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PACP Committee Report

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GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE EIGHTEENTH REPORT OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

NATIONAL SECURITY IN CANADA

INTRODUCTION

The Government of Canada welcomes the Committee recommendations and appreciates the work of the Committee and the Auditor General in supporting the efforts of the Government of Canada to enhance national security.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Government of Canada responded swiftly and decisively to the increasingly complex threat environment and to protect Canada and Canadians. It enacted strong new legislation, made significant investments in national security, implemented important machinery changes, released in April 2004 Canada's first ever comprehensive statement of national security policy, and enhanced coordination with allies, particularly the United States.

Budget 2005 committed an additional $1 billion over five years for key national security issues, including transportation security and emergency management. This brings to more than $9.5 billion the additional investments made by the Government of Canada in national security initiatives since September 11, 2001.

In May 2005, the Government of Canada released Securing an Open Society: One Year Later – Progress Report on the Implementation of Canada's National Security Policy. This report outlines the significant actions that have been taken to implement and build on the National Security Policy to enhance the security of Canada and Canadians and to contribute to a safer world.

Transportation security, emergency planning and management, and public health emergencies are critical elements of Canada's National Security Policy, which also includes initiatives in the areas of intelligence, border security and international security.

Effective implementation of security measures requires strong working relationships with our key partners?provinces, territories and our allies, particularly within North America. Provinces and territories play a crucial role in emergency management in Canada. Coordinated approaches are necessary to provide seamless responses to incidents anywhere in the country. Efforts are coordinated through a permanent federal/provincial/territorial ministerial forum on emergencies established in January 2005.

These efforts, together with the activities outlined in the Government Response below, support the Government of Canada's goal of an integrated approach to national security.

RECOMMENDATION 1

That Transport Canada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, and the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness indicate clearly whether they agree to each recommendation contained in Chapter 2 of the April 2005 Report of the Auditor General of Canada that pertains to them and produce an action plan outlining the implementation measures that they will take and when they will take them. These responses must be provided to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts no later than 30 September 2005.

There were 10 recommendations in Chapter 2 of the April 2005 Report of the Auditor General of Canada that pertain to Transport Canada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC). These organizations agree with all of these Auditor General recommendations and the actions required to implement each of these recommendations are outlined below.

Auditor General Recommendation 2.29

Transport Canada should complete a formal analysis of threats and risks to the entire air transportation system and use the results as a basis for deploying resources and focusing enforcement efforts.

Transport Canada agrees with this recommendation.

As noted in Transport Canada's response to the Auditor General's recommendation, Transport Canada recognizes the importance of risk management.

The Department has initiated the development of a comprehensive Transportation Security Strategy, which will examine risk across all modes of transportation and set priorities for the future. The strategy is expected to be completed in spring 2006 and will include a formal threat and risk analysis instrument, which will be used to inform Transport Canada's decision making with respect to regulatory, legislative and enforcement activities.

Transport Canada will also complete a pilot project with one of its regions by fall 2006, and the results will provide the basis for ongoing risk assessments and decision making with respect to allocating inspector resources and prioritizing inspections.

Additionally, Transport Canada has initiated a review of its Airport Designation Policy, based on a risk management approach. The results of this review will be an additional factor for Transport Canada to consider in determining how best to allocate resources to respond to risk in the system.

CATSA supports and is participating in the development of Transport Canada's Transportation Security Strategy and other initiatives currently under consultation. CATSA is continuing to work closely with Transport Canada to achieve a risk-based operation and regulatory framework that directs security resources to areas of identified threats.

Auditor General Recommendation 2.50

Transport Canada should put in place system-wide performance measures that specify what it considers to be satisfactory performance by CATSA.

As indicated in its response to the Auditor General, Transport Canada agrees with this recommendation.

Transport Canada has in place a comprehensive inspection program, including monitoring and enforcement, to ensure compliance with security rules and regulations in the aviation sector. This includes monitoring of CATSA's activities. Transport Canada inspectors regularly visit screening points to ensure screeners are meeting requirements.

In addition to these monitoring activities, the Department is developing system-wide quantitative and qualitative performance measures with respect to screeners and equipment, which will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure their ongoing validity.

To accomplish this work, the Department has established a national working group. As a first priority, this working group is developing performance measures for hold baggage screening. The measures will be finalized and begin to be utilized in early 2006. Transport Canada will also continue to dialogue with CATSA, through the Transport Canada-CATSA Coordination Committee, as the measures are developed.

CATSA will work with Transport Canada to effect this recommendation. CATSA has also developed numerous performance measures outside of those developed by Transport Canada to manage and assess its effectiveness and quality. Part of CATSA's overall quality program is based on performance measures developed on the basis of security effectiveness, operational efficiency and level of service. CATSA reports on these measurements in its annual report. CATSA also provides a quarterly performance report to its Board of Directors and has begun implementing a balanced scorecard that identifies the organization's strategic objectives, metrics to determine whether these objectives are being achieved and initiatives to drive the corporate strategy.

Auditor General Recommendation 2.93

PSEPC should finish drafting the revisions to the Emergency Preparedness Act as soon as possible to finalize the definition of the Minister's powers and responsibilities.

PSEPC agrees with this recommendation.

The Government of Canada is committed to reviewing the statutory framework for its emergency management activities as outlined in the National Security Policy. The modernization of the Emergency Preparedness Act was identified as key in the effort to better address the new risk environment, the immediacy of response now required and the multi-faceted and sustained nature of emergencies.

The Emergency Preparedness Act establishes civil emergency planning and preparedness as a vital Government of Canada responsibility. It outlines the roles of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and all other federal ministers, provides for federal/provincial/territorial cooperation and enables post-disaster financial assistance to provinces and territories.

A review exercise has been initiated and will examine current authorities and responsibilities, the continuum of emergency management activities (mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery), the sharing of confidential information, the use of standards and guidelines, and enhanced collaboration and partnerships. Proposed requirements for change will be assessed to determine what legislative amendments are necessary.

Stakeholder consultations internal to the Government of Canada, with other jurisdictions, and with the private sector are moving forward. A discussion paper has been drafted outlining the proposed powers and authorities of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, consistent with modern emergency management. Recommendations for amendments to the Emergency Preparedness Act will be developed following consultation and analysis, with proposed introduction of new legislation in the short term.

Auditor General Recommendations 2.96 and 2.97

PSEPC should work with the other federal departments and agencies to clarify the command and control structure governing the federal response to emergencies.

PSPEC should obtain its federal partners' formal agreement to the National Emergency Response System as soon as possible.

PSEPC agrees with these recommendations.

Through ongoing consultations on the National Emergency Response System, PSEPC is continuing to work with other federal departments and agencies to clarify the command and control structure governing the federal response to emergencies. PSEPC has already obtained support for the National Emergency Response System from key federal departments and agencies as well as from the provinces and territories.

Formal agreement is being sought as a complement to the Emergency Preparedness Act. The need for all federal players to comply with the National Emergency Response System will be proposed in the modernization of the Emergency Preparedness Act. This will reinforce the authority of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to coordinate the actions of all federal players in emergencies of national significance.

Under the National Emergency Response System, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has been designated as lead Minister for events that cross ministerial mandates (multiple mandate emergencies). The role of the Minister is therefore to ensure that there is overall strategic coordination, and that appropriate ministers have been fully engaged (although the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness leads the overall coordination, other ministers retain their mandated authorities and responsibilities). Such an approach allows for effective coordination while enabling responsible departments and agencies to address aspects of the federal response that fall within their mandates.

At an August 2005 meeting of senior officials responsible for emergency management, provinces and territories expressed the desire to be more involved in the development of the National Emergency Response System. As a result, and as further discussed in Auditor General Recommendation 2.105 below, both levels of government are endeavoring to strengthen the involvement and role of the provinces and territories in the development and implementation of the federal/provincial/territorial coordination mechanism.

In April 2005, the National Emergency Response System was tested during Exercise Triple Play, an exercise involving 18 federal departments and agencies and two provincial governments, conducted in conjunction with the United States and the United Kingdom. Canadian activities in response to the recent London bombings and Hurricane Katrina also tested the National Emergency Response System.

Auditor General Recommendation 2.105

PSEPC should work with its federal partners and the provinces and territories to improve the coordination of response plans.

PSEPC agrees with this recommendation.

It is recognized that due to the complexity of most major incidents, the required response to these emergencies will involve multiple stakeholders from both the federal government and the provincial/territorial governments. Work to enhance coordination between these two levels of government is ongoing through the development of the National Emergency Response System, through the work of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Emergency Management Work Plan, and through the establishment of co located federal and provincial/territorial emergency measures organizations (most recently in the Northwest Territories). Interactions between federal and provincial/territorial officials in relation to the Canadian response to the London bombings and to Hurricane Katrina have, in a very practical and operational sense, demonstrated the importance of these coordination mechanisms.

Through ongoing consultations on developing the National Emergency Response System, key federal departments and agencies, and provincial and territorial governments have confirmed that their emergency response systems are compatible with the National Emergency Response System and that they will adapt their existing plans to reflect this new national emergency response framework.

To further this work, and as part of the development of the National Emergency Response System, a new all-hazards (terrorism, natural disasters and cyber incidents) national emergency response plan will be developed that will integrate various federal/provincial/territorial plans, show how the plans work together, and provide the necessary links between them. This umbrella plan will be developed with the participation of federal/provincial/territorial stakeholders beginning in fall 2005 and should be in place by fall 2006.

To assist in the production of this umbrella plan, PSEPC will create an inventory of all existing national plans, as well as those of the provinces and territories. This inventory will also be a valuable information resource. This national reference library of national emergency plans, contingency plans, binational emergency plans, and federal/provincial/territorial emergency plans will be completed in early 2006 and will be updated on a regular basis, as new plans are developed.

The National Emergency Response System also includes the development of event specific contingency plans. PSEPC develops these plans through extensive consultation with relevant federal departments and agencies and has already developed a number of such plans, including, for example, the Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Strategic Contingency Plan. Contingency plans are developed on an ongoing basis in response to specific emerging threats.

The National Security Policy designates PSEPC as the Department responsible for strengthening the testing and auditing of key capabilities, as well as conducting assessments of other federal departments and agencies. This includes a review of the plans of federal departments to ensure they are able to continue operating during emergencies. PSEPC has initiated evaluation program activities which include assessments, testing and auditing of departmental business continuity plans. This is a first step toward its overall National Security Policy mandate to audit the federal security systems of the Government of Canada.

The testing and validation of these plans is a critical element of these coordination efforts. This is further discussed under Auditor General Recommendation 2.179 below.

Auditor General Recommendation 2.163

PSEPC should lead the development of nationally accepted standards for equipment used in responding to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats. It should also work toward creating unified standards with the United States.

PSEPC agrees with this recommendation.

Developing CBRN equipment standards must proceed in the context of strategic, operational, technical and scientific requirements and foster a phased approach to interoperability across a broad range of potential counterterrorist scenarios. This is a rapidly evolving field that will require constant modification of standards.

Establishing and implementing standards also require multi-sectoral cooperation from stakeholders, including several federal departments and agencies, provinces and territories, first responders, technical experts and industry. Establishing standards does not preclude government regulation. However, the implementation and enforcement of regulations often require meeting standards established through standards development organizations.

Timelines for standards development vary since some standards can be adapted from existing ones, while others may require extensive consultation. Based on their experience, standards development organizations advise that the process for developing national standards can take anywhere from 18 months to as long as five years.

The development of national standards or guidelines for CBRN preparedness is named as a priority in the March 2005 CBRN Strategy of the Government of Canada. PSEPC and Defence Research and Development Canada, through its CBRN Research and Technology Initiative, are collaborating with key stakeholders, including other federal departments and agencies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provinces and territories, industry, standards development organizations and first responders, to develop CBRN equipment standards.

Immediate priorities include the development of standards for personal protective equipment and for radiological detection devices. Appropriate federal scientific communities have been tasked to review the technical aspects of existing international (U.S.) standards for operating in the Canadian environment. Following acceptable science-based conclusions, standards development organizations will be engaged to initiate the standards development process. Work in these priority areas will help determine the resource implications and associated costs for developing a larger suite of Canadian standards.

Auditor General Recommendation 2.173

PSEPC, together with the other federal departments and agencies mandated to train for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear response, should revisit the objectives for providing training to first responders and the delivery of the training.

PSEPC agrees with this recommendation.

The Canadian Emergency Preparedness College and its federal partners have conducted a strategic review of the CBRN First Responder Training Program. The review, which included consultation with a range of stakeholders, addressed the issues identified by the Auditor General and others and will be used to guide the development of a long-term operational plan for the program. The College has also reinvigorated federal/provincial/territorial discussion of CBRN training issues and will pursue such efforts in the light of the conclusions of the strategic review.

Given the strategic review and other inputs, the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College has begun preparing an interim operational plan for the First Responders Training Program through to the end of fiscal year 2005-06. The interim plan will be completed this fall and will be followed by development by December 2005 of a five-year operational plan. Full development of the five-year plan will be contingent in part on input from provinces and territories.

PSEPC recognizes the need to clarify provincial and territorial training requirements in the context of appropriate threat and risk assessments and is working toward that end with key stakeholders (e.g. the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre). In support of this, the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College is developing, with the assistance of the Public Health Agency of Canada, a questionnaire for provinces and territories regarding risks, vulnerabilities and training needs. The resulting data will help clarify provincial and territorial training needs, targets and priorities.

Important improvements in training delivery are being made this year. The introductory and basic Web courses were piloted (with high ratings from participants) in May and June 2005 in Saskatoon, Vancouver and Fredericton. A final pilot is to be held in Quebec City, likely in early fall. The launch of these two Web courses is currently planned for this fall.

Classroom versions of the basic course are being delivered this year in Yukon, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and possibly in Quebec, in each case for the first time. Seven intermediate courses are scheduled for fiscal year 2005-06 and, if the 280-300 seats available in these courses are fully taken by the provinces and territories, these seven offerings will effectively double the number of first responders previously trained to this level. At the same time, because the top priority cities targeted for intermediate training have now had significant access to it, PSEPC is now in a position to begin scheduling cities deemed to face a lesser but still significant degree of such risks.

The CBRN First Responder Training Program is projected to train some 1,000 first responders during fiscal year 2005-06 through the efforts of the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College and its provincial/territorial partners in classroom-based training. This effort will bring the number of first responders trained since delivery efforts began in the fall of 2003 to some 1,800.

Beginning in fall 2005, awareness-level introductory CBRN training is scheduled for a wide range of individuals who may be in a position to recognize a CBRN incident, but would not be in a position to respond (e.g. public transit operators, building operators and mailroom staff). This will significantly add to the number of persons benefiting from this training program.

Auditor General Recommendation 2.179

PSPEC should develop a long-term plan and budget for the conduct of national exercises.

PSEPC agrees with this recommendation.

In Budget 2005, the Government of Canada allocated funds to establish the National Exercise Program, develop a strategic plan for the program, and demonstrate the utility and critical results for the continuous improvement of Canada's National Emergency Management System.

Resources have already been allocated to support detailed cost assessment on a long-term basis. Over fiscal year 2006-07 and 2007-08, PSEPC will benchmark specific exercises with key partners in security and emergency management, e.g. federal and provincial public safety and emergency management organizations, critical infrastructure owner/operators, the cyber security community and first responders. PSEPC will also seek opportunities to leverage exercise investments through partnership in other government initiatives, for example, support to Transport Canada exercises to improve security for rail and mass transit and exercises under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. Once fully implemented, the National Exercise Program will require ongoing consultation and policy development with key players.

Development of the National Exercise Program involves the following steps:

  • release of the prototype of a protected Web-site to facilitate information exchange (fall 2005);
  • consultation through Web-site and key intergovernmental forums and federal committees and working groups to establish required governance, protocol and funding structures to advance program priorities (draft framework, spring 2006; final framework, spring 2007);
  • development and promulgation of a strategic exercise calendar (through fall 2005; note: the calendar is a dynamic, evergreen tool that is constantly updated and subject to change pending Government of Canada preparedness priorities); and
  • consolidation of lessons learned and how they inform the establishment of future exercise priorities (selected lessons learned documents are currently available through the Web-site; cross jurisdictional consolidation of lessons learned process will form part of the National Exercise Program framework).

In addition to Exercise Triple Play, several priority exercises have already been scheduled for fiscal year 2005-06 to test Canada's national readiness: national security in its cyber, marine and counterterrorist dimensions, emergency management and critical infrastructure protection. PSEPC's National Exercise Division works closely with other federal departments and agencies, provincial and territorial counterparts, international colleagues and other sectoral stakeholders in the development and delivery of these exercises.

Future exercises, such as emergency public health response, will be linked to an overarching set of national objectives that would be negotiated for priority and duration with key stakeholders on a regular recurring basis. PSEPC has developed this coordinating initiative from the eight-point work plan of Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Emergency Management in a prototype Web-based national exercise calendar.

A key part of the National Exercise Program will be the ongoing consolidation of lessons learned and how they inform the establishment of future priorities. PSEPC is testing a protected Web-site with provincial and territorial partners to facilitate information exchange on exercise training objectives. This activity provides an evaluation tool and a preliminary consultation forum in the development of the National Exercise Program. The goal is to provide, by fall 2005, broader access to the Web-site to emergency management and response organizations across domestic jurisdictions and infrastructure sectors.

Auditor General Recommendation 2.193

PSEPC should revisit its programs for the emergency preparedness and management of the nation's critical infrastructure protection and base its strategy on a risk assessment.

PSEPC agrees with this recommendation.

PSEPC is currently working with its partners (other federal departments and agencies, provinces, territories, the private sector and the United States) to develop a national strategy and work plan for critical infrastructure protection. The Government of Canada's position is that an integrated risk management framework is the starting point when developing the national critical infrastructure protection strategy.

Developing a consolidated critical infrastructure protection risk assessment has been challenging because of the different states of preparedness and security of each of the 10 national critical infrastructure sectors. Canada/U.S. and federal/provincial/territorial jurisdictional issues are also a factor.

The National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure Protection will be released in fall 2005 to provide guidance to undertake a comprehensive implementation plan. The strategy is based on feedback from national consultations conducted in the spring of 2005 on the Government of Canada's Position Paper on Critical Infrastructure Protection, which identified key challenges and recommendations to improve Canada's national critical infrastructure resiliency. PSEPC will work with provinces and territories to develop a detailed work plan to implement the Government of Canada's National Critical Infrastructure Protection Strategy throughout fall 2005 through a federal/provincial/territorial working group.

Federal officials have worked with their U.S. counterparts to develop critical infrastructure protection risk assessment methodologies for the implementation phase of the Canada-U.S. Public Security Technical Program. The Government of Canada will use the results of these methodologies and other solutions to guide its work. This includes the development of programs and collaboration with provinces and territories on risk assessments as part of the joint critical infrastructure protection work plan. The Canada-U.S. Public Security Technical Program provides that by 2006, joint risk assessments of critical infrastructure protection (physical and cyber) will be completed.

Cross-border critical infrastructure protection has been identified as a priority in goal 9 in the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. Specifically the first objective of goal 9 is to develop and implement compatible protective and response strategies and programs for shared critical infrastructures in mutually agreed priority areas, including but not limited to energy, dams, telecommunications, transportation, the nuclear, radiological and defence industrial base, and cyber systems. The second objective is to develop and implement joint plans for cooperation for incident response, as well as conduct joint training and exercises in emergency response. In order to meet these objectives, a number of deliverables have been identified with timelines ranging from 6 to 30 months.

RECOMMENDATION 2

That Transport Canada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, and the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness incorporate Treasury Board Secretariat's Integrated Risk Management Framework into all aspects of security enhancement programs and activities prior to 31 December 2005.

Treasury Board Secretariat's Integrated Risk Management Framework provides guidance on adopting a more holistic approach to managing risk, emphasizing four related elements: developing the corporate risk profile; establishing an integrated risk management function; practising integrated risk management; and ensuring continuous risk management learning.

All three organizations agree with the recommendation to implement this risk management framework and have already started to do so. Fully integrating risk management into departmental planning and business processes will require an additional year.

As noted in Transport Canada's response to the Auditor General's report and the above Committee recommendation, the Department recognizes the importance of risk management. Transport Canada currently considers risk in its decision-making processes and performs other activities consistent with the Treasury Board Secretariat's Integrated Risk Management Framework. As noted in Transport Canada's response to Committee Recommendation 1, the Department has initiated and will be undertaking additional activities that will enhance risk-based decision making.

CATSA also supports this recommendation and has completed implementation of its Integrated Risk Management Framework consistent with Treasury Board Secretariat guidelines. In keeping with these guidelines, CATSA's Audit Committee approved a methodology for carrying out risk assessments. In addition, an annual corporate risk profile for the Audit Committee, and business unit risk assessments for senior management have been carried out, and will continue to be carried out, in accordance with this methodology. Going forward, CATSA is committed to implementing risk-based enhancements to its programs and activities.

At PSEPC, basic risk management is already applied to various programs and activities. In the PSEPC context, basic risk management includes the completion of risk assessment templates to inform the decision-making process during the annual business planning exercise in the fall and the audit and evaluation planning exercise in the spring. The process of integrating risk management into all activities as envisioned in the Treasury Board Secretariat's Integrated Risk Management Framework will be well underway by December 31, 2005, as a departmental Integrated Risk Framework document and corporate risk profile have already been drafted. Refinement of these documents will draw on a number of processes, including department-wide consultations and interviews with key personnel.

The integration process will ensure all requirements are met and can be tied to the overarching PSEPC departmental Integrated Risk Management Framework, which has not yet been finalized. PSEPC needs to finalize the umbrella framework for the Department and complete the development of its corporate risk profile before it applies the Integrated Risk Management Framework to all programs across the Department. The risk of developing too many individual frameworks ahead of the departmental framework may make it harder to integrate new or existing risk management practices at a later date. Full integration will require revised processes, training, an excellent communications strategy, and time to develop a culture in which risk management is factored into all decision-making processes.

RECOMMENDATION 3

That Transport Canada allocate the funds required to improve the accuracy of the data that was accumulated prior to April 2004 and is stored in its main inspection database.

Transport Canada has reviewed the pre-April 2004 data with its regional branches, and has taken action to correct the data. The Department will continue to focus its efforts on ensuring the accuracy and integrity of its security inspection data. Resources have been allocated to develop options for upgrading the main inspection database. Transport Canada will also develop a user's guide and train its security inspectors on the database, to enhance the accuracy and integrity of its inspection data in the future.

RECOMMENDATION 4

That once Transport Canada has put in place system-wide performance measures to assess the work done by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the Department conduct an overall analysis of the effectiveness of its security systems within one year and take all appropriate corrective actions as needed. Transport Canada must submit a progress report to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts by 31 December 2005.

It should be noted that the Auditor General's recommendation regarding system-wide performance measures pertains to the assessment of CATSA's performance. To implement this recommendation, Transport Canada is taking action in a number of areas, including developing system-wide performance measures, initially focusing on hold baggage screening; responding to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit where appropriate; and carrying out its ongoing compliance monitoring activities.

As previously noted in its response to Committee Recommendation 1, under Auditor General Recommendation 2.50, Transport Canada is developing system-wide quantitative and qualitative performance measures and has established a national working group for this purpose. The initial focus of this working group will be to develop performance measures for hold baggage screening. The measures will be finalized and begin to be utilized in 2006.

The International Civil Aviation Organization recently audited Canada's compliance with ICAO standards. The audit scope was comprehensive and included Transport Canada's oversight of CATSA.

Based on ICAO audit recommendations, Transport Canada will take the necessary steps to further strengthen its aviation security regime. Results of this audit will help Canada identify priority areas for improving the air transportation system, and will be factored into decisions on future aviation security enhancements.

Once system-wide performance measures have been implemented, Transport Canada will conduct, within one year, an overall analysis of the effectiveness of its security systems as it pertains to CATSA's performance and take appropriate corrective action. Transport Canada will submit a progress report to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts by December 31, 2005.

It should be noted that Transport Canada monitors the effectiveness of its aviation security regime on an ongoing basis through its inspections, comprehensive security reviews and tests of the screening processes. Furthermore, through its quality assurance reviews, Transport Canada periodically assesses its oversight and enforcement function. The Department has recently completed two quality assurance reviews. Another review is planned for this fiscal year.

RECOMMENDATION 5

That Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada draft amendments to the Emergency Preparedness Act as soon as possible and table them in the House of Commons within one year in order to clearly define and ensure adequate powers and responsibilities for the Minister.

As set out in the response to Committee Recommendation 1, under Auditor General Recommendation 2.93, the Government of Canada is planning to introduce, in the short term, amendments to the Emergency Preparedness Act to clearly define and ensure adequate powers and responsibilities for the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

RECOMMENDATION 6

That the Government, in cooperation with the responsible authorities, approve Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada's new National Emergency Response System plan as soon as possible and that PSEPC obtain formal support for its new plan from other relevant federal departments and agencies.

As set out in the response to Committee Recommendation 1, under Auditor General Recommendations 2.96 and 2.97, the Government of Canada has already taken significant steps to implement and test the National Emergency Response System as well as obtain approval and support for this system.

RECOMMENDATION 7

That Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada work with the relevant departments, agencies and other levels of government to coordinate emergency response plans and report their progress in the annual departmental performance report.

As set out in the response to Committee Recommendation 1, under Auditor General Recommendation 2.105, the Government of Canada is working closely with the relevant federal departments, agencies and other levels of government to coordinate emergency response plans. PSEPC will report on the continuing progress of the National Emergency Response System and the coordination of emergency response plans in its departmental performance report.

RECOMMENDATION 8

That Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada draft standards now to ensure the interoperability of emergency response equipment and training.

As set out in the response to Committee Recommendation 1, under Auditor General Recommendation 2.163, the Government of Canada is committed to nationally accepted standards for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear equipment. Standards development organizations have already been engaged to undertake this work. Training needs are addressed in Committee Recommendation 9 below.

RECOMMENDATION 9

That Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada provide the Standing Committee on Public Accounts with an action plan detailing what it will do to increase the number of first responders trained to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies and that it report on its progress in its annual departmental performance reports.

As set out in the response to Committee Recommendation 1, under Auditor General Recommendation 2.173, the Government of Canada is taking the necessary steps to increase the number of first responders trained to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies, including:

  • a strategic review of the First Responder Training Program (summer 2005);
  • launch of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee on CBRN Training (began in summer 2005);
  • piloting and launch of introductory and basic CBRN courses through e-learning (three pilots were held in summer 2005; final pilot in October 2005; launch of e-learning courses in October 2005);
  • development of a revised short-term operational plan (September 2005);
  • renewed regional delivery of basic CBRN train-the-trainer courses (delivery in three regions in fiscal year 2005-06);
  • delivery of intermediate CBRN course increased to seven in fiscal year 2005-06 (May, June, September, October and November 2005 and January and March 2006); and
  • development of a long-term operational plan (December 2005).

The CBRN First Responder Training Program is projected to train some 1,000 first responders during fiscal year 2005-06.

PSEPC will report on its progress in its annual departmental performance reports.

RECOMMENDATION 10

That the Department of National Defence immediately resolve the serious command and control issues in the Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Company and report on its progress in its annual departmental performance report.

The National Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Team is a multi-departmental unit, composed of the Canadian Forces' Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Company, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Public Health Agency of Canada, specifically trained to handle CBRN materials, weapons or agents. The team was created to rapidly respond to and investigate criminal or terrorist incidents where CBRN materials may have been used.

The team draws on a broad range of skills and expertise from both its civilian and military members. A member of the RCMP leads the team and is the primary link to the first responders involved in an incident. The RCMP also provides expertise in dealing with CBRN improvised explosive devices as well as supplying forensic experts to collect and handle evidence. The Canadian Forces provides expertise on CBRN defensive measures and detection, identification and decontamination capabilities through its Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Company. The Public Health Agency of Canada provides expertise in dealing with biological substances, including a portable laboratory capable of dealing with highly contagious and highly lethal pathogens for which there are no vaccines (bio-safety level 4) (e.g. ebola, pneumonic plague, etc.).

The Government has defined procedures to allow Canadian Forces personnel to cooperate with federal and provincial law enforcement agencies and other government departments while responding to CBRN incidents. In December 2004, the Government evaluated the unit's ability to respond to domestic and expeditionary operations. Following this review, distinct and clearly defined roles for both the team's civilian and military members were devised to avoid any command and control issues, given that under the National Defence Act, Canadian Forces personnel are precluded from receiving orders from non-military members.

This resolved the command and control issues that were identified. The Department of National Defence will continue to report on the work of the Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Company in its annual departmental performance reports.

RECOMMENDATION 11

That Health Canada should immediately resolve the legal issues that are blocking the creation of emergency response medical and smallpox teams and report on its progress in its annual departmental performance report.

This matter is now within the mandate of the Public Health Agency of Canada. It has pursued implementation measures to render Health Emergency Response and Smallpox Emergency Response Teams operational.

Creating an effective and efficient structure to respond to public health emergencies requires cooperation between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. Through the Canadian Public Health Network and other forums (e.g. the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Expert Group on Emergency Preparedness and Response) and instruments such as the National Health Emergency Management Framework endorsed by all provincial and territorial jurisdictions, the Agency has addressed with the provinces and the territories the issue of cooperation in emergency preparedness and response. Agency officials working with the Canadian Public Health Network have drafted a federal/provincial/territorial mutual aid agreement that would facilitate inter-jurisdictional cooperation across Canada in health emergency preparedness and response.

Within this general context, extensive discussions have taken place relating to Health Emergency Response and Smallpox Emergency Response Teams. To make the concept of a surge capacity through Health Emergency Response Teams a reality, the Agency has addressed a number of critical issues. Since provinces and territories have the authority for licensure within their jurisdictions, the Public Health Agency of Canada has developed a process for emergency licensing through the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada. This body will validate the credentials of Health Emergency Response Team members so that when they are deployed for an emergency, a provincial or territorial license can be secured immediately.

The issue of liability has been addressed through consultation with the Canadian Medical Protection Association so that individual medical malpractice insurance will apply for medical practice during an emergency situation. The issue of indemnification has been addressed through the use of federal emergency employment provisions with the liability protections incorporated in federal employment.

Recently, it has been recognized that the smallpox vaccine clinical trials that must be conducted to meet regulatory requirements for the recently acquired vaccine will generate several hundred recently immunized persons. Among these will be public health workers at federal, provincial, territorial and local levels who will be organized to form the core of instructors to rapidly train smallpox vaccinators at the site of a smallpox outbreak. This will overcome previous obstacles to the establishment of a rapid response capability in the highly unlikely event of a smallpox outbreak.

It is anticipated that this work will resolve the issues identified and that the first team will be established by the summer of 2006.

The Public Health Agency of Canada will report on progress in its annual departmental performance report.

RECOMMENDATION 12

That the Public Health Agency of Canada purchase items for the national emergency stockpile based on risk assessments and casualty scenarios and report on its progress in its annual departmental performance report. It should also improve its ability to transport and distribute supplies during emergencies and report on its progress in its annual departmental performance report.

The Public Health Agency of Canada constantly maintains the National Emergency Stockpile System in a state of readiness for deployment anywhere in Canada within 24 hours of receipt of a request from provinces or territories. The National Emergency Stockpile System constantly undergoes updating, refurbishing and replacement of used or outdated supplies and materials.

In the long term, the National Emergency Stockpile System routinely commissions strategic reviews to ensure that it is positioned to meet and respond to all hazards and emergencies. Such a review is currently underway and includes a review of the contents of the stockpile. The Public Health Agency of Canada expects the Strategic Review Committee to produce a series of interim reports that will be acted upon by the National Emergency Stockpile System as they are received. As an example, the National Emergency Stockpile System is now commissioning an immediate review of the strategic scope of its 165 transportable hospitals to ascertain how well these existing hospitals could meet a situation similar to the collapse of the hospital capacities that occurred in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina and the resulting flooding.

Emergency transportation of National Emergency Stockpile System supplies has been addressed through the National Emergency Transportation System established by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada's Regional Emergency Response Coordinators have been developing National Emergency Stockpile System provincial and territorial emergency transportation plans in collaboration with each provincial/territorial jurisdiction.

The Public Health Agency of Canada will report on progress in its annual departmental performance report.

RECOMMENDATION 13

That Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada report on its progress in developing a long-term plan and budget for the conduct of national exercises in its report on plans and priorities and in its departmental performance reports. PSEPC must also indicate how people are trained and how many training exercises it has conducted in its departmental performance report and reference key lessons drawn from these exercises.

As set out in the response to Committee Recommendation 1, under Auditor General Recommendation 2.179, the Government of Canada has made progress in developing a long term plan and budget for the conduct of national exercises. PSEPC will continue to report on its activities in this area in its report on plans and priorities and in its annual departmental performance report.

RECOMMENDATION 14

That a joint committee of the Senate and House of Commons on security and intelligence be established as soon as possible.

This recommendation is the responsibility of the Senate and the House of Commons. However, in April 2005, the Government tabled in Parliament details of a model for a National Security Committee of Parliamentarians and is making every effort to develop legislation and work with opposition parties to introduce legislation in Parliament.