THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE

EVIDENCE


OTTAWA, Monday, November 28, 2016

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 1 p.m. to examine and report on Canada’s national security and defence policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities; to study issues related to the Defence Policy Review presently being undertaken by the government; and in camera for the consideration of a draft report.

Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Claude Carignan from Quebec.

Senator Dagenais: Jean-Guy Dagenais from Quebec.

[English]

Senator Campbell: Larry Campbell, British Columbia.

Senator Day: Joseph Day, New Brunswick.

Senator Beyak: Lynn Beyak, Ontario. Welcome.

The Chair: Thank you colleagues.

We will be meeting for four hours. During our first panel we will hear from two assistant directors of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service for an update on threats to the security of Canada and other issues.

I should inform committee members that unfortunately Mr. Coulombe has asked me to convey his regrets for not being able to attend. He has personal matters to attend to.

I want to thank Mr. Venner and Mr. Rumig for attending on his behalf.

Further to that, in the following panels we will continue our examination of issues related to the defence policy review with representatives from the Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army. And with our final panel we will explore issues related to search and rescue. At the end of the session, we will meet in camera for a short discussion.

Colleagues, joining us in our first panel of the day, from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, are Tom Venner, Assistant Director, Policy and Strategic Partnerships; and Brian Rumig, Assistant Director, Operations.

Welcome gentlemen. I understand you have an opening statement. I would ask you to begin. Please proceed.

Brian Rumig, Assistant Director, Operations, Canadian Security Intelligence Service: Mr. Chair, I would like to reiterate Michel Coulombe's apologies for being unable to attend today. It was an unavoidable and imminent issue he had to attend to. He sends his regrets, but he looks forward to another opportunity to come and join you in this session.

Today my opening remarks will focus on the threat environment and extremism in Canada, including as it pertains to returnees. When I refer to returnees, I'm referring to those individuals who have departed this country to partake in fighting and terrorist activity outside of Canada, but who now have for various reasons decided to come back, plan to come back, want to come back or have tried to come back to Canada.

I am, of course, pleased to answer any other questions you may have in relation to our mandate.

Mr. Chair, as you know, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is authorized to investigate and provide advice on threats to the national security of Canada. Security screening is also another core mandate for us and for which we provide advice to government.

Terrorism, including terrorist travel and the radicalization of Canadians, is currently the most prominent threat to Canadian interests and our national security. The intelligence community has never before faced a terrorist threat of this scope, scale and complexity. As such, as you would expect, it is the service's top priority.

As you are aware, Daesh and its global rallying call continue to dominate the extremist landscape, particularly in the Middle East. Though it's a fluid environment, Daesh has suffered losses in Syria and around Mosul in northern Iraq. However, Daesh's response to these events remains to be seen. Certainly there is the potential for destabilization in the region, including the rise of a sectarian tension. Regional actors will have to contend with events, including the potential movement of a number of fighters.

Currently the number of fighters believed to be in Syria and Iraq is estimated to be above 30,000. These are foreign fighters, to be specific. The rate by which these individuals have departed this conflict zone has declined steadily during the past two years, likely as a result of Daesh's increased control and influence of these individuals and as a result of increased capacities of regional authorities to secure their borders. Daesh's continued loss of territory in Syria and Iraq, however, will potentially reverse this trend, driving more fighters to leave and possibly return to their home countries.

Despite our relative geographic distance from events in Syria and Iraq, Canada is not immune to the influence of terrorist entities, and while setbacks in Iraq and Syria run counter to Daesh's myth of invincibility, its ideology continues to hold global appeal, including among susceptible Canadians.

Canadians with extremist views continue to engage in a range of terrorist activities in Canada and abroad. The service is currently aware of approximately 180 individuals with a nexus to Canada who are engaged in terrorist activity abroad. Approximately half of these individuals are believed to be in Syria and 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 unable to.

The scale of the threats, the speed at which they evolve and the prevalence of technology and social media have created significant investigative, technical and predictive challenges for the service. I want to assure the senators of this committee and all Canadians that CSIS is taking every step to identify those engaged in terrorist activities. Terrorist activity, whether travelling abroad to participate in a regional conflict, engaging in an attack plot, or facilitating the activities of someone else, is rarely sudden or spontaneous. It typically requires financial resources, planning and logistics. Our challenge is not simply to detect complex plots over time involving multiple actors, but also to detect the smaller plots that are often difficult to detect and indeed 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 D?

Mr. Rumig: We retain the information relative to the metadata, the associated data, not the content, dialogue or email exchange, simply the information on the communication device, the numbers associated with a telephone, as an example.

Historically, through our interpretation of what we were able to do, both our interpretation and the Department of Justice's interpretation, we would retain that information and exploit it and assess it over a period of time for us to better understand the nature of the threat of that individual whom we had legal authority to acquire the information against. We are using it to assess that individual, not A, B, C and D, and certainly not any communications they may have with anyone else. We wouldn't have access to that.

Senator Jaffer: My point in asking you this is that you told the court that you had justice in your interpretation. The minister of the day was also aware of it, I understand, but the court was not impressed by your candour. The court said that you had an elevated obligation to inform them of making non-threat-related information corrected through the operation of warrants and you had not done so.

What I want from you in writing and then later on, if possible, from the director, is that you stopped doing that, and, if I understand you correctly, you are dealing with information so slowly that it will be off your database.

Mr. Rumig: There were two issues, senator. One of them was the issue of candour, and the other one was the ability to retain this information. Let me do them in the reverse.

On the issue of being able to retain information, as I indicated earlier, we have obviously agreed to the rulings of the court and we have fenced off. We now have to go through a process where we work with the court to interpret how much further we can go. If we can't, then we obviously will not, but there are other aspects at play here. The government has launched a public consultation to look at the entire national security framework. That would include the service, and indeed, the possibility of —

Senator Jaffer: But government is not appealing this decision?

Mr. Rumig: The government is not appealing this decision, correct.

Senator Jaffer: What about the issue of candour?

Mr. Rumig: The issue of candour is a separate issue. The court came to the conclusion that the service was not as forthcoming with information that was authorized for us to acquire through their court, through their warrants, and we were not forthcoming with enough information for them to make a determination on how that information was being used. We do not disagree with that.

We had opportunities through the course of 10 or 12 years to be more explicit with the court. The court knew about ODAC, and successive governments knew about ODAC. Our review committees and the Privacy Commissioner knew about ODAC, but the details, the inner workings, the business processes and actually how we were using that information was not, in the court's mind, adequately addressed for them to understand. That's the ruling they came out with in October. We do not disagree with that, and we are not going to appeal that issue.

Tom Venner, Assistant Director, Policy and Strategic Partnerships, Canadian Security Intelligence Service: I have one clarification. Just to be clear, a lot of people were aware of ODAC, but I think the court raised its concern that they had not been briefed on the existence of it. I just wanted to clarify that for the record.

Senator Jaffer: That's the whole decision, and the court wasn't aware of it?

Mr. Venner: Right. We can certainly elaborate on some additional details in terms of the service's response in writing afterwards.

One of the most obvious issues, of course, now that the court has made this ruling, is how do you adjust your current approach to collecting through warrants that type of information? Adjustments have been made with the court in terms of the warrants and the conditions of the warrants, so they have been adjusted appropriately to deal with the court's decision.

[Translation]

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?

[English]

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 —

[Translation]

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?

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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?

[English]

Mr. Venner: I don't think we could answer that question today. We didn't come prepared to deal with that specific question, but I can tell you that obviously the service only investigates people and activities that fit the definition of threats to the security of Canada as defined in the CSIS Act: terrorism, espionage and foreign interference. Those are the only circumstances under which someone becomes a target of investigation for the service. There are no safe havens from those definitions and categories. If you are engaging in those types of activities, then you may be investigated.

That said, the service and the government of course absolutely recognize the sensitivity around institutions such as the media, academia and things like that. So there are in place policies and levels of authority that make sure that there would be no situations similar to what arose.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: By way of recap, then, you are not able to say what happened in the past.

[English]

Mr. Venner: I couldn't answer that today, senator, no.

Mr. Rumig: I wouldn't be able to answer. I would reiterate Mr. Venner's comment, though. We would not investigate somebody simply because they were a journalist. We would not investigate someone simply because they were an academic or a politician. To reiterate, it's the activities that people engage in that would constitute a threat that allows us, enables us and obligates us to 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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Would you be able to commit to providing us with that information?

[English]

Mr. Rumig: Most certainly.

[Translation]

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?

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: If you question FINTRAC officials, could you provide the answer to us?

[English]

Mr. Rumig: I would again respectfully ask that the question be directed to FINTRAC, which is not a part of our organization.

The Chair: Can I maybe clarify? The FINTRAC report indicates that 429 disclosures were made available to your organization last year.

Mr. Rumig: To our organization, okay.

The Chair: So obviously you have knowledge of the information that was provided to you.

Mr. Rumig: Sorry, I misunderstood. I would have to address that at a different time. I don't have that information available to me at the moment.

[Translation]

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?

[English]

Mr. Rumig: Thank you for your question. I don't believe they have changed substantively how they try to acquire or transfer funding. It's definitely a global enterprise.

Many terrorist organizations are very adaptive to different rules and inhibitors for them to transfer money, and they come up with different means and methods by which to transfer money across borders, for instance.

At the moment, I don't see anything that is different or has changed in the last several months. Certainly over the years it has changed, particularly with the advent of computer networks where we collectively can send money across borders more efficiently and effectively, and terrorists have adapted that as a method as well.

In terms of the resources available to us, we have quite a robust capability in this aspect of our job. We do it very much in collaboration with partners. FINTRAC is one of them and certainly the RCMP and indeed our international partners. We leverage not only our international partners but also the international partners of FINTRAC, customs and revenue, law enforcement and Canadian law enforcement, leveraging their international partners as well as trying to get a better sense and means by which to inhibit the transfer of these 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 a cyberattack?

Canadians hear about cyberattacks all the time. Very few people can say, "I was a target." Can you explain in a straightforward way what Canadians should visualize when they hear that you are doing something about cyberattacks?

Mr. Rumig: Thank you, senator. The service's role in countering the cyber-threat is one of several entities within the Canadian federal family who are engaged in trying to understand the threat and, indeed, counter the threat. Here I refer to Public Safety leading in terms of developing strategies, policies and capability to help Canadians, Canadian institutions, Canadian citizens and Canadian businesses in trying to protect themselves from the overwhelming, I would say, cyber-threat, the overwhelming presence of 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 devices.

Senator Kenny: I was waiting. I thought he was giving us a preamble, chair. He was dancing around the question.

How would somebody know if they were the target of a cyberattack?

Mr. Rumig: Again, I would have to defer to colleagues from another department on this.

Senator Kenny: Which department?

Mr. Rumig: Public Safety Canada is the lead agency within the federal government that is developing a cyber-strategy. There are multiple tenants in this game in other departments. We are but one, and we are a very small entity in this overall chapter of defence.

To answer your question, senator, to be honest, I can't personally answer your question. I'm not sure the service would be able to answer it, either. Again, we are focused on threats emanating from hostile foreign states that direct their activities principally at government communication networks, sometimes military, but certainly not the private sector.

Senator Kenny: The government isn't subject to cyberattacks?

Mr. Rumig: The government is very much subject to cyberattacks. Collectively, over the years, we have put in an enormous amount of effort to put up that fence to make sure that the leak is not there.

Senator Kenny: But it's not your job. You just talk about it.

Mr. Rumig: It's our job to investigate the foreign element of it, yes. We work collaboratively with our partners, but we have one small role in this 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 others?

Mr. Rumig: It's just the prevalence of their activity, not only in Canada but around the globe. It's very well known.

Senator Kenny: If it's well known, why can't you name them?

Mr. Rumig: No, those two, sir, China and Russia.

Senator Kenny: The fact that other countries are doing it — they will go away if you don't mention their names?

Mr. Rumig: No. I just want to reiterate that we take it very seriously. Espionage is part of our mandate. It manifests itself in various forms throughout the course of the year.

There are bilateral foreign relations and bilateral issues that we have to bear in mind as we pursue our investigations, so to be naming names of countries and individuals would be inappropriate, quite frankly, in a public domain.

Senator Kenny: You say that, but China is a country that this government is really anxious to develop good relations with. They are going out of their way to find any number of different paths to create better relationships with China, and yet for decades now, they have been the principle protagonists in spying on Canada.

Why wouldn't you want to talk about what they are doing? What sort of damage is going on? We have had previous directors come here and say that 50 per cent of your organization was devoted to the Chinese. In what areas? How is it costing us? Who is being hurt?

Mr. Rumig: Do you have any help here, Tom?

Mr. Venner: To be fair, the service generally does not talk about its operations in a public forum.

Senator Kenny: Excuse me, Mr. Venner. I specifically excluded operations, but we know that countries are involved, and I want to know what damage Canada is receiving. How are we being hurt by this?

We're all dancing around this. What is so tough about talking about what the Chinese already know?

Mr. Venner: Frankly, the answer to some of those questions illuminates what we know and don't know about the threat. It may seem convenient or trite, but it's not. It's just the reality that if we elaborated publicly on the nature of the damage that's being done at times, that is not helpful for our 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, chair.

The Chair: These are trailers.

Mr. Rumig: I would be happy to amplify on this.

The Chair: Is that the question, senator?

Senator Kenny: It is, yes.

Mr. Rumig: I would say, senator, that the threat activity posed by espionage hits on many aspects of our economy. It hits on many aspects of our proprietary capabilities. It hits on the ability of immigrant communities to live here in peace and tranquility, without coercive and unwanted activity on the part of foreign espionage actors who are trying to influence them even now that they have come to Canada and, in many, cases acquired Canadian citizenship.

In terms of the threat that these hostile intelligence actors are playing on, it's against our economy, our military secrets, our political realities, and trying to influence the immigrant community, and trying to acquire insider knowledge of how the government is going to react or vote on international fora, 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 earlier.

Back to what Mr. Venner said, for to us discuss this, specifically those issues, in a public forum actually gets into discussions about how we operate, the methodologies we employ. It also starts to talk about what we don't know, and that is actually advantageous to some of these foreign countries.

With respect, I have to give you a similar response that I gave to Senator 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 appreciate it.

I'm wondering if the Prime Minister or senior government officials consult you, prior to meeting with foreign nationals, on these kinds of issues.

Mr. Rumig: On issues of espionage or foreign interference, most certainly. We do our best to brief the Prime Minister's office and certainly senior government officials before they meet with foreign counterparts.

We have a very active and, from what we understand, a well-received briefing mechanism on terrorism, espionage and foreign interference. That's a part of our business that we have devoted time and effort to. Part of our mandate is to advise government; this is how we do it. We provide analytical and specific briefings when required.

Senator Meredith: Thank you so much, both of you, for being here. Going back to the espionage discussion that Senator Kenny raised and Senator Beyak touched on, can you enlighten this committee about your efforts to stop espionage, given the fact that Canadian Navy Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle, which is a well-known case, was able to be, obviously, infiltrated with respect to sensitive information? Can you talk to us about access lists and how those are actually protected?

Mr. Rumig: Just for my edification, access lists to classified 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 itself.

Senator Meredith: With respect to insider threat, you heard talk of China and Russia and the pressures being placed on immigrant communities, those where Canadians were being hired into government organization such as CSIS and so on with respect to sensitive materials. What are your efforts to ensuring that no individual is being pressured to provide information externally for monies and so forth? How is that risk being managed?

Mr. Rumig: The program the service is responsible for is the clearance for government workers who require access to this sensitive information. That is one of our separate mandates and one that we have developed quite a bit of expertise and talent in over the years.

We screen these people. In some cases, it includes interviews with the individual or their family members or business partners, et cetera, to gain an appreciation for where their loyalty lies, as well as their propensity to perhaps engage in activities that would leave them vulnerable to extortion, bribery and so on.

That information is shared with the departments who are hiring them. It's a five-year update. Every five years those individuals are expected to go through a similar process. It is through the initial process and the five-year update that we would hope to uncover something that was untoward, and then we would advise the departments appropriately that additional measures should be taken.

Through the course of that time, the departments are also actively monitoring their own systems and have their own security measures in place to determine whether someone has inappropriately accessed a program or a lab or a physical space that they shouldn't be in. That is up to the departments to monitor and to report back on.

Senator Day: Is the Operational Data Analysis Centre still in 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 landscape.

Do you agree with that? Do you have any recommendations today that we could work on for you?

Mr. Rumig: I don't have any recommendations. Would I agree that the CSIS Act, which is now 32 years old, probably needs a modern lens on it? I would certainly agree with that. But in terms of recommendations, I wouldn't venture into that at the moment.

Senator Day: Mr. Rumig, in the final comment of your opening remarks you said, "We are continually reassessing our operations and the programs we have in place to respond to the dynamic and complex security environment."

Mr. Rumig: That's correct.

Senator Day: You talked about a change to the warrants as a result of these court cases, and that we understand. Are there other fundamental changes you've made or would like to make but can't because the CSIS Act needs updating?

Mr. Venner: Maybe I'll take a crack at that, just because that tends to fall under my shop on the policy side of the service.

We have a variety of challenges we're facing these days, and of course the government's national security consultations are designed to look at that and come up with proposals to deal with them. Whether it's the challenge of going dark and our difficulties in that area, or intelligence to evidence and some of the challenges we've had there for many years, the consultations are studying and gathering input on a variety of challenges like that so that the Department of Public Safety and others can develop some proposals for government and 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 National Defence.

Senator Campbell: Yet you told us that it was Public Safety.

Mr. Rumig: Public Safety is marshalling a framework, a strategy for the entire government on how to engage with Canadians, engage with business enterprises on how to protect the systems and protect the prosperity of Canada.

When I say that CSE is responsible for government networks, it's absolutely true. When we get outside of the government networks and we get into private industry, we get into —

Senator Campbell: No, I'm just really speaking about government. Do you have any idea when this whole process with Public Safety was last reviewed?

I find Public Safety is a big elephant; it's really tough to move. I think they do a good job, but cyberattack you expect boom, they're on it. I don't see that in Public Safety.

What happens — do they marshal the forces? I'm not asking for any secrets.

Mr. Rumig: Understood. Public Safety, just to reiterate, is currently, at this very moment, trying to bring forth a strategy, and there is public consultation that the government launches.

Senator Campbell: How long has that been going on?

Mr. Rumig: The public consultation just finished — I'm going to say a month ago, maybe less. They are now collating the information that was obtained in that through some other horizontal efforts within government. They hope to have a strategy up for debate and for consideration early in the new calendar 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 actually is?

Mr. Venner: I'm not sure I have a context for that.

Senator Campbell: We were talking about Public Safety, all these people getting together, and you said then they will decide what the damage is from that cyberattack. Who is the "they" that decides what the damage is?

I'll pull it up on Hansard and I'll send you a note.

Mr. Venner: On that, though, the other aspect we mentioned briefly earlier is that the service works very closely with Public Safety’s Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre, and it regularly provides them with information to be able to respond to cyberattacks that don't relate to the government networks that CSE would be responsible for.

That's one of the primary ways. We gather the intelligence, and to the degree it's appropriate to do so, we share it with Public Safety because they are the lead to respond to those types of situations.

The Chair: Just before we conclude, I have one general question for you. In your opening statement you said, "Terrorism, including terrorist travel and the radicalization of Canadians, is currently the most prominent threat to Canadian interests and our national security. The intelligence community has never before faced a terrorist threat of this scope, scale and complexity."

My question is this: In relation to what we're facing here in Canada and in view of the numbers that have been cited and perhaps not cited, those that we don't know anything about that are involved in the jihadist threat that is facing Canada, does your organization have the resources and the personnel to be able to continue to do your job, and are you taking personnel from other responsibilities, such as espionage, in order to be able to deal with this 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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Because of our roles and missions, we have the highest percentage of personnel on high readiness of the three services.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

The RCAF comprises just over 12,000 Regular Force, 2,000 Reserve Force and 2,200 civilian personnel. Our Reserve and Regular Force personnel work side by side, along with our civilian partners, flying in formation to deliver our critical missions on behalf of all Canadians.

Our occupations are highly technical and require long periods of training. Therefore, we work hard to retain our people — the most valued part of our institution — and ensure they and their families are well-supported.

[English]

I'm also committed to listening to them. Thus, while I uphold the chain of command for the controlled use of force and for military operations, I'm flattening the organization when it comes to sharing and considering innovative ideas from all ranks and occupations. In our online forums, we have aviators commenting on complex ideas alongside generals and colonels. That is a cultural evolution that I want to see continue to grow. In addition, RCAF leaders at all levels are responsible for maintaining a professional and respectful environment. This has been a priority for me since day one of my command. It has taken on renewed urgency in the context of Operation HONOUR, reinforced with this morning's release of information from Statistics Canada.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

In fact, that work was recently recognized by the prestigious Honourable Company of Air Pilots in London, England, which presented one of our search and rescue pilots with a Master's Commendation. The Commanding Officer of 103 Squadron in Gander undertook an unusually gruelling sequence of SAR missions; and while he was formally commended for his dedication and professionalism, I see this level of commitment every day among the airmen and airwomen of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

All facets of the air force support the navy, army and special forces during both training and operations — as we are doing, for example, as part of Operation IMPACT, the current mission in Iraq. We will also again fly in support of NATO reassurance measures in the coming year.

Furthermore, we must integrate seamlessly with our Canadian and allied military partners, as well as with government and civilian agencies.

[Translation]

As we define requirements for future platforms or systems, we also focus on upgrading, life-extending and developing innovative solutions for our current assets.

[English]

With the speed of technological advancement of both our adversaries and our allies, this innovation mindset is imperative for the RCAF to meet the challenges of the next decade and beyond. The RCAF is going through a time of great renewal. The Chinook helicopter recently became operational and in fact flew against the forest fires in Fort McMurray. Our J-model Hercules have recently been upgraded, and our fifth Globemaster is proving to be a tremendous addition to our readiness posture. Our anti-submarine warfare platform, the Aurora, has evolved into a long-range patrol aircraft capable of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance — ISR — over land as well as water. Fourteen Auroras are undergoing major upgrades that will keep them at the forefront of these capabilities into the 2030 time frame.

The Aurora is a huge Canadian success story, with world-leading capabilities — Canadian capabilities researched, designed and built in Canada, developed by Defence Research and Development working alongside our Canadian industry. The question now, and my priority, is how to move that capability into a platform. I would like to see a Canadian-built platform such as the Q-400 or a C-Series when the Aurora's flying time is done.

By April 2018, we expect to have two helicopter air detachments of Cyclone helicopters deployed at sea, with further detachments to follow as we transition from the Sea King fleet, which will retire in December 2018.

I also anticipate that the defence policy review will shape our current unmanned aerial vehicles program, known as JUSTAS. Information from industry is being assessed, and notional delivery timelines are between 2021 and 2023, with final delivery in 2025.

With that brief overview, I will introduce Brigadier-General Michel Lalumière, whom I've brought along. Michel had previously been the director general of space and has just moved into a new portfolio of air force development. He is actually also the senior search and rescue pilot in the RCF, so I thought he would be helpful looking at some of your previous questions with respect to topics you would like answers to. With that, I look forward to your questions. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you very much, sir.

Senator Kenny: Welcome, general. Could you tell the committee how you were consulted in advance of the recent government decision to procure, through sole source, 18 new Super Hornets?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: Thank you. I think what I heard was that the government is going to enter into discussions with the U.S. government and Boeing about the potential for an interim purchase of Super Hornets.

As Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, as I said in my comments, I provide air-force-specific advice to the Chief of the Defence Staff. That advice is done in private, as I'm sure you well understand. That advice is used in the formulation of government policy, but when the government comes out with a policy, it's the role of the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the air force, to implement that policy.

Senator Kenny: You have been quoted as saying that all 77 of Canada's CF-18 fighter jets will be able to fly until 2025 and even later. Is that 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 be?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: Senator, the numbers behind the commitments with respect to NORAD and NATO are classified, so I'm not prepared to discuss them. Suffice it to say, the 77 we presently have are incapable of delivering that 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 force?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: If you recall, we replaced three fleets of aircraft: the CF-104 Starfighter, the CF-101 Voodoo and the F-5 Freedom Fighter. Those three were replaced in their operational role by 138 CF-18s.

But at the time we also had a large commitment to NATO in Europe, a standing commitment of three squadrons. So at that time, 138 was the number required to deliver on all of those commitments. We have since closed our standing commitment to NATO, which has been reduced on a year-by-year basis, so the number won't be 138, but it will need to be finalized in the context of that open and transparent competition that the government has announced.

Senator Beyak: Thank you very much. We just passed Remembrance Day. I spent the weekend in the riding, and there is no greater support anywhere in the world than Canadians for their military and the job that you do. They want you to be completely equipped in every aspect and to have the funding that you need.

The only questions I get are around the secrecy or some of the conflicting reports, as Senator Kenny just pointed out. This is not meant to be confrontational but just what I hear in the riding. In the military and in your lifetime, with 235 government officials plus 5 civilian contractors working on fighter jet replacements, have they ever been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements in the past? I've heard that so much this past weekend. Also, 121 of the individuals work for the Department of National Defence, and I wonder why the appearance of secrecy?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: Senator, first, thank you for the very kind sentiments. It certainly makes our work much easier knowing that we have the support of Canadians in that regard.

It isn't unusual to have people sign non-disclosure agreements, typically around procurements, when we have now received requests for proposals from industry and teams that have come together to assess those requirements. With the competition, for example, people have been asked to sign them previously.

I myself haven't in my career been required to, but I have a security clearance. I think signing this is almost redundant to the day-to-day secrecy I'm expected to keep in that regard, so I couldn't speak to how much they have been used. They have been used previously on some occasions that my staff have told me about, but I have not had any personal experience in that regard.

Senator Beyak: Thank you. Have you ever had anything like that, Brigadier-General 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 specific projects.

The Chair: Lifetime?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: I don't know the specifics.

The Chair: Can you provide that to us in writing, then, what you are referring to?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: I would be happy to expand upon that statement.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

Lt.-Gen. Hood: I will address that in a second, senator.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 after that.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

My staff are in the process of identifying what our resource requirements would be in this transition, but I think it's early days right now, as I said. What I heard my minister, Minister Foote, say at the announcement is that they're going to enter into discussions with the Boeing corporation and the U.S. government to investigate whether the Super Hornet would be an option as an interim purchase. We'll continue to provide our advice, and I've been assured I'll have all the resources required to be successful at that.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: What are the drawbacks or challenges your team faces in having to manage three different fleets? If we add the CF-35s down the road, in order to meet our contractual commitments, what challenges and costs are you looking at? You say there are challenges, but what are they?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: I don't know the costs right now, but my team is in the process of evaluating our needs. What matters most is that the aircraft of the Canadian Armed Forces be interoperable.

[English]

And that they are interoperable with our closest allies.

I don't have every capability that some air forces have. I don't have AWACS aircraft; we don't have combat search and rescue. Very few air forces can afford to have all of that. How we overcome those challenges is by ensuring to the greatest extent possible that we're inoperable and that we can fit into a system has been a great success story of our present CF-18 fleet, and it undoubtedly will be with the other fleets moving forward.

Again, I'm not at liberty to discuss what the challenges are because I don't know them all. But if I'm given the resources, I'm very confident that the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force are going to be able to deliver.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: What are the resources you need?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: First off, I need more personnel, since I already have a fleet of 77 CF-18s to manage. I need more technicians and pilots.

[English]

Flight safety, supply systems — we're unsure of exactly everything it would be, but I will come to the chief in due course when we're finished that planning to move forward.

But certainly I will need more people, and I will need more funding to deliver on the additional flight hours required for an interim fleet.

Senator Meredith: Thank you for your comments. To that same point with Senator Carignan with respect to your staff sort of analyzing the costs and it was difficult for you to guesstimate what the long-term costs would be on the Super Hornets, can you elaborate a little bit, if that's the aircraft that they 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 management staff.

I wish I could give you precision, and I look forward to coming back in the future and perhaps providing more, but at this time I've been assured that Chief of Defence Staff is going to provide me the resources I need to be successful.

The Chair: To follow up before we go on to a different question here, I think this is important. If I understand this correctly, you've just told us that the government made a decision on a multi-billion-dollar purchase without knowing what the actual operation and maintenance costs are and the long-term complications in running three different types of airplanes.

Lt.-Gen. Hood: That's not what I said, senator. The only thing the government has announced is an open and transparent competition to replace the aircraft. They said they would enter into discussions on an interim. I said it's premature to know the full cost of that because they have to have those discussions, and if they're considering buying it, they would then have to enter into negotiations with the company.

That's not my part. I'm interested in the resources the Royal Canadian Air Force needs to execute the potential one and personnel and training and the rest, and that's what I'm doing right now.

The Chair: I fully understand this. I want to get clarification on how the decision was made and who made the decision on what information that was provided. I think that's the question that most Canadians would have with respect to what we've just witnessed over the course of the last week.

Lt.-Gen. Hood: Well, I mean the Government of Canada —

The Chair: They have the right to make it; I'm not going to argue that 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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 recruiting campaign.

I'm certainly optimistic that any of the shortages — none of which are critical at this time — will be filled, and we will be successful.

Senator Jaffer: As the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, one of the questions that we have been looking at is what percentage of women form your group, how many women are under your command, and how reflective is your command of the new Canada?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: How reflective is my command? Not enough.

Senator Jaffer: What are you doing to change that?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: It's interesting. When I was the 8 Wing commander in Trenton, every summer we'd have 1,000 air cadets come. If you were to look at those air cadets, they don't reflect the Canadian population. They over-reflect, in fact, many of the key groups that we're trying to get in. Almost half of them are female — and a great success — and visible minorities that we're trying to 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 levels.

I want to see greater increases in number, and we're going to work very hard.

One challenge that I've found since becoming commander, and an interesting one, is the highest proportion of married service couples, where the husband and wife are both in the military, are in the air force. Funnily enough, it wasn't something I knew before I became commander. What does that mean? It means that the challenges of having a family, deploying and meeting the military services are much more acute in a married service couple than they are with just one person in the service. Typically, what we see happen is one of those spouse will retire to enable the career of the other.

I talked about trying to be more innovative. I would like the air force to lead in policies that would allow people to take multiple years off, if they wanted to, and protect their rank level and their pay to come back, let them go to industry for a couple of years and come back into the air force.

These paradigm shifts, what we need to be an employer of choice in the future, are going to take some work, but I'm proud to say, senator, that the RCAF is pushing very hard on all of these policies to try to improve on the numbers that you spoke to.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: If we heard any good news today, it was that the Super Hornets would be maintained in Mirabel, Quebec, at least.

I realize that talking dollars isn’t your domain, but the Super Hornet is said to be at the end of its production as compared with the F-35. Correct me if I’m wrong. The fact that the purchase of the Super Hornets was announced without the real cost being disclosed — a cost that includes both maintenance and the training of new teams — doesn’t strike you as obscure?

Obviously, you will have to prepare for new missions whose costs are not yet known. Do you think Canadians have a right to know how much all of this is going to cost? All of this does come at a cost, after all. The more attention we pay to the current government’s announcements, the harder it is to assess the costs of purchasing the equipment and carrying out the missions that the government will entrust to you.

Don’t you find that odd?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: First of all, senator, as the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, I have a mandate to implement the policies of the Government of Canada.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

Senator White: Thank you to both of you for being here. I apologize for being late. My question is going to surround capability gaps.

It seems we spend a lot of time right now talking about F-35s, CF-18s and Super Hornets, but from a capability-gap perspective, what are we looking at as well, for example, on the search and rescue side? It's a big country, and I don't think the F-35 is going to be everything to everybody. What other gaps are we facing over the next 3, 5 or 10 years?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: I think I said in my commentary that we're in a period of quite a bit of regeneration: a brand new C-130 fleet, C-17s and a fifth one coming on. Fixed-wing search and rescue, we hope that we'll get indications by the end of the year. We had a request for proposal; it's been under competition. I hope we get into contract very soon, because that's going to be an incredible capability that will change some of the dynamics about search and rescue. The technology on that aircraft and what's available, synchronizing with satellite and other support, is fundamentally going to change search and rescue. It's going to be much more effective.

There are a couple of fleets that we haven't nailed down our long-term vision on. One of them is the Cormorant helicopter, also involved in that, and we hope to have a vision moving forward. We’re looking at some options. I can expand upon that if you want.

The Griffon helicopter is coming up to an area where we probably need to invest to make sure that it continues to be relevant. Even with changes in civilian air traffic control procedures, we would need to invest in the aircraft to make sure it's relevant and could fly into all air space in North America.

I think all those things are going to happen in due course. There's not a gap anywhere that I would suggest we either don't have plans for or that there aren't going to be plans developed to address.

Senator White: Do we have the ability to maintain the F-35 in the Arctic, as we do the F-18s and some of the distance warning sites we have in Iqaluit and Inuvik? With the F-35 there is no issue with hangar space or the runway capacity as compared to the F-18?

Lt.-Gen. Hood: No, the requirements are similar. Both aircraft have to operate off of paved strips. Aircraft need to be hangared against the climatic conditions, and we have facilities in all of our northern areas where we operate. I don't envision any challenges with either of those platforms being able to support the requirements of the RCAF in support of our NORAD 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.

[Translation]

Major-General Christian Juneau, Deputy Commander, Canadian Army, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Mr. Chair and honourable committee members, I would like to start by saying thank you for inviting me here today and for providing the Canadian Army an opportunity to share with you what we are currently doing. I am Major-General Christian Juneau, Deputy Commander of the Canadian Army, a position I have held for just over two years.

Over the last 33 years, I have served across Canada and spent six years with the Canadian Armed Forces, or CAF, in Europe. I have served on exchange with the United States Army, and I have also deployed on operations in the former Republic of Yugoslavia, Kuwait, with the Americans, and Afghanistan. I also commanded CAF elements during the 2013 Calgary floods and during the 2014 floods in Manitoba. Having committed the greater part of my life to the military, I am a firm believer in the army institution, its purpose, its values and, most of all, its people, of whom I am very proud.

Let me give you an overview of what your Canadian Army looks like today. The Canadian Army is a soldier-centric, professional and integrated land power whose operational readiness includes being combat-capable. Our mission is to support Canada’s defence objectives.

As of October 31, 2016, the total strength of the Canadian Army stood at approximately 51,000, comprising 23,000 Regular Force members, 19,000 Primary Reserve members, 5,000 Rangers and some 3,400 civilians.

The army has 63 Regular Force and 123 army Reserve units in 127 communities that span the entire country. There are also 179 Ranger Patrols in 414 more remote communities. This presence represents one of the Canadian Army’s greatest 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 well.

Another important part of our retention plan is to create greater mobility between the Regular and Reserve Force. This should allow members to choose the option that is best for them at any particular point in their career, while also helping the department achieve approved manning levels.

So, as you can see, ensuring that the Canadian Army has the appropriate number of soldiers is a key aspect of ensuring our readiness.

Ensuring we are trained to meet mission requirements is another crucial factor. Canadian soldiers must be ready to participate in different types of operations such as responding to domestic natural disasters, like the forest fires in Fort McMurray last May, or deploying to help train other armies to succeed, as we are doing in Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine.

So, in order to achieve operational success, Canadian soldiers must train. Training ensures the Canadian Army is ready for any operation at home or abroad at any given time. Army training provides participants with realistic and stimulating challenges in contemporary and specific environments, including arctic, mountain, jungle, desert and littoral conditions. We train year-round, in all weather conditions, and in all parts of Canada and, occasionally, abroad.

Training starts at the individual level, where soldiers are taught the values, knowledge, skills and confidence they need to do their job. Those knowledge and skills are maintained through an ongoing training cycle, one that continuously challenges army personnel. Regardless of occupation, a soldier will continue to train and will be offered educational and professional development opportunities throughout her or his career.

Collective training builds on this individual training. Soldiers train as teams, units and tactical groupings of various sizes in realistic settings. This allows members of all ranks to test their skills across a range of scenarios and integrate with their team. Collective training, which includes exercises with allies and partners, also allows the Canadian Army to test its effectiveness in combined and joint operations. Each year, the Canadian Army conducts hundreds of training exercises across the country to ready soldiers to operate cohesively during missions. The culmination of these exercises is the army’s premier training event, Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE, an annual exercise that takes place at the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre in Wainwright, Alberta.

All training programs within the army have the additional goal of ensuring Regular and Reserve Force personnel can work seamlessly alongside one another. Underlying the Canadian Army's training regimen is a culture of health and fitness, which helps ensure soldiers are always ready for any mission.

The Canadian Army leadership recognizes that being ready places added demands and stress on military personnel and their families. To support soldiers, their families and civilian employees, a strategy called Mission: Ready was developed to provide the resources, information and tools to help build a healthy, fit, ready and resilient army team.

It takes time, planning and resources to ensure that 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 was delivered.

The Canadian Army is always exploring innovative ways to better equip our soldiers to increase their agility and effectiveness in operations. An exciting option we are exploring is the Polaris MRZR4, a light, very high-mobility all-terrain vehicle, which could contribute to the operational capacities of our 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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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 question.

[English]

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?

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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?

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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?

[Translation]

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 uniform.

In response to your question specifically, I will tell you that, as soon as members join the Canadian Forces and embark upon the army’s training regime, training sessions are provided to help assimilate those young members into our culture and teach them that such behaviour is totally unacceptable. From the outset, we also train our instructors so they can communicate effectively with young members and drive home the message that there is zero tolerance for sexual 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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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?

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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?

[Translation]

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.

[English]

Senator Meredith: With respect to recruitment, you talked about the timelines being shortened. We heard from Lieutenant-General Hood just recently about their strategy of recruiting women and visible minorities. What is your strategy in that respect?

Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you very much for the question.

As part of the enrolment trial that we'll be doing in 5 Division in the Atlantic provinces, we want to look at not only streamlining processes but, in concert with our current Canadian Forces recruiting group, look at the strategies and the work that they've done for diversity, and any other targets that we have, to come up with a collaborative answer and, in the end, look at the right solution for that trial period, both in urban areas and in rural 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.

[Translation]

Maj.-Gen. Juneau: The Canadian army isn’t responsible for regular force recruitment. However, we try to highlight women who have had very successful careers. We place them at the forefront and give them the chance to be seen and heard. Also, when we post personnel in recruitment centres, we try to have more and more women and members of visible minorities to facilitate outreach. The youth who come to the door of the recruitment centre can be intimidated, but when an immediate connection is made, it’s helpful.

[English]

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?

[Translation]

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.

[English]

Senator Campbell: Thank you and welcome. I have to start off by advising you that I'm a member of the British Columbia Regiment, the Dukes, and the Brigadier-General was a colonel with the Seaforth, but we still have been able to develop a friendship over the years.

I understand you're shortening the time and that the army will get the responsibility from the Military Personnel Command in April.

How do you see changes in how we actually recruit? How do we get these young people in through the door, into a career or into a situation where they actually get as much from what they learn as Canadians get from their service? How do you plan on changing that?

Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you very much for your question. There are really two parts. One is the recruitment, and then it's the initial and basic training; that's how I'll address it.

The real focus is to push all of the resources down to the unit level so that the unit command team's commanding officer and their leadership at the unit level have the tools to actually do their job, and individual recruiting officers and NCOs within the units that will be responsible for doing those tasks right there for them. We don't have to be sending them to remote locations, recruiting centres or other places.

It really becomes in the hands of the unit to survive, and really their destiny is in their own hands.

Where it makes sense, where they can do the basic training for infantry, armour and service battalion, the basic training that a soldier needs to become trade-qualified or have the ability to then deploy, those courses which are now often conducted at training centres in other locations, as many as we can, we're going to push those down to the unit level as well, so that they can be run locally, close to home in the community. Those are two major steps we're going to take right away so that the destiny of units becomes in the hands of the leadership of that unit at the local level.

Senator Campbell: That's great.

The second question I have is on the Polaris. Is that considered armoured reconnaissance? What would it be used for?

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 last testimony.

Over about the next eight months, through summer 2017, we're taking a holistic look at where equipment is across the Canadian Army, within the reserves specifically, and establishing equipment tables for those reserve units so that we can have that benchmarked to know where we need to procure equipment in the future.

We are also making sure that the basic equipment for reserve soldiers is all on parity. Right now we are in a program across the army of procuring new radios, and there's an interim project. It is a bit contentious, but it's a whole-army radio program. It will take about 18 to 24 months to roll out that 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?

[Translation]

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.

[English]

The Chair: So there is some latitude there.

The next question I have is the expansion of the reserves and the number of reservists, referring back to the Auditor General.

My understanding is that the estimated cost to expand up to 28,000 reservists would be in the neighbourhood of an additional $250 million. Is that correct?

Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Thank you, senator. I don't know that there's been a number. In fact, in the directives that we received, I don't think there was a number specified as to what the costs are for growth.

The Chair: Going back to what we're dealing with here, when can we expect to see a number that's substantiated by yourselves for the purposes of ensuring that it's in the budget and gets into the rotation and the cycle that's required so that you can do the job we're asking you to do?

Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: The first stage for the army is the 950 growth to the 16 units. That is simply a personnel number.

In the subsequent phases that we're going to approach, being equipment for those units to support that, and then, as well, looking to what tasks units will also have — and again, the equipment and capabilities go with that — that's the 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 required.

I'd like to move on to one other area, if I could, colleagues, and that's the question of the civilian military leadership that we spoke of, I believe, last week. I want to say that I think that that's a very innovative program, and it's one that probably will help you meet your targets for the purposes of increasing the numbers of reservists.

Since then, I did get a call, because people were watching this particular program on CPAC, and the word I got is that the program is not necessarily going as well as perhaps you'd like it to be going. In view of that, perhaps you can tell us how many students are actually enrolled in the program and what your target is for the 2017-18 academic year for participants.

Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: That's a very good question, senator. That is, in fact, correct.

The initial pilot project is not meeting the kind of aim that we had at the University of Alberta. In large part, that is why we've also looked at the Advanced Placement and Prior Learning program, which was started at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and is linked to other technical colleges.

I don't have the exact number. We'd have to come back. There are people in those technical colleges who are reservists. It's designed for military and first responders, to give them qualifications credit. We'd have to come back with what those numbers are.

That's the reason we've refocused our efforts to those technical colleges across the country instead of universities.

The Chair: We'd certainly like to see what those numbers are and then, on an ongoing basis, have an understanding of what we are dealing with in respect of these programs and the success of them, because I do believe it's a great program for the country, done properly. I know also that from your perspective it must be very difficult to try to manage it. We have five different centres now?

Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: That is what was directed, five. Some provinces are looking at more than their one.

The Chair: I would ask for one other undertaking related to the information I was provided, which is that in some of the smaller schools it's not going as quickly as it could or should. I would ask that you look into those and see what you can do to help them move those programs along so that they get in places and they actually provide a service for those young men and women who would like to participate.

Brig.-Gen. MacKenzie: Certainly, senator.

Senator Meredith: Again, back to my question of readiness and deployment and Canada's requests for our NATO commitments and the UN missions that are there, how ready are we with respect to these deployments or these 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?

[Translation]

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 operations.

[English]

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, sir.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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 account.

Senator Dagenais: I won’t ask you to respond to me, Major-General Juneau. However, I read recently in La Presse that the government intends to obtain a seat on the United Nations Security Council. This situation would endanger the lives of our Canadian soldiers. I don’t know whether you’ve heard about it. I hope this isn’t the government’s intention, even though we understand the importance of participating with our allies in the peace mission in Mali. I won’t ask you to respond to this comment.

Maj.-Gen. Juneau: Thank you, Senator.

[English]

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 Program.

First, I would like to express our deepest sympathy to our RCAF friends for the tragic loss of their colleague today.

During my last appearance before this committee on April 18, 2016, I spoke about the opportunities created by the transfer of the National Search and Rescue Program to Public Safety Canada. Since that time, Public Safety Canada has achieved significant progress on a number of search and rescue initiatives. We remain committed to renewing and improving the National Search and Rescue Program in Canada.

Today I will briefly describe the recent advancements in this area, including an update on the restoration of funding for heavy urban search and rescue services and the transition of the National Search and Rescue Program to Public 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 overall.

This process will clarify federal, provincial and territorial responsibilities for search and rescue. With this in mind, we have initiated a national dialogue with stakeholders to define the National Search and Rescue Program so that an appropriate governance and policy framework can be developed.

As part of this national dialogue, in October 2016, Public Safety Canada met with key stakeholders attending SARscene 2016, an annual conference for the search and rescue community, to seek their views on the National Search and 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 governments.

Honourable members, strengthening the National Search and Rescue Program through a modernized governance and policy framework will enhance Canada's capability to respond to search and rescue incidents across our country. Over time, these efforts will improve our readiness to deal with natural disasters and extreme weather events. I look forward to continuing this dialogue with our stakeholders in order to bolster the National Search and Rescue Program. Thank you for your time and interest today.

Major-General William Seymour, Chief of Staff, Operations, Canadian Joint Operations Command, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: It is an honour to be here along with our key partners, Public Safety and the Canadian Coast Guard, to update you on the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces' role in Canada's search and rescue system.

Joining me here today is Brigadier-General Michel Lalumière, Director General, Air Force Development, representing the Royal Canadian Air Force.

I would highlight that we work closely together, not only in the context of search and rescue or SAR, but in many other areas of emergency management in support of Canadians at home and abroad.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 maritime SAR.

Our coordination function is exercised through three joint rescue coordination centres, staffed by Canadian Forces and Canadian Coast Guard members, which serve as a unique fusion centre that enables fast and synchronized identification and response to emergencies.

I understand your colleagues on the Fisheries and Oceans Committee recently paid a visit to JRCC in Halifax and found it informative. The Armed Forces and the Coast Guard would be happy to host you at the JRCC at your leisure. I understand you have been there in the past.

From a personnel standpoint, we have approximately 950 Canadian Armed Forces members who are trained to deliver search and rescue 24-365 and to reach the most challenging areas of the country to deliver medical care and provide emergency evacuation when necessary.

During a SAR tech's first year of training, he or she will spend 11 days working with Inuit hunters in the High Arctic to learn survival skills. This close partnership with the First Nations people is critical to our collective ability to execute SAR missions in the difficult High Arctic environment.

Beyond standard qualifications, our SAR crews practise their skills through various exercises. Small-scale SAR exercises are conducted regularly at the unit level with local and regional partners, while large, multinational and multi-agency training events, such as the National Search and Rescue Exercise, allow SAR crews from across the country to put their skills to the test and hone their coordination capacities, which are so critical to the SAR mission.

Working with partner nations in the Arctic Council, the Armed Forces participated last August in a field training exercise called Arctic Chinook, simulating a cruise ship of 250 people having to abandon ship in the High North.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

To conclude, on a personal note, I would like to add that a career with the Canadian Coast Guard is deeply rewarding. The strength of Canada’s search and rescue system is built upon the courage and dedication of the men and women who work to make Canada’s waters safe, and our close collaboration with our federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and volunteer partners.

Thank you for inviting us. We look forward to answering your questions.

[English]

The Chair: Thank you. We'll start with questioners.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you for all your presentations. My first question is to you, Major-General Seymour. In April when this committee heard from CJOC, they talked about the state of search and rescue in Canada. One of the issues that were brought up was the information management system. We were told that it was completely inadequate and reaching its breaking point, meaning the records of past search and rescue operations were barely being kept. That's what we were told. Rear-Admiral Peter Ellis told us that the project to replace the information management system was currently under way.

Can you provide the committee with an update? Also, Rear-Admiral Ellis also told us that if the system breaks down, you will have to do the input by hand. We have serious concerns about this. Can you please brief us?

Maj.-Gen. Seymour: I read the good admiral's testimony. I understand that he took a question on notice and you were provided additional information regarding the status of the contract.

When you’re right in terms of the state of the software that's being used, you should be confident to know that we have taken steps to make sure it is able to operate on Windows 7 systems. So despite them being legacy systems, the software continues to function, and we use it every day.

If that software were to fail — and it's heavily backed up so we have the data there each and every day to use should it be necessary — I think he described the old by-hand method of having to make logs of what's transpired and do things manually, perhaps in the same way I was trained to navigate the Aurora using maps, charts and those things as a fall back. Rarely do we have to do that in the aircraft.

In terms of the state of the contract, the information that was provided to you that was taken on notice hasn't changed. The IOC for the software, I believe, was in April 2018, and the full operational capability was some several years after that, in 2021, if I'm not mistaken. That has not changed at all.

From our perspective, we're confident the program is proceeding at pace and will move along to deliver the capability it is intended to do in time.

We have not seen since that testimony examples where the software or the system has failed catastrophically. It's being nurtured and ushered along. We take care of it, and we have the appropriate support mechanisms in place. Also, the new software we've contracted for is on its way.

Senator Jaffer: I have two questions I'll ask together, then whoever wants to answer can do so.

I heard you say, Major-General Seymour, that Canada is large and that it takes a long time to get to places sometimes. I come from B.C., and we rely on your services. We need to have confidence that it's not going to take 12 hours to rescue us. What you do is very important to us.

So when we hear the Auditor General saying that there is a considerable decline in search and rescue in Canada — in particular, he stated that a considerable number of people are trained in search and rescue but not enough of them are available at a given time to meet Canada's search and rescue needs. He also claimed that equipment set aside for search and rescue missions is aging considerably. He goes on to talk about preparedness. I can go on, and you've read his report.

Is search and rescue in decline, and what are we doing to improve the 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 program.

A number of other things suggest that we've moved on from where the Auditor General was years ago to make improvements to the SAR system. Another example is search and rescue technicians. We recognize that we need more search and rescue technicians. One of the steps we have taken is to increase the throughput of the number of search and rescue technicians to 20 per year so that we have the right number of folks going forward. Their training has also been bolstered in a number of ways. One was the High Arctic training I mentioned with the Inuit 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.

[Translation]

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?

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

Senator White: I'm trying to get my head around whether we haven't just added a layer of bureaucracy to what was already working, in that every police agency in the country — all 198 of them — understood who they had to contact within the military or Coast Guard if the incident was near Trenton.

If it was on water, ground, or ice, I'm trying to figure out what specific operational role Public Safety Canada plays. It's not really an operational organization; it's an administrative policy, as I think you've referred to it. Am I correct in that all we've really done is add a layer of bureaucracy?

Ms. MacDonald: We actually don't have an operational role in terms of search and rescue. Ours is a policy role. What we've done is create the ground Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada, which comprises approximately 12,000 members. They don't have a representative champion in terms of taking on the issues for them from a broader governance policy discussion.

We have no role in terms of identifying or directing any of their activities. They go to the local police in their jurisdiction. We simply are a voice for them in terms of moving issues forward.

Senator White: I take it, then, there is some federal funding that is given to those 12,000. Is that what the number was?

Ms. MacDonald: Yes, 12,000. We have some funding that we give out right now to SARVAC — I want to say it's approximately $500,000 but I'll have to verify that — to actually help them coordinate the activities across the country from a ground search and rescue perspective. They come to us for support and 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.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: I have one last question for Major-General Seymour.

Canada must have a minimum number of military personnel on site in the country to deal with certain disasters. The government is currently making commitments in other countries. Will we maintain enough military personnel here to deal with a disaster, since the government wants to enter into commitments with other countries?

[English]

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 said "general."

Maj.-Gen. Seymour: You bet. I can tell you that the Cormorant mid-life upgrade project has progressed. It aims to extend the life the Cormorant to 2040 and to increase the size of the fleet, which may then allow the Cormorant to replace the Griffons that are performing yeoman service here in Ontario and around the area.

One of the options that you mentioned that is being considered for that project is the VH-71s. I know you have been briefed before. We bought the nine air frames, two of which are non-flyable and seven of which are potentially flyable. That may comprise part of the solution space.

That's what I know, but Michel may have additional information to update you 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 rescue.

We are in option analysis right now. We are working toward bringing forward a recommended option for departmental endorsement in 2017. Then that would put us into our definition phase.

Industry is seized with that question we have. It's not a lack of information, by any means; we have a lot of information coming our way from industry at large to inform the analysis that we're looking at to meet the various questions we will have to answer as part of this investment we have to make looking forward.

Again, to answer that question of toward 2040 and what will be the actual helicopter capability that will deliver the effects that we require — and also 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 technology.

Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: With pleasure. Canada is extremely well postured from a space capability perspective, a security perspective, an industrial perspective and also defence.

Ms. MacDonald mentioned the Sarsat enterprise that Canada has been part of since its early beginning over 35 years now. Canada has been one of the four founding countries for that fantastic system that has, to its account, about 36,000 message alerts back since its inception.

The Sarsat community made a decision years ago to move to the next generation of capabilities, which is from a LEO, close to Earth, to the MEOSAR orbit, medium-level-altitude satellites. We stayed partnered with the United States in this regard — a privileged relationship that we have with the U.S.

Canada is the first international country, non-U.S., that has been invited to contribute a sensor on GPS Block III generation of the constellation, highly classified satellites as you can imagine. So Canada being invited to contribute a sensor — formalizing our partnership with them on Block III, which should be launching in 2021 — is a clear testament of that long-standing partnership we have had with our U.S. partner. We also have, leading up to MEOSAR implementation, this constellation that has been experimental in testing on behalf of Cospas-Sarsat itself, 16 experimental sensors still in space that have been offered by the United States. In Canada, we have some of the leading technology for the ground segment aspect of that system. We've offered our ground segment technology expertise in that regard. We have been working very hard in the last year or 18 months on operationalizing this set of experimental sensors we have today in space as an interim capability to bridge LEOSAR to MEOSAR, instead of just waiting for MEOSAR. This would enable us to better understand the technology ahead of MEOSAR being fully completed. France, with Galileo, their constellation of geopositioning, is the first country on behalf of Europe to field the sensors in space. Russia is meant to be second if they are able to get their technology to that level. But Canada and the U.S. are not waiting. We are the third block, but now we're working at fielding the interim capability. We would be the first. We would offer this to the rest of the world if we're able to field that operation.

We had a quick example of that exactly one year ago, when an aircraft went missing just south of North Bay. Unfortunately, it was a catastrophic accident. There were no survivors of this crash. Four people on board. Twin engine. What was quite telling out of that, though, was that the LEOSAR constellation active today was not able to correlate the signal. They could actually hear it but could not position it over Canada.

The experimental sensors that were in space, with the interim capability that was made available, did locate this crash site within one nautical mile. The accuracy of LEOSAR was meant to be between 20 and 60 nautical miles, which, in Canada, can be a very long search. One mile, we embraced that result with open arms. This is exactly what we're aiming for from a MEOSAR perspective.

This is going to be for the alert phase, of course. The next phases of integrating space capabilities are with regard to surveillance and satcom, satellite communication, to make sure that all of the capabilities, be they from volunteers, from industry, from private or government layers, are all communicating amongst themselves, which would be a huge step forward compared to the way that we did search and rescue our whole career, we being my colleague here to my right and my colleague at the end of the table. What we are trying to give this existing generation today is this ability to be that much more efficient. You are absolutely right. Space has always been important for Canada because of our size, and I think it will continue to be.

The Chair: Time is moving on here, senator.

Senator Meredith: Thirty seconds. I just want to talk about response time and the correlation to that with respect to the trials that you have done in Trenton and in Halifax, as well as Victoria. Senator Jaffer spoke about that with respect to how you respond. I'm sure the technology allows you to be able to respond a lot more quickly than you normally would. Could you comment on that just quickly for me.

Brig.-Gen. Lalumière: Senator, you're bang on. The phases of any search and rescue would be the alert phase, right at the front end, where the coordination actually happens, and the reporting mechanism, being industry reporting on itself, a missing aircraft or a missing ship or next of kin getting worried after one of their close ones has not returned home. It has a huge impact on what the total length of the search and rescue effort is going to be. The other one is transit and search time. Our country is the size it is. If we can actually field the capabilities and technology that we intend to field, like extra sensors that we are asking for for the new fixed-wing search and rescue airplane that we want to field, our incremental increases of sensors we have from space, from RADARSAT or from the visual type of infrared, radars, sensors that we have already in space, all of these technologies combine together so that we can actually minimize the search time to its bare minimum. That's the 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 conclusions.

Senator Meredith: With respect to Senator Kenny's question, we're potentially deploying to Mali. There was information which needed to be gathered that was necessary as our troops deploy. The UAVs would play a critical role in that information gathering. Can you speak about how important it is? You mentioned the manpower that would be required to operate it, but it's a safe environment to operate rather than actually putting Canadian soldiers at risk by deploying them in a danger zone. The UAVs could fill that role. Can you expand 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 discussed.

Ms. MacDonald: A significant amount of progress has been made to actually do that. We're at the place right now where we're putting the finishing touches on what the medal would look like and getting the final pieces in place to do an announcement on that. It's very close.

The Chair: Would that be through the Governor General?

Ms. MacDonald: We are hoping it's through the Governor General.

The Chair: Thank you very much. That concludes the session today. I would like to thank our witnesses for appearing. We will excuse our witnesses and then the committee will continue in camera for five minutes. Thank you.

(The committee continued in camera.)