Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue No. 9, Evidence - Meeting of November 28, 2016
OTTAWA, Monday, November 28, 2016
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day
at 1 p.m. to examine and report on Canada's national security and defence
policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities; to study issues related to
the Defence Policy Review presently being undertaken by the government; and in
camera for the consideration of a draft report.
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Colleagues, I would like to call this meeting to order.
Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence for
Monday, November 28, 2016. Before we begin, I would like to introduce the people
around the table.
My name is Dan Lang, senator for Yukon. The clerk of the committee is Adam
Thompson. I would like to invite each senator to introduce themselves, stating
the region they represent.
Senator Jaffer: My name is Mobina Jaffer. I'm from British Columbia.
Senator Kenny: Colin Kenny, Ontario.
Senator Carignan: Claude Carignan from Quebec.
Senator Dagenais: Jean-Guy Dagenais from Quebec.
Senator Campbell: Larry Campbell, British Columbia.
Senator Day: Joseph Day, New Brunswick.
Senator Beyak: Lynn Beyak, Ontario. Welcome.
The Chair: Thank you colleagues.
We will be meeting for four hours. During our first panel we will hear from
two assistant directors of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service for an
update on threats to the security of Canada and other issues.
I should inform committee members that unfortunately Mr. Coulombe has asked
me to convey his regrets for not being able to attend. He has personal matters
to attend to.
I want to thank Mr. Venner and Mr. Rumig for attending on his behalf.
Further to that, in the following panels we will continue our examination of
issues related to the defence policy review with representatives from the
Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army. And with our final panel we will
explore issues related to search and rescue. At the end of the session, we will
meet in camera for a short discussion.
Colleagues, joining us in our first panel of the day, from the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service, are Tom Venner, Assistant Director, Policy and
Strategic Partnerships; and Brian Rumig, Assistant Director, Operations.
Welcome gentlemen. I understand you have an opening statement. I would ask
you to begin. Please proceed.
Brian Rumig, Assistant Director, Operations, Canadian Security
Intelligence Service: Mr. Chair, I would like to reiterate Michel Coulombe's
apologies for being unable to attend today. It was an unavoidable and imminent
issue he had to attend to. He sends his regrets, but he looks forward to another
opportunity to come and join you in this session.
Today my opening remarks will focus on the threat environment and extremism
in Canada, including as it pertains to returnees. When I refer to returnees, I'm
referring to those individuals who have departed this country to partake in
fighting and terrorist activity outside of Canada, but who now have for various
reasons decided to come back, plan to come back, want to come back or have tried
to come back to Canada.
I am, of course, pleased to answer any other questions you may have in
relation to our mandate.
Mr. Chair, as you know, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is
authorized to investigate and provide advice on threats to the national security
of Canada. Security screening is also another core mandate for us and for which
we provide advice to government.
Terrorism, including terrorist travel and the radicalization of Canadians, is
currently the most prominent threat to Canadian interests and our national
security. The intelligence community has never before faced a terrorist threat
of this scope, scale and complexity. As such, as you would expect, it is the
service's top priority.
As you are aware, Daesh and its global rallying call continue to dominate the
extremist landscape, particularly in the Middle East. Though it's a fluid
environment, Daesh has suffered losses in Syria and around Mosul in northern
Iraq. However, Daesh's response to these events remains to be seen. Certainly
there is the potential for destabilization in the region, including the rise of
a sectarian tension. Regional actors will have to contend with events, including
the potential movement of a number of fighters.
Currently the number of fighters believed to be in Syria and Iraq is
estimated to be above 30,000. These are foreign fighters, to be specific. The
rate by which these individuals have departed this conflict zone has declined
steadily during the past two years, likely as a result of Daesh's increased
control and influence of these individuals and as a result of increased
capacities of regional authorities to secure their borders. Daesh's continued
loss of territory in Syria and Iraq, however, will potentially reverse this
trend, driving more fighters to leave and possibly return to their home
Despite our relative geographic distance from events in Syria and Iraq,
Canada is not immune to the influence of terrorist entities, and while setbacks
in Iraq and Syria run counter to Daesh's myth of invincibility, its ideology
continues to hold global appeal, including among susceptible Canadians.
Canadians with extremist views continue to engage in a range of terrorist
activities in Canada and abroad. The service is currently aware of approximately
180 individuals with a nexus to Canada who are engaged in terrorist activity
abroad. Approximately half of these individuals are believed to be in Syria and
We note that whereas in the recent past we saw periodic spikes in the number
of departures from Canada, this number has levelled off somewhat in recent
times. That said, the situation is fluid as individuals in Canada respond to the
events in the region.
The activities of these extremist travellers vary widely. Some Canadians have
gone to Syria simply to live in Daesh territory. They welcome the opportunity to
live in an Islamic state. Others have travelled for the sole purpose of studying
at extremist institutions, to receive combat and terrorist training or to engage
in planning terrorist operations.
The participation of Canadians in these conflicts, in whatever manner and
regime, is destabilizing to the countries in which they operate and certainly
presents risks both direct and indirect to Canada.
The service is also aware of approximately 60 returnees. Some of these
individuals returning to Canada have the potential to pose a significant threat
to our national security. Returnees may respond in a number of different ways,
from forsaking Daesh and returning to a normal existence in Canada, to
radicalizing others, to financing or facilitating the travel of others or indeed
to intact planning.
Senators, the directorate has referenced numbers of terrorist travellers and
returnees in the past as it provides a sense of the overall scale of the issue.
It's important for us to remember, though, to be aware, that focusing
exclusively on numbers does not adequately capture the nature of the threat.
Individuals who are engaged in threat-related activity, but who have never
travelled, whether they aspire to, have been prevented from travelling or for a
variety of reasons choose to remain in Canada, are not included in these numbers
that we publish.
Unfortunately, we have seen the incidents in Strathroy and the attacks in
October of 2014. Blocking extremists from travelling abroad does not neutralize
the risk they pose as the underlying motivation to conduct such violence still
persists. For all three individuals that I've just referenced, their desire was
to leave Canada; however, they were unable to.
The scale of the threats, the speed at which they evolve and the prevalence
of technology and social media have created significant investigative, technical
and predictive challenges for the service. I want to assure the senators of this
committee and all Canadians that CSIS is taking every step to identify those
engaged in terrorist activities. Terrorist activity, whether travelling abroad
to participate in a regional conflict, engaging in an attack plot, or
facilitating the activities of someone else, is rarely sudden or spontaneous. It
typically requires financial resources, planning and logistics. Our challenge is
not simply to detect complex plots over time involving multiple actors, but also
to detect the smaller plots that are often difficult to detect and indeed
Mr. Chair, while the principal threat to Canada remains extremists inspired
to conduct attacks in Canada, I would also like to make a few comments on other
areas of focus for the service.
While the immediacy of the threat of terrorism requires the focus of a
significant portion of our resources, we are also seized with other long-term
threats, such as hostile cyberactivity, espionage, foreign-influenced activity
and the proliferation of technology and materiel in support of weapons of mass
destruction around the world. While these threats may not resonate as much in
the national psyche, the ramifications of their going unfettered could have a
significant impact on Canada's long-term economic prosperity and security.
Canada continues to be the target of malicious, offensive cyberattacks by
foreign entities. These attacks have become a tool of choice for a range of
hostile actors, including both state and non-state actors, because they are
efficient, cost-effective and, most importantly, they are for the most part
As the director has remarked during previous appearances, a number of foreign
states continue to be involved in traditional espionage and foreign-interference
activities as they attempt to gather political, economic and military
information in Canada through clandestine means. Such states will pursue their
national interests through covert means, targeting Canadian businesses,
political institutions and members of the diaspora communities in Canada. Canada
also remains a target of illicit procurement of advanced technology and materiel
by those seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction.
In short, national security threats are increasing across the spectrum. The
service's continued cooperation with our Canadian partners, as well as with our
foreign allies, is and will continue to be integral to our investigations and
Canadian government response.
Senators, the people of CSIS are dedicated to the protection of Canada's
national security interests and the safety and prosperity of Canadians. We are
continually reassessing our operations and the programs we have in place to
respond to the dynamic and complex security environment.
With that, Mr. Chair, I will conclude my remarks and welcome any questions
the committee may have.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Rumig, and please send our regards
to Director Coloumbe. We look forward to his appearance when he is available for
a hearing here.
If I could, colleagues, I want to set the stage.
I think you have put forward a very good presentation outlining what we're
facing in Canada, but there are a couple of areas that I don't quite understand.
About two years ago, the number of extreme jihadists that had been identified by
CSIS was approximately 180 — those who were outside the country; approximately
60 had returned to the country; and 80 or 90 were looking at leaving. You're
telling me that those numbers are consistent and they are the same today as they
were two years ago, and yet at the same time we were told a year ago that those
numbers were increasing.
Mr. Rumig: I mentioned in my opening remarks, Mr. Chair, that the
numbers we saw and were starting to tabulate in the 2014-15 period were a direct
result of people willing to go principally to Syria and Iraq to join with Daesh.
Those numbers have settled down. We don't see the increased numbers that we were
seeing two years ago. They have levelled off; they have plateaued.
As I mention in my remarks — and I believe the director has mentioned in
previous statements to this committee — we have to be very cautious of focusing
on numbers. The numbers will change because of different factors, including the
assessments made by ourselves, by the RCMP and by other Canadian government
institutions that are involved in this, as to whether these individuals actually
travelled overseas to conduct terrorist activity or whether they were going over
to study or to provide medical and educational assistance. There are pieces of
information to say that an individual might have travelled for terrorism, but
with further investigation we realize that they are not terrorists and that in
fact they were travelling there to provide humanitarian support.
Similarly, for individuals returning to Canada, we had information to suggest
that they were people of concern; however, further investigation by ourselves or
by other law enforcement entities led to us reassess the individual and the
threat they posed. The numbers fluctuate for any given month, quite frankly.
The Chair: For those Canadians who have committed themselves to going
overseas to be involved in these types of terrorist activities, at least in
part, can we expect, as time goes on — because the numbers will increase from 60
plus 180, which would be a minimum of 240 Canadians who are back in this country
— are we going to be seeing over the next number of years some charges being
laid? Up to now, very few charges have been laid. Quite a number of Canadians
have been involved in terrorism activities, and it is against the law.
Mr. Rumig: Thank you for the question. The number of Canadians
actually returning is unknown. Many of them are so committed to this cause that
they have no intention to come back to Canada. They will continue to fight with
Daesh in Iraq and Syria. If Daesh reconstitutes itself in another region of the
Middle East, Asia or Africa, we expect that many of these Canadians and other
foreign fighters will gravitate to those regions as well, with no intention of
ever coming back to Canada.
Regarding of the number of people who would be investigated for criminal
activity, I would have to defer to my law enforcement colleagues on that front.
That being said, we work extremely closely with the RCMP, the Canada Border
Services Agency and other members of the federal response to identify these
people, hopefully before they actually arrive in Canada, so that we can proffer
a measured response for their return, but also through an investigative
capability — as I said earlier, assess what threat these individuals actually do
play once they arrive in Canada.
In some cases, the assessment will change. We thought at the beginning of a
given year that this individual posed a significant threat; however, further
investigation and intelligence led us to collectively assess that the individual
is not a terrorist, did not partake in terrorist training or activity overseas.
So we can tool down our efforts, in the case of RCMP or law enforcement, to
bring prosecutorial efforts against them.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you for being here. My questions were meant for
the director, but I'm hoping you can answer at least some of the questions, and
then we may have to wait for the director.
What is the Operational Data Analysis Centre, ODAC?
Mr. Rumig: The Operational Data Analysis Centre is an entity. It's not
a program. It's not a computer. It's an entity comprised of individuals and
computer technology that allows us to make sense of the information that we
acquire legally. It is crunching numbers. It is crunching data, hence its name:
operational data analysis. It's used in an operational context to make sense of
the vast amounts of data that we acquire through our judicial authorized
warrants, through information that we've obtained through partners, and it's
used to affect our understanding of the threat, be it terrorism or the espionage
or cyber-threats that we are currently dealing with.
Senator Jaffer: Since the November 3, 2016, hearing where the court
was not happy with this data collection, what has happened? How are you dealing
with what the court has asked you to do?
Mr. Rumig: Immediately following the Federal Court's ruling on how we
were approaching the information that we were assessing — and I'll just
reiterate that it deals with information that was legally acquired, but the
court challenged whether we had a legal capability of retaining some of the
information. With that judgment, we immediately fenced off all information that
we had acquired that was contained within the centre so that it could not be
further accessed by employees and computers and used in an operational context,
used to develop intelligence.
By doing so, our hope was to gain some clarity on what we were now permitted
to do and not do but also come up with a technological solution that would allow
us to separate out that which the court had ruled we should not be taking and
retaining and that which the court said we had every right to take, retain and
make use of. That process is under way right now, but we immediately put a fence
around that information so that it could not be further exploited.
Senator Jaffer: A lot of this decision has been redacted, so it's not
easy for me to follow, but if I understand correctly, Mr. X is under a warrant
and you have permission to access his information. Mr. X speaks to Mr. A, B, C
and D, and without getting a warrant from the court, you retain the information
of Mr. A, B, C and D in your data. Then if A, B, C or D speaks to E, F, G or H,
you retain that also in your data. Is that correct?
Mr. Rumig: No, that's not —
Senator Jaffer: But you do retain A, B, C and D?
Mr. Rumig: We retain the information relative to the metadata, the
associated data, not the content, dialogue or email exchange, simply the
information on the communication device, the numbers associated with a
telephone, as an example.
Historically, through our interpretation of what we were able to do, both our
interpretation and the Department of Justice's interpretation, we would retain
that information and exploit it and assess it over a period of time for us to
better understand the nature of the threat of that individual whom we had legal
authority to acquire the information against. We are using it to assess that
individual, not A, B, C and D, and certainly not any communications they may
have with anyone else. We wouldn't have access to that.
Senator Jaffer: My point in asking you this is that you told the court
that you had justice in your interpretation. The minister of the day was also
aware of it, I understand, but the court was not impressed by your candour. The
court said that you had an elevated obligation to inform them of making
non-threat-related information corrected through the operation of warrants and
you had not done so.
What I want from you in writing and then later on, if possible, from the
director, is that you stopped doing that, and, if I understand you correctly,
you are dealing with information so slowly that it will be off your database.
Mr. Rumig: There were two issues, senator. One of them was the issue
of candour, and the other one was the ability to retain this information. Let me
do them in the reverse.
On the issue of being able to retain information, as I indicated earlier, we
have obviously agreed to the rulings of the court and we have fenced off. We now
have to go through a process where we work with the court to interpret how much
further we can go. If we can't, then we obviously will not, but there are other
aspects at play here. The government has launched a public consultation to look
at the entire national security framework. That would include the service, and
indeed, the possibility of —
Senator Jaffer: But government is not appealing this decision?
Mr. Rumig: The government is not appealing this decision, correct.
Senator Jaffer: What about the issue of candour?
Mr. Rumig: The issue of candour is a separate issue. The court came to
the conclusion that the service was not as forthcoming with information that was
authorized for us to acquire through their court, through their warrants, and we
were not forthcoming with enough information for them to make a determination on
how that information was being used. We do not disagree with that.
We had opportunities through the course of 10 or 12 years to be more explicit
with the court. The court knew about ODAC, and successive governments knew about
ODAC. Our review committees and the Privacy Commissioner knew about ODAC, but
the details, the inner workings, the business processes and actually how we were
using that information was not, in the court's mind, adequately addressed for
them to understand. That's the ruling they came out with in October. We do not
disagree with that, and we are not going to appeal that issue.
Tom Venner, Assistant Director, Policy and Strategic Partnerships,
Canadian Security Intelligence Service: I have one clarification. Just to be
clear, a lot of people were aware of ODAC, but I think the court raised its
concern that they had not been briefed on the existence of it. I just wanted to
clarify that for the record.
Senator Jaffer: That's the whole decision, and the court wasn't aware
Mr. Venner: Right. We can certainly elaborate on some additional
details in terms of the service's response in writing afterwards.
One of the most obvious issues, of course, now that the court has made this
ruling, is how do you adjust your current approach to collecting through
warrants that type of information? Adjustments have been made with the court in
terms of the warrants and the conditions of the warrants, so they have been
adjusted appropriately to deal with the court's decision.
Senator Carignan: My question is for Mr. Rumig and is along the same
lines. Could you, as the Assistant Director of Operations, tell us whether any
of your current surveillance activities directly or indirectly involve
journalists, similar to Senator Jaffer's example, example A, where the
journalist is in contact with a person of interest or an individual who is the
focus of an investigation?
Mr. Venner: Maybe I'll take a crack at that. The first thing I would
say is I would go back to the director's statement at the time — in fact, it was
the same day that he was commenting on the Federal Court decision — that there
wasn't a parallel situation involving the journalists as to what was occurring
in Quebec. That's essentially the service's answer to that question.
As for the specific issue of — I'm sorry, my translation was cutting in and
out. Was the question about the journalist —
Senator Carignan: Are any journalists currently under CSIS
surveillance, either directly because they are the focus of an investigation or
indirectly because they are in contact with an individual who is the focus of an
Mr. Venner: Again, I think the director's statement was that nothing
is happening in relation to journalists, so I think that's a sort of — we can't
go into any granular details, but that's the —
Senator Carignan: So is the answer yes or no?
Mr. Venner: No. The director was quite clear the answer would be no.
Senator Carignan: The director was clear about what is going on now,
but not about what happened in the past. Can you confirm that journalists were
not placed under surveillance in the past, being targeted either directly or
indirectly because of contact with an individual who was the focus of an
investigation and who was under surveillance? Can you confirm that no
journalists were put under surveillance in the past?
Mr. Venner: I don't think we could answer that question today. We
didn't come prepared to deal with that specific question, but I can tell you
that obviously the service only investigates people and activities that fit the
definition of threats to the security of Canada as defined in the CSIS Act:
terrorism, espionage and foreign interference. Those are the only circumstances
under which someone becomes a target of investigation for the service. There are
no safe havens from those definitions and categories. If you are engaging in
those types of activities, then you may be investigated.
That said, the service and the government of course absolutely recognize the
sensitivity around institutions such as the media, academia and things like
that. So there are in place policies and levels of authority that make sure that
there would be no situations similar to what arose.
Senator Carignan: By way of recap, then, you are not able to say what
happened in the past.
Mr. Venner: I couldn't answer that today, senator, no.
Mr. Rumig: I wouldn't be able to answer. I would reiterate Mr.
Venner's comment, though. We would not investigate somebody simply because they
were a journalist. We would not investigate someone simply because they were an
academic or a politician. To reiterate, it's the activities that people engage
in that would constitute a threat that allows us, enables us and obligates us to
As Mr. Venner said, we recognize the sanctity of many professions and many
institutions in Canada that have a higher degree of freedom of expression and a
higher degree of complexities in their job, which, therefore, require us in our
current procedures, in our ministerial direction and, indeed, our oversight by
SIRC to ensure that a higher degree, a higher threshold is met before we launch
an investigation into some of these sensitive sector areas against individuals
who are in sensitive sector areas. We were not investigating journalists per se.
Senator Carignan: But you are not ruling out the possibility that some
journalists may have been placed under surveillance as a result of direct or
indirect involvement, not because they were journalists but, rather, because of
Mr. Rumig: I'm going to guess, because I don't have that information
privy to me at the moment, that in the past, in the course of 30 years of this
service being in existence, yes, there might have been journalists who because
of their activity in support of threats to the security of Canada might have
been investigated by us. Currently, I don't know those numbers, and I don't know
Senator Carignan: Would you be able to commit to providing us with
Mr. Rumig: Most certainly.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your presentation. Mr. Rumig, I would
like to discuss FINTRAC's discovery that 483 financial transactions were tied to
terrorist activities in Canada in 2015-16. You said that there were 449
disclosures last year. Can you tell us more about those disclosures and the
outcome of your involvement?
Mr. Rumig: Thank you, senator. I would actually have to defer the
response to our colleagues from FINTRAC. I have no visibility on their numbers
and their annual reports.
Senator Dagenais: If you question FINTRAC officials, could you provide
the answer to us?
Mr. Rumig: I would again respectfully ask that the question be
directed to FINTRAC, which is not a part of our organization.
The Chair: Can I maybe clarify? The FINTRAC report indicates that 429
disclosures were made available to your organization last year.
Mr. Rumig: To our organization, okay.
The Chair: So obviously you have knowledge of the information that was
provided to you.
Mr. Rumig: Sorry, I misunderstood. I would have to address that at a
different time. I don't have that information available to me at the moment.
Senator Dagenais: Would you be able to send it to the committee? Do
you think the financial accomplices of extremists have changed or adjusted their
practices in recent months, in light of everything that is happening?
Furthermore, do you have the capacity to track them down? Do you have the
resources in place to protect the country?
Mr. Rumig: Thank you for your question. I don't believe they have
changed substantively how they try to acquire or transfer funding. It's
definitely a global enterprise.
Many terrorist organizations are very adaptive to different rules and
inhibitors for them to transfer money, and they come up with different means and
methods by which to transfer money across borders, for instance.
At the moment, I don't see anything that is different or has changed in the
last several months. Certainly over the years it has changed, particularly with
the advent of computer networks where we collectively can send money across
borders more efficiently and effectively, and terrorists have adapted that as a
method as well.
In terms of the resources available to us, we have quite a robust capability
in this aspect of our job. We do it very much in collaboration with partners.
FINTRAC is one of them and certainly the RCMP and indeed our international
partners. We leverage not only our international partners but also the
international partners of FINTRAC, customs and revenue, law enforcement and
Canadian law enforcement, leveraging their international partners as well as
trying to get a better sense and means by which to inhibit the transfer of these
Senator Kenny: Thank you, chair, and welcome, gentlemen. I would like
to shift to what appears to be the other side of the shop and ask if you could
describe for us what sort of cyberattacks Canada has been experiencing. Who are
the recipients of them? What happens in the course of a cyberattack?
Canadians hear about cyberattacks all the time. Very few people can say, "I
was a target.'' Can you explain in a straightforward way what Canadians should
visualize when they hear that you are doing something about cyberattacks?
Mr. Rumig: Thank you, senator. The service's role in countering the
cyber-threat is one of several entities within the Canadian federal family who
are engaged in trying to understand the threat and, indeed, counter the threat.
Here I refer to Public Safety leading in terms of developing strategies,
policies and capability to help Canadians, Canadian institutions, Canadian
citizens and Canadian businesses in trying to protect themselves from the
overwhelming, I would say, cyber-threat, the overwhelming presence of
The service's role is quite limited in this regard, and we are focused solely
on the activity of hostile nations and hostile foreign states who are engaged in
There are a number of other cyber-threats that come from non-state actors,
such as the criminal element, those looking to extort money or to disrupt for
financial gain. We do not play in that field at all. We don't have the mandate,
and, quite frankly, we don't have the capability and the expertise. Our partners
In terms of the threat from cyber that Canadians are aware of and should be
aware of, there are a multitude of threat actors and threat vectors. That being
said, there are a multitude of private companies and, indeed, now the federal
government that are capable of offering assistance, and sometimes Canadians
don't even have to purchase this assistance. It's through the Internet providers
and the people selling you your computers and smartphones. They have already
incorporated anti-cyber capabilities within these devices.
Senator Kenny: I was waiting. I thought he was giving us a preamble,
chair. He was dancing around the question.
How would somebody know if they were the target of a cyberattack?
Mr. Rumig: Again, I would have to defer to colleagues from another
department on this.
Senator Kenny: Which department?
Mr. Rumig: Public Safety Canada is the lead agency within the federal
government that is developing a cyber-strategy. There are multiple tenants in
this game in other departments. We are but one, and we are a very small entity
in this overall chapter of defence.
To answer your question, senator, to be honest, I can't personally answer
your question. I'm not sure the service would be able to answer it, either.
Again, we are focused on threats emanating from hostile foreign states that
direct their activities principally at government communication networks,
sometimes military, but certainly not the private sector.
Senator Kenny: The government isn't subject to cyberattacks?
Mr. Rumig: The government is very much subject to cyberattacks.
Collectively, over the years, we have put in an enormous amount of effort to put
up that fence to make sure that the leak is not there.
Senator Kenny: But it's not your job. You just talk about it.
Mr. Rumig: It's our job to investigate the foreign element of it, yes.
We work collaboratively with our partners, but we have one small role in this
Senator Kenny: Could we switch to espionage? That's your job?
Mr. Rumig: That's our wheelhouse.
Senator Kenny: Okay. You're talking about China and Russia becoming
more of a nuisance these days.
Mr. Rumig: Those are certainly two foreign governments that have used
their intelligence apparatus to direct activities in Canada or against Canadian
interests that we are concerned about, but they are but two. There are others as
well. I won't go into naming names and giving operational details, but certainly
Russia and China, historically, have been part of that activity, but there are
other countries as well.
Senator Kenny: No one asked you to get into operational activities,
but why are you naming Russia and China and not naming others?
Mr. Rumig: It's just the prevalence of their activity, not only in
Canada but around the globe. It's very well known.
Senator Kenny: If it's well known, why can't you name them?
Mr. Rumig: No, those two, sir, China and Russia.
Senator Kenny: The fact that other countries are doing it — they will
go away if you don't mention their names?
Mr. Rumig: No. I just want to reiterate that we take it very
seriously. Espionage is part of our mandate. It manifests itself in various
forms throughout the course of the year.
There are bilateral foreign relations and bilateral issues that we have to
bear in mind as we pursue our investigations, so to be naming names of countries
and individuals would be inappropriate, quite frankly, in a public domain.
Senator Kenny: You say that, but China is a country that this
government is really anxious to develop good relations with. They are going out
of their way to find any number of different paths to create better
relationships with China, and yet for decades now, they have been the principle
protagonists in spying on Canada.
Why wouldn't you want to talk about what they are doing? What sort of damage
is going on? We have had previous directors come here and say that 50 per cent
of your organization was devoted to the Chinese. In what areas? How is it
costing us? Who is being hurt?
Mr. Rumig: Do you have any help here, Tom?
Mr. Venner: To be fair, the service generally does not talk about its
operations in a public forum.
Senator Kenny: Excuse me, Mr. Venner. I specifically excluded
operations, but we know that countries are involved, and I want to know what
damage Canada is receiving. How are we being hurt by this?
We're all dancing around this. What is so tough about talking about what the
Chinese already know?
Mr. Venner: Frankly, the answer to some of those questions illuminates
what we know and don't know about the threat. It may seem convenient or trite,
but it's not. It's just the reality that if we elaborated publicly on the nature
of the damage that's being done at times, that is not helpful for our
Senator Kenny: How do you expect us to take you seriously if you're
not going to tell us what sort of damage or cost this espionage is causing
The Chair: I think it's a fair question. We're not asking about
specific investigations for corporations or individuals. I think the senator is
asking a very valid question.
What threats are we facing from the two countries you named, and others, with
respect to the activity they are undertaking? Are they stealing patents? Are
they involved in financial institutions?
Senator Kenny: You're helping him too much, chair.
The Chair: These are trailers.
Mr. Rumig: I would be happy to amplify on this.
The Chair: Is that the question, senator?
Senator Kenny: It is, yes.
Mr. Rumig: I would say, senator, that the threat activity posed by
espionage hits on many aspects of our economy. It hits on many aspects of our
proprietary capabilities. It hits on the ability of immigrant communities to
live here in peace and tranquility, without coercive and unwanted activity on
the part of foreign espionage actors who are trying to influence them even now
that they have come to Canada and, in many, cases acquired Canadian citizenship.
In terms of the threat that these hostile intelligence actors are playing on,
it's against our economy, our military secrets, our political realities, and
trying to influence the immigrant community, and trying to acquire insider
knowledge of how the government is going to react or vote on international fora,
These are all intertwined in the objectives and activity of these hostile
intelligence actors that are operating here.
Senator Beyak: I'm going to drill down a little bit more on Russia and
China, but my questions are general, more for the viewing public and not
national security exactly.
The last time the director was here, he was briefed prior to our meeting. He
said, "Russia and China, in particular, continue to target Canada's classified
information and advanced technology, as well as government officials and
That's a concern for people. Could you elaborate and tells us how Russia and
China target specific government officials, if that's true, and is it in Canada
or abroad? How significant is the concern to national security, in your view?
Mr. Rumig: Thank you, senator. I have to apologize that it's going to
be a very similar response to what you have heard earlier.
Back to what Mr. Venner said, for to us discuss this, specifically those
issues, in a public forum actually gets into discussions about how we operate,
the methodologies we employ. It also starts to talk about what we don't know,
and that is actually advantageous to some of these foreign countries.
With respect, I have to give you a similar response that I gave to Senator
That being said, one question that you did mention, or perhaps the director
made mention of previously, was whether this activity is ongoing in Canada or
also abroad. The answer is both. It is ongoing internationally, as well as in
Senator Beyak: Thank you for your candor. I appreciate it.
I'm wondering if the Prime Minister or senior government officials consult
you, prior to meeting with foreign nationals, on these kinds of issues.
Mr. Rumig: On issues of espionage or foreign interference, most
certainly. We do our best to brief the Prime Minister's office and certainly
senior government officials before they meet with foreign counterparts.
We have a very active and, from what we understand, a well-received briefing
mechanism on terrorism, espionage and foreign interference. That's a part of our
business that we have devoted time and effort to. Part of our mandate is to
advise government; this is how we do it. We provide analytical and specific
briefings when required.
Senator Meredith: Thank you so much, both of you, for being here.
Going back to the espionage discussion that Senator Kenny raised and Senator
Beyak touched on, can you enlighten this committee about your efforts to stop
espionage, given the fact that Canadian Navy Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul
Delisle, which is a well-known case, was able to be, obviously, infiltrated with
respect to sensitive information? Can you talk to us about access lists and how
those are actually protected?
Mr. Rumig: Just for my edification, access lists to classified
Senator Meredith: Yes.
Mr. Rumig: In general, how do we deal with this? It's through
acquisition of information and then, of course, trying to make sense of that
information, and then briefing and informing the most vulnerable government
We provide a number of tailored briefings for people to discuss threats they
may have, threat activity that we have seen through our collection and
investigative efforts. We rely on the departments, through their own department
security apparatus, to impart appropriate security measures, if they exist, and
in most cases they do; but sometimes it's simply to make sure that they are
attentive to updating them to have current knowledge of the people who have
access to those. We wouldn't necessarily have that. It would be the department's
security officers and security apparatus that would maintain those lists of who
should or should not be gaining access, and then monitoring whether those
programs and classified material are being accessed inappropriately. That is
left to the security apparatus within that department itself.
Senator Meredith: With respect to insider threat, you heard talk of
China and Russia and the pressures being placed on immigrant communities, those
where Canadians were being hired into government organization such as CSIS and
so on with respect to sensitive materials. What are your efforts to ensuring
that no individual is being pressured to provide information externally for
monies and so forth? How is that risk being managed?
Mr. Rumig: The program the service is responsible for is the clearance
for government workers who require access to this sensitive information. That is
one of our separate mandates and one that we have developed quite a bit of
expertise and talent in over the years.
We screen these people. In some cases, it includes interviews with the
individual or their family members or business partners, et cetera, to gain an
appreciation for where their loyalty lies, as well as their propensity to
perhaps engage in activities that would leave them vulnerable to extortion,
bribery and so on.
That information is shared with the departments who are hiring them. It's a
five-year update. Every five years those individuals are expected to go through
a similar process. It is through the initial process and the five-year update
that we would hope to uncover something that was untoward, and then we would
advise the departments appropriately that additional measures should be taken.
Through the course of that time, the departments are also actively monitoring
their own systems and have their own security measures in place to determine
whether someone has inappropriately accessed a program or a lab or a physical
space that they shouldn't be in. That is up to the departments to monitor and to
report back on.
Senator Day: Is the Operational Data Analysis Centre still in
Mr. Venner: It is, yes.
Senator Day: So you just made some changes with respect to the
metadata you have been accumulating over time?
Mr. Rumig: Yes, indeed. As I mentioned to Senator Jaffer, we have put
that proverbial fence around that information and are trying to determine how we
can exfiltrate things that the court has allowed us to take; and that which we
are not allowed to take we will try to keep fenced and will purge at some point.
Senator Day: Mr. Justice Simon Noël, in his resent decision in the
Federal Court, stated or suggested that the CSIS Act is showing its age with
respect to development in technologies and the threat landscape.
Do you agree with that? Do you have any recommendations today that we could
work on for you?
Mr. Rumig: I don't have any recommendations. Would I agree that the
CSIS Act, which is now 32 years old, probably needs a modern lens on it? I would
certainly agree with that. But in terms of recommendations, I wouldn't venture
into that at the moment.
Senator Day: Mr. Rumig, in the final comment of your opening remarks
you said, "We are continually reassessing our operations and the programs we
have in place to respond to the dynamic and complex security environment.''
Mr. Rumig: That's correct.
Senator Day: You talked about a change to the warrants as a result of
these court cases, and that we understand. Are there other fundamental changes
you've made or would like to make but can't because the CSIS Act needs updating?
Mr. Venner: Maybe I'll take a crack at that, just because that tends
to fall under my shop on the policy side of the service.
We have a variety of challenges we're facing these days, and of course the
government's national security consultations are designed to look at that and
come up with proposals to deal with them. Whether it's the challenge of going
dark and our difficulties in that area, or intelligence to evidence and some of
the challenges we've had there for many years, the consultations are studying
and gathering input on a variety of challenges like that so that the Department
of Public Safety and others can develop some proposals for government and
That consultation has another couple of weeks to run. When that's complete,
we'll be playing an active role with Public Safety and other partners to try and
I'm sure that process will look at potential changes to the CSIS Act. For
example, you may have heard recently that our partners in the U.K. passed
legislation, and as Brian said, they put a modern lens on their legislation and
tried to figure out what changes should be made legally to deal with things like
big data in the framework and tools they have available to them.
Those will all be things in the coming months where hopefully there will be
discussions and solutions that will assist the service to fulfill its mandate,
while also striking the balance that the government rightly is seeking to meet.
Senator Campbell: Thank you and welcome. Which agency is responsible
for fighting a cyberattack?
Mr. Rumig: Cyberattack directed at the Canadian government would be
the Communications Security Establishment, CSE. They had that mandate long
before cyber was in vogue. They had the mandate to protect Canadian classified
Senator Campbell: Who did they answer to?
Mr. Rumig: They answer to the Minister of National Defence.
Senator Campbell: Yet you told us that it was Public Safety.
Mr. Rumig: Public Safety is marshalling a framework, a strategy for
the entire government on how to engage with Canadians, engage with business
enterprises on how to protect the systems and protect the prosperity of Canada.
When I say that CSE is responsible for government networks, it's absolutely
true. When we get outside of the government networks and we get into private
industry, we get into —
Senator Campbell: No, I'm just really speaking about government. Do
you have any idea when this whole process with Public Safety was last reviewed?
I find Public Safety is a big elephant; it's really tough to move. I think
they do a good job, but cyberattack you expect boom, they're on it. I don't see
that in Public Safety.
What happens — do they marshal the forces? I'm not asking for any secrets.
Mr. Rumig: Understood. Public Safety, just to reiterate, is currently,
at this very moment, trying to bring forth a strategy, and there is public
consultation that the government launches.
Senator Campbell: How long has that been going on?
Mr. Rumig: The public consultation just finished — I'm going to say a
month ago, maybe less. They are now collating the information that was obtained
in that through some other horizontal efforts within government. They hope to
have a strategy up for debate and for consideration early in the new calendar
In terms of a cyberattack, again, CSE would lead if it was against
government. They would be the first responders. They would be the ones looking
at the networks to see the extent of the penetration, the extent of the
vulnerabilities, and they would also put in the mitigation measures.
Senator Campbell: Mr. Venner, you referred to deciding what the damage
is from cyberattacks. Who decides what the damage actually is?
Mr. Venner: I'm not sure I have a context for that.
Senator Campbell: We were talking about Public Safety, all these
people getting together, and you said then they will decide what the damage is
from that cyberattack. Who is the "they'' that decides what the damage is?
I'll pull it up on Hansard and I'll send you a note.
Mr. Venner: On that, though, the other aspect we mentioned briefly
earlier is that the service works very closely with Public Safety's Canadian
Cyber Incident Response Centre, and it regularly provides them with information
to be able to respond to cyberattacks that don't relate to the government
networks that CSE would be responsible for.
That's one of the primary ways. We gather the intelligence, and to the degree
it's appropriate to do so, we share it with Public Safety because they are the
lead to respond to those types of situations.
The Chair: Just before we conclude, I have one general question for
you. In your opening statement you said, "Terrorism, including terrorist travel
and the radicalization of Canadians, is currently the most prominent threat to
Canadian interests and our national security. The intelligence community has
never before faced a terrorist threat of this scope, scale and complexity.''
My question is this: In relation to what we're facing here in Canada and in
view of the numbers that have been cited and perhaps not cited, those that we
don't know anything about that are involved in the jihadist threat that is
facing Canada, does your organization have the resources and the personnel to be
able to continue to do your job, and are you taking personnel from other
responsibilities, such as espionage, in order to be able to deal with this
Mr. Rumig: Thank you, Mr. Chair. The answer is yes, we have the
resources available to us. As I'm sure you're aware, through the course of the
last couple of years, the governments of the day augmented our resources through
different measures, and they are dedicated to the terrorist threat and to a
smaller degree the cyber-threat.
The prioritization of our business is a constant. We've been moving
resources, moving focus based on the threat environment that is presented to us
or that we think will be presented to us. There's an aspect of predictive
analysis that we have to bring as an intelligence organization as to where the
next threat is coming from. This is not new to us in terms of prioritizing and
moving resources through the time.
I'll also mention for the committee — and I think it's a very important part
to bear in mind — that we don't do this in isolation. We are not the only aspect
of the Canadian or indeed the international security intelligence world that is
dedicated to looking at this terrorism threat. Our partnerships within Canada at
the federal, provincial and municipal level, as well as our international
partners, are a key and integral part of how we can marshal the resources
necessary to deal with this issue.
The Chair: Do you have the resources and the personnel to do the job
we're asking you to do?
Mr. Rumig: I believe we do, yes.
The Chair: Colleagues, I would like to thank our witnesses for coming
here. It's been very informative.
Joining us in our second panel of the day are Lieutenant-General Michael
Hood, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force; and Brigadier-General Michel
Lalumière, Director General, Air Force Development.
Gentlemen, welcome to the committee. As you are aware, we are interested in
better understanding issues related to the capability gaps the air force is
facing as part of our examination of issues relating to the defence policy
Lieutenant-General Hood, I understand you have an opening statement. Please
Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force,
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you, Mr. Chair and
committee members. I very much appreciate the invitation and the opportunity to
address your committee today.
As Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, my role includes the command of
the airmen and airwomen entrusted to my formations and units, generating and
maintaining an operationally ready air force, and providing advice to the Chief
of the Defence Staff on air force matters.
Your Royal Canadian Air Force, or RCAF, is a technologically innovative
service that carries out essential missions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to
meet Canada's defence and security needs.
RCAF capabilities are primordial to the defence of Canada and the protection
of North America in partnership with the U.S. and essential to the government's
contribution to international peace and security through the projection of air
The Royal Canadian Air Force is the guarantor of Canadian sovereignty. With
its distinctive characteristics of agility, integration, reach and power, the
RCAF is positioned to prevail over Canada's geographic and climatic challenges
and deliver rapid air power effects over every square foot of our immense
Because of our roles and missions, we have the highest percentage of
personnel on high readiness of the three services.
In this context, as you know, the Government of Canada has just announced
that it is investing in the Royal Canadian Air Force and that we will grow to
meet their policy direction regarding the availability of our fighter
capability. The government has now directed that we be ready to meet our daily
NATO and NORAD commitments simultaneously. The government is committed to
delivering those resources, in part through an open and transparent competition
to replace the fighter fleet. Meanwhile, they will enter into discussion with
the U.S. government and Boeing to augment our present CF-18 fleet. We will also
be provided the additional resources required to continue to fly the CF-18, and
a potential interim fleet, through to transition to the ultimate replacement
As you no doubt recognize, our success rests on the stellar qualities of the
airmen and airwomen who deliver air power for Canada every day. It is they who
will enable the RCAF to meet the challenges of the future security environment.
The RCAF comprises just over 12,000 Regular Force, 2,000 Reserve Force and
2,200 civilian personnel. Our Reserve and Regular Force personnel work side by
side, along with our civilian partners, flying in formation to deliver our
critical missions on behalf of all Canadians.
Our occupations are highly technical and require long periods of training.
Therefore, we work hard to retain our people — the most valued part of our
institution — and ensure they and their families are well-supported.
I'm also committed to listening to them. Thus, while I uphold the chain of
command for the controlled use of force and for military operations, I'm
flattening the organization when it comes to sharing and considering innovative
ideas from all ranks and occupations. In our online forums, we have aviators
commenting on complex ideas alongside generals and colonels. That is a cultural
evolution that I want to see continue to grow. In addition, RCAF leaders at all
levels are responsible for maintaining a professional and respectful
environment. This has been a priority for me since day one of my command. It has
taken on renewed urgency in the context of Operation HONOUR, reinforced with
this morning's release of information from Statistics Canada.
Recognizing that the forthcoming new defence policy will shape our missions,
I anticipate that our current essential airpower roles will continue into the
future. You are already familiar with our daily domestic security and
continental NORAD responsibilities, as well as the outstanding work of our
search and rescue technicians and aircrew.
In fact, that work was recently recognized by the prestigious Honourable
Company of Air Pilots in London, England, which presented one of our search and
rescue pilots with a Master's Commendation. The Commanding Officer of 103
Squadron in Gander undertook an unusually gruelling sequence of SAR missions;
and while he was formally commended for his dedication and professionalism, I
see this level of commitment every day among the airmen and airwomen of the
Royal Canadian Air Force.
All facets of the air force support the navy, army and special forces during
both training and operations — as we are doing, for example, as part of
Operation IMPACT, the current mission in Iraq. We will also again fly in support
of NATO reassurance measures in the coming year.
Furthermore, we must integrate seamlessly with our Canadian and allied
military partners, as well as with government and civilian agencies.
As we define requirements for future platforms or systems, we also focus on
upgrading, life-extending and developing innovative solutions for our current
With the speed of technological advancement of both our adversaries and our
allies, this innovation mindset is imperative for the RCAF to meet the
challenges of the next decade and beyond. The RCAF is going through a time of
great renewal. The Chinook helicopter recently became operational and in fact
flew against the forest fires in Fort McMurray. Our J-model Hercules have
recently been upgraded, and our fifth Globemaster is proving to be a tremendous
addition to our readiness posture. Our anti-submarine warfare platform, the
Aurora, has evolved into a long-range patrol aircraft capable of intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance — ISR — over land as well as water. Fourteen
Auroras are undergoing major upgrades that will keep them at the forefront of
these capabilities into the 2030 time frame.
The Aurora is a huge Canadian success story, with world-leading capabilities
— Canadian capabilities researched, designed and built in Canada, developed by
Defence Research and Development working alongside our Canadian industry. The
question now, and my priority, is how to move that capability into a platform. I
would like to see a Canadian-built platform such as the Q-400 or a C-Series when
the Aurora's flying time is done.
By April 2018, we expect to have two helicopter air detachments of Cyclone
helicopters deployed at sea, with further detachments to follow as we transition
from the Sea King fleet, which will retire in December 2018.
I also anticipate that the defence policy review will shape our current
unmanned aerial vehicles program, known as JUSTAS. Information from industry is
being assessed, and notional delivery timelines are between 2021 and 2023, with
final delivery in 2025.
With that brief overview, I will introduce Brigadier-General Michel
Lalumière, whom I've brought along. Michel had previously been the director
general of space and has just moved into a new portfolio of air force
development. He is actually also the senior search and rescue pilot in the RCF,
so I thought he would be helpful looking at some of your previous questions with
respect to topics you would like answers to. With that, I look forward to your
questions. Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you very much, sir.
Senator Kenny: Welcome, general. Could you tell the committee how you
were consulted in advance of the recent government decision to procure, through
sole source, 18 new Super Hornets?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Thank you. I think what I heard was that the government
is going to enter into discussions with the U.S. government and Boeing about the
potential for an interim purchase of Super Hornets.
As Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, as I said in my comments, I
provide air-force-specific advice to the Chief of the Defence Staff. That advice
is done in private, as I'm sure you well understand. That advice is used in the
formulation of government policy, but when the government comes out with a
policy, it's the role of the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the
air force, to implement that policy.
Senator Kenny: You have been quoted as saying that all 77 of Canada's
CF-18 fighter jets will be able to fly until 2025 and even later. Is that
Lt.-Gen. Hood: That is correct. They are presently going through
structural upgrades that will continue under the leadership of ADM (Materiel) to
ensure that our fighter force stays active and relevant until such time as the
final replacement, the open and transparent competition that the government also
announced, is complete.
Senator Kenny: I also have a quotation from an official who said that
even if the 77 airplanes could fly forever, there still wouldn't be enough of
them to simultaneously meet our NORAD and NATO commitments. Is that correct?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: The government has announced a policy whereby the Royal
Canadian Air Force is required to be able to simultaneously meet both our NORAD
and our NATO commitments. I am at present unable to do that with the present
CF-18 fleet. There aren't enough aircraft to deliver those commitments
Senator Kenny: How does this match with the policy that the previous
government had, which was to acquire 65 new aircraft?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Well, certainly the policy of the Government of Canada
at present would mean that 65 aircraft aren't sufficient as the final size of
Senator Kenny: What would the sufficient number be?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Senator, the numbers behind the commitments with
respect to NORAD and NATO are classified, so I'm not prepared to discuss them.
Suffice it to say, the 77 we presently have are incapable of delivering that
Senator Kenny: A number of us were astonished at the 65 number. We
recall that when the CF-18s were initially purchased, the number was 118 or —
Lt.-Gen. Hood: It was 138.
Senator Kenny: I knew there was an 8 in there somewhere — 138. Is that
a reasonable range for Canadians to expect for an air force?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: If you recall, we replaced three fleets of aircraft:
the CF-104 Starfighter, the CF-101 Voodoo and the F-5 Freedom Fighter. Those
three were replaced in their operational role by 138 CF-18s.
But at the time we also had a large commitment to NATO in Europe, a standing
commitment of three squadrons. So at that time, 138 was the number required to
deliver on all of those commitments. We have since closed our standing
commitment to NATO, which has been reduced on a year-by-year basis, so the
number won't be 138, but it will need to be finalized in the context of that
open and transparent competition that the government has announced.
Senator Beyak: Thank you very much. We just passed Remembrance Day. I
spent the weekend in the riding, and there is no greater support anywhere in the
world than Canadians for their military and the job that you do. They want you
to be completely equipped in every aspect and to have the funding that you need.
The only questions I get are around the secrecy or some of the conflicting
reports, as Senator Kenny just pointed out. This is not meant to be
confrontational but just what I hear in the riding. In the military and in your
lifetime, with 235 government officials plus 5 civilian contractors working on
fighter jet replacements, have they ever been forced to sign non-disclosure
agreements in the past? I've heard that so much this past weekend. Also, 121 of
the individuals work for the Department of National Defence, and I wonder why
the appearance of secrecy?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Senator, first, thank you for the very kind sentiments.
It certainly makes our work much easier knowing that we have the support of
Canadians in that regard.
It isn't unusual to have people sign non-disclosure agreements, typically
around procurements, when we have now received requests for proposals from
industry and teams that have come together to assess those requirements. With
the competition, for example, people have been asked to sign them previously.
I myself haven't in my career been required to, but I have a security
clearance. I think signing this is almost redundant to the day-to-day secrecy
I'm expected to keep in that regard, so I couldn't speak to how much they have
been used. They have been used previously on some occasions that my staff have
told me about, but I have not had any personal experience in that regard.
Senator Beyak: Thank you. Have you ever had anything like that,
Brigadier-General Michel Lalumière, Director General, Air Force
Development, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you for
the question, ma'am. Same thing; because of the security clearances that we
hold, depending on what level you hold, you're actually required to sign
different terms of responsibilities associated with them. This is one example of
a non-disclosure agreement that would specifically be applied to that field of
work precisely. So it's not uncommon.
Lt.-Gen. Hood: I looked at the form, and essentially it reminds
employees of their requirement to keep secret specific information provided by
both customers or potential companies involved in Defence and our own pieces.
Senator Beyak: I appreciate that. Thank you.
The Chair: I would like to follow up on that before we leave this
I think the question was whether there has ever been, in your experience, any
requirement to have a lifelong non-disclosure agreement signed by you or any of
your staff by anybody in the department. It seems so odd to have this
requirement, and I don't think we should dismiss this because I think it is an
important issue. You already have a security clearance, so why are we doing
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Senator, I can only say that I spoke with my staff
member, who highlighted to me that there have been occasions previously where we
have signed non-disclosure agreements when working on specific projects.
The Chair: Lifetime?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: I don't know the specifics.
The Chair: Can you provide that to us in writing, then, what you are
Lt.-Gen. Hood: I would be happy to expand upon that statement.
Senator Carignan: Just before I get to my question, I want to let you
know that you have just lost a CF-18 that crashed near Cold Lake, Alberta. I'm
not sure whether you knew about that.
Lt.-Gen. Hood: I will address that in a second, senator.
Senator Carignan: With respect to the F-35s and the Super Hornets,
talk to us, if you would, about the problems that could arise as a result of
managing different types of aircraft in operations carried out domestically or
in partnership with our allies, given that the equipment, refuelling components
and training and expertise centres are not the same.
I visited the aerospace company L-3 MAS in my region. I saw first-hand the
expertise involved in maintaining and rebuilding CF-18s. But everything is being
tripled. Can you list for us the operational and maintenance drawbacks
associated with managing three different types of aircraft? Will increasing the
number of maintenance centres increase costs, and, if so, by how much?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Certainly, senator.
First of all, I received a phone call just as I was coming in here that there
has been a CF-18 accident in Cold Lake. I don't have more details, and it would
be unusual to comment on them until we know the safety and the security of the
crew and whether their family have been notified. I don't know who is covering
it, but there would be a tweet on it.
My staff are getting more details, and I had planned to tell the committee at
the very end. I was going to get an update and come back and tell you, so I
I don't have any more details than it was a training sortie in Cold Lake,
Alberta, but I will tell you before I leave here today what details I have, and
I will be facing the press certainly shortly after that.
Senator, I want to start by saying how pleased I am at the Canadian
government's announcement that it will be investing in the Royal Canadian Air
Force. In my view, one, two or three fleets of planes pose challenges, but as
long as we have the necessary resources to meet those challenges — and I have
confidence in my personnel and our mission — we will succeed. It always revolves
The Chief of the Defence Staff, himself, told me that he would give me
everything I needed in order for the Royal Canadian Air Force to successfully
implement the Government of Canada's new policies.
My staff are in the process of identifying what our resource requirements
would be in this transition, but I think it's early days right now, as I said.
What I heard my minister, Minister Foote, say at the announcement is that
they're going to enter into discussions with the Boeing corporation and the U.S.
government to investigate whether the Super Hornet would be an option as an
interim purchase. We'll continue to provide our advice, and I've been assured
I'll have all the resources required to be successful at that.
Senator Carignan: What are the drawbacks or challenges your team faces
in having to manage three different fleets? If we add the CF-35s down the road,
in order to meet our contractual commitments, what challenges and costs are you
looking at? You say there are challenges, but what are they?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: I don't know the costs right now, but my team is in the
process of evaluating our needs. What matters most is that the aircraft of the
Canadian Armed Forces be interoperable.
And that they are interoperable with our closest allies.
I don't have every capability that some air forces have. I don't have AWACS
aircraft; we don't have combat search and rescue. Very few air forces can afford
to have all of that. How we overcome those challenges is by ensuring to the
greatest extent possible that we're inoperable and that we can fit into a system
has been a great success story of our present CF-18 fleet, and it undoubtedly
will be with the other fleets moving forward.
Again, I'm not at liberty to discuss what the challenges are because I don't
know them all. But if I'm given the resources, I'm very confident that the men
and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force are going to be able to deliver.
Senator Carignan: What are the resources you need?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: First off, I need more personnel, since I already have
a fleet of 77 CF-18s to manage. I need more technicians and pilots.
Flight safety, supply systems — we're unsure of exactly everything it would
be, but I will come to the chief in due course when we're finished that planning
to move forward.
But certainly I will need more people, and I will need more funding to
deliver on the additional flight hours required for an interim fleet.
Senator Meredith: Thank you for your comments. To that same point with
Senator Carignan with respect to your staff sort of analyzing the costs and it
was difficult for you to guesstimate what the long-term costs would be on the
Super Hornets, can you elaborate a little bit, if that's the aircraft that they
Lt.-Gen. Hood: In fact, it would be very premature to discuss what
those costs would be. The Government of Canada will enter into discussions with
The resources I'm most interested in are what I spoke about, making sure that
I have enough fighter pilots and enough technicians. Those are both complex
skills, as you can imagine, that have longer lead times for training and the
rest. Plus the size of the Air Force is based on the number of fleets that we
have, so if I was to include another fleet, I know I would have resource demands
in my headquarters in Winnipeg that looks after operations and a few other areas
with 80 supporting ADN (Materiel) with project management staff.
I wish I could give you precision, and I look forward to coming back in the
future and perhaps providing more, but at this time I've been assured that Chief
of Defence Staff is going to provide me the resources I need to be successful.
The Chair: To follow up before we go on to a different question here,
I think this is important. If I understand this correctly, you've just told us
that the government made a decision on a multi-billion-dollar purchase without
knowing what the actual operation and maintenance costs are and the long-term
complications in running three different types of airplanes.
Lt.-Gen. Hood: That's not what I said, senator. The only thing the
government has announced is an open and transparent competition to replace the
aircraft. They said they would enter into discussions on an interim. I said it's
premature to know the full cost of that because they have to have those
discussions, and if they're considering buying it, they would then have to enter
into negotiations with the company.
That's not my part. I'm interested in the resources the Royal Canadian Air
Force needs to execute the potential one and personnel and training and the
rest, and that's what I'm doing right now.
The Chair: I fully understand this. I want to get clarification on how
the decision was made and who made the decision on what information that was
provided. I think that's the question that most Canadians would have with
respect to what we've just witnessed over the course of the last week.
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Well, I mean the Government of Canada —
The Chair: They have the right to make it; I'm not going to argue that
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Absolutely. If colleagues from PSPC or ISED were here,
they would probably have more information to provide you on the specifics of
those discussions that they've had. I don't think anyone knows, quite frankly,
what the costs are. They have a good idea of what it would be, but in the
present time they've changed the policy with the number of aircraft I have to
have, and they're investigating both the long term and an open and transparent
competition and a short term to deliver on that policy.
Senator Carignan: Have you assessed the potential for lawsuits? Using
the emergency exception, recently added by the previous government, in a
situation where a gap was not anticipated until 2025 increases the potential of
Lockheed Martin bringing a lawsuit. Were there any discussions about that? First
of all, was a risk assessment done, and, second of all, were talks held with
Lockheed Martin to prevent a lawsuit?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Senator Carignan, that isn't my area of expertise.
I would imagine that the Department of Justice or the Minister of Justice
would be providing advice to government on that. It's not an area that I have
any expertise in or understand the policy implications of, quite frankly. I've
talked about what the fighter requirements are and what it would take to deliver
it. I'm sorry I can't answer that.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you both for being here. It's a real pleasure to
see you again, general. I think my fellow committee members are sick of me
talking about my experience of travelling with you in Sudan. I also mentioned it
I also reflect what Senator Beyak said, that you certainly are prepared for
any tasks that are put in front of you.
I want to go to another topic completely, and that's recruitment. We are
looking at the defence policy review. For me, it is who makes up the men and
women you work with.
One of the things that I have come across is that you have a real shortage of
aerospace, technical and information systems positions — those are people who
look after satellite systems, and you know that, but it's just for people who
are watching — and for the computer systems. I understand that you've only
reached 54 per cent of your goals.
How are you trying to deal with this issue of shortage of recruits for the
work you're doing?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Thank you for the question, senator. We're in the
business of bringing young Canadians in and training them to help us in our most
important roles moving forward. It's a continuing preoccupation with respect to
training and recruiting.
There are, indeed, certain trades within the air force that are not at the
levels we'd like them to be. Typically, we'd want 100 per cent of some trades.
We've got numbers as low as 87 per cent, and those are the areas we tend to look
Part of that is the capacity of my training, the part that I control, and
we're investing heavily to expand. Certainly for our technician training, we
have had great discussions with civilian colleges to help us with that.
As for identifying what my demands are, it's the Chief of Military Personnel
that runs recruiting. We have a yearly process. I know that Lieutenant-General
Whitecross is working very hard to make sure that in those areas where we may be
undertrained we're aggressively recruiting. I also know that ADM PA, our public
affairs folks, are about to launch another recruiting campaign.
I'm certainly optimistic that any of the shortages — none of which are
critical at this time — will be filled, and we will be successful.
Senator Jaffer: As the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, one
of the questions that we have been looking at is what percentage of women form
your group, how many women are under your command, and how reflective is your
command of the new Canada?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: How reflective is my command? Not enough.
Senator Jaffer: What are you doing to change that?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: It's interesting. When I was the 8 Wing commander in
Trenton, every summer we'd have 1,000 air cadets come. If you were to look at
those air cadets, they don't reflect the Canadian population. They over-reflect,
in fact, many of the key groups that we're trying to get in. Almost half of them
are female — and a great success — and visible minorities that we're trying to
We're at about 8.9 per cent of women in the air force. The direction from the
Chief of the Defence Staff is that I'll get to 25 per cent in 10 years. We're
working very hard to enable that.
I myself have been speaking to the ethnic press in Toronto and Vancouver, and
I continue to try and engage to let Canadians, both new and old, know about
their air force moving forward.
I'm proud the air force was the first service to open all trades to women. In
fact, Canada led with some of the first female fighter pilots in the world, for
example. My first boss on my C-130 squadron in Edmonton was a female aircraft
commander, and I've worked with women at all rank levels.
I want to see greater increases in number, and we're going to work very hard.
One challenge that I've found since becoming commander, and an interesting
one, is the highest proportion of married service couples, where the husband and
wife are both in the military, are in the air force. Funnily enough, it wasn't
something I knew before I became commander. What does that mean? It means that
the challenges of having a family, deploying and meeting the military services
are much more acute in a married service couple than they are with just one
person in the service. Typically, what we see happen is one of those spouse will
retire to enable the career of the other.
I talked about trying to be more innovative. I would like the air force to
lead in policies that would allow people to take multiple years off, if they
wanted to, and protect their rank level and their pay to come back, let them go
to industry for a couple of years and come back into the air force.
These paradigm shifts, what we need to be an employer of choice in the
future, are going to take some work, but I'm proud to say, senator, that the
RCAF is pushing very hard on all of these policies to try to improve on the
numbers that you spoke to.
Senator Dagenais: If we heard any good news today, it was that the
Super Hornets would be maintained in Mirabel, Quebec, at least.
I realize that talking dollars isn't your domain, but the Super Hornet is
said to be at the end of its production as compared with the F-35. Correct me if
I'm wrong. The fact that the purchase of the Super Hornets was announced without
the real cost being disclosed — a cost that includes both maintenance and the
training of new teams — doesn't strike you as obscure?
Obviously, you will have to prepare for new missions whose costs are not yet
known. Do you think Canadians have a right to know how much all of this is going
to cost? All of this does come at a cost, after all. The more attention we pay
to the current government's announcements, the harder it is to assess the costs
of purchasing the equipment and carrying out the missions that the government
will entrust to you.
Don't you find that odd?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: First of all, senator, as the commander of the Royal
Canadian Air Force, I have a mandate to implement the policies of the Government
Those ebb and flow over time. We did not have a Chinook fleet. We retired
those in 1993, and a previous government announced the purchase of Chinooks, and
now we fly that fleet.
It's natural that the priorities of government and the tasks that I execute
will vary over time. We're agile; we're flexible. The challenges are much easier
when you're resourced appropriately.
I imagine there are a lot of questions surrounding the defence budget and the
other supporting instruments, but I'm mindful that the government is in the
process of finalizing the defence policy review and will be announcing a new
policy for defence.
I imagine that that would likely be tied with some indications of the
resources required, but again, senator, it would be speculation on my part to
address it. I'm confident I have the resources I need to deliver what I've been
asked to today. I'm confident that I have a new policy demand and that I will be
given the resources to deliver on that. That's where my focus is.
Senator Dagenais: I have a comment that ties into what Senator Jaffer
said. I have a niece in the army, and her husband is a member as well. Both
people in the couple are in the army, and that makes things very tough when
transfer time comes. I fully appreciate that.
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Absolutely. Thank you, senator.
Senator White: Thank you to both of you for being here. I apologize
for being late. My question is going to surround capability gaps.
It seems we spend a lot of time right now talking about F-35s, CF-18s and
Super Hornets, but from a capability-gap perspective, what are we looking at as
well, for example, on the search and rescue side? It's a big country, and I
don't think the F-35 is going to be everything to everybody. What other gaps are
we facing over the next 3, 5 or 10 years?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: I think I said in my commentary that we're in a period
of quite a bit of regeneration: a brand new C-130 fleet, C-17s and a fifth one
coming on. Fixed-wing search and rescue, we hope that we'll get indications by
the end of the year. We had a request for proposal; it's been under competition.
I hope we get into contract very soon, because that's going to be an incredible
capability that will change some of the dynamics about search and rescue. The
technology on that aircraft and what's available, synchronizing with satellite
and other support, is fundamentally going to change search and rescue. It's
going to be much more effective.
There are a couple of fleets that we haven't nailed down our long-term vision
on. One of them is the Cormorant helicopter, also involved in that, and we hope
to have a vision moving forward. We're looking at some options. I can expand
upon that if you want.
The Griffon helicopter is coming up to an area where we probably need to
invest to make sure that it continues to be relevant. Even with changes in
civilian air traffic control procedures, we would need to invest in the aircraft
to make sure it's relevant and could fly into all air space in North America.
I think all those things are going to happen in due course. There's not a gap
anywhere that I would suggest we either don't have plans for or that there
aren't going to be plans developed to address.
Senator White: Do we have the ability to maintain the F-35 in the
Arctic, as we do the F-18s and some of the distance warning sites we have in
Iqaluit and Inuvik? With the F-35 there is no issue with hangar space or the
runway capacity as compared to the F-18?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: No, the requirements are similar. Both aircraft have to
operate off of paved strips. Aircraft need to be hangared against the climatic
conditions, and we have facilities in all of our northern areas where we
operate. I don't envision any challenges with either of those platforms being
able to support the requirements of the RCAF in support of our NORAD
The Chair: Do you want to get an update on the situation in Cold Lake
and update us?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Yes. I'm going to read a statement that was sent to me
from my staff:
At approximately 11:09 Mountain Standard Time a single-seat CF-18 Hornet
from 401 Squadron in 4 Wing Cold Lake crashed inside the Cold Lake Air
Weapons Range on the Saskatchewan side of the range near the Primrose Lake
evaluation range. The pilot did not survive the accident. The name will not
be released until next of kin are notified. 4 Wing emergency services are on
site to secure the scene. A flight safety investigation will be conducted to
determine the cause of the accident.
So a very sad day for the Royal Canadian Air Force, and certainly my
heartfelt concerns go out to the family of one of our members.
The Chair: Thank you for the update. I want to pass on our condolences
to the families that have been affected, to yourself and to the rank and file
within the air force. Obviously, it's a very sad moment for all of us.
Joining us in panel three today are Major-General Christian Juneau, Deputy
Commander, Canadian Army; and Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Chief of
Staff, Army Reserve. Welcome, Major-General Juneau. I understand you have an
opening statement. Please begin.
Major-General Christian Juneau, Deputy Commander, Canadian Army, National
Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Mr. Chair and honourable committee
members, I would like to start by saying thank you for inviting me here today
and for providing the Canadian Army an opportunity to share with you what we are
currently doing. I am Major-General Christian Juneau, Deputy Commander of the
Canadian Army, a position I have held for just over two years.
Over the last 33 years, I have served across Canada and spent six years with
the Canadian Armed Forces, or CAF, in Europe. I have served on exchange with the
United States Army, and I have also deployed on operations in the former
Republic of Yugoslavia, Kuwait, with the Americans, and Afghanistan. I also
commanded CAF elements during the 2013 Calgary floods and during the 2014 floods
in Manitoba. Having committed the greater part of my life to the military, I am
a firm believer in the army institution, its purpose, its values and, most of
all, its people, of whom I am very proud.
Let me give you an overview of what your Canadian Army looks like today. The
Canadian Army is a soldier-centric, professional and integrated land power whose
operational readiness includes being combat-capable. Our mission is to support
Canada's defence objectives.
As of October 31, 2016, the total strength of the Canadian Army stood at
approximately 51,000, comprising 23,000 Regular Force members, 19,000 Primary
Reserve members, 5,000 Rangers and some 3,400 civilians.
The army has 63 Regular Force and 123 Army Reserve units in 127 communities
that span the entire country. There are also 179 Ranger Patrols in 414 more
remote communities. This presence represents one of the Canadian Army's greatest
Having close ties to every geographic region of the country deepens the
connection Canadians have with the army and enhances the sentiment of security
amid the population. It also ensures we have great diversity among our members,
which only makes our force stronger.
I would now like to take the next few minutes to set out the important role
our reserve soldiers play. Mainly, I want to emphasize the points that my
colleague, Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, made when he appeared before you
last week. The Canadian Army is one army made up of Regular and Reserve Force
members, Rangers and civilians. And the Reserve Force role is vital to the
overall success of the Canadian Army. Army reservists support domestic and
international operations by providing specific capabilities and through
personnel augmentation on exercises and individual training.
In June 2016, the Commander of the Canadian Army signed a directive laying
out our plan to address the tasks assigned in the Chief of the Defence Staff
Directive on Strengthening the Reserve and also in response to many concerns
raised by the Auditor General's report. On taking command of the army in July,
Lt.-Gen. Wynnyk provided further direction on his intent to reduce recruiting
time and decentralize training to reserve units.
One of the first tasks we undertook following the commander's directive was
to review our funding model. I am pleased to report that, as of April 1, 2016, a
separate corporate account was established, which will increase transparency
over the reserve funding.
We are also in the process of developing a new model to assign funding to
units based on their size and expected outputs. In addition to increasing
transparency, the model will ensure that all Army Reserve units and formations
clearly understand their assigned tasks.
As Brigadier-General MacKenzie said last week, the Canadian Armed Forces has
taken concrete steps to address the Reserve recruitment issue. As part of the
strengthening the Reserve directive, the army will assume responsibility from
Military Personnel Command for all aspects of Army Reserve recruiting beginning
in April 2017. This will allow us to streamline the policies and processes to
meet the Canadian Army's specific needs for reserve recruiting.
The goal is to allow us to enrol new recruits within a matter of days, not
weeks or months. Trials will begin in early December 2016 in 36 Brigade, which
is comprised of 10 units in the province of Nova Scotia and one unit in Prince
Edward Island, before being rolled out across the entire Army Reserve.
The Canadian Army as a whole is focused on attracting quality recruits from
across Canada who also represent our country's diverse population. Just as the
Army Reserve is doing with its recruitment through the expedited Reserve
enrolment trial, the Regular Force, under the leadership of Military Personnel
Command, is streamlining its recruiting process to improve how we attract,
select and integrate new soldiers who join our ranks.
While it is important to continue to grow the military's numbers, it is
equally important to keep the members we already have. This is why the Canadian
Army leadership is exploring ways to improve the retention of personnel in
several ways. We want to provide more flexibility in career options, enhance
career management and offer greater support to military families. The Military
Personnel Command team is leading these initiatives as well.
Another important part of our retention plan is to create greater mobility
between the Regular and Reserve Force. This should allow members to choose the
option that is best for them at any particular point in their career, while also
helping the department achieve approved manning levels.
So, as you can see, ensuring that the Canadian Army has the appropriate
number of soldiers is a key aspect of ensuring our readiness.
Ensuring we are trained to meet mission requirements is another crucial
factor. Canadian soldiers must be ready to participate in different types of
operations such as responding to domestic natural disasters, like the forest
fires in Fort McMurray last May, or deploying to help train other armies to
succeed, as we are doing in Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine.
So, in order to achieve operational success, Canadian soldiers must train.
Training ensures the Canadian Army is ready for any operation at home or abroad
at any given time. Army training provides participants with realistic and
stimulating challenges in contemporary and specific environments, including
arctic, mountain, jungle, desert and littoral conditions. We train year-round,
in all weather conditions, and in all parts of Canada and, occasionally, abroad.
Training starts at the individual level, where soldiers are taught the
values, knowledge, skills and confidence they need to do their job. Those
knowledge and skills are maintained through an ongoing training cycle, one that
continuously challenges army personnel. Regardless of occupation, a soldier will
continue to train and will be offered educational and professional development
opportunities throughout her or his career.
Collective training builds on this individual training. Soldiers train as
teams, units and tactical groupings of various sizes in realistic settings. This
allows members of all ranks to test their skills across a range of scenarios and
integrate with their team. Collective training, which includes exercises with
allies and partners, also allows the Canadian Army to test its effectiveness in
combined and joint operations. Each year, the Canadian Army conducts hundreds of
training exercises across the country to ready soldiers to operate cohesively
during missions. The culmination of these exercises is the army's premier
training event, Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE, an annual exercise that takes place at
the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre in Wainwright, Alberta.
All training programs within the army have the additional goal of ensuring
Regular and Reserve Force personnel can work seamlessly alongside one another.
Underlying the Canadian Army's training regimen is a culture of health and
fitness, which helps ensure soldiers are always ready for any mission.
The Canadian Army leadership recognizes that being ready places added demands
and stress on military personnel and their families. To support soldiers, their
families and civilian employees, a strategy called Mission: Ready was developed
to provide the resources, information and tools to help build a healthy, fit,
ready and resilient army team.
It takes time, planning and resources to ensure that the Canadian Army has
forces ready to deploy on operations. The army's Managed Readiness Plan sets a
carefully planned and controlled schedule that moves units and larger formations
through various stages of readiness. This includes periods of high readiness
training to prepare forces for operations. When elements of the army are in the
high readiness stage of the Managed Readiness Plan, they are either about to
deploy on a mission or are on standby for operations the government may direct.
No one unit can be expected to maintain a level of high readiness forever. At
any given time, one out of three Regular Force brigades is at the highest
readiness level of preparation, in other words, approximately 4,800 men and
Concurrently, some other Regular Force, Primary Reserve and Ranger units are
trained for domestic operations, on very short notice if necessary. This
Managed Readiness Plan ensures the army is prepared at all times to generate the
land power needed to meet government requirements. The plan can also be adjusted
to evolving government intent or operational demands. It is in this way that the
army remains scalable, agile and responsive to government direction.
To ensure that our soldiers are properly equipped, whether in training or on
missions, the Canadian Army is committed to the renewal and replacement of core
equipment capabilities. In the past few years, the light armoured vehicle and
the Leopard 2 family of tanks have both undergone extensive upgrades. And, just
recently, the new tactical armoured patrol vehicle was delivered.
The Canadian Army is always exploring innovative ways to better equip our
soldiers to increase their agility and effectiveness in operations. An exciting
option we are exploring is the Polaris MRZR4, a light, very high-mobility
all-terrain vehicle, which could contribute to the operational capacities of our
Specifically on the Reserve, and once again as mentioned by Brigadier-General
MacKenzie, the Canadian Army is reviewing the equipment it currently has and
where it is located, in order to identify what resources need to be procured for
the Reserve in the future. Today's security environment demands a military that
is agile and capable of meeting diverse and ever-changing challenges. This is
why the Canadian Army is continually reviewing and evolving its recruiting,
retention, training, structures, capacities and capabilities to ensure ongoing
relevance and sustainability. All of these efforts contribute to the Canadian
Army's top priority: maintaining readiness.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that Canada's Army, your army, is
strong, proud and ready to handle any tasks the Government of Canada assigns. We
are well-trained, well-prepared and well-led to effectively support a broad
range of operations, including combat, training, peace support operations and
disaster relief missions.
Mr. Chair, I would like to again thank you and the honourable committee
members for your attention today. I would be happy to take any questions you may
have at this time.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for your presentation. I wanted to
ask you questions about training, and from what I understand and the reading I
have been doing, you do extensive training. Obviously we are very appreciative
of that. We have adopted a number of different training programs, like
Commanding Officer's Toolbox or, for the production, SharePoint sites. Are they
being used by your men and women? How useful have they found them?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: They are used by our men and women because they are
certainly easy to access.
The importance of using the tools is reinforced by the chain of command. We
require our young members to not only participate in training, but also put it
in practice. We also conduct regular checks to see that it is indeed being
Senator Jaffer: Thank you. I have another question.
Last Wednesday there was a report on suicide mortality in the Canadian
Forces, and I'm sure you are very concerned about it, as we are. It said that
the deployed are significantly more likely to commit suicide. From what I
understand, in 2015 alone 18 members committed suicide. There is also the issue
of the mental health of the people who serve us.
How do you think we can do this better? How can we look after our men and
Today we made a recommendation looking at issues of PTSD, and it would be
useful for the committee to know what kind of recommendation we could make. We
did make this one this morning in our interim report, but how can we better
support our men and women in uniform?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: Obviously, every suicide is a tragedy. The statistic
you mentioned is definitely troubling, and the Canadian Armed Forces is taking
the issue seriously. It is true that, when you look at the cumulative data and
statistics, members of the army do appear to be more vulnerable than other
members of the Canadian Armed Forces, particularly men who have taken part in
A year ago, I believe, the army introduced the Canadian Army Integrated
Performance Strategy, or CAIPS, a program that builds on six pillars of health
and fitness: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual and familial.
The program takes into account an individual's overall well-being and promotes
prevention, so before a deployment and on a daily basis. Reports so far indicate
that the program is working.
In terms of suicide prevention, another program was introduced by Canadian
Army chaplains called the Sentinels program. It focuses on training members of
all ranks to be able to detect signs among their comrades or others who may be
exhibiting suicidal tendencies or suffering from mental distress. This program,
too, has been very effective and has led to many people being trained in this
As far as follow-up is concerned, obviously the resources and responsibility
lie with the chiefs of military personnel, but the Commander of the army has
made it very clear that the responsibility rests with the chain of command. If
an individual is transferred outside the unit or leaves the unit and is thought
to have issues, particularly as regards mental health, the connection with the
unit, which becomes like a family, must be maintained.
Senator Beyak: Thank you. Welcome back. It was great to have an update
My question is about Mali. I'm concerned. The former UN undersecretary has
described it as a quagmire and an antiterrorist mission. Have you been consulted
on a possible deployment to Mali? What is your perspective on the conditions
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: Senator, that is a great question that I am unable
to answer. The Government of Canada has not announced anything yet, except its
intention to send 600 Canadian Armed Forces members somewhere in Africa to
participate in an operation. The location, date and profile of those 600 members
have yet to be announced. Unfortunately, that information is a matter of cabinet
confidence, so I can't say anything right now. I apologize.
Senator Beyak: Thank you. That's very honest.
We have so many commitments around the globe today. Do you have a strategic
plan for integrating the reserves into the army in Latvia and into Mali if we
are actually deployed there?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: As far as integrating the Reserve goes, various
considerations come into play. First of all, just over 500 soldiers are
currently deployed around the world, including in the Ukraine and Poland. Of
those 500, nearly 60 are members of the Reserve Force, so about 12 per cent. In
Afghanistan, for example, once the mission was relatively mature, approximately
20 per cent of the contingent was deployed to participate in and support
With respect to new missions, depending on the theatre of operations and the
skills required by ROTO 0, which is really the first group to participate, a
role of individual augmentation may be planned. For subsequent missions, in
other words, Rotation 1, Rotation 2 and Rotation 3, as necessary, groups of
trained reservists may be deployed to contribute to the success of the mission.
Senator Carignan: You are in charge of training, or, at least, you are
well-versed when it comes to training. A number of cases involving deviant
behaviour and sexual assault have occurred. Does the training include a
component on abuse and sexual harassment in order to prevent these kinds of
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: Absolutely, senator. Right off the bat, I want to
say how reprehensible that kind of behaviour is and make clear that it is not at
all compatible with the ethics of the Canadian Armed Forces, our code of conduct
or respect for the dignity of men and women in uniform.
In response to your question specifically, I will tell you that, as soon as
members join the Canadian Forces and embark upon the army's training regime,
training sessions are provided to help assimilate those young members into our
culture and teach them that such behaviour is totally unacceptable. From the
outset, we also train our instructors so they can communicate effectively with
young members and drive home the message that there is zero tolerance for sexual
Senator Carignan: My second question has to do with expediting the
enrolment process. While that is desirable, it also increases the risk of the
wrong people getting in. I am referring to people whose views are at odds with
the interests of the Canadian Forces or those of Canadians. What measures do you
intend to take to reduce or eliminate the chances of allowing into the Canadian
Forces an individual who may want to use their position to commit an act of
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: If you don't mind, I am going to ask my colleague,
Brigadier-General MacKenzie, to answer that, and then, I may have a few things
Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Chief of Staff, Army Reserve,
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you for your question.
It's a very good question in that we look at accelerating the process to get
people in the door, but we still have to make sure we get the right people and
that we provide training.
In doing so, we still have the reliability screening process. What we're
actually going to do is accelerate the way we do that and put certain aspects,
like a criminal record check and some of these other things, early on so we can
allow someone to begin training, and some of the comparison of reference checks
and other things can go on while someone is in training. If we recognize that
there is irregular enrolment, we do have the tools to release them before they
We also tailor the training so that any training with weapons or to go to
ranges is after we complete those types of things. That is part of the
evaluation of how we design this.
In totality, the same type of screening that we do now will be conducted,
just with a different method.
Senator Carignan: In the past, have you ruled people out during the
enrolment process because you believed they had the potential to commit an
illegal or terrorist act?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: I think where the current system of screening
and recruiting is now is within Military Personnel Command. So we would have to
seek an answer to that from them, where people were screened and the like.
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: On an anecdotal level, there have been cases. As
Brigadier-General MacKenzie said, except in the case of the reserves, the army
is not really responsible for recruiting off the street. The Chief of Military
Personnel is responsible for those recruitment activities. However, I've heard
of several cases of individuals who, as of the initial contact, showed a high
risk of problems. These individuals were not allowed to wear the uniform of the
Senator Meredith: Thank you so much, major-general and
brigadier-general, for being here today.
With respect to your presentation of the 18,807 Primary Reservists and the
fact that they are in uniform and trained, talk to us about the deployment
process. If they were called upon, how many could you deploy with 72 hours'
notice? Can you walk us through that process?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: To answer the first part of your question, I'll
speak about a domestic deployment. Domestic operations involve deployments on
very short notice, or within 72 hours, as you said. Each of the 10 reserve
brigades contains territorial battalion groups. This means that 300 to 400
individuals are ready to be deployed. About 72 hours' notice is given, as you
In recent years, we've also developed a capacity, the Arctic Response Company
Group. It takes a bit longer for them, because they train with their equipment
and they must be transported to the Arctic. About five days' notice is given.
Basically, when we talk about a quick deployment for the reserves, these are our
Senator Meredith: With respect to recruitment, you talked about the
timelines being shortened. We heard from Lieutenant-General Hood just recently
about their strategy of recruiting women and visible minorities. What is your
strategy in that respect?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you very much for the question.
As part of the enrolment trial that we'll be doing in 5 Division in the
Atlantic provinces, we want to look at not only streamlining processes but, in
concert with our current Canadian Forces recruiting group, look at the
strategies and the work that they've done for diversity, and any other targets
that we have, to come up with a collaborative answer and, in the end, look at
the right solution for that trial period, both in urban areas and in rural
We also are working collaboratively with the navy and the air force so that
we can all learn lessons from how we go forward. And they do want to learn
lessons from our expedited process here as well.
So we do want to meet the targets that are set out in the employment equity
and the targets, for example, that the CDS has set out for gender and so on.
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: The Canadian army isn't responsible for Regular
Force recruitment. However, we try to highlight women who have had very
successful careers. We place them at the forefront and give them the chance to
be seen and heard. Also, when we post personnel in recruitment centres, we try
to have more and more women and members of visible minorities to facilitate
outreach. The youth who come to the door of the recruitment centre can be
intimidated, but when an immediate connection is made, it's helpful.
Senator Meredith: In your statement you mentioned mission ready with
respect to individuals and the family resource centres that are training some of
these reservists and so on. Then there is the deployment and then there is the
support. Do you feel that there's adequate support for those individuals who go
on missions and come back? In working with the Toronto Military Family Resource
Centre, I see that there are some challenges. I'd like you to comment on how we
are going to support these individuals with PTSD that Senator Jaffer mentioned
in regard to the report and the suicides that are taking place. Can you talk to
us about the strategy of ensuring that these individuals, when deployed, come
back and are able to carry on some sense of normalcy given the traumas that
they've gone through?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: Things are much better than they were 10 years ago
when it comes to following up with people who have come back, by means of family
resource centres and other resources. Things aren't perfect and we could do
better. However, a great deal of energy is currently being spent on reviewing
the situation of members who have come back from operations, particularly if
they were exposed to potentially difficult events. That's more or less the case,
Senator Campbell: Thank you and welcome. I have to start off by
advising you that I'm a member of the British Columbia Regiment, the Dukes, and
the Brigadier-General was a colonel with the Seaforth, but we still have been
able to develop a friendship over the years.
I understand you're shortening the time and that the army will get the
responsibility from the Military Personnel Command in April.
How do you see changes in how we actually recruit? How do we get these young
people in through the door, into a career or into a situation where they
actually get as much from what they learn as Canadians get from their service?
How do you plan on changing that?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you very much for your question. There are
really two parts. One is the recruitment, and then it's the initial and basic
training; that's how I'll address it.
The real focus is to push all of the resources down to the unit level so that
the unit command team's commanding officer and their leadership at the unit
level have the tools to actually do their job, and individual recruiting
officers and NCOs within the units that will be responsible for doing those
tasks right there for them. We don't have to be sending them to remote
locations, recruiting centres or other places.
It really becomes in the hands of the unit to survive, and really their
destiny is in their own hands.
Where it makes sense, where they can do the basic training for infantry,
armour and service battalion, the basic training that a soldier needs to become
trade-qualified or have the ability to then deploy, those courses which are now
often conducted at training centres in other locations, as many as we can, we're
going to push those down to the unit level as well, so that they can be run
locally, close to home in the community. Those are two major steps we're going
to take right away so that the destiny of units becomes in the hands of the
leadership of that unit at the local level.
Senator Campbell: That's great.
The second question I have is on the Polaris. Is that considered armoured
reconnaissance? What would it be used for?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: It's a vehicle, and we've obtained a few models of
it. The purchase was made at the end of the fiscal year for our light troops,
who basically travel on foot or by truck. The troops can therefore transport
lighter loads, instead of carrying part of their equipment, especially combat
support material like rations and munitions. I gather from your question that
you're interested in the protection aspect, which may be a bit riskier. However,
we conduct an analysis, study the area in question and assess the threat. In
some cases, the vehicles are simply not used. However, they can surely help with
mobility, particularly for the light forces.
The Chair: Colleagues, perhaps I could follow up with a few questions
First of all, I want to say that I had the opportunity of spending a day with
Operation NANOOK in Yukon, and I was very much impressed with the fitness of all
the soldiers that were involved. It was a full day, and the enthusiasm and the
fitness was very evident. It was very gratifying for me, as a Canadian, to be
part of that and to have that opportunity to see these young men and women in
action and, obviously, very good at what they do.
That being said, I want to move on to a couple of things here. The question
of the reserves: We received some correspondence here the other day in respect
to what was being provided to the reserves and what's taking place with the
reserves. I do think a number of steps are being taken here that are going to be
very positive, including the fact that the reserves will be an envelope from the
point of view of finances and that monies can't be used for something else
within the military. There is some security there from that point of view.
The one observation was made here about the present situation, at least in
some cases with the reserves. It was said that units don't even have radios now,
let alone vehicles, crew-served weapons, kitchens, tents and on and on. In other
words, there is a shortage of the day-to-day resources that are required for the
reserves to go about their duties that we're asking them to do.
Can you verify that? If that's the truth, then what are you doing to rectify
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you, senator. I can comment. I'll start
off with where we are to follow on a comment I made in the last testimony.
Over about the next eight months, through summer 2017, we're taking a
holistic look at where equipment is across the Canadian Army, within the
reserves specifically, and establishing equipment tables for those reserve units
so that we can have that benchmarked to know where we need to procure equipment
in the future.
We are also making sure that the basic equipment for reserve soldiers is all
on parity. Right now we are in a program across the army of procuring new
radios, and there's an interim project. It is a bit contentious, but it's a
whole-army radio program. It will take about 18 to 24 months to roll out that
It's not specific to the reserve, but it is a whole-army project as we change
the technology on how we do business. There's a longer-term plan to make sure we
get the right kind of radios for the reserve, as well, down the road.
The Chair: We're here to help, and the statement is being made that
there aren't kitchen tents, crew-served weapons and necessary vehicles. How
prevalent is that with the reserves? You have to have an idea of the schedule
and everything that you have for the reserves and good knowledge of how it
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: I'll speak to vehicles and some of the major
As it stands today, all reserve units don't have tables for all of the
equipment suites that a unit might need. Things are pooled for collective
training, and that's what we're taking an analysis of as to how best to look at
where the needs are so that equipment is available for units when they need it,
and whether it's best located at a training centre or whether in certain units'
cases, they actually get those vehicles.
The Chair: I want to follow this up, because what we're trying to get
of sense of through our hearings here is the areas that are deficient and what
has to be done in order to be able to bring the necessary equipment up to a
standard that we're expecting, and also, obviously, enough equipment and various
support aspects that are required.
For the purpose of the reserves, do we have a perspective number? Is it $10
million or $30 million that is required to be able to bring the standard of all
the reserves up so that they have this pool of equipment and are able to do what
we ask them to do?
Do you have a number? We want to get a sense of what we're dealing with here.
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Senator, I could not provide a number without
making a guess. We do need to do the analysis for where the gaps are. There are
a number of teams of folks that are going to look at that as part of the
strengthening of the reserve directive that we put out.
The Chair: When will that be concluded?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: The equipment is in the second phase. We started
the work this fall, and it's to conclude around September 2017. It's during the
next eight-month period that we're going to evaluate equipment specifically to
make sure we find out where those gaps are and identify tables.
The Chair: We're going to miss this year because you're not going to
be able to get into the budget cycle, if it's necessary. Is that correct?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: Mr. Chair, over the course of a year, there may be
immediate purchase opportunities with what we call minor procurement projects.
If we're talking about the purchase of tents or similar things within the
current fiscal year, there may be opportunities to acquire equipment, either
through existing contracts or standard purchases.
The Chair: So there is some latitude there.
The next question I have is the expansion of the reserves and the number of
reservists, referring back to the Auditor General.
My understanding is that the estimated cost to expand up to 28,000 reservists
would be in the neighbourhood of an additional $250 million. Is that correct?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you, senator. I don't know that there's
been a number. In fact, in the directives that we received, I don't think there
was a number specified as to what the costs are for growth.
The Chair: Going back to what we're dealing with here, when can we
expect to see a number that's substantiated by yourselves for the purposes of
ensuring that it's in the budget and gets into the rotation and the cycle that's
required so that you can do the job we're asking you to do?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: The first stage for the army is the 950 growth
to the 16 units. That is simply a personnel number.
In the subsequent phases that we're going to approach, being equipment for
those units to support that, and then, as well, looking to what tasks units will
also have — and again, the equipment and capabilities go with that — that's the
It would be an iterative process. It certainly won't all happen in one fiscal
year, either. So it's this first fiscal year we're looking at.
The Chair: Once you get those numbers, could you let us know what they
are, and any of the other questions? I think it's important for our review if we
have some sense of the resources that are required.
I'd like to move on to one other area, if I could, colleagues, and that's the
question of the civilian military leadership that we spoke of, I believe, last
week. I want to say that I think that that's a very innovative program, and it's
one that probably will help you meet your targets for the purposes of increasing
the numbers of reservists.
Since then, I did get a call, because people were watching this particular
program on CPAC, and the word I got is that the program is not necessarily going
as well as perhaps you'd like it to be going. In view of that, perhaps you can
tell us how many students are actually enrolled in the program and what your
target is for the 2017-18 academic year for participants.
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: That's a very good question, senator. That is,
in fact, correct.
The initial pilot project is not meeting the kind of aim that we had at the
University of Alberta. In large part, that is why we've also looked at the
Advanced Placement and Prior Learning program, which was started at the British
Columbia Institute of Technology and is linked to other technical colleges.
I don't have the exact number. We'd have to come back. There are people in
those technical colleges who are reservists. It's designed for military and
first responders, to give them qualifications credit. We'd have to come back
with what those numbers are.
That's the reason we've refocused our efforts to those technical colleges
across the country instead of universities.
The Chair: We'd certainly like to see what those numbers are and then,
on an ongoing basis, have an understanding of what we are dealing with in
respect of these programs and the success of them, because I do believe it's a
great program for the country, done properly. I know also that from your
perspective it must be very difficult to try to manage it. We have five
different centres now?
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: That is what was directed, five. Some provinces
are looking at more than their one.
The Chair: I would ask for one other undertaking related to the
information I was provided, which is that in some of the smaller schools it's
not going as quickly as it could or should. I would ask that you look into those
and see what you can do to help them move those programs along so that they get
in places and they actually provide a service for those young men and women who
would like to participate.
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Certainly, senator.
Senator Meredith: Again, back to my question of readiness and
deployment and Canada's requests for our NATO commitments and the UN missions
that are there, how ready are we with respect to these deployments or these
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: You are specifically asking for overseas, senator.
We're ready. Basically, we have what we call foundation training; so that is the
baseline from which we start. Then we get into mission-specific training that
reflects the realities of that mission. Our training system is designed so that
if we have enough lead time, and in most cases we will, we will create a series
of training events to ensure that our units and soldiers are ready for a
We'll try to replicate, as much as possible in the training system, the
current situation in terms of various actors — bad guys, good guys, NGOs and
other departments — to prepare the force as well as we can to face the reality
they are going to face in theatre.
Senator Meredith: What are some of the challenges facing you currently
that would prevent you from executing that training as you would like to?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: Certain training activities or realities are very
difficult to duplicate within the country. They need to be experienced on site.
Climate and culture are also difficult to mirror, but some things can be done.
Experts can be hired to help us better understand the culture we'll be facing in
the theatre. It's not always easy to duplicate here, in Canada, in our training
I can assure you that the exercises, especially those that took place
recently, are very well done. Once they've crossed the line of departure, to
speak in military terms, our troops are ready for the operations.
Senator Meredith: You talk about experts in terms of the training and
what have you. What collaboration do you have with other countries, for example,
in terms of preparing the troops for a warm climate? Do you do things in
Arizona? Do you work with the U.S. government?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: We have in the past, senator. During the Afghanistan
years, we had a few training events south of the border, in Fort Irwin,
California, and Fort Bliss, Texas, so we have a really good relationship
military to military and army to army with our American brothers, and we use
that. They are very helpful in that sense.
We host them in Canada as well, because they are interested in the type of
training we're doing.
Senator Meredith: If you ever do anything within the Caribbean, the
whole committee would like to go with you to observe that, especially in
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: We will keep that in mind, sir.
Senator Dagenais: When you go last, the questions are more difficult.
You spoke of the future deployment of an African mission, and you don't know the
country or when the mission will take place. About 600 members will be deployed.
We know that a number of African countries are francophone. What will be the
percentage of francophone members from Quebec? I assume there are members from
other provinces who speak French, but we can imagine that most francophone
members will come from Quebec. How can you make French more prevalent within the
armed forces to avoid deploying only members from Quebec regiments? I don't
think we'll empty Quebec of its troops. However, if an emergency situation
arises in Quebec, we may lack personnel.
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: That's an excellent question, senator. Even though
most of our francophones members are from Quebec, some are from across the
country. We can use other pools of soldiers.
The important thing is to have leaders who are able to work in French. In the
Canadian military system, to obtain certain ranks, qualifications and command
positions, you must be able to work in your second language. This helps broaden
the pool of people available to participate in an African mission, if French is
the main language spoken in the operations area.
Senator Dagenais: With regard to personnel deployment in future peace
support missions, do you have all the equipment needed to participate? You spoke
of light vehicles to ease the troops' load of equipment. Do you have the funding
needed to complete these missions, or do you need to obtain it? The government
seems to want to deploy over 600 members, but we still don't know the costs
It's the same thing with airplanes. Do you think you have all the equipment
needed to carry out these missions?
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: The basic equipment available proved itself in an
extremely demanding theatre, such as the Afghanistan theatre. Improvements have
been made since then.
In my opening remarks, I spoke of the light armoured vehicle we're improving
in terms of target acquisition and fire power. There are other initiatives like
that one. If the army's inventory lacks a piece of equipment needed in the event
of a situation in a theatre, a system for urgent operational requirements can be
used fairly quickly. If we compare it to the typical method used to obtain a new
piece of equipment, the system for urgent operational requirements can help
quickly deliver the required piece of equipment to the soldiers in the theatre
Senator Jaffer: My question is on your bystander training program. I'm
really interested in it, especially in light of what was said today. I'm going
to say what that program is, not because you don't know it, but it's because
people watch the Defence Committee hearings or other Senate hearings. The
program is intended to teach members of the Canadian Army how to deal with known
cases of sexual misconduct, in particular focusing on awareness and creating
skills that will allow for army members to determine when they see sexual
misconduct, and also to help officers deal with the issues of sexual misconduct.
You know, there was an August report of the Canadian Armed Forces on Op
HONOUR, and when I looked at it, I didn't feel it was giving enough input about
the success of the program. People's attitudes have to change, so that's not
what I'm saying. Especially in light of what happened today with Statistics
Canada reporting on the issues, it would be good hear, whether we are making
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: The Chief of the Defence Staff is disappointed with
the content of the report. Moreover, shortly after he assumed his position on
August 14, 2015, he issued his first operation order for operation HONOUR. The
army took a few days or weeks to absorb the order. The commander of the army at
the time issued his own operation order on September 4.
Clearly, sexual misconduct is completely unacceptable for each person in
uniform. These behaviours undermine the values we staunchly defend.
Statistics Canada's report helped us confirm the issue already raised by
Justice Deschamps's report. However, this time, many military members spoke out.
Things have improved, but we aren't satisfied yet. Moreover, General Vance said
today that operation HONOUR will never end. We're talking about changing a
culture that has existed for years in an institution. This takes a great deal of
According to the statistics indicated, it's encouraging to know that about 80
per cent of respondents believe that, if they report an incident or come forward
with an accusation of sexual misconduct, the chain of command will take
measures. In the past year, about 30 people have been removed from their duties
— in some cases, their positions were quite important — because they tolerated
or they themselves committed sexual misconduct.
In terms of bystander training, at a certain point, the victim and the person
who commits the wrongdoing aren't the only people involved. A bystander who
observes or tolerates inappropriate jokes is part of the problem. We're trying
to make our employees understand this. We want everyone to be part of the
solution, and the program takes this aspect into account.
Senator Dagenais: I won't ask you to respond to me, Major-General
Juneau. However, I read recently in La Presse
that the government intends to obtain a seat on the United Nations Security
Council. This situation would endanger the lives of our Canadian soldiers. I
don't know whether you've heard about it. I hope this isn't the government's
intention, even though we understand the importance of participating with our
allies in the peace mission in Mali. I won't ask you to respond to this comment.
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: Thank you, senator.
The Chair: Thank you colleagues. We're running out of time here. I
would like to thank our witnesses for appearing. The information you gave us
will provide us with some of the resources we need for our report. I would ask
that regarding any of the commitments you made, please respond as quickly as you
can because we're in the process of writing that report, and any information you
can give us will be of great assistance. Again, I would like to thank you for
Joining us on our fourth panel of the day, as we continue our look at issues
related to the defence policy review, specifically search and rescue, are Lori
MacDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch,
Public Safety Canada; Major-General William Seymour, Chief of Staff, Operations,
Canadian Joint Operations Command, National Defence and the Canadian Armed
Forces; Brig.-Gen. Michel Lalumière, Director General, Air Force Development,
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces; and Mario Pelletier, Deputy
Commissioner, Operations, Canadian Coast Guard. I understand, Ms. MacDonald,
that you have an opening statement, so please proceed. I understand there may be
two other opening statements, as well.
Lori MacDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and
Programs Branch, Public Safety Canada:
Good afternoon, honourable senators, and thank you for this opportunity to
speak to you about Public Safety Canada's contribution to the National Search
and Rescue Program.
First, I would like to express our deepest sympathy to our RCAF friends for
the tragic loss of their colleague today.
During my last appearance before this committee on April 18, 2016, I spoke
about the opportunities created by the transfer of the National Search and
Rescue Program to Public Safety Canada. Since that time, Public Safety Canada
has achieved significant progress on a number of search and rescue initiatives.
We remain committed to renewing and improving the National Search and Rescue
Program in Canada.
Today I will briefly describe the recent advancements in this area, including
an update on the restoration of funding for heavy urban search and rescue
services and the transition of the National Search and Rescue Program to Public
I will also provide an overview of our ongoing efforts to modernize the
As you may recall, Budget 2016 including a commitment to restore funding to
heavy urban search and rescue teams. This is part of the government's broader
commitment to build safer and more resilient communities. On October 7, 2016,
the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Heavy Urban Search and
Rescue Program. This announcement featured $3.1 million in annual funding to
support the four existing heavy urban search and rescue teams in Vancouver,
Calgary, Toronto and Manitoba. The resources will also support Halifax in
re-establishing a heavy urban search and rescue capability and support the
development of a new heavy urban search and rescue capability in Montreal.
This renewed program was developed in collaboration with the heavy urban
search and rescue task forces, municipalities and provincial and territorial
emergency management officials.
The restored funding is expected to assist provinces in ensuring that the
necessary equipment, personnel and training are in place to support the critical
response capacity in Canada.
Heavy urban search and rescue is a unique and important emergency management
capability. It's part of a broader search and rescue community. In this context,
Public Safety Canada has an important opportunity to explore potential
governance models that align urban search and rescue under a modernized National
Search and Rescue Program framework.
In July 2015, responsibility for managing the National Search and Rescue
Program was transferred to Public Safety Canada. Since that time, we have been
working toward renewing the policy and governance framework for the National
Search and Rescue Program, as well as exploring opportunities regarding how we
can better align search and rescue with the emergency management
responsibilities of our department.
To provide some context, the National Search and Rescue Program was created
by the federal government in 1986; however, the program was never formally
defined. Within the federal family, the Canadian Armed Forces are responsible
for the effective operation of aeronautical search and rescue as well as the
coordination of marine search and rescue in partnership with the Canadian Coast
Guard. Over the years, efforts have been made to better integrate these two
Where the program needs strengthening is within the policy and governance
framework, which would enable Public Safety Canada to better support and
coordinate among search and rescue delivery organizations at all levels of
government. This includes improving the integration of the ground search and
rescue system and the aeronautical and marine systems, while recognizing and
respecting the jurisdictional responsibility of provinces and territories for
ground search and rescue.
We are now going through an exercise to formally define the National Search
and Rescue Program. We will begin building a solid policy and governance
foundation for the National Search and Rescue Program overall.
This process will clarify federal, provincial and territorial
responsibilities for search and rescue. With this in mind, we have initiated a
national dialogue with stakeholders to define the National Search and Rescue
Program so that an appropriate governance and policy framework can be developed.
As part of this national dialogue, in October 2016, Public Safety Canada met
with key stakeholders attending SARscene 2016, an annual conference for the
search and rescue community, to seek their views on the National Search and
To date, we have learned there are gaps in representation in the existing
governance structure. We are working to provide a stronger voice to indigenous
communities, volunteers, jurisdictional police forces and northern and remote
The consultation process will conclude in winter 2017. Based on the results
of these consultations, the department will propose options for a modernized
governance framework for the program.
In keeping with the modernization initiative for the National Search and
Rescue Program, I am pleased to inform you that Public Safety Canada has taken
the role of ground search and rescue champion. In this new role, Public Safety
Canada looks forward to working with the ground search and rescue community to
better understand their perspectives and address their unique requirements in
collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial governments.
Honourable members, strengthening the National Search and Rescue Program
through a modernized governance and policy framework will enhance Canada's
capability to respond to search and rescue incidents across our country. Over
time, these efforts will improve our readiness to deal with natural disasters
and extreme weather events. I look forward to continuing this dialogue with our
stakeholders in order to bolster the National Search and Rescue Program. Thank
you for your time and interest today.
Major-General William Seymour, Chief of Staff, Operations, Canadian Joint
Operations Command, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: It is an
honour to be here along with our key partners, Public Safety and the Canadian
Coast Guard, to update you on the Department of National Defence and the
Canadian Armed Forces' role in Canada's search and rescue system.
Joining me here today is Brigadier-General Michel Lalumière, Director
General, Air Force Development, representing the Royal Canadian Air Force.
I would highlight that we work closely together, not only in the context of
search and rescue or SAR, but in many other areas of emergency management in
support of Canadians at home and abroad.
Canada's SAR area is the largest in the world, comprising over 18 million
square kilometres of land and water. Its geography is varied and demanding, and
its climate, especially in the unique Arctic region, can be harsh year round.
The vastness of the area and the variable nature of its environment pose an
impressive challenge to the SAR community.
As has already been highlighted by Ms. MacDonald, responsibility for SAR is
shared. In my role as Chief of Staff for Operations at the Canadian Joint
Operations Command, or CJOC, I assist my boss, Lieutenant-General Stephen Bowes,
in exercising command and control of the Canadian Armed Forces operations,
The military commanders of Canada's three SAR regions — Halifax, Trenton and
Victoria — report to the Commander CJOC, who maintains the Canadian Armed Forces
response lead at the national level.
The Canadian Armed Forces is responsible for the conduct of aeronautical SAR
and the effective coordination of aeronautical and maritime SAR.
Our coordination function is exercised through three joint rescue
coordination centres, staffed by Canadian Forces and Canadian Coast Guard
members, which serve as a unique fusion centre that enables fast and
synchronized identification and response to emergencies.
I understand your colleagues on the Fisheries and Oceans Committee recently
paid a visit to JRCC in Halifax and found it informative. The Armed Forces and
the Coast Guard would be happy to host you at the JRCC at your leisure. I
understand you have been there in the past.
From a personnel standpoint, we have approximately 950 Canadian Armed Forces
members who are trained to deliver search and rescue 24-365 and to reach the
most challenging areas of the country to deliver medical care and provide
emergency evacuation when necessary.
During a SAR tech's first year of training, he or she will spend 11 days
working with Inuit hunters in the High Arctic to learn survival skills. This
close partnership with the First Nations people is critical to our collective
ability to execute SAR missions in the difficult High Arctic environment.
Beyond standard qualifications, our SAR crews practise their skills through
various exercises. Small-scale SAR exercises are conducted regularly at the unit
level with local and regional partners, while large, multinational and
multi-agency training events, such as the National Search and Rescue Exercise,
allow SAR crews from across the country to put their skills to the test and hone
their coordination capacities, which are so critical to the SAR mission.
Working with partner nations in the Arctic Council, the Armed Forces
participated last August in a field training exercise called Arctic Chinook,
simulating a cruise ship of 250 people having to abandon ship in the High North.
We also work to ensure that our SAR personnel have the right assets to get
the job done. We have dedicated SAR platforms, including Griffon and Cormorant
helicopters, and Hercules and Buffalo aircraft, all of which are able to operate
in an Arctic environment. In addition, the Canadian Armed Forces routinely use
secondary assets to assist if they are available and the conditions are
suitable. Those could be any of the forces' fleets of ships, aircraft, or land
elements, such as the Canadian Ranger patrols.
Although I focus on operations and response, I must underscore the importance
of preparedness. Despite the fact that Canada is served by an excellent network
of SAR partners, and that the Canadian Armed Forces puts great emphasis on the
business of SAR, as Canadians we are subject to the tyranny of time and
distance. It can take as much as 12 hours to reach some locations. This means
everyone working in those harsh environments needs to be equipped with
up-to-date, well-maintained equipment and ensure that they have the training to
avoid and survive a calamitous event.
The Canadian Armed Forces will continue to work closely with many
organizations who share in the effective delivery of SAR services in Canada, and
I would like to reiterate my thanks for having the opportunity to participate in
today's proceedings and answer your questions.
Mario Pelletier, Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Canadian Coast Guard:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senators, it is a pleasure to appear before this
committee to provide a snapshot of the Coast Guard's current search and rescue
capabilities, information on the importance of training within our organization,
and the Coast Guard's role in the Arctic. I will also provide a brief
description of what the recent Ocean Protection Plan announcement means for the
Canadian Coast Guard and the search and rescue program specifically.
As you have heard from previous testimony, Canada's search and rescue system
is a shared responsibility between the Coast Guard and the Canadian Armed
Forces, with the support of our federal, provincial, territorial and municipal
partners, as well as volunteer organizations.
This multi-layered partnership is part of the strength of the Canadian
system. When Greg Lick, Director General, Operations, appeared before this
committee in the spring, he provided you with the details on the Coast Guard
search and rescue assets that respond to over 6,000 marine distress calls every
year, and highlighted the benefit of our strong partnership with the Canadian
Armed Forces through the three joint rescue coordination centres in Halifax,
Trenton and Victoria.
I would like to add that Canada's search and rescue system also benefits from
continual efforts to improve operations through training and exercising, lessons
learned and best practices, as well as improvements to the oversight and
management functions of the program.
Training is the backbone of the Coast Guard's search and rescue program, and
it begins with the Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia, where cadets are
instilled with best seamanship practices. The College supports search and rescue
through dedicated programming to train our maritime and aeronautical
coordinators, as well as ship's personnel, in search mission coordination and
maritime search planning.
Hands on, practical training for our on-scene responders is delivered within
our three regions. Coast Guard staff deliver courses to ensure our boat handlers
for search and rescue response are qualified and skilled. We also provide
courses to ensure our first responders are trained for any maritime medical
Our training is maintained through re-certification and coordinated exercises
with our partners. These exercises aim at keeping skills current, identify the
roles and responsibilities of all participating departments, and reveal any
areas for improvement.
With regard to the Canada's North, the Coast Guard plays a vital role in the
region by providing resupply missions to remote communities and icebreaking
services that promote economic growth. Coast Guard vessels are used as platforms
for Arctic marine science and are visible presences in support of Arctic
To augment our maritime search and rescue capacity in the north, the Coast
Guard began an initiative in 2015 to expand the membership of the Coast Guard
Auxiliary search and rescue volunteers in the Arctic. Currently, the auxiliary
operates 11 units in Arctic communities, with over 140 active members and 14
What this means for the search and rescue program specifically is that we
will see six new Coast Guard search and rescue lifeboat stations created — four
in British Columbia and two in Newfoundland and Labrador — as well as the
refurbishment of a facility in St. Anthony, Newfoundland, that will be home for
a new lifeboat station as well; enhancements to Coast Guard Marine Communication
and Traffic Services Centres, Canada's ears and eyes on the water to ensure
uninterrupted communications with mariners; the extension of the operating
season for Coast Guard ships operating in the Arctic; the establishment of a
dedicated Arctic auxiliary branch; the expansion to the Arctic of the existing
indigenous community boats volunteer program that will provide Arctic
communities access to funding for vessels and equipment so that they can
participate in the Coast Guard Auxiliary; and the creation of a new seasonal
inshore rescue boat station in the Arctic.
The investments from the Oceans Protection Plan will strengthen the Coast
Guard's capacity and presence across the country, particularly in the Arctic,
where there are growing marine safety concerns across a vast territory.
To conclude, on a personal note, I would like to add that a career with the
Canadian Coast Guard is deeply rewarding. The strength of Canada's search and
rescue system is built upon the courage and dedication of the men and women who
work to make Canada's waters safe, and our close collaboration with our federal,
provincial, territorial, municipal and volunteer partners.
Thank you for inviting us. We look forward to answering your questions.
The Chair: Thank you. We'll start with questioners.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you for all your presentations. My first
question is to you, Major-General Seymour. In April when this committee heard
from CJOC, they talked about the state of search and rescue in Canada. One of
the issues that were brought up was the information management system. We were
told that it was completely inadequate and reaching its breaking point, meaning
the records of past search and rescue operations were barely being kept. That's
what we were told. Rear-Admiral Peter Ellis told us that the project to replace
the information management system was currently under way.
Can you provide the committee with an update? Also, Rear-Admiral Ellis also
told us that if the system breaks down, you will have to do the input by hand.
We have serious concerns about this. Can you please brief us?
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: I read the good admiral's testimony. I understand
that he took a question on notice and you were provided additional information
regarding the status of the contract.
When you're right in terms of the state of the software that's being used,
you should be confident to know that we have taken steps to make sure it is able
to operate on Windows 7 systems. So despite them being legacy systems, the
software continues to function, and we use it every day.
If that software were to fail — and it's heavily backed up so we have the
data there each and every day to use should it be necessary — I think he
described the old by-hand method of having to make logs of what's transpired and
do things manually, perhaps in the same way I was trained to navigate the Aurora
using maps, charts and those things as a fall back. Rarely do we have to do that
in the aircraft.
In terms of the state of the contract, the information that was provided to
you that was taken on notice hasn't changed. The IOC for the software, I
believe, was in April 2018, and the full operational capability was some several
years after that, in 2021, if I'm not mistaken. That has not changed at all.
From our perspective, we're confident the program is proceeding at pace and
will move along to deliver the capability it is intended to do in time.
We have not seen since that testimony examples where the software or the
system has failed catastrophically. It's being nurtured and ushered along. We
take care of it, and we have the appropriate support mechanisms in place. Also,
the new software we've contracted for is on its way.
Senator Jaffer: I have two questions I'll ask together, then whoever
wants to answer can do so.
I heard you say, Major-General Seymour, that Canada is large and that it
takes a long time to get to places sometimes. I come from B.C., and we rely on
your services. We need to have confidence that it's not going to take 12 hours
to rescue us. What you do is very important to us.
So when we hear the Auditor General saying that there is a considerable
decline in search and rescue in Canada — in particular, he stated that a
considerable number of people are trained in search and rescue but not enough of
them are available at a given time to meet Canada's search and rescue needs. He
also claimed that equipment set aside for search and rescue missions is aging
considerably. He goes on to talk about preparedness. I can go on, and you've
read his report.
Is search and rescue in decline, and what are we doing to improve the
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: I'll take a first cut at that, senator. I read the
report when it came out years ago. I know you've heard testimony today that
talks about some of the things we believe are actually helping to make search
and rescue better in Canada.
From a systems perspective, I think General Hood briefed you on the new
fixed-wing SAR project. I understand from information available in the media
that a decision is in the offing, and we're very excited about that in CJOC and
in the Royal Canadian Air Force. It's a brand-new platform that will bring to
bear multiple high-tech sensors that will allow us to conduct our search in the
various states of darkness or weather; things that I've been used to in the
CP-140 for quite some time will bring this to the SAR program.
A number of other things suggest that we've moved on from where the Auditor
General was years ago to make improvements to the SAR system. Another example is
search and rescue technicians. We recognize that we need more search and rescue
technicians. One of the steps we have taken is to increase the throughput of the
number of search and rescue technicians to 20 per year so that we have the right
number of folks going forward. Their training has also been bolstered in a
number of ways. One was the High Arctic training I mentioned with the Inuit
Others we've taken in response to the incident we saw, I believe, in the
avalanche that resulted in a SAR tech regrettably being killed. So we've made
changes to that system to ensure they have the right kind of training to operate
in the mountainous locations.
And other measures are being taken across the board to improve how we do SAR.
In the Canadian Armed Forces, and in partnership with our Coast Guard and
Public Safety Canada partners, we are continually reviewing our search and
rescue posture. Each and every search and rescue mission undertaken by a rescue
coordination centre is reviewed and analyzed for lessons learned, and then those
lessons learned are applied and then put into the system. That is done across
the entire board.
So I'd suggest that it's a story of continual renewal, continuously making
improvements to our search and rescue posture throughout the country, not just
within the Royal Canadian Airforce and the Canadian Forces but in partnership
with communities and the Coast Guard and with our Public Safety partners. I
think it's actually a positive news story.
Senator Jaffer: I said that for search and rescue the machinery is in
decline. The men and women certainly come through for us every time, and I know
I speak for the whole committee when I say when you go back, all of you, thank
them for the great work they do on behalf of Canadians.
Ms. MacDonald: I wanted to add to Major-General Seymour's comments
some of the work that's going on now in the voluntary sector as well because I
think it's really important as you talk about the men and women in search and
rescue. Right now, we count approximately 18,000 volunteers who work on search
and rescue across our country on a day-to-day basis. That includes air, marine
and ground search and rescue. One of the organizations that we work with on
ground search and rescue, SARVAC, has actually just finished coming up with new
training guidelines for search and rescue that are being implemented across the
country, with all provinces and territories and rescuers. A really good factual
example of what we see them doing right now, if I take 2015 as an example, there
were approximately 2,300 incidents of search and rescue. Our volunteers put in
close to 175,000 hours of time into that, which obviously also has a huge
economic impact in terms of those hours. But it does demonstrate that the
network is vibrant; the network is working together. Certainly, from our
perspective, working with Defence and with the Coast Guard and ourselves and
Public Safety, we see a huge difference in terms of our strength in the past
year with respect to how we've come together around working on governance issues
and policy issues, and how we support each other to actually effect that entire
network of search and rescue across the country.
So I think some very good initiatives have been under way, including the one
I referenced in my opening comments, heavy urban search and rescue. That is a
really good example of investing in the very equipment that you spoke about,
investing in the men and women, in their training, purchasing equipment,
purchasing personal safety devices and actually training together to become
interoperable, depending on the incident. During the Fort McMurray fires this
summer, the heavy urban search and rescue teams from both Calgary and Brandon,
Manitoba, deployed to Fort McMurray to help. So the funding that's coming
forward for this will be very helpful in terms of supporting some of those
issues that you speak about of equipment and machinery.
Senator Carignan: My question is for Mr. Pelletier and Ms. MacDonald.
It concerns the condition of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. I have here a fleet
activity report for the central and Arctic region dated today. Out of 41 vessels
or ships, 20 are not in working condition. For example, the ship Private
Robertson, an almost new vessel launched in 2012, is on an unplanned break,
and the icebreaker Pierre Radisson is having its life extended. It seems
the fleet is falling to pieces. As part of the investment measures announced,
what will you do now to make Canada's navigable waters safe, in particular the
St. Lawrence Seaway, and to reduce risks, especially when it comes to icebreaker
Mr. Pelletier: The list refers to about 20 ships that are being
repaired. We're in a pivotal period between the Arctic operations and the
icebreaking operations. A number of those ships are included on the list, mainly
the icebreakers. In terms of the measures we plan to take, it should be
understood that Canadian Coast Guard ships are national assets that can be sent
where they're needed most. For example, as part of the Arctic operations, we
send six or seven icebreakers from three regions. We always use ships from other
regions to fill gaps as needed.
With regard to the Pierre Radisson, which is having its life extended,
we decided to invest a number of years ago in extending the vessel's life. It's
a carefully considered investment. We remove a ship from duty for an extended
period to carry out major renovations and to ensure the ship is effective and
available for the program.
As you know, last week, we submitted a request for information to address our
icebreaking and towing shortfall. As a result of all these life extensions
measures to make our ships last until they can be replaced, ships need to be
removed from duty. Since this can create potential gaps, we're asking the
industry to inform us of its capacities, of what it can offer, and of what
options we can consider to address the shortfall.
This winter, we have the ships needed to operate on the Atlantic coast, in
the Great Lakes or on the St. Lawrence River, while managing risks. In the
future, when other ships are removed from duty, we'll reach out to the industry
to address the shortfall.
Senator Carignan: Aren't you robbing Peter to pay Paul? When you take
an icebreaker stationed elsewhere and bring it to the seaway, isn't there a
danger of weakening the location where the icebreaker was stationed and creating
Mr. Pelletier: The conditions change a great deal depending on the
time of year. The seaway closes at the end of December, and that's when we
concentrate our ships. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the ice conditions are in
February, depending on the winds, and so on. It's a very dynamic system. We send
our ships where they're needed.
Senator Carignan: Your ships are dynamic. However, three of them are
currently on a break as a result of technical issues. The risk of technical
issues is another matter. The Private Robertson was launched in 2012, but
it doesn't work because there was a breakdown. The fleet is on average 36 years
old, and new ships are breaking down. Imagine the ships that are over 36 years
old. Don't you feel an urgent need to intervene? You feel comfortable telling
Canadians that they shouldn't worry, that there won't be any problems on
Canada's navigable waters, and that all measures are in place to ensure their
Mr. Pelletier: I feel comfortable saying that we manage the ships
available to the best of our ability. We have proven it in previous years. We're
aware that a shortfall will need to be addressed in the near future. That's why
we submitted a request for information to the industry.
It's the icebreakers that are 36 years old on average, and the fleet of 115
ships contains about 15 icebreakers. When we consider all the ships, there are
many search and rescue ships. We're currently building search and rescue ships
in two different locations to renew the fleet. We intend to build survey ships,
and we have other life extension initiatives for ships, as I explained earlier.
Senator Carignan: An available icebreaker is currently stationed in
Florida and could be purchased quickly. Do you intend to act quickly? Are you
aware of the icebreaker's availability?
Mr. Pelletier: We know it's there.
Senator Carignan: Have you asked for information from the owner?
Mr. Pelletier: We submitted a request for information to the industry.
We don't accept unsolicited bids. We're completely transparent. We submitted a
request for information to the industry, which will propose the available
options. We can then make an informed decision.
Senator Dagenais: Senator Carignan just mentioned the icebreaker
stationed in Florida. I wanted to address this issue with you, but you've
already responded to it.
Ms. MacDonald, in 2013, the Auditor General raised certain concerns about the
search and rescue program's structure. You spoke about the strengthening of
measures, a new division of responsibilities and the restoration of funding.
For someone who isn't necessarily familiar with the exercises and missions,
it's difficult to understand what you're talking about. Can you explain the
situation by providing concrete examples so that we can understand who does what
and who is responsible if an incident occurs in a certain region of the country?
Ms. MacDonald: I'll also ask my two colleagues at the table to answer,
because the reality for all three departments represented here today is that we
have differing roles and responsibilities. Depending on the incident, in terms
of what's occurring on any given day, any one of the departments could be in
charge. When there's an incident that requires the CAF to respond, they take
primary control and operation of that incident. If it's an incident occurring in
open waters, it's the Coast Guard, but on any given day it's really local
responders that respond during an incident of an operational nature. On a
tactical operational level, that's local jurisdiction: police forces from that
municipality or the responsible police force, including the RCMP.
Day to day, on the bigger policy pieces, Public Safety Canada has taken on
the role of evolving, redefining and modernizing the policy framework for search
and rescue. At the same time we do that in concert with our partners here at the
table, so in the defence policy review that's going on we have conversations
with them to ensure that what we are doing is cohesive with what they're doing.
It's the same with the Coast Guard; for the policy framework they're putting in
place, we actually work with them to make sure that we're not being duplicative
in nature but in fact actually support each other in the work we're doing on a
I'll turn to my two colleagues to see if they would like to add anything to
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: The next level of response, I think, is at some
point there in the situation that you described, any one of the rescue
coordination centres — primarily the one in the region in which the incident is
happening — could be notified to work at the next level of response, perhaps,
for example, if the community-based organizations didn't have the capacity to
deal with it. A call would come into the rescue coordination centre, and they
would immediately start working to figure out who would be the best available
entity to respond to the situation.
When you look in the lower parts of the country where most of the assets are
based, I think it's easy to see whether or not there's an air platform, if
indeed that was required, or if there was a maritime asset that was required for
an incident on water. The rescue coordination centre would handle that first
element of the response to determine how best to deal with the scenario.
The next level of coordination could be to say that we would take a look at
either a Coast Guard or a Royal Canadian Air Force asset to then respond, with a
Hercules, Cormorant or Griffon helicopter. Beyond that, depending on the time
and distance variable, let's say, for example, if the situation was further up
north, we would activate those assets and then also look to see what other kinds
of assets are available, be it ground SAR entities in the North or even members
of private industry. For example, in the Arctic we have a network of helicopter
providers. In some situations, of course, it takes time for a Cormorant to
transit up north, so we'll call upon a commercial provider who may very well be
closest to a given situation and call upon them to assist in the response.
Meanwhile, a Hercules or another Canadian Forces asset would already have been
It's a multi-layered kind of thing. The search and rescue coordination
centres play a role in coordinating a higher level of response should community
assets not be able to deal with the situation.
Mr. Pelletier: With regard to marine search and rescue activities, I
mentioned earlier an investment in the Marine Communications and Traffic
Services Centre. The centre's employees are "our ears and eyes'' on the water. A
continuous radio watch is maintained on the water under Canadian control. When a
person runs into problems, the call is transmitted directly to the Marine
Communications and Traffic Services Centre, and then relayed to the Joint Rescue
Coordination Centre, or JRCC. At that point, the JRCC coordinates search and
In terms of the Canadian Coast Guard and its response time on the water, it's
about presence. The network consists of 40 search and rescue stations across the
country, and seven more stations will be added soon. It also consists of six
primary search and rescue vessels, large vessels that are operational at all
times, and all the other fleets of Canadian Coast Guard vessels — the rest of
the fleet — that maintain an availability status of one hour. For search and
rescue vessels, the availability status is 30 minutes. We use these resources,
but we can also use ships of opportunity. If a person is near the location of
the incident, the person will be automatically asked to head to that location.
The network is in place. We use other external resources as needed.
Senator White: I'm trying to get my head around whether we haven't
just added a layer of bureaucracy to what was already working, in that every
police agency in the country — all 198 of them — understood who they had to
contact within the military or Coast Guard if the incident was near Trenton.
If it was on water, ground, or ice, I'm trying to figure out what specific
operational role Public Safety Canada plays. It's not really an operational
organization; it's an administrative policy, as I think you've referred to it.
Am I correct in that all we've really done is add a layer of bureaucracy?
Ms. MacDonald: We actually don't have an operational role in terms of
search and rescue. Ours is a policy role. What we've done is create the ground
Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada, which comprises approximately
12,000 members. They don't have a representative champion in terms of taking on
the issues for them from a broader governance policy discussion.
We have no role in terms of identifying or directing any of their activities.
They go to the local police in their jurisdiction. We simply are a voice for
them in terms of moving issues forward.
Senator White: I take it, then, there is some federal funding that is
given to those 12,000. Is that what the number was?
Ms. MacDonald: Yes, 12,000. We have some funding that we give out
right now to SARVAC — I want to say it's approximately $500,000 but I'll have to
verify that — to actually help them coordinate the activities across the country
from a ground search and rescue perspective. They come to us for support and
Senator White: Do you standardize their training, systems and
Ms. MacDonald: We did not. They did that by working with the community
to standardize the training. They actually did that through the search and
rescue community itself, working with all the provinces and territories and
local jurisdictions across the country.
Senator Dagenais: I have one last question for Major-General Seymour.
Canada must have a minimum number of military personnel on site in the
country to deal with certain disasters. The government is currently making
commitments in other countries. Will we maintain enough military personnel here
to deal with a disaster, since the government wants to enter into commitments
with other countries?
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: The reality is that we maintain sufficient search
and rescue personnel within Canada to perform that primary search and rescue
role. There are layers to what the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian
Armed Forces do. There's that primary layer of first responders and then the
secondary layer in that across the Canadian Forces there are other capabilities
that we bring to bear should they be required in the event of a search and
rescue. It's those kinds of capabilities that we look to serve abroad in some
I can tell you that historically we've used some of our SAR folks to deploy
overseas. We did it in cases like the Haiti earthquake, where we deployed an
aircraft and helicopters down to Haiti. I think this committee has heard
testimony to this effect before, but we also sent some search and rescue
technicians down there to help with the complex immediate aftermath of a crisis
of the magnitude that we saw there.
You can be confident, I think, senator, that as the government considers
deploying members of the Canadian Forces overseas to conduct peace support
operations or our operations in Europe, in no way will we compromise the search
and rescue posture here in Canada.
Senator Kenny: General, you talked briefly about the replacement for
fixed-wing search and rescue coming soon. What about the mid-life refit for the
Cormorants, and what about plans to take Griffons out of search and rescue and
perhaps replace them with the H-71s or something new?
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: It's great that Michel is here because he owns that
file within the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Senator Kenny: My question was generic; I just said "general.''
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: You bet. I can tell you that the Cormorant mid-life
upgrade project has progressed. It aims to extend the life the Cormorant to 2040
and to increase the size of the fleet, which may then allow the Cormorant to
replace the Griffons that are performing yeoman service here in Ontario and
around the area.
One of the options that you mentioned that is being considered for that
project is the VH-71s. I know you have been briefed before. We bought the nine
air frames, two of which are non-flyable and seven of which are potentially
flyable. That may comprise part of the solution space.
That's what I know, but Michel may have additional information to update you
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: Very accurate, sir. We're looking not only at
the mid-life update of the Cormorant to look at the options to take this fleet
out to 2040, if that's where the value resides, but also to look at Trenton to
put a comparable capability back into Trenton as well.
Right now, the project itself is in option analysis. We're working closely
with our partners and the rest of the Government of Canada — Public Services and
Procurement Canada — as well as within the DND and CAF, Assistant Deputy
We're looking at our current fleet today, looking at our operating costs of
the Cormorant, and seeing if this is the efficient level this fleet can be at.
We're working closely with industry in doing that, those being IMP and Leonardo,
the original aircraft manufacturer. We are looking very closely at the option of
the nine VH-71s we bought to see how those can come into the mix as options.
It's also about timelines and how quickly any options we would be considering
— VH-71s or other — could be added to the actual fleet and then being provided
to the commander to actually deliver search and rescue.
We are in option analysis right now. We are working toward bringing forward a
recommended option for departmental endorsement in 2017. Then that would put us
into our definition phase.
Industry is seized with that question we have. It's not a lack of
information, by any means; we have a lot of information coming our way from
industry at large to inform the analysis that we're looking at to meet the
various questions we will have to answer as part of this investment we have to
make looking forward.
Again, to answer that question of toward 2040 and what will be the actual
helicopter capability that will deliver the effects that we require — and also
On the fixed-wing SAR issue that you also raised, sure enough, we are at the
end of the evaluation phase for that project. The government itself is actually
completing that evaluation now.
This is obviously being led by PSPC again as a department with ADM (Materiel)
on our side. We are the sponsor. We're hoping for a decision to proceed forward
with a contractor award — or not — but we're waiting for a decision from
government that will arrive, hopefully, before the end of the year or early in
the next year, sir.
Senator Meredith: My question is with respect to investments in
satellite technology. Let me just preface my comments. Ms. MacDonald, you talked
about 18,000 volunteers. On behalf of all Canadians, we are grateful for their
time and contributions, and we're hoping that your department will ensure that
they are taken care of with respect to their time and so forth that they give to
My question relates to technology and advancing technology when it comes to
search and rescue, especially in the North. Is Canada making the necessary
investments in that sort of technology?
I look at this as preventative. When we look at a search and rescue
deployment, for lack of a better word, there is a cost associated with that. If
there is a way to prevent some of these things from taking place by forecasting
and warning, then there is a reduced cost.
Can you talk to me about your satellite technology and how reliant you are on
that, and whether Canada has made the necessary investments in that?
Ms. MacDonald: I'll take a first stab at that.
So one of the programmatic pieces I have, along with the National Search and
Rescue Secretariat at Public Safety, is a piece called Cospas-Sarsat, which is
the multilingual acronym for international satellite system for search and
rescue. We work with other countries — France, the United States and Russia — on
that model. There is a budget associated with that. I can take notice to get the
budget associated with that to you.
We work with them on a very regular and ongoing basis to both update the
technology and bring experts together to review the technology that is out there
to ensure we're moving that forward to ensure we have the most appropriate
technology in place. It's about ensuring we're advancing at the rate that
technology is itself and also about keeping up to what is happening around the
world in terms of the types of incidents that are unfolding and the people using
that equipment. That's on the Cospas-Sarsat side.
On a prevention side, we invest through our Search and Rescue New Initiatives
Fund, which is $7.6 million a year. We do receive proposals from across the
country where we invest from a grants and contribution perspective in things
like different kinds of technology, depending on the province or territory, or
the organization requesting that. That includes advancements to the North; so we
do have grants and contributions programs going on in the North at the same
We also have our Search and Rescue Knowledge Management System, which is
relatively new technology. We're almost finalizing an MOU with every province
and territory to come online to actually share their data and information so
that we can create a central place to share information across the country that
will allow us to make really informed decisions with respect to investing money.
For example, we just did some data analysis with Nunavut where we were
focusing on certain prevention areas. We realized in our prevention that we were
focused on the youth, and we were seeing that the most SAR-related incidents
were actually with hunters going out on the land who were quite experienced but
who were not keeping up to the changing impacts in terms of the territory. So
that knowledge data collection is informing where we should be investing our
training and our money and what we should be thinking about in terms of next
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: I would actually ask General Lalumière, the recent
Director General of Space, to offer a few thoughts on technology.
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: With pleasure. Canada is extremely well postured
from a space capability perspective, a security perspective, an industrial
perspective and also defence.
Ms. MacDonald mentioned the Sarsat enterprise that Canada has been part of
since its early beginning over 35 years now. Canada has been one of the four
founding countries for that fantastic system that has, to its account, about
36,000 message alerts back since its inception.
The Sarsat community made a decision years ago to move to the next generation
of capabilities, which is from a LEO, close to Earth, to the MEOSAR orbit,
medium-level-altitude satellites. We stayed partnered with the United States in
this regard — a privileged relationship that we have with the U.S.
Canada is the first international country, non-U.S., that has been invited to
contribute a sensor on GPS Block III generation of the constellation, highly
classified satellites as you can imagine. So Canada being invited to contribute
a sensor — formalizing our partnership with them on Block III, which should be
launching in 2021 — is a clear testament of that long-standing partnership we
have had with our U.S. partner. We also have, leading up to MEOSAR
implementation, this constellation that has been experimental in testing on
behalf of Cospas-Sarsat itself, 16 experimental sensors still in space that have
been offered by the United States. In Canada, we have some of the leading
technology for the ground segment aspect of that system. We've offered our
ground segment technology expertise in that regard. We have been working very
hard in the last year or 18 months on operationalizing this set of experimental
sensors we have today in space as an interim capability to bridge LEOSAR to
MEOSAR, instead of just waiting for MEOSAR. This would enable us to better
understand the technology ahead of MEOSAR being fully completed. France, with
Galileo, their constellation of geopositioning, is the first country on behalf
of Europe to field the sensors in space. Russia is meant to be second if they
are able to get their technology to that level. But Canada and the U.S. are not
waiting. We are the third block, but now we're working at fielding the interim
capability. We would be the first. We would offer this to the rest of the world
if we're able to field that operation.
We had a quick example of that exactly one year ago, when an aircraft went
missing just south of North Bay. Unfortunately, it was a catastrophic accident.
There were no survivors of this crash. Four people on board. Twin engine. What
was quite telling out of that, though, was that the LEOSAR constellation active
today was not able to correlate the signal. They could actually hear it but
could not position it over Canada.
The experimental sensors that were in space, with the interim capability that
was made available, did locate this crash site within one nautical mile. The
accuracy of LEOSAR was meant to be between 20 and 60 nautical miles, which, in
Canada, can be a very long search. One mile, we embraced that result with open
arms. This is exactly what we're aiming for from a MEOSAR perspective.
This is going to be for the alert phase, of course. The next phases of
integrating space capabilities are with regard to surveillance and satcom,
satellite communication, to make sure that all of the capabilities, be they from
volunteers, from industry, from private or government layers, are all
communicating amongst themselves, which would be a huge step forward compared to
the way that we did search and rescue our whole career, we being my colleague
here to my right and my colleague at the end of the table. What we are trying to
give this existing generation today is this ability to be that much more
efficient. You are absolutely right. Space has always been important for Canada
because of our size, and I think it will continue to be.
The Chair: Time is moving on here, senator.
Senator Meredith: Thirty seconds. I just want to talk about response
time and the correlation to that with respect to the trials that you have done
in Trenton and in Halifax, as well as Victoria. Senator Jaffer spoke about that
with respect to how you respond. I'm sure the technology allows you to be able
to respond a lot more quickly than you normally would. Could you comment on that
just quickly for me.
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: Senator, you're bang on. The phases of any
search and rescue would be the alert phase, right at the front end, where the
coordination actually happens, and the reporting mechanism, being industry
reporting on itself, a missing aircraft or a missing ship or next of kin getting
worried after one of their close ones has not returned home. It has a huge
impact on what the total length of the search and rescue effort is going to be.
The other one is transit and search time. Our country is the size it is. If we
can actually field the capabilities and technology that we intend to field, like
extra sensors that we are asking for for the new fixed-wing search and rescue
airplane that we want to field, our incremental increases of sensors we have
from space, from RADARSAT or from the visual type of infrared, radars, sensors
that we have already in space, all of these technologies combine together so
that we can actually minimize the search time to its bare minimum. That's the
Senator Beyak: Thank you very much. There is a fascination among the
folks at home with drones. They are curious. They are a little concerned. They
are not sure. I wondered if we have considered them for search and rescue, if
there are any pilot projects that you're aware of at this time and if you're
expecting any kind of a decision on a fleet of drones for search and rescue.
Ms. MacDonald: Thank you, senator. I actually just had a great
conversation, participated in a meeting with my colleague here Mr. Pelletier, on
the issue of drones. So I'm going to toss that over to him.
Mr. Pelletier: Yes, we are looking at drones. We have done a number of
pilot projects, not only for search and rescue but for ice recognizance as well,
for environmental response, and for maintenance as well. Instead of sending
technicians to climb up towers, with all of the safety issues around that, we
can use drones to do it. We have run a number of pilots. We're still working on
this. We have a joint project with Transport Canada, who is the regulator.
Recreational drones are what everybody knows and sees, but the commercial use of
drones is regulated under Transport Canada. We are looking at the regulatory
framework, the training requirement and so on to use those drones a little bit
further than the line of sight. It's an ongoing project. We actually had a trial
run last spring on board one of our ice breakers off of Newfoundland. It was
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: Senator, I would certainly supplement that with
General Lalumière's insights in the air force, regarding the JUSTAS project.
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: Thank you, sir. Great question. The Canadian
Armed Forces have been in the enterprise of unmanned aircraft for a decade plus
now, in all sizes, so from very small micro all the way to large ones, which is
where the JUSTAS capability effort and the project would fit in right now. So
JUSTAS is meant to be the medium-altitude or high-altitude type of unmanned
aircraft that we are contemplating at this point. We're into option analysis.
We're talking about extremely long-range, extremely long endurance, of course,
with the right set of sensors embarked. So think of a CP-140 or an aircraft with
even more endurance than that and more range. So, of course, the requirements
that we have for Canada, domestically, on the continent or expeditionary, would
be to be able to operate in all of these climate conditions. This is exactly the
type of option analysis that we are doing, at this point, on how best to field
this. Then it becomes a force multiplier for all of the assets that we would be
— all government departments — throwing at a search and rescue effort or at a
national-disaster type of issue, like the floods that took place years ago in
Calgary, when I was the wing commander in Comox. You were the wing commander in
Greenwood. We were, sure enough, fielding our CP-140 Aurora for their sensing
capabilities of the time. In the forest fires in Fort McMurray, Transport Canada
was working very closely with them as well on this exact question of UAV,
unmanned aircraft. Of course, for this aspect of the sensors, the embarked
sensors that would be on board, it's one thing to have the sensors, but the very
important piece that we need to consider to make it end-to-end is where does
that data go. Who do you have as the expertise then to process this data? Who do
you disseminate it to, in a very tight, tight timeline, to make this data
worthwhile for operations? So it's really the fulsome look at it from end to
Senator Beyak: Thank you very much.
Senator Kenny: In terms of where the information goes, wouldn't it be
going to the three MSOCs? It won't make it to Hansard if you just wave your
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: Great point, sir. Domestically, we have great
assets already in place, depending on the role of exactly where this information
would be required. Of course, in Canada, we would have the MSOCs. If we have it
in a deployed configuration, then, sure enough, we would have the equivalent of
the MSOCs. It probably would be whole-of-government still as well. It would be
very similar in process. It wouldn't be called that but very similar in process
to that. If that information is required from a security perspective, from a
domestic perspective, MSOC is the actual template that we have designed exactly
If it's a NORAD type of mission, then, sure enough, this would be the NORAD
information nodes that would be serviced by the unmanned aircraft that we would
have fielded at the time.
Senator Kenny: When you went through the components of the UAV, you
didn't mention ordinance.
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: As part of the capabilities that we are
contemplating, yes, it is range, it's long endurance, it's the ability to
operate in the climate that we know and so forth. We also have a payload
requirement, so payload delivery requirement sensor is a payload. If you want to
add other equipment, then it is payload delivery capabilities.
The Chief of the Defence Staff was very clear in March about his preference
with regards to the capabilities he would like to see embarked in UAVs, which
would be to have kinetic-type capabilities, so weapons. Sure enough now we are
in the defence policy review, and that's going to inform decisions and the
options a bit further. This government is contemplating the full gamut of
options and capabilities to field or not to field on board these platforms.
We'll wait for their decision and conclusions.
Senator Kenny: Wait is the operative word. The JUSTAS program should
be the molasses program. It's taking forever to germinate. Is that because there
is too much emphasis on simply one platform and there isn't an open approach to
having a number of different types of UAVs?
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: Specifically on the JUSTAS question senator,
it's more than that. When we look at the value of the capability we are trying
to field, this money is being competed for internally in the department;
therefore it will be critical for this policy review to also establish the
prioritization of this capability in light of the other capabilities that we
have to field. Is this a soon capability or a medium capability or a later
After we look at money, there are a lot of people required to operate
unmanned aircraft to its fullest, and sure enough it's quite comparable actually
to the type of capabilities of the CP-140s and so forth. So it's not just about
money. It's also the phasing of people and where these people will arrive and be
available for JUSTAS as well.
Senator Kenny: Fewer crew than a CP-140?
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: Correct. The crew is actually on the ground. It
has been pretty telling, sir, how much time I have spent looking at the high
number of crews that we will require to actually field an unmanned aircraft
platform. It's still a formidable capability at the end of it that will do great
things. It has done great things in operations being deployed on a smaller
scale, sir. I am really looking forward to the conclusions.
Senator Meredith: With respect to Senator Kenny's question, we're
potentially deploying to Mali. There was information which needed to be gathered
that was necessary as our troops deploy. The UAVs would play a critical role in
that information gathering. Can you speak about how important it is? You
mentioned the manpower that would be required to operate it, but it's a safe
environment to operate rather than actually putting Canadian soldiers at risk by
deploying them in a danger zone. The UAVs could fill that role. Can you expand
Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: Sir, this is more operations. This is exactly
the type of planning that the team of General Seymour is doing at this point.
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: It's interesting to have this discussion in the
context of a search and rescue discussion. I'm not sure what General Juneau
shared with you earlier. Looking ahead to the operations that we're in the
process of planning for the Canadian Forces, in any environment, it's clear that
an operational commander would want to have assets at their disposal that would
allow them to have a sense of what is going on around the battle space or the
environment there. As we plan for peace support operations for the government,
there are a variety of options being considered, and that advice has been
rendered. We haven't made any decisions about force composition or any of those
kinds of things. If I were to serve as a task force commander, I would certainly
want to have some kind of capacity for ISR assets nearby, so I understand what
the battle space would be.
The Chair: Ms. MacDonald, has progress been made to implement a medal
for search and rescue volunteers? I know it was being discussed.
Ms. MacDonald: A significant amount of progress has been made to
actually do that. We're at the place right now where we're putting the finishing
touches on what the medal would look like and getting the final pieces in place
to do an announcement on that. It's very close.
The Chair: Would that be through the Governor General?
Ms. MacDonald: We are hoping it's through the Governor General.
The Chair: Thank you very much. That concludes the session today. I
would like to thank our witnesses for appearing. We will excuse our witnesses
and then the committee will continue in camera for five minutes. Thank you.