THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE
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
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
Senator Campbell: Larry Campbell, British
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
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
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
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 Iraq.
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
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 predict.
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 deniable.
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
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
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
Mr. Rumig: The government is not appealing this
Senator Jaffer: What about the issue of
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 of it?
Mr. Venner: Right. We can certainly elaborate
on some additional details in terms of the service's response in writing
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 investigation?
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
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,
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 investigate someone.
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 their activities.
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 the context.
Senator Carignan: Would you be able to commit
to providing us with that information?
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
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
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 funds.
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
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
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 cyberactivity.
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 cyberactivity.
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 do, however.
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
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
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
Senator Kenny: The government isn't subject to
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 larger effort.
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
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
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 investigative stance.
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 Canada?
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,
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, et cetera.
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 systems."
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
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 Kenny earlier.
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 this country.
Senator Beyak: Thank you for your candor. I
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
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 information?
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 departments.
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
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 existence?
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
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
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 ministerial considerations.
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 develop things.
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 networks.
Senator Campbell: Who did they answer to?
Mr. Rumig: They answer to the Minister of
Senator Campbell: Yet you told us that it was
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
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 year.
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
Mr. Venner: I'm not sure I have a context for
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
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 immediate threat?
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 review.
Lieutenant-General Hood, I understand you have an
opening statement. Please begin.
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 power abroad.
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 territory.
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 aircraft.
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
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
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
As we define requirements for future platforms or
systems, we also focus on upgrading, life-extending and developing innovative
solutions for our current assets.
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
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
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 correct?
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 simultaneously.
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 the fleet.
Senator Kenny: What would the sufficient number
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 number.
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
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
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
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
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
Senator Beyak: Thank you. Have you ever had
anything like that, Brigadier-General Lalumière?
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 topic.
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 this?
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
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 referring to?
Lt.-Gen. Hood: I would be happy to expand upon
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 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 will.
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
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 around resources.
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
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
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
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
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
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 go with?
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 them.
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
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
Lt.-Gen. Hood: Well, I mean the Government of
The Chair: They have the right to make it; I'm
not going to argue that at all.
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 today.
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 to.
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
I'm certainly optimistic that any of the shortages
— none of which are critical at this time — will be filled, and we will be
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?
Senator Jaffer: What are you doing to change
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 include.
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
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
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
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 of Canada.
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
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 obligations.
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
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 assets.
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
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
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
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
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 Canada’s 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 women.
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
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 light forces.
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 implemented.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you. I have another
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 women better?
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 combat operations.
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 area.
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 as well.
My question is about Mali. I'm concerned. The
former UN undersecretary has described it has a quagmire and an antiterrorist
mission. Have you been consulted on a possible deployment to Mali? What is your
perspective on the conditions there?
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 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 operations there.
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 cases?
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
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 misconduct.
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 terrorism, say?
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 to add.
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 complete training.
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 Canadian Forces.
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 indicated.
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 options.
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
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 areas.
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,
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.
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
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 here.
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 it?
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
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 entire program.
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 works.
Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: I'll speak to vehicles
and some of the major equipment suites.
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
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 third phase.
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
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 potential missions?
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 mission.
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 system.
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
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 February.
Maj.-Gen. Juneau: We will keep that in mind,
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 involved.
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 of operations.
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 progress.
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 time.
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
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 appearing.
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
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 Safety Canada.
I will also provide an overview of our ongoing
efforts to modernize the program.
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 functions.
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
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
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 Rescue Program.
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 communities.
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
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
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, including SAR.
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
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
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 situation.
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 sovereignty.
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 certified trainers.
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
Thank you for inviting us. We look forward to
answering your questions.
The Chair: Thank you. We'll start with
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
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
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
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 situation?
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
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 hunters.
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 breakdowns?
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 a risk?
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 security.
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 day-to-day basis.
I'll turn to my two colleagues to see if they would
like to add anything to that.
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 tasked.
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 rescue efforts.
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
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 guidance.
Senator White: Do you standardize their
training, systems and programs?
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
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 areas.
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
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 on that.
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 Minister (Materiel).
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
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 addressing Trenton.
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 this country.
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 time.
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 steps.
Maj.-Gen. Seymour: I would actually ask General
Lalumière, the recent Director General of Space, to offer a few thoughts on
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 overall objective.
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 very useful.
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 end.
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 hand.
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 for that.
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 capability?
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
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 upon that?
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
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
Ms. MacDonald: We are hoping it's through the
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.