tested provincial and federal
government response protocols, lines of communication and cooperation in
responding to various terrorist scenarios, such as attacks using radiological
dispersion devices, aircraft hijackings and threats to critical infrastructure.
As well, Exercise March Forward, held in Alberta in March 2006, has advocated
the development of protocols and cooperative arrangements for the development of
heavy urban search and rescue teams to rescue victims from major structural
collapse or other entrapments.
The Public Safety Department also plays a leadership and reinforcement role.
For example, we combat cross-border crime through Integrated Border
Enforcement Teams — or IBETs — made up of RCMP, the Canada Border Services
Agency and local police, working with American agencies and law enforcement
personnel. We now have 23 IBETs working in 15 regional locations across the
With our U.S. counterparts, we have led the cross-border crime forum, which
addresses the law enforcement and national security elements first expressed in
the Smart Borders Declaration. The forum brings together senior officials from
Canada and the U.S. to develop joint solutions to common cross-border crime
issues, including organized crime, human smuggling, firearms trafficking, mass
marketing fraud, cybercrime and terrorism. There is also good cooperation
between the RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard to secure inland border waterways.
The committee may be familiar with a pilot project called Shiprider, which
took place in 2005. This pilot supported the work related to the Super Bowl held
early this year in Detroit. These two events are good examples of truly
integrated law enforcement operations between Canada and the U.S. We believe
they can serve as a model for future cooperation.
Shifting focus somewhat, I know the committee is interested in the Western
Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which will implement new document requirements for
travellers entering the United States from within North America and the
Caribbean. The Government of Canada is working collaboratively with the U.S. to
consider the feasibility of documents other than a passport or the USPASS card
to meet identity and status requirements at the Canada-U.S. land border. Our aim
is to ensure that new requirements are implemented in ways that address the
security needs of both countries while facilitating the flow of legitimate
travellers and goods across our shared border.
To ensure proper implementation, we will have to find travel documents that
are easy to obtain and are secure, and to set up at our border points the
required technology to process them in a quick, secure and efficient manner.
In these brief remarks, my goal has not been to provide an exhaustive update
on everything the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is
doing to strengthen public safety, national security and emergency management. I
have tried to highlight some key areas of activity that respond to issues raised
by this committee and others. We will continue to work to fulfill our leadership
and coordination role.
My colleagues and I welcome the opportunity to be here, and would welcome any
questions you may have.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Elliott.
Senator Campbell: My first question has to do with the flow of
responsibilities from federal to provincial and down to municipalities. What
role does the federal government play in this whole scheme, given that it is a
provincial responsibility and the federal government has made it clear that any
funding for municipalities must flow from the provinces?
Mr. Elliott: Mr. Chairman, I guess the answer to that is multifaceted.
I will begin, and my colleagues may add their comments.
There are several roles that the federal government can, and does, play.
Certainly, one thing we provide for is training. I mentioned the college here in
Ottawa. There is a program — the JEPP program — which provides funding for first
responders to acquire equipment.
Senator Campbell: Is that funding direct to the municipality, or must
it go through the province?
Patricia Hassard, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management
and National Security Branch, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada:
The funding goes to the province. The province is the body that makes the
Mr. Elliott: In many instances, where those employed by municipalities
are the front line of response, many of our dealings with municipalities is
through their provincial or territorial governments. That certainly is in
recognition of the constitutional responsibilities of provinces and territories.
The current government has certainly been very clear in its instructions that
the responsibilities of provinces should be reflected in how we engage on these
Ms. Hassard: If I may add a thought or two, in the emergency
management community we are all after the same thing, which is seamless delivery
of services to the victims of disaster. Whatever jurisdiction is involved, we do
not want that to show to the victims. If one jurisdiction is overwhelmed, then
the other jurisdictions will pitch in with whatever resources are available.
From the federal point of view, we are trying to put in place the framework
that will encourage and facilitate that seamless delivery. We are doing that
through our emergency management doctrine, so that we have a common language and
a leadership role for the minister. Although it is mostly a coordinative role,
on occasion the federal government must act if there are national security
events, and there are many such occasions.
We have also developed an emergency management doctrine in collaboration with
the provinces and territories. All of our programs do recognize the role that
the federal government has in interfacing with the provinces, and the provinces
interfacing with the municipalities, so that even in our contribution programs,
if the municipalities do want funding under our joint emergency preparedness
program, which supplies them with equipment and training, they must put that
request through their province, which helps them prioritize their requests.
However, senators should be aware that 90 per cent of that funding does go to
Senator Campbell: Can you provide our committee with an appreciation
of how government intelligence requirements are established and communicated to
the agencies involved in collection, analysis and enforcement? How does it all
fit together: the RCMP, CSIS, the Canada Border Services Agency, Corrections and
the National Parole Board? How does that fit into a space where you receive
information and determine its accuracy and the enforcement process that must
Mr. Elliott: The question is multi-layered. Dealing first with the
establishment of intelligence priorities, if I take the question to refer to
collect priorities — that is, to identify areas where intelligence should be
gathered, or subjects in relation to whom intelligence is required — there is an
interdepartmental exercise that brings together both those who collect
intelligence, which would certainly include, from our portfolio, CSIS. There are
other important collectors of intelligence, of which the Communication Security
Establishment is one. However, that is not part of the Public Safety portfolio,
but attached to the Department of National Defence.
Depending on how you define the word "intelligence,'' there are certainly a
number of other departments and agencies that gather information of interest to
Canada in relation to a wide variety of national interests, not only in relation
to security but also in relation to other interests. The Department of Foreign
Affairs certainly is a significant gatherer and provider of information. The
RCMP and others gather criminal intelligence.
There is work across those departments and agencies to establish priorities
on an annual basis. That is done at the highest levels. Throughout the year,
there is further interdepartmental discussion on an ongoing basis with respect
to actually translating those priorities into more specific activities.
The question also raises issues with respect to the assessment of
intelligence and the making of value judgments with respect to the quality of
intelligence. Again, there are a number of players associated with that role —
some in our portfolio, and others not. The primary assessors of security
intelligence are at CSIS. When I was speaking about priority-setting for
collection and the collection of intelligence, I failed to mention National
Defence and the Canadian Forces in addition to the Communication Security
Establishment, which is affiliated with National Defence and is within the
responsibilities of the Minister of Defence. The forces themselves have
significant intelligence-related activities, both in the gathering and
assessment of intelligence.
My opening remarks included a reference to the Integrated Threat Assessment
Centre. This is a relatively new entity that was established following the
release by the previous government of a national security policy. It is
presently headed by a senior member of the RCMP. It is part of CSIS but is
staffed by officers from across the federal security and intelligence community.
Our department, for example, is represented, as is the Privy Council Office,
National Defence, Foreign Affairs, Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP, and
I believe there is also a representative of the Ontario Provincial Police.
There are many issues that touch upon the intelligence provided to us by our
allies. Canada, through various departments and agencies, has a number of
long-standing relationships with our more traditional allies. That would
include, obviously, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New
Zealand. As you may have heard from my colleague Mr. Judd, CSIS also has
arrangements with a number of intelligence organizations literally around the
globe. I might also speak to what happens after you come to assessments, but
perhaps I will leave that for the moment.
The final group I will refer to is the Privy Council Office. There is, within
that part of the Privy Council Office that comes under the National Security
Advisor to the Prime Minister, an intelligence assessment group referred to as
IAS. They are quite active, both in work to establish priorities and in
assessing intelligence and information relevant to Canada's interests.
The Chairman: If I may, the question really was this: How are
government intelligence requirements established? You have given us a list of
who collects intelligence and who analyzes it. The question was about how the
requirements are established. We know they start with a cabinet meeting that
takes place on an annual basis, but the question was: How are they dealt with on
an ongoing basis?
Mr. Elliott: Yes, there is an annual meeting of ministers to review
and approve intelligence priorities. That is traditionally done on an annual
basis. That stems, in part, from the requirement for CSIS's priorities to be
approved annually, which is as a result of a ministerial directive. On an
ongoing basis, those priorities are reviewed and updated, and decisions are
taken with respect to intelligence gathering by a number of interdepartmental
groups chaired by the Privy Council Office and not by my department or the
portfolio. There is a requirements committee chaired by PCO, and there is also a
process to approve foreign intelligence activities of CSIS.
The Chairman: You are saying that these two committees determine the
requirements for the intelligence community on an ongoing basis?
Mr. Elliott: The priorities for the community are established by
The Chairman: Do they meet just once a year, and that is it? Once they
have done that, they are finished?
Mr. Elliott: Ministers who have responsibilities for security and
intelligence organizations certainly have much more of an ongoing role. There
are several roles, for example, for the Minister of Public Safety. There are
various intelligence-gathering activities that require a Federal Court warrant,
for example. The Minister and the Deputy Minister of Public Safety have
responsibilities with respect to the approval of those warrants.
The Chairman: Yes, we are aware of that, but again, you are describing
activities, and really, the question that was put was: How are the intelligence
requirements established? After the initial meeting, if there is a determination
that, six months later, the requirements are different, what is the process for
those judgments to be made?
Mr. Elliott: The requirements at the very beginning of the cycle are
that one needs to first identify Canada's strategic interests, and secondly, in
relation to that, assess both threats and sources of threats. It is on those
assessments that proposals with respect to intelligence are made, and then
direction is provided to the security intelligence community by ministers. If
there was a significant change requiring an adjustment to the priorities as
approved and directed by ministers, then another discussion would occur with
The Chairman: I am sorry, I do not understand. Did you just say that
if there were a specific change in the direction that was approved and decided
by ministers, then there would be another discussion?
Mr. Elliott: I am sorry. If that is what I said, I did not quite mean
to. Circumstances evolve during the course of a year. As you have referred to,
and I believe I have confirmed, in the normal course direction is provided by
ministers on an annual basis. However, certainly there is recognition that the
situation can change other than on an annual basis.
If activities needed to be carried out as a result of, for example, the
emergence of a new threat and the gathering of intelligence in relation to those
activities which were not consistent with the direction provided by ministers,
then departments and agencies would go back to ministers, brief them on
developments and ask for further directions.
The Chairman: Has that situation happened?
Mr. Elliott: The short answer to that question would be yes. There
were certainly lots of briefings and direction provided by ministers of the day
in the wake of the 2005 bombings in London, for example.
Senator Banks: Good afternoon, Mr. Elliott. It is nice to see you
again. Ms. MacLaren, it is nice to see you again. Welcome, Ms. Hassard.
Mr. Elliott, on various occasions you have talked about the potential
oversight by parliamentarians of public safety as well as security and
intelligence matters. There have been reports in the newspapers within the last
few days that Minister Day proposes to bring into Parliament new legislation
that would create oversight by parliamentarians as opposed to committees, by
which I presume he means an all-party committee from both houses. You and I have
discussed that. I will get very specific. Some of us on the committee studied
the question by way of examining oversight by legislators in other countries,
and came back and made recommendations to the then government, which was the one
followed by this government. That government, to a large degree, had misgivings
about membership on that committee of parliamentarians who might have in their
minds something other than the unity of the country.
Can you first confirm your understanding that you expect that the
recommendation by the present government will be something along the lines of
the one put forward by the previous government?
Second, I would like your comment on my question about membership on the
committee: How will it be selected? Will it take into account, to use the
question that I asked at the time, that if an Alberta separatist were elected to
the Parliament of Canada — and I am from Alberta — would it be appropriate that
such an Alberta separatist, with the declared intention of changing the
sovereignty of Canada, should be appointed to a committee of parliamentarians
who would, by definition, have access to the highest levels of security
Mr. Elliott: I do not think there is much light I can shed on this
subject. The minister has indicated that there is ongoing consideration. We as
officials, and I as an individual official, have certainly recognized that there
are a number of difficulties in communications between security intelligence
agencies on the one hand and parliamentarians on the other. We certainly welcome
steps being taken to facilitate franker exchanges of information.
The minister, as I understand it, has indicated that he intends to bring
forward proposals for consideration. I am sure that the issues Senator Banks has
raised with respect to membership will be part of those considerations, but I
have no insight with respect to what specific proposals the government may make.
Senator Banks: However, if you were in your present job of deputy
minister of public safety and you were faced with questions from a committee of
parliamentarians from both houses, which committee had clearance sufficient to
allow you to answer questions of high sensitivity, would you not, as a deputy
minister, have reservations about answering that question before a committee
that contained, let us say, an Alberta separatist? Would that not give you pause
in relation to the fullness of your answer to that committee?
Mr. Elliott: I guess, as an individual, I might have reservations
about answering particular questions during the course of an appearance.
However, as an official, I would follow the policy and direction of the
Senator Banks: With respect to the policy and direction of the
government, last October the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public
Safety and Emergency Preparedness undertook to answer questions that had been
addressed to her by the chair of this committee in relation to candour in
respect of national security. That minister agreed it was a good idea that there
should be more transparency and that we should move much more than we have in
the direction of transparency and providing this committee with examples, for
instance, of the measurements of the effectiveness of things that had been put
into place in relation to national security.
Can you tell us what your department has done since then to increase the
transparency and accountability of that department and of its member agencies
before this committee and Parliament? How does your department measure the
performance and effectiveness of its member agencies?
This committee, of course, is very much interested in hearing about those
measurements of your member agencies in order that we can arrive at opinions
with respect to the efficacy of how money is being spent.
Mr. Elliott: I will turn to my colleagues in a moment because a number
of things in your question relate to topics on which I, candidly, am not up to
With respect to how effectiveness is measured, particularly in relation to
emergency management and response, part of that can best be completed by
engaging in exercises. I made reference in my opening remarks to the fact that
funding is being provided to the department to be able to carry out more
activity in that regard. Specifically, we will be completing such exercises in
relation to transportation security. Money was provided and the Prime Minister
made an announcement last week with respect to a number of initiatives to
enhance transportation and transit security in Canada. As well, the role of
existing review bodies includes the role of looking at and making judgments
about the activities of departments and agencies.
Ms. Hassard: On this one, each of the agencies will have their own
obligations under their own performance management structure, be it the report
on performance or the priorities and planning document. Those, of course, are
parliamentary documents for which they are accountable and on which this
committee can call them to appear.
In the larger picture, we are attempting to be as transparent as possible
about what we are doing, using the website, in particular, to put up our
lessons-learned documents and our exercise calendar. Recently we have launched a
new website for the Canadian Emergency Management College with some of our
training material so that it is available to everyone.
In terms of accountability to Parliament, there is always how we measure up
against the policy frameworks that exist, the national security policy and the
response to committee reports such as the numerous ones published by this
committee. They challenge us to measure our performance and, by appearing before
you, we are accountable.
Senator Banks: You have just identified precisely the problem. We are
less concerned with how well the department's activities and programs measure up
against the government's policies than we are with how well the department's
policies and practices measure up against the situation in the world. It is
precisely in that context that the chair asked that question. We need to get
past the barrier of having questions answered to us within the context of
policy. I know that has been difficult, but the previous minister undertook that
that would be the case.
The gauge by which we choose to measure the effectiveness of an emergency
response to a given situation is not, "This is what the government asked us to
do,'' or "This is the resource upon which we had to rely to do this.'' It is:
"Did we put out the fire?'' That is the question we want to have answered. My
understanding of the previous minister's answer to that question was that the
government would be more forthcoming in that respect. So far, I do not think we
have seen much evidence of that.
In the last budget, the government announced that it was allocating $161
million in order to provide 1,000 new RCMP officers. We do not think that is
enough. We then heard in this committee from the Commissioner of the RCMP, Mr.
Zaccardelli, that he was not actually getting $161 million, because about $27
million of that was being hived off by the department to hire lawyers. That was
not what was undertaken by the government, or said to be in the budget.
By whom have we been wrongly informed?
Mr. Elliott: The budget announcement of $161 million did make
reference to both additional personnel for the RCMP and money for federal
prosecutors. I believe that the funding to which you referred was, in turn,
referred to in the budget.
Senator Tkachuk: On the transparency initiative about which the
previous minister, Anne McLellan, spoke, did she provide a directive or was
there a committee established in the department to ensure that what she had said
in committee would happen, would indeed happen? Second, was the new government
briefed on these measures to ensure continuity?
Mr. Elliott: I will begin by making a quick reference to the Auditor
General. In response to an earlier question about mechanisms and means for the
government to be, first, evaluated and, second, held to account, I should have
spoken of the important role that the Auditor General has in assessing
activities, value for money and effectiveness. She has been very active in
relation to investments dating back to 2001.
I will let my colleagues answer the specific question about what may have
happened in the department in the past. Certainly, the issue of performance
measurement and how one measures and gauges success is a particular challenge in
relation to national security and emergency management. The department does have
a role, and I think that role is confirmed not only in the legislation
establishing the department but also in the bill before the House of Commons
with respect to emergencies. They reflect that the minister and the department
do have roles to play with respect to the activity of others, including things
like business continuity, planning, and testing those plans.
I am not aware of what went on within the department following an earlier
appearance by a minister of the previous government.
Ms. Hassard: We recognize that there is a major issue about how to
evaluate your investments in public safety, whether on the emergency management
side, corrections or crime prevention. In our view, the purpose in creating the
department and its large portfolio that reflects the whole continuum of public
safety, all the way from crime prevention to corrections to national security,
is to attempt to put those pieces together. I cannot say that at this time we
have the instrument that we need, but it is one of the roles we play in terms of
portfolio management and portfolio leadership to try to create a collaborative
evaluation tool that would allow us to benchmark our progress in public safety.
Senator Tkachuk: What happens when a minister makes that commitment?
That was last October; it is now June. Does the department ignore it, or does
the department seek a way to ensure that the minister's words are followed? What
takes place? It has been nine months since that testimony was given before this
The Chairman: There were two commitments by her six months apart. Six
months prior to that, she made the same commitment to the committee.
Senator Tkachuk: I was not aware of that.
The Chairman: It amplifies your point.
Ms. Hassard: We never forget what a minister says. The point is that
there is an area within the department that specializes in evaluation. I cannot
speak directly for them, but I believe that there would be work going on in that
area to cover this issue.
The Chairman: Could you provide the committee with some appreciation
of that work, Mr. Elliott? Could you undertake to write to the committee
indicating what standards are being put in place to govern the risk assessment
process? Something in writing would give us a sense of what you consider a
success, how you measure a success, how independently and frequently it is done,
and how you test the validity of the programs on which you are moving forward.
If it is different in your various organizations, as we have heard it is,
perhaps you could outline where it is different, why there are differences and
how you measure these matters.
Mr. Elliott: I would be happy to provide the committee with written
information on that subject, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Banks: That would be my last question, chair, but at the risk
of hitting the nail on the head once again, and perhaps by way of
counter-sinking it, I would like to ask: The response that the chair has just
asked for is not one that says, in effect — and I will use cartoon versions now;
we are the subject of cartoons all the time — we do not want to hear that "We
are working on it;'' we do not want to hear, with all respect, that "The
department is moving towards finding a way to empanel a committee to study the
possibility of perhaps having a view of giving some effect to this question.''
The kind of incident that we want to hear about is when something by way of an
exercise is done that was beyond a tabletop exercise; an actual in-place,
on-the-ground exercise in response to a forest fire, say, and it was found that
the hoses at one end of a municipality are the wrong size to fit on the hoses at
the other end of the next municipality — that kind of specificity, if I can put
it that way, and I think that was the thrust of the chairman's question. We
would really like to hear, to the extent that it does not harm national
security, the results of those measurements of effectiveness. It is only by that
means that we can be of any use in trying to effect good public policy.
The Chairman: If I could just add as a footnote, because while Senator
Banks may think he counter-sunk the point, I would like to bore right through
and comment, for example, on an answer you gave us today, Mr. Elliott, where you
commented on how great the co-operation was in the exercises going forward, and
you made specific reference to Shiprider, which is a program that related to the
Great Lakes. We have a number of Great Lakes and, to the best of my knowledge,
that was a two-week program involving four vessels and, I believe, eight RCMP
officers; I may be off by an officer or two. Not exactly a sterling record for
the sort of security we can look towards on the Great Lakes. The total
involvement of the RCMP on the Great Lakes boiled down to that. We see the Great
Lakes as a huge, black hole.
Mr. Elliott: Just to elaborate with respect to the Shiprider pilot,
not wanting to mince words, but I think in this instance specific terms are
important. It was a pilot project, a pilot operation, and yes, I believe the
duration was two weeks. It did provide the basis for a second operation in
January or February of this year, and that was to provide for security around
the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl game itself was held in Detroit but there were
actually events that took place in the Windsor area.
This committee has rightly and accurately pointed out a number of
vulnerabilities with respect to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
There have been a number of investments with respect to dealing with that
vulnerability. There certainly is now a better awareness of that domain. We have
established, at least on a temporary or an interim basis, a marine security
operation centre for the Great Lakes.
I believe that there will be further developments with respect to enhancing
capacity for agencies, including the RCMP. I mentioned IBETs. I certainly would
not argue that our security posture in relation to the lakes is as good as it
needs to be. As I said in my opening remarks, some of the lessons that we have
learned from are experiences around the Super Bowl and our experiences around
the Shiprider project we can build on to provide an ongoing, enhanced security
posture in relation to the Great Lakes.
The Chairman: You could also have said that, five years after 9/11,
there is no capacity to enforce federal statutes on the Great Lakes, the St.
Lawrence Seaway or the St. Lawrence River, and that would have given the
committee a pretty accurate picture of where we stand.
Mr. Elliott: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman. Is that a question?
The Chairman: It is a question. Yes or no?
Mr. Elliott: No.
The Chairman: Then please elaborate and tell us about the capacity
Mr. Elliott: There is some capacity. It depends on what you mean. If,
Mr. Chairman, you are referring to on-the- water capacity, that capacity is
quite limited. Certainly, we do have ongoing relationships with the U.S. Coast
Guard, but I certainly believe that the capacity of both the Canadian Coast
Guard, which has limited capacity in the lakes, and the RCMP, which has limited
capacity in the lakes, is seriously in need of enhancement.
The Chairman: Could you describe for the committee what "quite
limited'' means and then what "seriously limited'' means?
Mr. Elliott: If you are asking me, Mr. Chairman, the specifics about
what vessels and personnel are available on the Great Lakes for either the RCMP
or for both the RCMP and the Canadian Coast Guard, I would have to undertake to
provide you with that information.
The Chairman: We would certainly welcome hearing from you on it, but
we have received testimony prior to this that the RCMP do not have any vessels
on the Great Lakes on a full-time basis, and when you take a look at the coast
guard, their capacity to enforce national security issues is nil. Do you have a
comment on that?
Mr. Elliott: Certainly, officials from either or both of those
agencies are in a better position to provide you with that information than am
The Chairman: You just referenced them as the response when you
disagreed with my initial statement. You referenced them as being the answer to
my statement. You brought up the RCMP and you brought up the coast guard as
having some capacity to do something. I am asking you to give us some example of
what the coast guard can do in terms of national security on the Great Lakes. We
have heard no evidence from the coast guard — and we have asked — that they had
that capacity. We have heard no evidence from anyone we have asked about the
coast guard having that capacity. We have recommended that the coast guard
undertake a constabulary function, and the government has not responded to that
recommendation. Neither the Liberal government nor the current government has
responded to it. I do not understand why you raised the coast guard at all.
Could you tell us why you raised the coast guard in this context?
Mr. Elliott: The coast guard operates a civilian fleet of vessels and
the coast guard certainly is involved in the examination of vulnerabilities, and
means to address vulnerabilities in the Great Lakes.
The Chairman: Could you outline for the committee what the priorities
are in terms of establishing security on the Great Lakes? What would be the
first priority? Could you give us the first two or three?
Mr. Elliott: I am clearly not in the best position, for a number of
reasons, with respect to my position with the public safety department, to
provide information to the committee with respect to the Canadian Coast Guard.
The Chairman: That may be the case, sir, but you raised it as an
example of one of the cases. I assumed that if you were giving it to us as an
example, you had some reason to support it. I did not raise the coast guard; you
did independently, in your answer. I assumed that you must have had some reason
to raise it. I am just curious as to what your reasons were.
Mr. Elliott: I mentioned the coast guard because they are operators of
vessels in the Great Lakes.
The Chairman: That is correct. They tend buoys; they deal with
navigation aids; they are involved in search and rescue; and they are involved
in boating safety.
Mr. Elliott: They provide support, albeit limited, to the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police.
The Chairman: They provide taxi service for the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police, or they did for a very brief, experimental period last summer. Is there
anything beyond that?
Mr. Elliott: My information with respect to the activities of the
Canadian Coast Guard, Mr. Chairman, is more than a little dated.
The Chairman: Would you undertake to provide the committee with a more
fulsome answer in writing on this subject?
Mr. Elliott: I am certainly happy to facilitate the provision of
information. However, the information that you are asking for, as I understand
you, relates largely to the Canadian Coast Guard — which is not part of either
my department or the public safety portfolio — and to the Royal Canadian Mounted
The Chairman: Again, sir, it came up in the context of your answer. I
am just asking you, with the support of your department, to provide the reason
or the rationale for your answer.
Mr. Elliott: I think I can provide the reason or the rationale for my
answer here. What I cannot provide you at the moment are the specifics of what I
have described as the limited resources of the coast guard and the limited
marine resources of the RCMP in the Great Lakes. I was simply referring to the
fact that those two agencies have some capacity; but I am not arguing that it is
a large capacity or that it is adequate.
I could certainly provide you with more details, if it would be of use, with
respect to the Shiprider project and the subsequent work that the coast guard
and the RCMP were both engaged in, I believe, around security for the Super
The Chairman: We would certainly welcome that. You also mentioned that
there was a Great Lakes initiative?
Mr. Elliott: Marine security operation centre, I believe.
The Chairman: Marine security operation centre, which is located in
Halifax, is that correct?
Ms. MacLaren: Actually, the information comes from Halifax, to a large
extent, but the centre is located in the Great Lakes.
The Chairman: Can you tell us if that centre can provide a real-time
maritime picture on the Great Lakes?
Ms. MacLaren: The centre is limited in its operations. It only
operates eight hours a day, five days a week.
Senator Banks: Can I pursue that?
The Chairman: Terrorists work bankers' hours. Go ahead.
Senator Banks: Of course they do. It is the same question but from a
different angle, Mr. Elliott. You can take our word for the fact that the
Canadian Coast Guard has no constabulary power. They cannot arrest a bad guy.
Let us put aside the security of the Great Lakes. We are not asking at the
moment about the question of safety of navigation devices or search and rescue
capability but, rather, interdicting bad guys and bad stuff.
There is a treaty on the Great Lakes between us and the United States that
precludes either of those countries from putting naval forces in the Great
Lakes. We have agreed that we will never do that. However, the United States
Coast Guard is, taken by itself, the third-largest navy in the world. They have
what are reasonably described as cutters, which are virtual warships, on the
Great Lakes because they have determined that the level of risk and capability
that is necessary there to maintain a degree of security, aside from search and
rescue and aids to navigation, is such that it requires that kind of resource.
We have no such resource. Has your department, to your knowledge, ever
advised the government — and I presume the department advises the government
from time to time — that in order to bring about a secure situation from the
standpoint of Canadian interests on the Great Lakes, we need to have some kind
of more robust presence there by way of vessels that can actually do something
to stop a bad guy or bad stuff, and that we need to pursue that avidly? That is
corollary to the point that we have made, which is that the Canadian Coast Guard
ought to be invested with a constabulary capacity, in and of itself, in order
that it can do that job.
Does your department have in mind recommending that to the government, or has
it recommended such a move to the government? If not, will it?
Mr. Elliott: We spoke a little while ago about my being reluctant to
answer questions. Certainly, the government has been provided with advice with
respect to vulnerabilities associated with the Great Lakes and vulnerabilities
associated with our lack of adequate capacity for on-water policing.
Senator Banks: Beyond saying that — you just said that you have
advised the government that these deficiencies exist —
Mr. Elliott: I am not in a position to provide specific information
about specific recommendations provided to the government.
Senator Banks: Not specific, but have you provided to the government
suggested remedies to that shortfall, without reference to what those might be?
Mr. Elliott: Yes.
The Chairman: Our concern, Mr. Elliott, is that when we got on to the
issue of the Great Lakes, we got an anecdote about a program with which we were
familiar, which we thought was a novelty. It was fine for a two-week period, but
it was presented almost as though, look, we have programs like Shiprider going,
so things are okay on the Great Lakes. You did not say it exactly like that, but
the implication was that we have some terrific things going on, and we heard
about a two-week program that we did not think amounted to much. Then you moved
Our concern about transparency is that, sooner or later, the committee does
get a pretty clear picture of just what is going on. When it is at variance, or
when we find that we have been perhaps not as diligent as we should have been in
asking questions, such as: Is there anything else that we should know, we end up
not getting the right or whole picture of what is happening.
When we hear words such as "There is an operations centre looking at the
Great Lakes,'' and then we hear that it does not provide a real-time maritime
picture, and that it only works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, people
slap their foreheads and say: "Oh, my God, there really is not anything there.''
This is not a program that we should be waving the flag about at all.
What we are saying is that, although we have no doubt that what you are
telling us is accurate, we do not feel that we are getting a good picture, given
the snippets with which you are providing us.
Mr. Elliott: Thank you for those comments, Mr. Chairman. If you are
not getting a clear picture, that is a reflection of my poor communication
skills, and not of my intention. I certainly did not, and would not do so
intentionally, refer to Shiprider as a program. It was clearly a pilot project
of very limited duration.
In my opening remarks, I talked about us being engaged in another limited
operation, which was undertaken over only a matter of a few days, around the
2006 Super Bowl. I indicated that we thought that such projects were models for
future co-operation on which we could build, but I was not meaning to suggest
that they were any more than that.
The Chairman: Can we expect this summer to see Shiprider running
throughout the summer months?
Mr. Elliott: I do not have any specific information on that. A number
of issues were identified in relation to the pilot project that took place. I do
not actually know, and maybe my colleagues do, whether there are specific plans
with respect to the upcoming boating season.
Ms. MacLaren: We are not aware of any specific plans with respect to
the upcoming boating season. However, an evaluation is being produced by the
RCMP on both experiences, particularly the September pilot of last year. There
is legal and policy work under way because there are some legal issues that we
have to explore between U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions. That work is under way.
We are working with Foreign Affairs, the Department of Justice, the RCMP and
others to try to resolve these issues.
The Chairman: This gets back to Senator Banks' comment earlier about
the sort of answers that seem to be forthcoming from your department. You have
talked about process, and you have talked about many people being involved, but
it has been over a long period of time. The 9/11 incident was five years ago.
This study took place last year. Next year is here. The summer is upon us. We
are looking for some action as opposed to, "We are consulting about having a
meeting to decide whether we should think about a policy.'' That is the sort of
answer we get back from your department. We do not find that satisfactory. We
think Canadians are entitled to have these programs coming forward, and to have
some confidence that the problem of the Great Lakes is being dealt with. The
answer we have from you is: There are no plans to deal with it this summer.
Ms. MacLaren: Senator, the answer is: Not that we are aware of. We
have not had a request, so not that we are aware of.
The Chairman: Right. I am saying that that does not cut it.
Does the Government Operations Centre exist? Is it there? You said it was
functioning 24/7. Last time we asked about that, word came back to us that it
was not yet in a permanent location, not really staffed and not functioning in
the way it was hoped to function. What can you tell us about it now, Mr.
Mr. Elliott: The Government Operations Centre falls within that part
of the department for which my colleague Ms. Hassard is responsible, and I am
sure she can elaborate.
Ms. Hassard: Thank you, Mr. Elliott. There has been a lot of progress
on the Government Operations Centre in the last year or so. It is up and
running. It is a 24/7 operation, and it is mostly staffed enough to carry on
The Chairman: I am sorry, I did not hear that. It is mostly staffed,
or it is staffed?
Ms. Hassard: It is staffed, but not with permanent, full-time people.
There are some "secondees'' and some contract workers or temporary people. It is
a stable organization and is performing what we consider to be a very valuable
function. It is monitoring emerging incidents and threats, and it is reporting
on those. It is providing an institutional process for the coordination of
federal government response to domestic incidents.
The Chairman: We recently had a 7:00 a.m. meeting at CANCOM's
operation centre to see how they pulled together their reports, and we had an
opportunity to talk to the staff functioning there. CANCOM has been in existence
for a short period of time, but they appear to have a number of people
permanently assigned there. While CANCOM is not fully staffed, their operations
centre certainly is. Can we visit the Government of Canada operations centre?
Mr. Elliott: We would be happy to arrange that, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Do you need much notice?
Mr. Elliott: No.
The Chairman: What if we said we would like to go tomorrow morning at
Mr. Elliott: I cannot make it tomorrow.
The Chairman: The committee was not entirely happy with the 7:00
meeting. They would have preferred 7.30 or 7:45.
Ms. Hassard: We would be happy to accommodate you in accordance with
your schedule. I should say the operations centre is somewhat under construction
because it is in a location where it required more suitable accommodation, and
that process is under way right now. However, they are still functioning. You
may need to take that into account.
The Chairman: You are making it sound like the Senate, which is under
Senator Campbell: — and not functioning 24/7.
I would like to take this discussion from the big, broad picture, perhaps,
down to a more local level. Would the Government Operations Centre be
responsible if there was an earthquake in the city of Vancouver? I am trying to
figure out what role you would play. Vancouver gets hit by an earthquake.
Virtually all communications within the city are down, although we have a
hardened emergency response centre and I am fairly certain it would be running.
We contact your people. What then happens? Do you arrange for equipment or the
army? Certainly, I know that at the municipal level I would have no capacity as
mayor. I could request the army, but we have no military there. We have our
militia there. What would happen from Ottawa?
Ms. Hassard: You have picked one of the nightmare scenarios.
Senator Campbell: Absolutely.
Ms. Hassard: It would be a catastrophic disaster in our estimation,
and it would likely require marshalling the resources of just about every
resource we have at the disposal of the federal government, and probably also
our neighbours to the south.
Senator Campbell: Would you do that?
Ms. Hassard: Yes. That is the role of the government centre. In a case
like that, the municipality is overwhelmed. The province needs help. It is up to
us to represent the Canadian interest in attempting to assist. Requests for
military assistance would be coordinated through the Government Operations
Centre. Obviously, there are some military assets in the region. There are also
some heavy urban search-and-rescue teams, one in British Columbia, one in
Calgary, one in Manitoba, as well as several in the northern United States.
Senator Campbell: That works a lot better when it is not your
community that gets hit and you do not have to try to get to where you are
going, but I understand what you are saying: You would step in and say, "Okay.
Here is the equipment, the manpower, the hospitals, the whole nine yards.'' You
would step in and do that?
Ms. Hassard: You make it sound as though it were a straightforward
Senator Campbell: No, I know it is not. I would like to know who will
do that. That is all I am asking. We need everything, and that is what we would
need. You would be the ones to coordinate that exercise and work towards the end
Ms. Hassard: Yes. We have regional staff in Alberta. In a case like
that, we would very likely send staff to the area. There would be all kinds of
coordination going on with Health Canada and with the private sector, if airlift
were required. This would be an enormous coordination.
Senator Campbell: Would you take over the coordination of it all?
Would you step in and be the leader?
Ms. Hassard: That would depend very much on what the province was
doing — and we would be in contact with the province — if, as you indicate in
the scenario you are positing, the scenario is one where the Emergency Operation
Centre is still standing. Normally, if it is the kind of event where we can make
our way there, we would make our way to that op. centre with the RCMP and with
Canadian Forces, in which case we are sitting with them in joint communication,
so that the situation can be managed from one location. It is much easier that
way. It would depend to a certain extent on the level of communication that was
Senator Day: I have a number of questions with respect to the
Government Operations Centre as well, but now that we have decided to visit,
perhaps I will leave my questions until that time.
Are you working towards interoperability in all of this activity? You will
not take the Prime Minister and all the ministers to what is left of an
operations centre in the lower mainland of British Columbia, but the Prime
Minister and the minister could well have a role to play in communications and
in reassuring the public. What interoperability exists between this national
operation centre here and the various operation centres across the country?
Ms. Hassard: We have full connectivity with all the provincial and
territorial operations centres on the emergency management side. We generally
use the same software product so it does make our communications a bit easier in
a particular event.
Clearly, what you are also talking about is the public communications aspect
of disaster response and disaster management. That is one area where there are
relationships between the public safety ministers and the communications
community, right across the country. I think we are all well aware that the
public demands finely tuned communications right at the start of a disaster. It
is something on which we put a lot of time and emphasis, to get it right.
Senator Day: Do you do a "lessons learned'' study of other situations?
I am thinking about New Orleans and the problem they had there between different
command centre jealousy and the inability to coordinate the activity. Do you
take a look at those kinds of things and work on a better plan for the next
Ms. Hassard: Yes, the last year has taught us a lot about disaster
management. In our study of other people's disasters, we have found that usually
three things go wrong: One is clarity of roles and responsibilities, one is
communication, and the last one is the lack of a common operating picture. You
need all of those things in order to make the decisions. Probably of the three,
the first one is the most critical. It is also perhaps the most difficult to
achieve because you really have to get all of the players, whether it is
provinces, territories, municipalities, first responders, private sector or
voluntary organizations, to see themselves in the overall plan. Yes, we try very
hard to learn the lessons from those other events, in particular Katrina and the
London bombings, because they are so recent and relevant, and so disastrous.
Senator Day: You indicated that your philosophy is that the first
responder is the municipality. That is clear. It may be a provincial or a
federal role, depending upon the extent of the damage done. Let us go back to
the program that you referred to earlier. I think Mr. Elliott referred to it
during his introductory comments of the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program,
Ms. Hassard: That is correct.
Senator Day: Is that still funded? Is it still in existence? Was it
funded in the last round?
Ms. Hassard: It does still exist. If I am correct, it costs $4.7
million per year.
Senator Day: Is that continuing?
Ms. Hassard: Yes, it is.
Senator Day: Either you or Ms. MacLaren indicated that 90 per cent of
that funding found its way from the federal government, through the provincial
coffers and down to the municipalities?
Ms. Hassard: That is correct.
Senator Day: Therefore, 10 per cent stays with the provincial
government, administrative fees or whatever.
This committee had the opportunity to meet a number of first responders in a
number of different communities, and I can remember the comment more than once
that they found it very difficult to acquire the equipment that they felt they
needed to do the job that was expected of them. They were not blaming it on the
province; they were blaming it on the federal government. They knew it was a
federal government program, but they wondered why they could not deal directly
with the federal government on this. We understand the political structure that
we have, but is there any way that this could be improved? Do you work on a
protocol with the provincial government to ensure that they do not put too
onerous an obligation on the municipality and say: "You pay for 75 per cent of
this or we will not allow you to buy it.''? If the municipality wants a new fire
truck or a decontamination spot, they are told by the province: "No, you do not
need one because there is one 300 kilometres away.'' Do you leave all of that up
to the province to make those decisions? The province determines what the
municipality can do. The municipality makes a request but they cannot
participate in the way that they feel they should. What control, if any, do you
have over that situation, or do you just pass a cheque over to the province and
let them deal with it?
Ms. Hassard: The funding formula is such that there are some national
priorities set in it as well. It is a well- established, well-run program, if I
say so myself.
Senator Day: Let me interrupt you, because that does not get there.
There are people at the other end, namely the first responders, the number one
priority guys, who are not saying that it is well established and well run. They
are frustrated and are not able to get what they feel — or you feel — they
should be getting. Therefore I do not think we can start by saying that it is a
well-established, well-run program.
Ms. Hassard: It is also an oversubscribed program, which may be the
source of some of the frustration.
Senator Day: Who subscribes to the program, the municipality or the
Ms. Hassard: It is funded through the province. That is the basis of
our agreement. As I indicated, however, the vast majority of the funding does go
to the municipalities. It is a long-running program. There was an evaluation not
that long ago but I think it is something where, if there are continuing
concerns, we will be looking at them.
Senator Day: What are you doing to find out about these continuing
concerns? We put them in our reports. We give you comments from municipalities.
We know there are continuing concerns. If the provinces are asking for more than
is available, what recommendations are being made to provide that extra funding?
Are you content that enough funds are reaching the municipalities so that the
municipalities can do the job that is expected of them in the event of an
Ms. Hassard: In answer to that, we support the program. We would like
to see it enhanced. We think there is room for it being enhanced.
Senator Day: How much did you say, $4 million a year?
Ms. Hassard: It was $4.7 million.
Senator Day: It could use how much, ten times, to get the job done
Ms. Hassard: I am not sure how much more would be adequate. It is one
of those things that is oversubscribed, but you may find that some of the
requesters have not put forward their ideas because they know there is a limited
pot of money.
Senator Day: What role is your department playing in ensuring that the
needs and concerns of the entity that you have identified as "the first people
up-front,'' that is, the ones standing there looking after the problem, are able
to make their input into your planning process?
Ms. Hassard: We have regular discussions with our colleagues in the
emergency management community. I am aware of the pressures for further funding.
We certainly are promoters of the program.
Senator Day: Do municipal fire chiefs and police officers provide
input on their needs or do they go first to their provinces, which might
sanitize the needs before they take them to PSEPC?
Ms. Hassard: We have a federal-provincial-territorial fora. Recently,
we established a domestic group on emergency management, which includes chiefs
of police and associations of first responders. We have regular meetings with
them and emergency management services people.
Senator Day: Does that domestic group contact help you to establish
Ms. Hassard: They have told us that the program should be enhanced.
Senator Day: On that program, and dealing with the municipalities, is
the protocol the same for each province? I would like to know whether there is a
funding mechanism in place. For example, do all three levels of government
contribute to the cost of the program? Is that public knowledge?
Ms. Hassard: I would be surprised if it were not public knowledge, and
so I have no difficulty in providing that to the committee — how the criteria
are applied. Each year there is a process with a call letter and requests for
proposals, following which the criteria are set up. We can include that in our
Senator Day: Am I correct in assuming that it is a three-level funding
Ms. Hassard: Yes. Often the municipalities contribute, as well as the
Senator Day: Are they required to contribute?
Ms. Hassard: I do not believe so.
Senator Day: If municipalities were required to contribute where their
provinces control what they can borrow, then the provinces, in effect, are
controlling all of it. For example, a municipality might want to buy a new fire
truck but cannot receive permission to do so from the provincial government. You
said that the money is available but it cannot always flow down to the
municipalities. I look forward to exploring that more.
The Chairman: Can you give us the amount of oversubscription in the
Joint Emergency Preparedness Program?
Ms. Hassard: I would have to obtain that information and send it to
The Chairman: Yes, please. Mr. Elliott, the committee has been
recommending for some time that your department audit the capacity for
continuity of business in all other government departments. That was not a
function that it had taken on at that time. Has PSEPC since taken that on, or
does it plan to take it on?
Mr. Elliott: The short answer, Mr. Chairman, is yes. We have begun to
work with departments and agencies on their business continuity planning.
Ms. Hassard: We took up this role as a result of the national security
policy. A small unit within the department is developing expertise on business
continuity planning. A standard for business continuity planning in government
was issued by Treasury Board. We recently sent a questionnaire to federal
departments asking them to benchmark their progress on their business continuity
plans. We have embarked upon this as a role for PSEPC. We anticipate growth in
that area so the department can develop the expertise required to provide
The Chairman: Could you provide the committee with the Treasury Board
standard and the questionnaire, please?
Ms. Hassard: Yes.
The Chairman: On behalf of the committee, I should like to thank you,
Mr. Elliott, and your colleagues for your testimony today. We look forward to
future opportunities to hear from you.
Mr. Elliott: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and senators. Certainly, we will
follow up on the information requested by the committee. We look forward to
The Chairman: Honourable senators, we have before us today Mr. Louis
Ranger, Deputy Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Mr. Ranger
has worked for the federal government since 1974 in a variety of roles. He was
appointed Deputy Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in
February of 2006.
Mr. Ranger, this is your first appearance before our committee. We look
forward to hearing from you.
Mr. Ranger is accompanied by two other officials from Transport Canada: Marc
Grégoire, Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security, and Margaret Purdy,
who is Special Adviser to the Deputy Minister.
Louis Ranger, Deputy Minister, Transport Canada: Good afternoon,
honourable senators. I welcome this opportunity to talk with you this afternoon
about transportation security in Canada.
Before I proceed further, I would like to extend our sincere condolences on
the loss of your colleague, Senator Mike Forrestall. Both as a parliamentary
secretary and a dynamic committee member, Senator Forrestall made an important
contribution to the Canadian transportation sector. He will be missed.
My colleagues today are Ms. Margaret Purdy and Mr. Marc Grégoire.
Ms. Purdy is known as one of the top security experts in Canada. I have had
the blessing of having her advice in the last few years. Mr. Grégoire has a
career path similar to mine, a very impressive academic background as an
engineer, and also is a pilot, with long experience in transportation. I am very
pleased that they are with me here this afternoon.
I have a long speech, which is available for the record, but I will give you
the short version.
Let me start by looking back briefly. In all modes of transportation in
Canada, safety has always been a priority and a main line of business, but
safety and security are not synonymous. Safety risks come from unintended
failures, errors and misfortunes, whereas security risks come from a deliberate
or a malicious attempt to disrupt, disable and destroy. We admit security was a
second tier concern in the transportation sector in Canada, except for the
aviation mode, before September 11. Security programs were certainly in place in
other modes, but primarily to prevent or reduce vandalism, theft and other
The first international counterterrorism conventions were signed in the
1960s. They dealt mainly with aviation security threats. This reflected the fact
that from the 1960s to the early 1980s, airplane hijackings and hostage takings
were almost synonymous with the word "terrorism,'' but only rarely did these
event touch North America.
Naturally, everything changed in 1985 when bombs exploded at nearly the same
time onboard flight 182 of Air India and at the Narita airport in Japan. As you
know, those events had been organized in Canada.
Our aviation security programs in 1985 met or exceeded international civil
aviation standards, but the Air India and Narita events told us that we needed
to broaden our perspective to take into account new possibilities. As a direct
result of Air India and Narita, Canada was the first nation to demand the
matching of passengers and baggage on international flights and among the first
to impose background checks on airport employees. This put Canada in a
leadership role internationally in civil aviation security, a position we
continue to hold.
Of course, September 11 attacks had an undeniable aviation focus. We learned
from these attacks that we had to bolster aviation security to deal with
previously unthinkable acts of violence. However, September 11 also prompted
major reviews, not only in Canada but globally, on how to enhance protection of
ports and waterways, rail and urban transit systems, ferries, trucking, bridges
and tunnels, and so on. We had to consider security in a new light and we needed
to plan for many new scenarios.
As many of you may know, I have spent most of my career at Transport Canada.
I was there when major changes were brought about in the transportation sector
in the eighties and nineties. And I can tell you that the period following 9/11
saw more changes again, as radical and ambitious as the previous ones.
An unprecedented level of attention and action on the security front over the
past years has enveloped and preoccupied not only Transport Canada but the
entire Canadian transportation industry. I am extremely proud of Canada's
transportation security accomplishments and of the leadership that Transport
Canada has displayed, starting with the Herculean task of dealing with the
hundreds of aircraft and thousands of passengers diverted to Canadian airports
on September 11.
However, Transport Canada has not done, and cannot do it all when it comes to
transportation security — far from it. Just as Canada's transportation system is
a complex patchwork, so too are the arrangements and responsibilities for
The owners and providers of networks have a major role to play in this
matter. Provinces, territories and municipalities also share the responsibility
to use or to regulate various components of our transportation network.
Employees in the transportation industry, who number about a million across the
country, are also essential partners for ensuring safety.
Together we have been running a security marathon, literally, since September
11. I will not go over the long list of all our accomplishments since 2001 in
terms of new legislation, new programs, new organizations, and new funding
commitments of more than $3.5 billion. All this information is publicly
available. I would like to take a few minutes, however, to talk about the
challenges of making choices when it comes to transportation security.
Every day, we wonder if we have established the levels and types of safety
measures that are required to face threats that are difficult to detect and
The list of transportation attack scenarios is endless, and so too is the
list of potential vulnerabilities. We could reduce the risk to zero but on that
day, no goods or passengers would move. That is probably true also for safety.
We could divert the entire budget of Transport Canada and still have no
guarantee of protection from attacks.
The smart approach, to use a popular term, and indeed the only appropriate
approach in public policy terms, is to embrace risk management and to base
choices on the best possible analysis of threats, vulnerabilities and impacts.
We recognize that we cannot protect everything. We must focus our efforts and
resources on those areas that pose the greatest risks.
Risk management has two objectives: reduce the probability of negative events
and, when they happen, mitigate their consequences.
Risk assessments guided our early decisions after September 11; it guided our
subsequent choices in the marine sector and it is the foundation of the work now
under way to consider how best to enhance security in rail and urban transit
sectors. Adopting a risk management approach will always be controversial. We
know that we cannot eliminate risks. Even with the best intelligence and the
best analysis, we may still get it wrong in terms of deciding which areas are of
highest and most immediate risk, and critics will always be able to find what
they consider gaps in defences.
Senators, I know that some believe that risk analysis and risk management is
a big black box. This is a serious business. We believe that the risk management
methodologies we use are among the most sophisticated in the world. If you wish,
we could expand on that later.
We apply risk management with our eyes wide open. While a systematic
assessment of relative risks is at the core of our approach to security, it is
not the only basis on which we take decisions.
Each of our decisions is based on the sum of the continuous efforts we make
to find the right level and the appropriate balance between three major
objectives: to ensure safety, to reach maximum effectiveness and to protect the
rights of Canadians.
We must balance security with efficiency and the rights of Canadians,
starting with privacy rights. We are acutely aware that transportation is the
third largest sector of the economy, employing one in 15 Canadians. We know that
the transportation system moves more than $1 trillion worth of goods every year
— almost $2 million a minute.
We seek to avoid setting security policies and regulations that will cause
unnecessary delays or complications. We keep in mind the costs of security to
our stakeholders, and we must work with them to ensure that we can restore
systems quickly if there were to be an attack.
Finally, respect for privacy and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is
another overarching objective in developing policies and programs for
We take our responsibilities very seriously, as shown by the extent of our
consultations before the implementation of our program of background checks of
workers in our ports and of our passenger protection program, the famous
Canadian flight interdiction list.
As I said, we are extremely proud of the work that our department has done so
far, and the work of our partners in the industry. I can say with confidence
that Canada has one of the world's most secure transportation systems. We know
that gaps and vulnerabilities remain; we know that we may have to deal with
attacks despite our best efforts.
Security is a journey, not a destination.
Security is a journey, not a destination. The announcement by the Prime
Minister last Friday of a $254 million investment over two years to bolster air,
rail, transit, and marine security forms part of that journey.
At Transport Canada, we place considerable emphasis on taking a strategic
perspective on thinking about security over the long term and in innovative
ways. In this regard, last year, at my specific request, we launched the
development of Canada's first ever transportation security action plan to guide
priority settings and decision making over the next five to seven years.
It's the most ambitious safety project ever set up in the transportation
field in Canada. We've already consulted hundreds of people, especially
individuals, such as representatives of industry, unions, provinces and
territories, government departments and agencies, as well as international
experts and academics.
The action plan, which will be ready by the end of this year, will assess the
threat environment, take stock of past achievements, look into the future,
identify gaps that need to be addressed, and recommend actions based on risk
The action plan will try to find the right balance between the need to
improve safety and the need to facilitate the movement of people and goods while
ensuring the utmost respect for privacy and human rights.
With that, senators, I will conclude. My colleagues and I look forward to
your comments and questions.
Senator Moore: I want to touch on one point. In your remarks you
mentioned that, last Friday, the Prime Minister announced a $254 million
investment over two years. That is not new money. Was that not announced before?
Mr. Ranger: Much of it is new, sir. We did open up a bottle of
champagne on budget day. The $26 million for cargo is definitely new money.
Senator Moore: The $26 million for cargo is new money?
Mr. Ranger: Yes, for cargo. The $133 million for CATSA is new money.
The $95 million for transit was contemplated by the previous government, but it
was only in May that this money was enshrined in the budget. One month later, we
are in a position to announce that we are proceeding with that project. We are
just a few days away from a final decision on program details. This is all new,
based on plans that we have been working on for quite some time.
Senator Moore: I want to ask you about CATSA, the Canadian Air
Transport Security Authority Act. What is the status of the review of that
Mr. Ranger: Ms. Purdy could expand on my answer, but essentially by
law we must conduct a review before the fifth year after the creation of CATSA,
which brings us up to April 1 of next year. In fact, we are well ahead. We set
it up in such a way that we will have a report from the panel by the end of
summer, which will give ample time for the minister to look at it well within
the time that the legislation allows. By the end of the year, we will know
pretty well where we stand.
Senator Moore: The review will be completed at the end of this
calendar year, do you expect?
Mr. Ranger: Yes.
Margaret Purdy, Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Transport,
Transport Canada: The independent advisory committee has been asked to
present its report to the minister by the end of summer. By law, the minister
must have completed this review by the end of the next fiscal year. This is a
timeline that is set out in the legislation. The minister also must table the
results of the review in both Houses of Parliament. That is also a statutory
requirement. There are some pretty strict timelines that we are working on. A
three-person, independent panel is doing the major part of the review for the
Senator Moore: It will be completed, and what then?
Ms. Purdy: There are two phases. The panel will do its work.
Senator Moore: You mentioned the end of the fiscal year, that is March
Ms. Purdy: Yes, the minister is required to finish the review of the
legislation five years after the organization was set up.
Senator Moore: I would like you to explain who runs an airport. There
are the independent airport authorities, then your department, the RCMP, who are
doing security work, and the local police in some instances. Who has the final
say? Who is ultimately responsible for what goes on in terms of security of
people and goods passing through one of our airports?
Mr. Ranger: Let me take a few seconds to explain the overall
governance of airports. We have 26 airport authorities, managed by boards that
are set up through a process that involves local chambers of commerce, local
groups that have representatives on the board. The federal government has two
board members, the provinces have one and the municipality has one or more,
depending on the number of municipalities that are impacted by the airport. The
other board members are from the business community; they manage the airport.
The government still owns the airport; these boards have 60-year leases with us.
However, as far as the day-to-day operations are concerned, they definitely run
the airports. They have the power to borrow.
Sometimes, we are asked if the model is working. Fundamentally, the model is
working in the sense that, collectively, our airport authorities have been able
to borrow $8 billion. When you travel across Canada, almost every airport has
construction under way and there is not a penny of taxpayers' money there.
Overall, the boards are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the airport.
Within the airport, which is like a big village and sometimes a city, there
are individual responsibilities. In terms of the screening of passengers, for
example, it is definitely the responsibility of CATSA, which has that mandate by
law to ensure proper training.
Senator Moore: What is CATSA, for the information of those watching?
Mr. Ranger: The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, which is a
Crown corporation. Other departments have other responsibilities by law — be it
the Food Inspection Agency or the Canada Border Services Agency — that have very
discrete responsibilities under that roof. Of course, all this must be
coordinated by airport management.
Senator Moore: If, going through security, a Canadian Air Transport
Security Authority person discovers something that is a security risk, does the
CATSA person report to the RCMP or to the police on duty in the airports so that
they can assess the situation? What is the protocol? To whom do they report? Who
is in charge?
Mr. Ranger: Basically, CATSA is a Crown corporation with a mandate to
Senator Moore: Yes, of people and their luggage.
Mr. Ranger: Yes, and to manage this function on a day-to-day basis. At
every airport, Transport Canada has a number of security inspectors who oversee
and monitor the work of CATSA.
Senator Moore: Are they on the screening line?
Mr. Ranger: They are not on the screening line; they are sort of
inspectors at the airport, watching the operation. If they see an infraction, a
CATSA screener not performing his or her job properly, they can intervene. If it
were known at an airport that on a Monday morning there is a security threat, of
course members of that community do talk to each other — airport management,
Transport Canada security officers and CATSA.
Senator Moore: Who does that person on the screening line report to —
Mr. Ranger: Yes.
Senator Moore: What does the supervisor do with that information?
Mr. Ranger: If they become aware? Usually, it is the reverse; it is
probably either us at Transport Canada or the information we would have from the
RCMP or CSIS. That information will be communicated to CATSA, so it is more from
the top down. If there is a concern on Monday morning that there is a particular
alert or something, then it is a top-down process where screeners will be asked
to be more vigilant.
Senator Moore: My hypothetical situation was the reverse: if someone
comes through and is discovered, I want to know what happens after the screening
person reports to his or her supervisor?
Mr. Ranger: In that case, the CATSA supervisor would be made aware and
then instruct the people under him or her.
Senator Moore: Would he or she bring in the RCMP?
Mr. Ranger: Certainly if, for example, in the judgement of our
security officers there is some criminal activity or some reason.
Senator Moore: Are your supervisors armed?
Mr. Ranger: No.
Marc Grégoire, Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security, Transport
Canada: No, the supervisors are not armed; neither are the screeners. Your
question is what if the screener finds something in the baggage, is that
Senator Moore: Yes.
Mr. Grégoire: The passenger will be prevented from moving. The armed
police present at the airport will be called on site, if it is thought necessary
to do so.
Senator Moore: So the police are brought in?
Mr. Grégoire: Armed police would be brought in, but not necessarily
the RCMP. It depends on the airport.
Senator Moore: I guess whoever is under contract.
Mr. Grégoire: Yes, exactly.
Senator Moore: I want to ask you about testing the airport security
systems. Tell me what you do there, how often you do it, what you find and how
often you report.
Mr. Ranger: There are two kinds of testing. CATSA, a Crown
corporation, is mandated to conduct screening. They invest considerable amounts
of money in training — about $4,000 per screener. They have their own way of
testing — quality control — as any operator would do.
Having an oversight responsibility, what we do is conduct what we call
infiltration tests regularly. We have people who will go through the system with
a hand grenade.
Senator Moore: To try to violate it somehow?
Mr. Ranger: Yes; they will have a grenade, a hand gun, a simulation of
an explosive device, et cetera. We will see if the inspector detects it.
Senator Moore: How often do you do that?
Mr. Ranger: Very often, sir; every month at random across the system.
Senator Moore: Do you keep records of these tests?
Mr. Ranger: Yes. Not only do we keep records, if there is a failure on
the spot, it is brought to the supervisor's attention immediately and that
screener is taken offline and sent back to training. If there is a repeat
incident of that nature, then action is taken. We intervene on the spot.
Based on the monthly results, we certainly have very precise discussions with
CATSA as to what remedies will be brought if we find there are trends. If it is
always the same kinds of incidents that are not detected, we will certainly try
to resolve those.
Senator Moore: What do you do with the results of your tests? Do you
publish them or make them available to committees such as this? Do you make them
available to a committee of the House of Commons? I am thinking that the
taxpayer is footing the bill here and he or she would like to know what his or
her tax dollars are buying.
Mr. Ranger: That is a fair question. I would argue — and I have argued
in the past — that with all of the money that we have invested in those systems,
if you are looking for one test, that is probably it. In the end, is it working?
Are we detecting those devices? This is one test that is very important, but you
will understand that this information is protected. It is confidential
Senator Moore: It is confidential?
Mr. Ranger: Yes, most definitely. It is secret, actually.
Having said that, I recognize that it is the single most important indicator
of whether we are —
Senator Moore: Can you say legitimately that we have a safe
environment in the airport?
Mr. Ranger: I have said that several times in my statement.
Senator Moore: Yes, I know.
Mr. Ranger: That information has been made available to the Auditor
General. The Auditor General paid us two very extensive visits. The test results
were made available to her. She concluded that, although there were problems,
overall, resources have been well spent, and she had access to the full details
of our infiltration tests.
The Chairman: They are secret. They have not always been secret.
Mr. Grégoire: No. They have been secret since September 2001.
The Chairman: Why is that?
Mr. Grégoire: If vulnerabilities exist, we do not want to expose them
The Chairman: Why did you make it public before 2001?
Mr. Grégoire: I arrived in Ottawa in January 2002.
Mr. Ranger: As I said in my opening remarks, security was not the
first issue in our minds except in some areas on the aviation side. We did not
have that many resources at the time. This, obviously, has become a primary line
of business. We have had to reassess all of our processes, and that was one
conclusion we reached.
This is a very concentrated industry. We may have over 2,000 airlines and
1,100 aerodromes, but there is a high concentration. Fifty per cent of our
traffic goes through Toronto. If we were to disclose infiltration test results,
even in a very aggregate way, anyone with a grade two education could
extrapolate that we were talking about Toronto or Montreal or Vancouver. We have
looked at the situation from all angles, and we would be officially concerned if
those results were made public.
The Chairman: If there is an issue with the results, you have just
told the terrorists where the three problems are.
Mr. Ranger: No, I am saying if we disclose them.
The Chairman: You said it is because of the concentration in three
Mr. Grégoire: Ninety-two per cent of the traffic is at the top
The Chairman: I heard what he said. If the concern is about three
cities, then you have told people —
Mr. Ranger: I did not say what the results were. Maybe the results are
The Chairman: We happen to know the results are lousy. We have that on
very good authority. We do not understand why you do not make the results public
after you address some of the problems. The answer may be that the trends are
going in the wrong direction. We can see no reason for not releasing the results
six months, eight months or some longer period of time after you have conducted
the tests and have had an opportunity to correct the deficiencies. One reason
you do not have good results is that you keep it secret.
Mr. Ranger: As I said, the Auditor General has full access.
The Chairman: The Auditor General could not report on the information.
She only had access to the information on the condition that she not make it
Mr. Ranger: She could draw conclusions and publish those conclusions
without disclosing the indicators.
The Chairman: Has she expressed frustration to you about this process?
Mr. Ranger: Yes, she has.
The Chairman: Yes, she has. She does not like it, so do not use her as
your validation point. She thinks your system is very frustrating. She tells
anyone who will listen to her that she does not like the way it is set up. You
are pretending she is your litmus test; she is not.
Mr. Ranger: In terms of not being able to disclose, but it does not
prevent her from drawing conclusions that are available to Parliament.
The Chairman: I am a parliamentarian and she has told me that she is
immensely unhappy with this setup.
Mr. Ranger: Has she said that we misuse resources? After all, it is a
test of whether we use resources properly. That is the litmus test.
The Chairman: Not, the litmus test is whether the system works and
whether the grief that Canadians go through to pay for these systems and the
lines they stand in will result in us having a safe system. If you have a
failure rate at a certain level, Canadians will say, "Why are we spending this
money? Why am I standing in the line?'' We can understand that there is a public
relations element involved. We can understand that when people feel confident
about their system, it encourages economic activity, and it was very important
after 9/11 to get people back travelling. Canadians have the right to choose
what level of risk they want to undertake and what level of risk they want to
expose themselves to.
If it takes six months to resolve the problem, why could you not provide the
results six months later? How will the terrorists take advantage of that
information if you are providing it six months after you have corrected the
Mr. Ranger: Again, the Auditor General usually follows up on all
audits. She certainly can come back, and I am sure she will come back.
The Chairman: No. I am asking you to tell me what problem arises from
releasing the information, on a regular basis, six months after you have solved
the problem so that taxpayers know if their money is well spent and whether you
are making progress in detecting weaknesses in the system.
Mr. Ranger: To use your example, if, despite best efforts, after
successive periods of six months the results improve but, in the view of the
average person, the failures are still too high, it continues to provide an
indication that there is a problem.
The Chairman: Right. Then we get a chance to fire the people
responsible; then we get a chance to change governments; then we get a chance to
do something about it. Are you using the prospect that after three or four six-
month periods the results are still lousy as your justification for not making
the information public?
Mr. Ranger: No. I am saying the Auditor General can have access to
this information —
The Chairman: Leave the Auditor General out of this, Mr. Ranger. Just
give me an explanation of why, after six months, there is a risk that terrorists
will exploit the problem if you have used those six months to correct the
Mr. Ranger: I have to describe the system that exists now. The Auditor
General can come back to the minister, who certainly has access to all this
The Chairman: Mr. Ranger, I do not know how many times I have to tell
you that I do not want to hear about the Auditor General again. I am asking you
to give me an answer without relying on the Auditor General.
Mr. Ranger: Given the structure of our industry, the disclosure of
information of that level of sensitivity is a concern. It is communicating
information to terrorists.
The Chairman: Why is it communicating information to terrorists if you
have solved the problem six months previously?
Mr. Grégoire: What is an acceptable level of performance for you? What
if infiltration was reduced by .1 per cent? Would you consider that to be good
or bad? If the results improved by 10 per cent, would you consider that to be
good or bad?
The Chairman: What if they are currently in double digits and the
system fails in the teens or higher on a regular basis?
Mr. Grégoire: We are doing the same as like-minded countries. No
like-minded countries publish their results, and for the same reason.
The Chairman: In the United States the results —
Mr. Grégoire: They do not publish their results.
The Chairman: The results in the United States a year ago were worse
than before 9/11; they were regressive and legislators there who had access to
the information wanted to string people up. I know who they would be stringing
up if the same situation existed here in Canada.
When you say that other people are playing the same game, it looks like you
are covering up for political purposes, and there is concern that this will not
stand up in Question Period or with the public. There is concern that you are
wasting money, putting people through a lot of grief, and that you do not have
the results to prove that that is not the case.
What I am saying is that there is no confidence in your system because you
are not being transparent about it, and there are ways for you to be transparent
without giving terrorists an opportunity. The system having a reputation of
being effective is far more important than the PR embarrassment when you publish
the first results, providing you have that downward trend, that you are getting
better and better.
Ms. Purdy: I will just add, Mr. Chair, my understanding and what I
have confirmed since I have been at Transport Canada. The decision was made on
one basis only, and that was on the basis of the risk that the information could
be used for nefarious purposes. You can argue whether terrorists would actually
find and use that information, but that was the sole basis for the decision not
to publicly disclose the results of infiltration tests. If you have solved the
problem after six months, I appreciate the question, but the tests are extremely
complicated. They use a variety of lock devices. They test both the equipment
and the people. It is not a matter of saying you fix the system to overcome the
results that may have come through on infiltration tests. The testing is very
complex, and some of the answers to the results could lie in new equipment,
different equipment, more regular maintenance of equipment, or they could deal
with staff or more training.
Fixing the results of infiltration tests, whether ours or that of other
countries, is very complicated. You have argued against our decision to not
disclose publicly that information, in the same way that other departments have
chosen not to make publicly available floor plans and other information, which
seemed fairly innocuous before 1997. We are all rethinking, and we do not want
to do one single thing that will make the job of terrorists any easier. That is
The Chairman: You have not made the case yet, as far as this committee
is concerned, that you are making it any easier.
Ms. Purdy: I realize that.
The Chairman: You should address it, then. You should not come in and
just repeat stuff that we do not find useful. We have heard that answer before,
and it does not wash. You are not explaining to the satisfaction of the
committee that you are actually doing the job here. We have reason to believe
that, in fact, the results are not impressive and that people would be asking
for the officials responsible for this situation to resign. We do not think we
have a good system here. We would like that to be demonstrated, and we think one
way to do it is to put a sufficient delay on so that the terrorists cannot do
it. Likewise, we are not talking about identifying a specific machine at a
specific location. We are talking about information in the aggregate. That is a
whole lot different than saying, "Machines 1 through 7 at Pearson are
problematic, so if you want to slip through, you have your best shot going
through Machines 1 through 7.'' We are not saying that at all. We are asking how
the overall system is doing, and for you to let us know once you have had a
chance to address the concerns.
Senator Moore: Can you indicate to the committee what the trend is?
Are the tests proving that we are getting better, or is it a constant line
because of new personnel? Can you give us some indication without getting into
specifics? We are not looking for that.
Mr. Grégoire: We have taken a conscious decision, as Ms. Purdy has
explained to you, not to debate the subject in a public place.
Senator Moore: How long have you been doing these tests?
Mr. Grégoire: We have been doing tests for probably over 20 years.
Ms. Purdy: I would also add that there are measures of the
effectiveness of CATSA screening and of the oversight by Transport Canada of
that screening in the numbers that are reported regularly by CATSA for the items
that they have seized at the screening line. In addition, certainly you read
from time to time that sterile areas are evacuated because a screener has
identified something that should not have gone through, and did. We have regular
assessments of the effectiveness of CATSA screening, through some of the
information which is made public on a regular basis.
Senator Moore: That is the regular passenger line. That is not the
same thing. A smart, well-thought-out test, which is what you would be up
against in the event of a terrorist scheme, is a different test.
Mr. Ranger: Senators, I can assure you that we spend a lot of time
conducting those tests. If you had the management of CATSA here, they probably
would tell you that we impose considerable stress on screeners because we
monitor the work of screeners very closely, on a daily and hourly basis.
The Chairman: That is not an impressive answer. The only impressive
answer is whether you can show an acceptably low level of infiltration and
whether you can show progress. You are doing neither.
Mr. Ranger: With respect, sir, is this not part of a somewhat broader
issue? We are not the only department involved in security. We are not the only
department committing large resources to ensuring security. Other departments
have their own indicators, which are not disclosed either. Is there not a
broader issue on how the performance of departments is being assessed? To the
extent that this is an issue, and I recognize it as an issue, we are a small
part of that bigger issue as to how parliamentarians are properly kept informed.
The person we are not supposed to talk about here did express concerns generally
about having a responsibility to report to Parliament and yet having to respect
the secrecy of information. We are not alone in that situation. There is perhaps
a structural problem that needs to be looked at.
The Chairman: That is another issue. There appears to be too many
people in charge of too many things, so everyone can pass the buck on to the
next guy. You are trying to do that here.
Mr. Ranger: No, no.
The Chairman: If there were a higher level of confidence in how you
were organizing our port security, you might get away with it, but we looked at
your instructions for CATSA, for example, with airside workers, with baggage
handlers, with groomers, with caterers, with people who refuel, and the
occasional random searching that you have with them opens up the whole system to
abuse and makes the screening of passengers a farce. Can you tell the committee
why you choose to direct CATSA to randomly inspect?
Mr. Ranger: Yes. I would like to explain what we do for
non-passengers, or workers at airports. On September 11, we were one of the few
countries in the world already conducting background checks on employees. It is
a five-point test: tests for any criminal record, tests for any problem with the
credit of the employee, verification of —
Senator Moore: At all ports of entry? Seaports as well as airports?
Mr. Ranger: No, but we are moving to that. We have very systematic
The Chairman: I am sorry. Come on. Do not tell us they are systematic.
Describe what the checks are. Tell us what a CPIC check is and what a CSIS check
is. You are not talking about a full field of investigation. You are just seeing
whether their name pops up on a list.
Mr. Ranger: I will definitely answer that. I was about to say it is
like peeling an onion. There are several layers. We do background checks, and we
will discuss how we do that. For greater certainty, we have asked CATSA to
conduct random tests as they enter restricted areas. CATSA stops about 2,500
employees every day.
The Chairman: Out of how many?
Mr. Ranger: One hundred and twenty-five thousand passes are issued
overall, but not all of those people are at the airport every single day. As you
know, sir, we are intending to introduce restricted area identity cards with
biometric features, so that someone cannot get into the airport with a false
pass. You have to have a match between biometric features and the pass.
This morning I was asking my colleagues: Once that system is in place, will
we still maintain the random tests? The answer is yes, even though we will have
this system that will be difficult to break with the biometric features, we
would maintain the random tests anyway as an extra precaution.
Who could answer the question on how we conduct the background checks?
Mr. Grégoire: Senator Kenny seems to have a good understanding of the
process. We do take the fingerprints of individuals and the information of
individuals. We run a credit check on the individual. We run a CPIC check, level
1. We do a CSIS check.
The Chairman: What is CPIC level 1?
Mr. Grégoire: I am not an expert on that. You seem to know more on the
subject. We have an MOU with the RCMP where they will share any information with
us on criminal organizations or affiliations of individuals to organized crime.
We take all of this, along with the criminal record of the individual, and we
assess if the individual represent a threat to aviation security. This is the
basis on which we can accept or refuse a transportation security clearance. The
legislative authority is within the Aeronautics Act, so we do that.
No, we do not do an infield check nor do we run interviews on people. This is
only done for high level government clearance. We do not do that for airport
workers. In addition, those tests and clearances are renewed every five years.
If we are made aware of anything during that period, we can suspend or cancel a
security clearance; suspend if there is an inquiry into the person, or cancel.
We have also added more stringent rules to the process since the summer of
2005. We now require information for five years, verifiable information. That
means that if a person comes into our office with missing years of information,
we will find ways to get this information; if we cannot, we will not grant a
clearance. We have been forced to refuse quite a large number of clearances for
that reason since the summer of 2005. CSIS, unfortunately, does not have an
agreement with all countries from whence those people come, and it would be too
labour-intensive to go to these countries and seek the information. If it is not
there, or available, and if we cannot counter-verify the information, we do not
give the security clearance to that person.
Mr. Ranger: We verify every five years and that means, in terms of
workload, to give you an idea, between 30,000 and 40,000 names a year that we
assess to keep a list of 125,000.
The Chairman: You talk about a CPIC check and the CSIS check and the
credit check. I would ask you, Mr. Grégoire, if you would provide the committee
with the details, if you are not clear on what they are. If you would provide
that to the clerk, I would be most grateful.
I have a couple of things I want to run through. The first one is: People
work inside airports without having these checks take place, do they not?
Mr. Ranger: And have access to restricted areas?
The Chairman: Contractors take people in.
Mr. Grégoire: They have to be accompanied by someone with a pass.
The Chairman: How many people can one person accompany? Can one person
accompany more than one person?
Mr. Grégoire: There is a very specific security measure, but I do not
remember what it is.
The Chairman: Is it five people, ten people, who can be supervised by
Mr. Grégoire: We will provide you with that information.
Mr. Ranger: I am sure it is more than one. We will give you the
The Chairman: If you are director of security, I think this would be a
relevant thing to know.
Mr. Grégoire: I would hope that my director of security knows that.
The Chairman: There is also the checking of vehicles that are coming
in and out: You are aware that people just wave at the vehicles?
Mr. Ranger: I am aware of such incidents, thanks to you.
The Chairman: But it is not just "such incidents.'' This is the norm.
The exception would be if someone came out and said: "I think I would like to
look behind your front seat.'' That would be the incident. That would be what is
unusual. It is not the norm.
Mr. Grégoire: We have set up a working group between Transport Canada
and CATSA to look at options to start a program of vehicle search. When we
announce the non-passenger screening program, which you would prefer we do 100
per cent, we also said that eventually we would screen cars and vehicles going
into the restricted area around the airport, but that is not yet in place.
However, we agree with you that we need to put it in place eventually.
The Chairman: We have had a serious incident that has been referred to
today with the Air India bombings, two of them. Where were the bombs placed?
Mr. Ranger: I have to defer to Ms. Purdy.
Ms. Purdy: It was in the cargo hold.
The Chairman: We are searching everyone who goes into the passenger
Ms. Purdy: Yes, and their luggage.
The Chairman: We are not, however, searching all of the people who
work in the cargo hold.
Ms. Purdy: Who work in the cargo hold?
The Chairman: Who go in and leave it during the course of the day.
Ms. Purdy: The people who move cargo into passenger aircraft?
The Chairman: That is correct.
Ms. Purdy: I believe that is a restricted area, so they would be
subject to checks, I would assume.
The Chairman: They are not all searched when they go in, are they?
Ms. Purdy: They are subject to the same random checks.
The Chairman: Does that not work out to less than 1 per cent?
Ms. Purdy: I do not know the figures.
The Chairman: We just got the figures: 2,500.
Ms. Purdy: These are people who are now being issued with
biometric-based passes, so you cannot put them in the same category as
passengers. These are people who have been vetted.
The Chairman: The reality is, these are not terribly valuable checks.
We have deposed people who have smuggled drugs off planes, who work in the
airport, and have described how they are able to move back and forth as much as
they like, sometimes taking as many as 20 trips to unload their drugs out of an
airport. We have deposed baggage handlers who have told us they can bring
anything they want airside in their lunch pail. We have deposed groomers who
have said they are the last people in the passenger cabin and no one checks
them. They could be carrying a box cutter if they liked, and they could leave
one by every seat.
We have had all of this testimony before this committee. This is all in the
context of the RCMP coming before this committee and testifying that all of the
major airports have organized criminal families there. Now, in light of the fact
that the federal police force is testifying that there are organized criminal
gangs functioning airside in restricted areas, Ms. Purdy, inside the airport,
you are saying that it is appropriate not to search them every day going in and
— I would argue — coming out.
Mr. Ranger: As Mr. Grégoire just explained, we now have an MOU with
the RCMP that allows us to have access to information on individuals who may
have criminal associations. We now have access to that, and you will recall that
this is one area where the Auditor General took us to task to fix that
situation, and we did.
I would like to add also that because of the very concern you are expressing,
the government has asked CATSA to introduce those new identity cards that have a
biometric feature. That project is progressing well and will be fully in place
by the end of 2006. As we speak, approximately 33,000 people have that pass, so
it is moving quickly. All airports have the equipment to issue the cards with
the biometric feature. It is simply a matter of registering as fast as they can.
The Chairman: It might be well under way but if people have the
capacity to come and go at will from an airport then some organized people are
doing it. You said that an MOU has been introduced. Does that mean that when we
call Mr. Sam Landry, the inspector in charge of Pearson International Airport,
next week or next month, he will tell us that he does not have organized
criminal gangs working within the airport?
Mr. Grégoire: If he tells you that, I would hope he would tell us as
The Chairman: He tells the whole world. We published it in our last
Ms. Purdy: As both my colleagues have mentioned, we have enhanced the
background checks on these individuals significantly through this MOU. It is not
simply a piece of paper. It means that everyone subjected to an airport
restricted area clearance is checked against a number of RCMP databases and not
just CPIC — those that show criminal associations. When we are clearing,
re-clearing or renewing the passes for these individuals, the RCMP officer can
bring to our attention that criminal associations should be looked at. We would
look at the material and determine whether to issue a pass to that individual.
With that plus the requirement to have five continuous years of verifiable
and accurate information, we have strengthened the background check system in
co-operation with the RCMP, who know organized crime in airports better than
anyone else knows it.
The Chairman: Certainly, the RCMP have told us that it is extensive.
In the case of the smuggler that we deposed recently, the individual's
circumstances had changed after a couple of years, which caused them to get into
the line of work they were in. It is a question of whether the checks are
Mr. Ranger: I am well placed to tell you that we refuse many people
because of incomplete information. The minister has delegated authority to me to
sign off the refusal forms. I see them all each week. I have to confirm refusals
on a large number of people who apply for jobs at airports.
Senator Banks: I would like to continue on this vein so that I am
clear on what you are saying. It is the position of the department, with respect
to people who work airside in sensitive areas, that a background check is
sufficient to allow them to cross to the airside area, where they can do more
than I can do as a passenger, and be subject to random checks; is that correct?
Mr. Ranger: Yes, but we are saying that that is not good enough.
Background checks and random checks are not sufficient. In addition to that, we
are issuing an identity card with biometric features, to be fully in place for
all airport workers by the end of 2006.
Senator Banks: We will know who they are but we will not search them
Mr. Ranger: That will be done on a random basis.
Senator Banks: I have been flying for 56 years and I have a CAN pass,
a Senate identification card, and yet I have been examined at least twice and
often three or four times each week, week in and week out, for many years. The
likelihood that I am carrying contraband or a knife in my carry-on luggage is
Applying your logic, will you recommend that passengers who carry acceptable
levels of identification and are known not to be direct threats will not have to
be searched all the time when they get on airplanes? It would save a great deal
Mr. Grégoire: I would like to make two points. First, on the
non-passenger screening on random checks, we are ahead of many countries around
the world. Many countries do not screen the workers at the airports. However,
there is some talk, especially amongst European Union countries, about starting
to screen 100 per cent of workers, similar to what you are trying to convince us
We have not said we would never do it; we are saying that we are not doing it
now. Perhaps one day we will do it. It is a matter of risk management and a
matter of addressing the issues and spending the money on the basis of that
risk. The current program with the restricted area pass, which we will
introduce, and the improved background check is complemented by random checks. A
random check means that the employees do not know when it will happen. If they
know, then we will have to improve the system, and we would discuss that with
CATSA. The three items constitute a good framework.
Your question was on frequent, no-threat travellers. We have asked CATSA to
develop a program for frequent travellers but we have concerns about it. We do
not want to move to soon into that because the security advantages to the
traveller are not clear to us. For instance, are we ready to let just any
registered traveller board a plane without screening them? I do not think so,
Senator Banks: Yet you are prepared to let baggage handlers go into
airplanes every day without searching them.
The Chairman: It is not a random check. The first two people in a herd
might be checked. They do not come one at a time but rather in groups of 20s and
30s. The first two get stopped and everyone else walks through. They talk to
each other on cellphones and thus know which gates are busy and which are not
Mr. Grégoire: It should not be that easy. Now that you have identified
those weaknesses, we will talk about them.
The Chairman: I identified those weaknesses three years ago.
Mr. Ranger: It is not only when they enter the area. An inspector can
go on the runway at any time and identify —
The Chairman: Yes, they can go, but it does not happen. It happens
when they are passing through the gate.
Mr. Ranger: Primarily, I agree, the option is there.
The Chairman: The option is there but it is not exercised.
Senator Moore: Senator Banks is mentioning by way of his own
situation: Would a NEXUS card eliminate the need to go through security?
Mr. Grégoire: No.
Senator Moore: You would not let him pass? Even with a NEXUS card he
still has to go through security?
Mr. Ranger: Yes.
Senator Moore: I know it relates to customs but it is quite a serious
application to get one of those cards. It is not just a simple piece of paper.
Mr. Ranger: There are security issues. For example, an open question
for those who would avail themselves of the benefit is: should there be a fee?
Would you be prepared to pay $100?
Senator Banks: Allow me to make something clear. I was only using it
as an analogy for the argument. I do not want to be excused from my baggage
being searched. I do not want anyone to be excused from their baggage being
searched to get on an airplane. I want every person's baggage to be searched,
whether they are carrying it or it is checked in for cargo, more carefully than
is currently the case. I want the same degree of scrutiny to be applied to other
people who are on that airplane just before me. I do not want to be excused.
That was not the purpose of my argument. I will move on to the next question.
With all due respect, Mr. Grégoire, I know what you are up against. However,
you gave an answer to a question raised in the report three years ago about
trucks, cars and other vehicles entering the airside area of many airports.
Today, you said that you have now established a committee that will examine what
kind of process might be put into place to deal with that question.
Members of this committee and others brought this situation to the attention
of the previous government. That was three years ago. How is it possible that
something as simple as that, as simple as saying that we think we should do even
random checks, on some reasonable basis, on vehicles that go airside, which we
know is not now the case; that is not in place yet. Now you are telling us today
that you are beginning to look at the possibility and examine whether it might
be undertaken somehow?
Mr. Ranger: CATSA has clearly been mandated to do this for workers,
individuals and vehicles. Phase 1 is workers. Phase 2, they are not there yet,
and frankly this is something we need to deal with but there is a resource issue
Senator Banks: Why does phase 2 take more than three years?
Mr. Ranger: There is a resource issue.
Mr. Grégoire: Phase 1 is not finished yet. That is what Mr. Ranger
said: Phase 1 will be finished by the end of year. Yes, it is taking longer, but
there is a matter of resources. The government just announced on Friday major
resources for CATSA. The traffic has been increasing significantly at all major
airports and the resources must be put, first, towards the screening of
Senator Banks: We assume that the bad guys will be saying "We will not
go airside because they have not finished phase 2 yet.'' There is no possible
logic to it, but I want to ask you a specific question about the $26 million
that is new money.
Senator Moore: It was announced in the budget.
Ms. Purdy: That is new.
Senator Banks: Can you tell us exactly what that $26 million will be
used for, and when, and what key stakeholders will be involved in that process,
and what functions will they carry out? Can you walk us through, just for the
record, what the timeline is that you now plan on the implementation of that
initiative? Give us an idea of how long it will take before that program is in
place. The one about trucks on the airside was three and a half years ago and we
have never had an undertaking from anyone to say "This is how long it will take
us to fix that.'' Now, here you have $26 million new dollars to deal with cargo
and airplane. How long will it take?
Mr. Ranger: First, it is not as if nothing exists now. I know it has
been criticized, and rightly so, but there is a known shipper program that
exists already. We have been concerned. There are gaps there that we need to
deal with. That money will serve to design a program that will undergo a pilot
test. There will be some specific interventions.
Senator Banks: Is that to address those gaps?
Mr. Ranger: To address those gaps. I will ask Mr. Grégoire to
elaborate on what the intentions are.
Mr. Grégoire: This money is to design and pilot test enhancements of
air cargo. It is not to fill in all the gaps yet. We want to evaluate and
develop regulated agent and known shipper security programs to increase security
in the supply chain integrity. That will be done with approximately 1,000
companies, give or take a few dozen. We want to evaluate and develop a known
shipper database to help identify low-risk supply chain partners. Here we would
like to eventually have up to 30,000 registered companies.
I should have mentioned that when we say "we,'' I am referring to Transport
Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, and I understand that you have
heard from Mr. Jolicoeur this morning. Then we want to evaluate and develop air
cargo screening and inspection protocol to deal with high-risk cargo. The idea
is to come up with a program to determine how we will deal with the known
shipper cargo, how we will deal with the unknown shipper cargo, what kind of
screening we will do, and who will do the screening.
Mr. Ranger: At every step of the way, sir, there is the shipper, there
is the broker, there is the airline, there is the consignee, and we must just
think through the whole supply chain and identify gaps at every stage of the
Senator Banks: I understand the non-shipper program. I understand the
practicality of that. Will this $26 million have anything to do with looking at
a package that I take up to Air Canada Cargo and address to you in Ottawa? Will
that package be screened as a result of this $26 million, or will this $26
million set up a program that might look at whether that package should be
Mr. Grégoire: I would say a combination of the two answers you just
gave. Your package might be screened because we will assess technology in this
pilot project so we will test different technology and the means to deliver that
technology. The screening could be done by the airline, it could be done by
CATSA, it could be done by another provider or it could be done by CBSA itself.
Senator Banks: The $26 million is partly being spent to decide who is
in charge here?
Mr. Ranger: Yes, who will do what, more precisely.
Senator Banks: How long will that take to get the answer?
Ms. Purdy: The money is for two years.
Senator Banks: Will you have the answer at the end of two years?
Ms. Purdy: We will have tested both processes and equipment, and we
will have a way forward. We hope by then that we will be screening. In
particular, our focus will be on high-risk cargo going into passenger aircraft.
That has to be the focus at the beginning.
Mr. Ranger: I should say the government is well aware that this
initiative is going forward. However, we will need much more funding. We had
identified $26 million as our needs for the next two years, and we got $26
Senator Banks: Ms. Purdy talked about high-risk cargo that is going
into passenger aircraft. More than three years ago now, this committee
discovered that with respect to mailed packages, virtually all of which go into
passenger aircraft if they are going to another city, the post office department
told us that they do not screen that mail because others do; Air Canada, in
turn, told us that they do not screen it because others do. No one in the
department ever said that they screened the mail.
You have just talked, Ms. Purdy, about high-risk cargo going into passenger
aircraft. If we know this chink exists in regard to mail, the bad guys know this
chink also exists. Is there a program in place — are we looking at some way of
saying that if I put a package in the mail in Edmonton, where I live, and mail
it to you in Ottawa or Toronto, that somehow, someone, instead of pointing
fingers at each other, will look at that package? That is currently the way to
get whatever you want on to a passenger airplane, whether it comes from a known
shipper or not.
Mr. Ranger: That is what the $26 million is all about. In the three
programs we identified, if we had been asked what the top priority would be, it
would have been that one, and we have been saying that for a number of months
Senator Banks: Mail, specifically?
Mr. Ranger: Mail and cargo. I would say mail specifically is a
concern. That is what we want to deal with.
Senator Atkins: Does CATSA have anyone at field aviation checking
passengers on private aircraft, or baggage handlers or aircraft handlers?
Mr. Ranger: Are you talking about the issue of screening or not
screening at fixed space?
Mr. Grégoire: CATSA only screens people and baggage at main terminals.
This is an issue that we have been looking at recently — "recently'' being a bit
of a loose term, since we have been looking at it for over a year and a half.
Senator Atkins: It is a sieve, then.
Mr. Ranger: In my introductory remarks, I indicated that there are
gaps. Yes, senator, there are gaps. We do risk assessments and it is an area
that we still need to deal with. It is our view that, based on the risk
assessments, it has not been our top priority. We need to look at that as well.
Mr. Chairman, if I may, I specifically asked a year and a half ago for an
action plan here. As we appear before these committees, and as a new event
occurs in Madrid or London, we say "What about this and what about that?'' We
said as we deal with those urgent issues, we must also come up with an action
plan; we must look at the full range of the gaps in the system, whether it is
with respect to cargo or hand-held missiles or the whole range of issues. In the
overall spectrum of threats and vulnerabilities, where do they fit? We are
conducting very sophisticated risk assessments of all those possible threats,
and basically trying to rank them.
Inasmuch as we have been able to get $2.5 billion so far, we have been
challenged by central agencies, as we should be, and we did not have all the
tools to explain why this particular area is more important than that particular
area. We are now developing that tool. There is no doubt that the fixed-base
issue is identified very specifically; where does it fit in the range of
vulnerabilities and how much money should we devote to that, as opposed to
spending more time on CATSA?
The Chairman: There was a tax introduced to pay for this particular
item, which has since been reduced before all these vulnerabilities were fixed.
That tax was there. We also see variations between different airports, which
also have the capacity to tax.
When you were describing airport authorities, you did not mention that they
had the capacity to tax; yet some airports search pilots and some do not. We do
not understand that. Regarding fixed-base operations, why was the tax cut when
the job was not finished? You say you have a resource problem. You would not
have the resource problem if you had not cut the tax.
Mr. Grégoire: Most operators, fixed-base operations or general
aviation areas, use corporate aircraft. Most of the aircraft used there are used
by owners or renters of aircraft. Everyone knows each other. Sports teams use
the fixed- base operations and they know each other as well. Most of them use
small aircraft, which carry less than 20 passengers each and which represent a
The Chairman: The people who work there will tell you any one of those
planes could destroy any building in the city. You are looking at a committee
that has walked on to those fixed-base operations without anyone asking for
identification, without anyone knowing who we were, and we had never been to
that place before. You just walk on; and if you look like you know where you are
going, you pass right through — no ID, no questions; just move and you are in.
We have all done it.
Senator Atkins: I gather from what you say, you do categorize the risk
of airports. You named three. How would you categorize Fredericton or Regina? Is
that high risk?
Mr. Grégoire: It would be lower risk than the main airport.
Ms. Purdy: It is one of the 89 where there are CATSA screening
services provided, so it is certainly considered enough of a risk to require the
screening of passengers and baggage, as takes place now.
Senator Atkins: How does CATSA determine the number of CATSA personnel
that would be stationed at, say, Regina or Fredericton?
Mr. Grégoire: It is largely based on the volume of passengers. They
each have to be screened, so let us put it to the ultimate. If there is only one
screening line open and you have many flights, the passengers will have a very
long waiting time. It is an operational question based on how many people you
can screen per hour.
Senator Atkins: In Fredericton, you will have an airplane that will
carry 20 people to Halifax, and there will be eight CATSA people on duty; half
of them are standing around doing nothing. Some of them may decide that they
should be doing something, and rather than being user-friendly, they are
user-unfriendly. I think you have a problem because a lot of the personnel that
work for CATSA, it is a public relations thing that is out there to persuade us
that things are really going right. I have to tell you, when you are down in the
Maritimes or you are in other parts of this country and this sort of situation
takes place, it creates an attitude that I find unbelievable.
Mr. Ranger: Sir, I share your concern and I have specifically raised
that point with CATSA. With respect, I would invite you to perhaps invite the
CEO of the corporation to come and explain.
In the early days, I had the same observation and there were some unresolved
issues. For example, some of the people were on their break, but there was no
space for them to go to somewhere else in the airport, so they just stood there
and created a very negative perception. Over time, they may have fixed some of
those problems. However, on the question of the number of people that they need
to operate a line of screening, it is definitely an operational decision, and
CATSA should answer for that.
Ms. Purdy: I will also point out, in response to Senator Moore's
question, that an independent panel is looking not just at the CATSA legislation
but at the operation of the organization. They have been travelling from coast
to coast, and I think they have now visited about 22 airports. They have met
with citizens and interested parties in major cities, including in the
Maritimes. They have been taking in information and will be reporting to the
minister on the legislation — whether it is adequate, but also how CATSA has
been performing its functions since its creation in 2002. There is that track of
work under way as well.
Senator Atkins: The only reason I raise it is that you talk about
CATSA having 125,000 people —
Mr. Ranger: No, that is the whole industry, including flight
attendants, pilots, et cetera. That is everyone involved in providing services.
Senator Atkins: How many would be employed by CATSA?
Mr. Ranger: There are 4,000 screeners.
Mr. Grégoire: Actually, CATSA employs approximately 200 people and
subcontracts to screening providers. I think they have five screening providers
and over 4,000 screeners employed by those screening contractors. I believe they
are now up to 4,200 screeners; when they started operating five years ago, the
airlines were employing about 2,800 screeners.
Senator Moore: Who makes up the 125,000?
Mr. Grégoire: That is all of the workers throughout the airport: the
pilots, the flight attendants, the caterers, the airport workers.
Mr. Ranger: People who work on maintenance.
Senator Atkins: Is the distribution of human resources where it should
Mr. Ranger: I have raised that question myself. The nature of the
industry now is that the airlines operate with flight banks. There is the
morning bank and the afternoon bank, and the whole system is geared on that. In
the middle of the morning or the middle of the afternoon, there is hardly anyone
flying, yet you must keep those people at the airport.
Mr. Grégoire: They must take them on as an eight-hour shift, on
average. As Mr. Ranger explained, if they have a need for a lot of screeners in
the morning and evening and you show up for the single flight at lunchtime, then
yes, there are too many screeners for that flight, but these folks are there
because they have to do their eight hours. That is unlike the big airports,
where you will not see that because you have many lines that are in operation.
Senator Banks: You said in response to Senator Atkins that Fredericton
and Regina were judged as being lower risk.
Mr. Grégoire: I meant lower than the big airports.
Senator Banks: On the basis of what?
Mr. Grégoire: The volume of passengers, mix of aircraft, volume of
Mr. Ranger: Having said that, obviously some airports are less
vulnerable than others; but CATSA right now provides what we call universal
screening. Everyone is essentially screened the same way, whether you depart
from Iqaluit or Toronto. CATSA would like to have a debate on that as to whether
we should tailor the screening, depending on the risk at Iqaluit versus Toronto.
Senator Banks: If there is a commercial airport at which a person can
get on a commercial, scheduled airliner, it does not seem to me a good mental
exercise to say that Iqaluit is less susceptible to a problem than is Toronto. A
bad guy will instantly know to get on the plane in Iqaluit.
Mr. Ranger: That is the current thinking, but there is a view out
there that on some days you should not do any screening at Iqaluit. We do not
support that view, but there is the view that as long as the information is not
publicly available, on certain days of the week, certain airports —
Senator Banks: You cannot be partly pregnant. We either have security
or we do not.
Mr. Ranger: I thought that is what you would say.
Senator Atkins: Is there a limit to the extent of inspection of an
individual? Are there guidelines to which an employee must adhere? If there are,
I must say that they are overstepping their bounds, in a number of cases.
Mr. Ranger: Do you means in terms of removing shoes?
Senator Atkins: Yes, and unzipping flies, et cetera.
Mr. Ranger: I have experienced it myself. They know that I am the
deputy minister and they want to show me that they are doing their job
thoroughly. I feel that I have to remove my shoes more often than the average
They are well trained. You can be sent for a secondary inspection and be
subjected to a thorough search. I am not personally aware of what you would call
abuse, but sometimes the search can be very thorough indeed, particularly in the
middle of the day, perhaps because there are fewer passengers then, but I
believe it is all within the standards set by CATSA.
Senator Tkachuk: The Chair alluded to the airport security tax
earlier. How much was collected in 2005, 2004 and 2003 in airport security tax?
Mr. Ranger: It costs between $400 and $500 million a year, and it does
Senator Tkachuk: That is what is collected?
Mr. Ranger: That is what it costs.
Senator Tkachuk: For what?
Mr. Ranger: For screening at airports.
Senator Tkachuk: How much is collected through the airport security
Mr. Ranger: On average, the same amount. The money that is collected
through the security charge goes into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. It is not
put into a separate pot of money, out of which this service is paid for.
Senator Tkachuk: In other words, it is a user tax?
Mr. Ranger: It is a user fee.
Senator Tkachuk: That is what I am getting at.
Mr. Ranger: The government's commitment is that over a five-year
period not one dollar collected through the charge will be diverted to anything
else. It is available for security.
Senator Tkachuk: But in the past, it has not been?
Mr. Ranger: It may be on a year-by-year basis.
Senator Tkachuk: We should know how much money has been collected
through the tax in 2003, 2004 and 2005. How much is spent on airport security?
Mr. Ranger: The amount of money collected is available in the
financial monitor —
Senator Tkachuk: You do not know that? I will look it up.
Mr. Grégoire: The Department of Finance website contains this
Senator Tkachuk: Have you never bothered to check? Would you not say
that if $500 million has been collected through the airport security tax, it
should be spent on airport security?
Mr. Ranger: One hundred and thirty million dollars has been added. The
economy is booming and traffic is high. This has imposed a financial burden on
CATSA. There are more people to screen.
Senator Tkachuk: When I do not get an answer on something that seems
obvious to me, I get suspicious.
We had airport security before 2001, albeit not as much. How much did we
Mr. Ranger: It was all paid for by the airlines.
Senator Tkachuk: Exactly. Do we know how much it cost them?
Mr. Ranger: Between $70 million and $75 million.
Senator Tkachuk: Have we let them off the hook on that $75 million? Do
they pay nothing for it now?
Mr. Ranger: The airlines pay nothing for it now.
Senator Tkachuk: What is the difference between what they used to
spend and what is spent now?
Mr. Ranger: It is much more, sir. At that time they were paying
minimum wages and providing no training, and there was a high turnover. People
are better paid now and they stay longer on the job. As I said, it costs $4,000
to train each employee. It is a more elaborate system now.
Senator Tkachuk: I will try to get that information myself. Perhaps
you can tell me — and you should know this — what was spent from 2000 to 2005 on
security at airports. I am not talking about what happens here; I am talking
about what happens at airports. At one time, airlines paid $75 million for
security. What are we paying at airports per year today? What did we pay last
year, the year before and the year before that?
Mr. Ranger: This information is available from CATSA's annual reports.
The Chairman: Just to clarify, it was flying passengers who paid, both
before and now?
Senator Tkachuk: Yes.
Senator Atkins: For the same security?
Ms. Purdy: The air traveller security charge is not only to fund
CATSA, you must remember. It is also to fund the RCMP and some of our work. It
is for aviation security, not strictly for CATSA. When you paint the picture of
how much was collected and how much was spent —
Senator Tkachuk: Why would airline passengers have to pay for RCMP?
Why should the general taxpayer not have to pay for them?
Ms. Purdy: The air marshal program is a new program that was put in
place at the same time the air traveller security charge was introduced. We now
have specially trained RCMP officers travelling on certain aircraft to
designated airports around the world and domestically. That is being paid for
out of the air traveller security charge, as an example. There is some very
specific RCMP aviation security.
Senator Tkachuk: It is important for us to know this, and I think the
taxpayer would also want to know this. It covers security at airports and what
Ms. Purdy: Aviation security.
Senator Tkachuk: What does "aviation security'' mean exactly? Is it
Mr. Ranger: Screening —
Senator Tkachuk: No, no. That is airport security. Let us go on to all
the other things it pays for.
Mr. Ranger: It covers part of the cost of policing at airports,
although not all of it.
Senator Banks: Does it pay for baggage screening machines?
Mr. Ranger: Yes.
The Chairman: In fairness, the number of police at airports has
decreased by almost 40 per cent. Traffic is up and the number of police is way
down. Even if you add in the air protection officers, you do not get the same
total of RCMP in any of our airports. It is a red herring, Ms. Purdy, for you to
bring that up.
Ms. Purdy: Is it is not only the RCMP. Response from police forces to
airports is not by the RCMP. It is usually officers of the police force of the
local jurisdiction that come if there is an incident at an airport.
The Chairman: I said that the total number of police at airports is
way down. At Pearson, if you add the number of RCMP to the regional police force
who are there, it is 40 per cent less than when it was just RCMP.
Ms. Purdy: I am just saying that the total police picture is not the
number of police officers in uniform patrolling the airport.
The Chairman: I was saying that if you added in the air protection
officers, there are still less.
Ms. Purdy: There are various ways to calculate police presence at
airports, including those who are within three, four or five minutes' response
time, which is what we expect for certain scenarios that may unfold at an
airport. In terms of uniformed police officers patrolling the terminal, I do not
know whether the numbers are up or down. That is only one part of it. There are
also many undercover, covert operations that take place at airports that
include, if it is a federal investigation, the RCMP. The police picture cannot
be measured with one measure, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Tkachuk: That does not come out of the security tax.
Senator Moore: It is an RCMP investigation.
Ms. Purdy: Some of the funds go to help the airports pay for policing
at their airports. CATSA is a funnel for that money to go to local police.
Mr. Ranger: After September 11, we used moral suasion to get the
airports to bring in more police presence. They said that they could sustain
that for a month or two but then would need help, and the government agreed to
make a permanent contribution. It does not cover the full cost, because we
recognize that the police presence is required to protect physical property, and
so on. It is not enough, as the airport will tell you, but we do cover part of
the cost of the police.
The Chairman: If, as you allege, this is true, will you provide the
committee with the figures prior to 9/11 and post 9/ 11?
Mr. Ranger: With respect to the number of police officers?
The Chairman: You are alleging that it has gone up.
Ms. Purdy: No.
Mr. Grégoire: No, we did not say it had gone up.
The Chairman: It has gone down. That is what is so frustrating.
Mr. Grégoire: No, we never said that, either.
The Chairman: You and Ms. Purdy are contesting it, so we would like to
see the numbers.
Mr. Grégoire: You want the RCMP numbers?
The Chairman: Yes, together with the numbers of people hired by the
Mr. Grégoire: The $2.2 billion announced as part of budget 2001 is
funnelled through CATSA to help fund the airport for part of the armed police
presence there. Since 2001, we have imposed on the airport more stringent
requirements for armed police presence.
We cannot compare what the RCMP does or does not do. The RCMP have people at
the airport, but they are there for other purposes. We need armed police at
airports to be able to intervene at the airport. We need them to be able to
intervene at the pre-clearance area of border crossing. This is paid for by the
airports. I can guarantee to you that there are more police now than there were
on September 11, or before September 11, but that is not counting the RCMP. It
includes police there before and the ones we have now. That is why the
government has decided to pay for a portion of those numbers through CATSA.
The Chairman: You guarantee it, Mr. Grégoire, but that is contrary to
the testimony we have heard from the RCMP, who are taking into account total
Would you please provide the committee with your figures? We would like to
compare them with the other testimony we have had.
Mr. Grégoire: I do not know how many RCMP officers there are at the
The Chairman: I am talking about all levels of policing. The figures
we have are broken out. In the case of Pearson, for example, it is broken down
into the OPP, the regional police and the RCMP. You say it is guaranteed that
there are more. We would like the figures to demonstrate that. Can you provide
Mr. Grégoire: We will provide the numbers that we have now.
The Chairman: That is what we would like to see.
Mr. Ranger: I will need to get that information from the airports.
Senator Tkachuk: I would like to follow up on this point, so if we
cannot get the information today we should be able to eventually get it.
I used to go through airport security, as did everybody else here, and there
was security before 9/11. I used to go through a little metal detector. After
9/11, it was costing an extra $7 one way, $12 for a round trip and $20 for
international flights. It is presently $5, $10 and $17, respectively.
What extra do I get as a passenger for that money that each passenger in
Canada spends every time they board an airplane? You should be able to tell me
Mr. Ranger: You are right, sir. The amount of money the government has
collected in year one, two and three must be available. It is available.
The amount of money collected in year one was probably higher than what CATSA
was able to spend. They placed orders for equipment and had to hire people. Over
time, that equipment came in, people were staffed and it is possible that in
year two they spent more than we collected. The government has said that, over a
five-year period, there will be a match. Finance is monitoring that very
Overall, there is a commitment by government that none of that money will be
redirected towards any other use. On a year-by-year basis, you cannot have an
exact match between revenues collected and amount spent.
There was, and still is, a concern in the industry, with both airlines and
airports, that the money is being kept on hold or is being spent somewhere else.
The government commits that that is not so.
Senator Tkachuk: The airlines saved $70 million as a result of this
Mr. Ranger: Yes.
Senator Tkachuk: Did that go directly into their pockets?
Mr. Ranger: Yes.
Senator Tkachuk: They did not have any responsibility for airline
Mr. Ranger: I am glad you raised that issue. The airlines, as you
know, are still saying today that the government was not there when times were
tough and traffic was obviously down. However, there is a fairly long list of
things that the government has done for the industry, starting with this $70
million-plus year after year, which is an obligation that no longer rests with
them. For example, we contributed $35 million for cockpit doors. That is money
in the bank.
I guess we do not do a good job in communicating that today the government
continues to cover war risk insurance beyond $150 million for everybody doing
anything on the premises of an airport, whether it is an airline or a refueler.
The Government of Canada assumes that responsibility. The cost to airlines of
purchasing war risk insurance, if it were available, would be a big fortune, not
a small one. The government is covering that item at the moment.
I am glad you raised that issue. It gives me an opportunity to demonstrate
that the government has done a number of concrete things for the industry.
Senator Tkachuk: I will look up how much the government has taken in
on the security tax. How many years has it been in force now, four or five
Mr. Grégoire: Security tax began on April 1, 2002.
Senator Tkachuk: Tell me how much has been spent in the last few years
on airport security. I would like it broken down for all members of the
committee. For example, this is what is spent on assessing the customer when he
walks in the door, compared to what used to be spent, and here is what is spent
on extra police that was not spent before. Do not put the whole expense in there
because that gives me a false picture of how things have changed since the
security tax has been implemented.
Ms. Purdy: We will certainly provide that detailed information.
From one perspective, what did we not have on September 10 that we have now?
We have CATSA. We already talked about how the number of screeners has risen by
1,400. They are better trained, they stay longer, their retention is better and
they are certainly providing a more consistent level of service.
We also did not have a state-of-the-art explosive detection system that is
being deployed to screen bags going on both domestic and international flights.
We did not have fortified cockpit doors or air marshals from the RCMP, who are
trained and are working every day on airplanes. We did not even have the random
screening of non-passengers that we have now. We did not have a biometric
identification card for airport workers. We did not have the more rigorous
Those are things we did not have on September 10 that we have now. That is
just a small piece of the roughly $2.5 billion that has been spent since
September 11 on aviation security. We can give you a breakdown if that would
Senator Tkachuk: That would be appreciated.
The Chairman: Mr. Ranger, we have kept you beyond the time that you
committed to appearing here. I apologize. However, we still have a number of
issues that we have not covered. If we communicated them to you in writing,
could you reply to those?
Mr. Ranger: Yes.
The Chairman: Thank you very much.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank all three witnesses for
appearing here today. We look forward to having you back again in the not too
distant future so that we can continue inquiring about some of these issues.
Mr. Ranger: We are here to assist you, senator.
The Chairman: Thank you.
For members of the public who are viewing this program, if you have questions
or comments, please visit our website by going to www.sen-sec.ca. We post
witness testimony as well as confirm hearing schedules. Otherwise, you may
contact the clerk of the committee by calling 1-800-267-7362 for further
information or assistance.
This meeting is adjourned. We will continue in the opposite room briefly in