Skip to main content
Start of content

FOPO Committee Report

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at

Mr. Tom Wappel, MP
Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Wappel:

I am pleased to respond on behalf of the Government of Canada to the First Report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on the Canadian Coast Guard, entitled "Safe, Secure, Sovereign: Reinventing the Canadian Coast Guard".

You will note in the response that as a result of the December 12, 2003 announcement by the Government of Canada of its intent to redefine the Coast Guard as a Special Operating Agency (SOA), and the related Order in Council transferring maritime safety and security policy and regulations to Transport Canada, the Government of Canada has addressed several of the issues raised in the SCOFO report.

Issues related to maritime security have been addressed by the Government of Canada’s National Security Policy, which characterizes the Coast Guard maritime security role as one of proactive support to the federal security community.

As an SOA, Coast Guard will continue to provide vital support to maritime commerce, safety and oceans management, while at the same time being well positioned to be an integral part of the government’s maritime security strategy.

The Government of Canada has responded to concerns regarding Coast Guard funding in Budget 2005, which provides funding for the acquisition, operation and maintenance of a total of 10 new vessels for the Coast Guard. This funding is in addition to the $47.3 million annually in capital for fleet and shore-based infrastructure provided to the Coast Guard under Budget 2003.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to thank the members of the Committee for the report. I look forward to working with SCOFO further on these issues in future.

Yours truly,

Geoff Regan

Government Response to the First Reprt of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on the Canadian Coast Guard entitled "Safe, Secure, Sovereign: Reinventing the Canadian Coast Guard"


SCOFO Recommendation 1
SCOFO Recommendation 2
SCOFO Recommendation 3
SCOFO Recommendation 4
SCOFO Recommendation 5
SCOFO Recommendation 6
SCOFO Recommendation 7
SCOFO Recommendation 8
SCOFO Recommendation 9
SCOFO Recommendation 10
SCOFO Recommendation 11
SCOFO Recommendation 12
SCOFO Recommendation 13
SCOFO Recommendation 14
SCOFO Recommendation 15
SCOFO Recommendation 16
SCOFO Recommendation 17
SCOFO Recommendation 18

The hearings that informed the SCOFO Report: "Safe, Secure, Sovereign: Reinventing the Coast Guard," took place prior to the December 12, 2003, machinery of government changes, which have addressed many of the issues raised by SCOFO by transferring responsibility for safety and security policy to Transport Canada by means of an Order in Council and by redefining the Coast Guard as a marine service delivery Agency of the Government of Canada.

As a result of the December 12, 2003 Order in Council, all policy/regulatory responsibilities associated with maritime safety were transferred to Transport Canada as they relate to: pleasure craft safety, marine navigation services, pollution prevention and response, and navigable waters protection. These responsibilities include, for example, the development and management of legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines, the provision of safety information, and boating safety promotion and awareness programs.

This transfer of responsibilities will result in a better service to Canadians by providing a single point of contact for issues related to maritime safety policy and regulations. This change has long been requested by stakeholders and is welcomed by Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Coast Guard.

Some operational/program responsibilities associated with the policy responsibilities were also transferred to Transport Canada, in those cases where it was not feasible or efficient to divide them.

The Office of Boating Safety (OBS) administers several marine safety regulations and public education programs to enhance boating safety. OBS was transferred to Transport Canada in its entirety to: (1) provide a single point of contact on issues related to policy and regulations, and (2) ensure that it continues to efficiently focus its work on both regulations and public education/awareness programs.

Transport Canada also assumed responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, including issuing permits, removing obstructions to navigation, acting as Receiver of Wreck for the purposes of the Canada Shipping Act, and conducting all related environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

With respect to environmental response, Transport Canada assumes responsibility for the response regime, for safety oversight, pollution prevention, monitoring of compliance with regulations, and enforcement action. Transport Canada will:

  1. oversee the pollution prevention aerial surveillance program;
  2. approve ship source pollution prevention and response plans on board large commercial vessels, and oil handling facility response plans;
  3. certify Response Organizations and monitor their activities and exercises; and
  4. administer the Bulk Oil Cargo fee.

The Canadian Coast Guard will continue to monitor the response to marine pollution accidents and, if required, take charge of the individual spill response. Also, the Canadian Coast Guard will maintain an inventory of spill response equipment to respond to spills north of 60°N and to augment the Response Organization’s capacity.

Maritime security policy is a Transport Canada responsibility. Fisheries and Oceans/Coast Guard remains responsible for providing support to the security community through the collection and dissemination of marine information, the monitoring of marine traffic (through Marine Communication Traffic Services and the Conservation and Protection aerial surveillance program), and the provision of vessels, infrastructure and expertise.

Given these mandate changes, and in the spirit of the Government of Canada’s commitment to a multi-agency approach to maritime safety and security in Canada as reflected in its National Security Policy of April 2004, the response to this SCOFO report has been developed by both Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada, as well as National Defence, Justice and other interested government partners.


That the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Coast Guard, continue to support the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary; and that, funding to the Auxiliary be increased, at a minimum, to meet the cost of higher insurance premiums.


The Government of Canada welcomes the Committee’s interest and concerns with respect to the Auxiliary and accepts the intent of the recommendation. The Coast Guard is aware of the increases to the Auxiliary’s insurance premiums and is closely monitoring the issue. To date financial support has been provided to the Auxiliary to offset these increases and to minimize the effect on Auxiliary operations. The Coast Guard will continue to provide funding and support to its Auxiliary.


That the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Coast Guard, guarantee stable, long-term A-base funding for the Office of Boating Safety at a level fully sufficient for it to meet its responsibilities.


The Government of Canada recognizes the importance and the need to provide boating safety services to Canadians and accepts the recommendation for stable, long-term A-base funding for the Office of Boating Safety. Through an Order in Council dated December 12, 2003, the Government of Canada transferred the Office of Boating Safety to Transport Canada, along with a number of other policy and regulatory responsibilities relating to marine safety. As part of the transfer and in recognition of the importance of its prevention activities, Transport Canada received A-base funding in the order of $7.7 million to carry out the pleasure craft safety mandate. Both Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are committed to a process of continuous review and assessment to ensure that resources across all activity areas continue to be allocated in the most efficient and effective manner, in order to achieve optimum safety and other services for Canadians.


That the Government of Canada establish the Canadian Coast Guard as the lead federal agency among the several federal departments involved in marine pollution prevention..


The Government of Canada welcomes the interest of the Committee with respect to effective marine pollution prevention and accepts the intent of the recommendation to improve marine pollution prevention services to Canadians. Through the December 12, 2003, Order in Council, the Government of Canada transferred the policy and regulatory aspects of the Environmental Response Program to Transport Canada. The Canadian Coast Guard maintained its mandate to protect the marine environment and related interests through preparedness, monitoring and responding to marine pollution incidents. The purpose of the change, which marine stakeholders had long requested, was to ensure that there would be a single point of contact for mariners dealing with marine regulatory issues, with the Coast Guard focusing on its respective area of expertise.

Coast Guard is responsible for:

  1. Preparedness:
    1. Development of emergency response plans and international emergency response plans with countries that share contiguous waters
    2. Provision of an initial response capacity for south of 60° north latitude
    3. Provision of a primary response capacity for north of 60° north latitude

  2. Response:
    1. Response to mystery spills and ship source spills in waters under Canadian jurisdiction
    2. Provision of the Federal monitoring officer and on-scene commander functions for the Government of Canada for marine pollution incidents
    3. Response to requests for assistance from countries signatory to the International Maritime Organisation International Convention on Oil Pollution, Preparedness, Response and Cooperation 1990 (OPRC)

  3. In addition, in keeping with the polluter pay principle, the Canadian Coast Guard is responsible for the recovery of response costs.

The Canadian Coast Guard will not be assuming an enforcement role with respect to environmental response issues and no changes to the legislation are therefore required.

Transport Canada assumes responsibility for the response regime, for safety oversight, pollution prevention, monitoring of compliance with regulations, and enforcement action. Transport Canada will:

  1. manage the pollution prevention aerial surveillance program;
  2. approve ship source pollution prevention and response plans on board large commercial vessels, and oil handling facility response plans;
  3. certify Response Organizations and monitor their activities and exercises; and
  4. administer the Bulk Oil Cargo fee.

Transport Canada continues to be the lead federal agency with respect to ship-source marine pollution prevention.

It should be noted that there are some inaccuracies in the Committee’s report with respect to Environmental Response. On page 16, footnote 28 should be amended to reflect that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in 1999 and not 2002 as stated. The MOU was updated and an Enforcement Annex was added in 2002. These were signed by Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans in June and July of 2002, but were not signed by Environment Canada until December 2002.


That the Canadian Coast Guard be given all the necessary resources and powers to conduct surveillance and collect evidence necessary for the effective prosecution of contraventions of Canadian marine anti-pollution laws in order to deter would-be polluters.


The Government of Canada shares the Committee’s interest in deterring would-be polluters. On December 12, 2003, the Prime Minister announced a number of changes, including rationalizing responsibility for maritime safety and security under the Minister of Transport. Regulatory and pollution prevention responsibilities of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Environmental Response Program were transferred from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to Transport Canada. The National Aerial Surveillance Program was included in the responsibilities that were transferred. Transport Canada is exploring ways to make it more efficient and effective. Transport Canada is also committed to aggressively implementing its pollution prevention program.


That the Attorney General of Canada instruct federal prosecutors involved in marine pollution cases to bring to the attention of the court, prior to sentencing, the total cost to the Canadian taxpayer of investigating and prosecuting the offence.


The Government of Canada agrees that the court be informed in cases where such costs can be quantified, and it would be appropriate to inform the court. The Committee should be aware that it will not always be possible to quantify the costs, nor will it necessarily be appropriate to suggest to a sentencing judge that those costs are relevant or should have significant weight in determining an appropriate sentence for someone who has been found guilty.

The Attorney General of Canada takes the Committee’s general concern to be that in certain types of cases, sentencing judges should be aware of the cost to the public of the offender’s conduct, and may wish to impose a monetary penalty that in some measure takes into account the economic consequences to the public purse. Parliament has already attempted to ensure that this is done in some circumstances. For example, for oil pollution offences under the Canada Shipping Act, the factors to be considered at sentencing include "an estimate of the total costs of cleanup, of harm caused, and of best available mitigation measures." (s.664(2)(a)). This provision is not directed at investigative or prosecution costs per se, but does go some way to addressing the cost to the public of the offender’s misconduct.

Prosecutors have not traditionally made submissions to courts about investigative or prosecution costs per se—there is a feeling among prosecutors experienced in such matters that judges would regard these costs (e.g. the salaries of investigators and prosecutors) as ones which the state would bear in any event, and it would be unfair to attribute those costs simply to one offender. It may be difficult to quantify what percentage of salary dollars would be fairly attributable to one prosecution. Where the government wishes to recover costs caused by the actions of individuals, the traditional recourse has been to the civil courts, not criminal courts. Where the conduct of the offender has led to some extraordinary expenditure, e.g. retention of an expert or experts, it may be easier to quantify.


That, as a matter of priority, the Governor in Council expedite the regulatory reform under the new Canada Shipping Act, 2001 in order that it come into force as soon as possible.


The Government of Canada supports this recommendation and recognizes the importance and expeditious development of regulatory reform under the new Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Indeed, the Government has been working diligently to have this happen, and expects the new Act to come into force by late 2006.


That, if the Coast Guard and DFO have not already responded to the proposals of the shipping industry to establish a long-term agreement to eliminate fees as soon as possible, and to work together to optimize services and adjust cost structures, they have the courtesy to do so not more than 60 days from the tabling of this report; and That this committee review the proposals and the response from DFO and the Coast Guard.


The Canadian Coast Guard will continue to consult the shipping industry before taking any decision concerning the future of the marine services fees. It is the view of the government that it is reasonable that people or companies who enjoy the benefits from government expenditures that extend beyond those that accrue to the general public should pay a portion of the associated costs.


That, prior to any decision to de-staff lightstations, affected communities and stakeholders be consulted and that any subsequent recommendations be referred to an appropriate parliamentary committee for review.


Lightstation equipment has been automated for decades at Canada’s lightstations and has proven to be extremely reliable. Most lights from previous generations have been replaced with modern, efficient lights that require minimal power supply, maintenance or human presence.

Presently, lightkeepers provide limited services related to local marine and aviation weather, coastal watch and communications assistance for Search and Rescue, when requested. Given current technology, it is not necessary to retain lightkeepers to provide maintenance or support to the aids to navigation equipment installed at staffed lightstations.

It is the Government’s intention to consult with stakeholders and parliamentarians prior to taking any decision on destaffing lightstations. The Government of Canada therefore concurs with this recommendation.


That a renewed Canadian Coast Guard be established as an independent civilian federal agency.


The Government of Canada largely agrees with the recommendation to establish the Canadian Coast Guard as a civilian federal agency and accordingly announced its intention to create the Canadian Coast Guard as a special operating agency (SOA) within Fisheries and Oceans Canada on December 12, 2003.

Creating the Coast Guard as a special operating agency within Fisheries and Oceans Canada— rather than as an independent agency as recommended by SCOFO — reflects a recognition by the government of the integral role that the Coast Guard plays in delivering the department’s oceans and fisheries mandates. The fact that the new Coast Guard SOA retains a home in Fisheries and Oceans also means that the Coast Guard will be able to leverage the economies of scope that shared services provide, and will have the ability to focus its resources on operations — to deliver cost-effective and high-quality services to Fisheries and Oceans as well as other federal government departments and agencies.

A federal SOA has several fundamental characteristics: it is primarily concerned with service delivery, it operates in a stable policy environment, and it does not require day-to-day involvement by the responsible minister.

Departmental officials, including those from the Coast Guard, are working on the issues surrounding Coast Guard’s SOA status. Full implementation of SOA status for the Coast Guard is planned to commence on April 1, 2005.


That the Coast Guard agency report to the Minister of Transport for at least the following two reasons:


  • The Minister of Transport already has a lead role for maritime security; and
  • The Minister of Transport has responsibility for maritime traffic in general, and a major part of the Coast Guard’s responsibilities concerns the safety of maritime traffic.

The Government of Canada does not concur with this recommendation. The 1995/6 decision to merge the Coast Guard with Fisheries and Oceans Canada occurred for three primary reasons: the creation of the new Oceans Act and the desire to position Canada to move to a more integrated national oceans management approach based on sustainability, the precautionary approach, and the integration of activities occurring in and impacting on our oceans; Transport Canada’s move away from operations; and the efficiencies to be gained from the creation of an single, integrated government civilian fleet.

The results speak for themselves. In total, 47 vessels, 569 positions and more than $50 million operating dollars were removed from the merged fleet within a four-year period (1994-1998), with an additional $500 million in capital cost-avoidance. The result is a more efficient and effective government civilian fleet of Canada.

Merging three fleets with completely differing operating and funding cultures was challenging, a challenge compounded by weaknesses in operating structure and the coincident problem of "five Coast Guards (referring to disparate regional operations)" highlighted in the December 2000 Report of the Auditor General of Canada. Coast Guard has taken a number of steps to address this weakness including a change in regional reporting instigated in June of 2003, whereby the five regional directors of Coast Guard now report directly to the Commissioner. This has better positioned the Coast Guard to bring a national focus and energy to the organization and better instill national standards and levels of service, while at the same time working closely with regional colleagues to respect regional differences where warranted. Putting in place a national framework with key elements such as targets, standards, and a monitoring capability to ensure accountability, while at the same time updating and modernizing key pieces of legislation, will allow the Agency to meet its many national and international obligations and ensure optimum service to Canadians.

Meanwhile, the transfer to Transport Canada of policy and regulatory responsibilities in several program areas will strengthen the already strong bond that exists between the Coast Guard and Transport Canada due to the shared commitment to the provision of effective maritime safety, security and accessibility services to Canadians. This is a commitment that the Coast Guard shares with a number of other federal partners with whom it collaborates on an ongoing basis.


That the Canadian Coast Guard be governed by a new Canadian Coast Guard Act that would set out the roles and responsibilities of the Coast Guard. These would include:


  • Search and Rescue;
  • Emergency Environmental Response;
  • A lead role among the several federal departments involved in marine pollution prevention;
  • A formal mandate in national security with respect to Canada’s coasts, including the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway;
  • The assertion of Canadian sovereignty;
  • Facilitation of safe and efficient marine commerce; and
  • Pleasure craft safety.

The Government of Canada does not support this recommendation in that the Canadian Coast Guard currently has a solid legislative framework for its programs and services. The mandate of the organization derives from two pieces of legislation: The Oceans Act and the Canada Shipping Act. Both of these have been enacted pursuant to the legislative authority granted by the Constitution Act. 1867, which gives the federal government exclusive jurisdiction over navigation, shipping, beacons, buoys and lighthouses.

The Canada Shipping Act gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans responsibilities, powers and obligations with respect to aids to navigation, Sable Island, St. Paul Island, search and rescue, pollution response, and vessel traffic services.

The Oceans Act gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans residual responsibility (i.e. "where not otherwise assigned by law") for "services for the safe, economical and efficient movement of ships in Canada in Canadian waters," through the provision of:

  • aids to navigation
  • marine communications and traffic management services
  • icebreaking and ice management services
  • channel maintenance.

The Oceans Act also gives the Minister residual responsibility for:

  • marine search and rescue
  • marine pollution response
  • the support of other government departments, boards and agencies through the provision of ships, aircraft and other services.

In addition to this legislation and policies that have been adopted by the federal government, Canada has ratified several international conventions. It has also signed protocols and memorandums of understanding that relate to navigation and shipping.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is currently reviewing the Oceans Act with a view to determining whether minor adjustments to wording may need to be made to the Act to further clarify Coast Guard’s mandate vis-a-vis other government departments, as well as to address minor discrepancies between the English and French versions of the document.

With respect to security, the Canadian Coast Guard maritime security role has been defined as one of support to the federal security community. Rather than assuming a direct maritime security mandate post-9/11, the Canadian Coast Guard has assumed an important and expanding role in the provision of current, relevant maritime traffic data to the intelligence community for the creation of valuable maritime intelligence. Additionally, as the operator of the civilian government fleet of Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard has provided vessels in support of federal security community objectives, and will continue to explore additional collaborative opportunities with the Canadian Forces, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other agencies.


That the federal government conduct an assessment of the utility and cost-effectiveness of new technology such as satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles for coastal surveillance and maritime security.


The maritime security initiatives announced by the government in January 2003 and the six-point maritime security plan in the National Security Policy announced in April 2004 include initiatives to enhance maritime domain awareness, which strengthens Canada’s maritime security. Two surveillance initiatives incorporating new technology are of particular note, each providing a capability that, when combined, would significantly enhance the overall awareness of on-water activities in or approaching Canadian waters. These two initiatives are the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and High Frequency Surface Wave Radar (HFSWR). AIS is a short-range transponder system that broadcasts vessel information such as a ship’s name, course and speed. HFSWR provides wide area, long-range radar coverage of selected areas in Canada’s maritime approaches and will be able to detect and track vessel activity in those surveillance areas.

National Defence is studying several new technologies to strengthen Canada’s coastal surveillance capability in support of its maritime and arctic security. The results of this research will have important considerations as the government assesses Canada’s marine vulnerabilities and examines options to further enhance our maritime domain awareness. National Defence’s comprehensive programme on national surveillance requirements – the Command, Control, Communications, Computers Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Campaign Plan (C4 ISR CP) – includes technologies such as satellites and uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAV). There are enormous challenges in determining the most effective mix of manned and unmanned aircraft to meet existing and future surveillance needs. However, individual sensors can potentially be linked into a network whose effectiveness is greater than the sum of its parts.

National Defence’s Project Polar Epsilon will allow the use of both commercial and military space-based sensors, particularly Canada’s RADARSAT-2, to offer all weather, day and night surveillance of Canada’s Arctic region and ocean approaches. Particular attention is being paid to generating information in remote areas where other sensors are ineffective, or unable to operate. Over the next four years, this new stream of information will be made available to the Maritime Forces Operations Centres Athena and Trinity, which are evolving into interdepartmental Marine Security Operations Centres. Through these centres, the information will in turn be made available to other government departments and agencies with marine security responsibilities. This is an important first step in developing a Canadian wide-area maritime and arctic surveillance capability. National Defence, in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency, is also studying a follow-on to the RADARSAT-2 Programme which envisions a constellation of small satellites to provide greater persistence, particularly in our southern coastal areas.

UAVs are being examined as a potentially significant surveillance capability that, in concert with space and ground-based sensors, would contribute to the development of extended surveillance. In recent years, the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre has undertaken considerable UAV concept development and experimentation on Canada’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts. These experiments have focused on the use of medium altitude, long endurance UAVs in the maritime environment. The Joint Uninhabited Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS Project) aims at developing and further exploring UAV concepts and will deliver a limited medium altitude, long endurance UAV capability to the Canadian Forces in 2010, which will include a maritime surveillance function.


That the Canadian Coast Guard be given full operational funding sufficient to carry out existing roles as well as the expanded mandate and additional responsibilities recommended in this report.


The Government of Canada has addressed many of the Coast Guard mandate issues raised in the SCOFO report, both with the December 12 Order in Council, and the release of the National Security Policy. The issues of mandate with respect to safety are outlined elsewhere in this document, including in the responses to Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11. The issue of a new mandate for the Coast Guard with respect to security is addressed in Recommendations 15 to 18.

With respect to operational funding for its current mandate, long-term financial stability continues to be the highest priority of Coast Guard management. In setting the direction for achieving financial stability, considerable progress has been made in identifying the scope of potential opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada undertook a Departmental Assessment and Alignment Project to ensure that its mandated obligations could be delivered within currently available resources. Part of this initiative involved addressing the growing demands for Coast Guard programs and Fleet services.

In preparing for SOA implementation, the Coast Guard carried out a further detailed examination of its business and management models with respect to setting overall direction, and reviewing its capacity to efficiently and effectively manage and deliver services. It is in the process of developing an integrated strategy for dealing with both existing and new funding pressures, including a stabilization strategy to address current and projected financial challenges.


That the federal government make an immediate commitment that the Canadian Coast Guard receive an injection of capital funding to pay for fleet renewal, upgraded and modernized shore-based infrastructure and the implementation of new technology; and, That, in order to provide flexibility and value for money, the federal government consider the option of employing purpose-built or modified chartered vessels for fleet renewal provided any such vessels be built or modified in Canada and operated by Coast Guard crews.


The Government of Canada recognizes the need for a fully operational fleet, shore-based infrastructure and new technology.

To that end, in Budget 2003 the Government allocated $47.3 million annually for major repairs to the fleet, shore-based infrastructure and capital replacement purchases for that infrastructure.

Building on this investment, Budget 2005 allocates $276 million over the next five years for the procurement, operation and maintenance of a total of six new large vessels, including two offshore fishery research vessels and four midshore patrol vessels to support the conservation and protection of fisheries. Further, as part of the $222 million allocated to maritime security in Budget 2005, the Coast Guard and the RCMP will receive funding for the acquisition and operation of four new mid-shore patrol vessels to undertake joint maritime security patrols on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system (See Recommendation 15).

As standard practice when acquiring any new vessels, the Canadian Coast Guard examines all available procurement strategies in order to provide flexibility and value for money, and will adhere to existing government policy and regulation for procurement, including the Canadian shipbuilding policy.


That the Canadian Coast Guard be given the explicit authority to act on behalf of other agencies, including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Revenue Agency, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada in situations where there is reasonable cause to believe that Canadian laws are being broken.


The Government of Canada is of the view that a multi-agency approach is more effective in responding to new security threats and in enforcing Canadian laws. The Government has set out this approach in the April 2004 National Security Policy (NSP).

Post 9/11, the Government of Canada recognizes that federal agencies and departments are operating in a new environment and that the Coast Guard can make a significant contribution to the enhancement of maritime security in Canada. To that end, the Coast Guard is working with Transport Canada, the lead federal department for maritime security, and the security community through a number of interdepartmental groups and partnerships focusing on the enhancement of maritime security in Canada. Within the April 2004 NSP, the Government of Canada has committed to the clarification and strengthening of accountabilities amongst the various portfolios related to maritime security in Canada. The NSP states that a core function of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (PSEPC) is enforcement and policing that will be supported by an integrated federal effort. Coast Guard will provide support to this end as defined and requested by PSEPC.

The Committee is recommending that the Canadian Coast Guard become a constabulary force with RCMP-like powers and armed capacity to enforce statutes and interdict and board vessels. In addition, like the Canadian Forces (CF), the Canadian Coast Guard would have a significant mandate for surveillance and the creation of maritime security intelligence. Essentially this suggests that the Government should take steps to ensure the evolution of the Canadian Coast Guard into an organization similar to the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

Because there is no organization similar to the USCG in Canada, one could assume that there is an inherent organizational deficiency in Canada’s approach to maritime security. However, the Canadian equivalent of the marine enforcement mandates and capabilities of the USCG are resident in four Canadian departments: PSEPC, Transport Canada, National Defence and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The key to a successful Canadian solution to addressing continuing on-water and surveillance gaps is an approach that harnesses current capabilities and builds on the strength and expertise of each member of the federal maritime security team in order to maximize efficiencies and economies of scope while reducing the possibility of redundancies and the potential for unclear or overlapping mandates.

The Government favours a streamlined multi-agency approach to maritime safety and security. A collaborative approach allows each department or agency to focus on existing roles, responsibilities and leverage on existing strengths. This approach avoids creating potentially redundant mandates for various departments, providing clarity to specific departmental roles in maritime security as well as encouraging the effective and efficient use of funding to achieve federal maritime security objectives through the avoidance of any duplication of efforts.

The multi-agency approach will see increased cooperation between the Canadian Coast Guard and the RCMP, including the operation of vessels with joint RCMP / Canadian Coast Guard crews. The Canadian Coast Guard will provide its expertise in the operation of vessels at sea and fleet management, while the RCMP will employ its constabulary powers as well as its anti-terrorism and criminal code enforcement mandate to enforce Canadian law. As part of the $222 million allocated to maritime security in Budget 2005, the Coast Guard and the RCMP will receive funding for the acquisition and operation of four new mid-shore patrol vessels to undertake joint maritime security patrols on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system. In addition, the multi-agency approach will expand existing co-operation between the Canadian Coast Guard / Canadian Forces in the area of maritime domain awareness and marine traffic data collection in Canadian waters and beyond.


That a select number of Coast Guard officers be designated as peace officers with the authority to carry out enforcement duties. These officers should receive appropriate training and pay commensurate with these new responsibilities.


Given the Government of Canada’s maritime security strategy, outlined in the National Security Policy and based on a multi-agency approach, the Government of Canada considers that it is not required at this point to designate Coast Guard officers as peace officers. However, the Government may someday deem it necessary to designate some Coast Guard officers as peace officers with the appropriate authorities related to enforcement duties. The successful completion of federal standard training for a peace officer designation would certainly be a prerequisite to assumption of these duties by a Coast Guard officer. As in any other case, the addition of significant new responsibilities to a Coast Guard position would result in a classification review.


That, where appropriate, Coast Guard officers be authorized to carry light arms in the execution of their duties.


Even though there are no current plans to this end, should the Government deem it necessary to designate some Coast Guard officers as peace officers, there may be a need for certain Coast Guard officers to be authorized to carry light arms in the execution of their duties. As above, the successful completion of federal standard training related to the utilization of firearms would certainly be a prerequisite to the granting of such an authorization to Coast Guard officers.


That a number of Coast Guard vessels be equipped with suitable deck-mounted armament.


Currently there are no Government maritime security policies or initiatives relative to the retrofitting of a portion of the existing Coast Guard fleet with deck-mounted armament. However, should the Government deem it necessary in future to place armaments on selected Coast Guard vessels, such as the four RCMP/Coast Guard patrol vessels announced in Budget 2005, the Coast Guard would appropriately incorporate such a request into Coast Guard operations.