2012 issue [current-page:url:args:value:2]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Emergency Water Supply Planning Guide for Health Care Facilities

2012

(2011) Health care facilities need to develop an Emergency Water Supply Plan (EWSP) to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a total or partial interruption of the facilities' normal water supply because water supplies can, and do, fail. The objective of this Planning Guide is to help health care facilities develop a robust EWSP as part of its overall facility EOP and to meet the published standards set forth by the Joint Commission and the CMS. The guide is intended for use by any health care facility, regardless of size or patient capacity.

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Editor's Corner
Improving Emergency Response
CLIVE ADDY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

In this issue we have focused on Emergency Response, primarily medical, and reflect on some serious proposals such as those by Steve Rowland on Emergency Medical Services in Ontario and Edward R Myers on both the OPP Medical Services and the Culture of Safety Richard Bray and Sean Tracy expose some other responder safety challenges and innovations in their articles dealing with CBRN and electric vehicle accident response. The landscape of Emergency Response is evolving, and Search and Rescue in the Arctic by the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary highlights these challenges. The Mallard Fire of 1999 is described by Andre Fecteau in his article on coordinating volunteer and professional responders at times of serious natural and human disaster. In the matter of response, welcome progress through the formal allocation of the 700 MHz band to public safety needs across the country has been approved by Industry Canada. Pascal Rodier has made some excellent suggestions on this very issue that will be of particular interest to the new coordinating agency for this network.

Health authorities take note! Our FrontLine interview with Michael Nolan, President of the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada offers extremely pertinent recommendations to the federal government for improving safety and reducing health costs.

On the global front, we have two most interesting international topics one on the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency approach by Tim Lynch. He includes a novel comparison of international Coast Guards. The other, which includes an interview with the Commander of Canada COM, LGen Semianiw, delves into Canada-Mexico security issues.

The increasing presence of organized international crime syndicates, often linked with terrorism. My own article on Health Care Fraud, the one on Mexico and the one on the Malaysian Enforcement Agency bring to mind this insidious but powerful threat that is too often ignored though it threatens the security of all.

The recent assassination of a major Canadian crime boss in Mexico, the drug consumption in North America fuelling lucrative international crime networks and terrorist fund-raising, as well as the increase in slavery, money laundering and cyber theft as commerce, pose significant strategic security challenges to us all. This pervasive criminal presence in our midst is indeed our security "elephant in the room". To tackle such a monumental adversary as organized crime takes will, imagination, resources and a strategic international vision and effort beyond what we have to date. It undoubtedly begins with solid coordination at home and cooperation abroad. For this, Scott Newark's call for a National Security Coordinator is the least we should do and timely, if not late, since it was first requested by Mr. Justice Major in his 2010 Air India Report. I urge authorities at all levels to take these issues seriously.

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Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2012

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The Legal Front
Security vs Privacy
BY BARBARA McISAAC
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

“He can either stand with us or with the Child Pornographers.” With those words, in response to a question from Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia, Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews may have put an end to Bill C-30, The Investigating and Preventing Criminal ­Electronic Communications Act. The short title of the bill, which no doubt gave rise to Toews comments, is the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. Also known as Lawful Access legislation (dubbed by some wags as “Awful” Access Legislation), the bill was intended to enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct electronic surveillance – much of which no doubt is linked to investigation of child pornography activities – by requiring telecommunications service providers to implement and maintain systems and methods to monitor and intercept communications as well as allow them to respond more quickly to requests from law enforcement agencies for basic subscriber information.

Many believe that the Bill is now dead, such was the outrage over Toews’ comments and the opposition to the Bill from privacy advocates, including Canada’s ­Privacy Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioners of Ontario and British Columbia. However, it is more likely that it will be allowed to die on the Order Paper when Parliament is prorogued (as is expected some time this Fall), and then re-introduced in a new form, with a new sponsor and a more coordinated effort to gain support from interested stake holders.

So what is all the fuss about? The Canadian Press reported that supporters of the legislation, such as CSIS Chief Richard Fadden, wrote to Minister Toews describing the powers given to law enforcement and security agencies as “vital” to protecting national security.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) has expressed support for the legislation. In a Press Release, Association President, Chief Dale McFee, stated: “The CACP has endorsed lawful access ­legislation since it was first introduced by government in 2002. Canadians more than understand the exponential growth in technology which has occurred over the last few decades. Yet, law enforcement is being asked to protect the communities we serve based on legislation introduced in 1975 – the days of the rotary phone.”

On the other hand, the Privacy Commissioner is concerned about the necessity of such legislative measures and their balance with privacy rights. In a release issued by her office shortly after the introduction of the legislation, she made the point that she is, “not necessarily opposed to legislation that modernizes police powers online – but it must demonstrably help protect the public, respect fundamental privacy principles established in Canadian law and be subject to proper oversight.”

Where to draw the line between security and privacy? This matter has received much attention over the past few years, and the answer is not yet evident. The issues are complex, and the technologies even more so.

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Barbara McIsaac of the Borden Ladner Gervais’ Defence and Security Industry Group, primarily practices in the areas of privacy and access to information law. She can be reached at bmcisaac@blg.com.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Security Sitrep 2013: What's Right, What's Wrong
SCOTT NEWARK
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

As we embark on 2013, it is timely to reflect on the state of the various components of the security sector in Canada including to note progress made and action required. To do that, it’s helpful to reflect on that which happened in 2012…and that which didn’t because for both reasons it was a year of great significance for safety and security issues in Canada. This factual analysis will also demonstrate what needs action now.

At the outset, it is clear that the Canadian security sector is multi-faceted with multiple entities involved. That, however, is a challenge that needs to be confronted and overcome rather than just conveniently being invoked as an ‘explanation’ for inaction. FrontLine Security and others have long advocated for a central coordinating body with a precise mandate from the highest authority (You Know Who) to ensure intended goals are achieved and when they’re not, that visible accountability is the result.

This glaring need was identified in stark terms with the Auditor General’s revelations of our glaring and continuing cyber vulnerabilities. Add to that the confirmation that Canada has blindly allowed suspect Chinese companies access to government and private sector contracting in the telecoms and computer parts sector which, to put it mildly, our friends and allies are openly warning are security threats. The good news is that Shared Services Canada has confirmed that its re-organization of the government’s e-mail systems will only be open to Canadian companies. Let’s hope that includes ensuring that the contract vetting process includes looking into who controls what company including what their relevant links and connections are. We are also in urgent need of a PM directed cyber audit that includes all relevant federal entities as well as the critical infrastructure and private sector and it should include independent cyber techies and policy wonks to ensure that the audit results translate into pragmatic deliverables.

Dealing with threats of espionage is another issue inextricably linked to cyber security, “business investment” and our new would be best friends in the Peoples’ Republic of China. Many of these issues converged in 2012 with Canadians and the media making more pointed inquiries than ever before about what China is actually seeking in Canada which, trust me, is a good thing.

This appears to have irritated the Chinese Ambassador to Canada, Zhang Junsai, who recently told Canadians to produce evidence of Chinese espionage or ‘shut up’. No problems Mr. Ambassador. Why don’t we start by reviewing the 1997 ‘Sidewinder’ Report on China’s improper activities in Canada and after that update it with a Sidewinder 2.0 investigation? When your bosses back in Beijing start howling in outrage about Sinophobia we’ll tell them it was your suggestion. For readers who’d like a head start, I’d suggest reading the original ‘Sidewinder’ report, which CSIS declared as ‘Secret’ and ordered all copies destroyed when, following political orders, it shut down the original investigation. CSIS efforts notwithstanding, you can access the Sidewinder Report through top secret methods called Googling it on the Internet.  

The revelations of cyber security deficiencies in 2012 included the vulnerabilities of Canada’s Critical Infrastructure, which has also been an ongoing and largely unaddressed subject of concern since 9/11. We’ve had enough ‘Strategies’ ‘Action Plans’ and ‘Working Toward’ the same commitments from Public Safety Canada. Holding a meeting or launching yet another ‘consultation’ is not the (self appointed) leadership that is needed. Public authorities need to work with industry to define specific security requirements and then figure out the best models for funding and enforcement, like the US did in 2004. Another task best assigned to the National Security Coordinator.

One area that has seen measurable progress is border security where the initiatives in the wonderfully detailed Beyond the Border Action Plan have started to roll out. On schedule, Canada and the US have completed an analysis of information sharing mechanisms as well as a collective border focused Capabilities Study and a Gaps and Vulnerability Analysis. 2013 will see the release of a joint strategy to resolve the agreed upon vulnerabilities and a host of other specific and tangible cross border improvements. As FrontLine originally predicted in 2011, before the Border Action Plan was released, the success of the Agreement would be in its details and that has proven to be true.

Other announced initiatives have also been launched (on schedule) including pilot tests of the ‘Exit-Entry’ cross border information sharing arrangement and the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy where cargo containers specially cleared at ‘perimeter’ ports (Prince Rupert and Montreal) and tracked thereafter are given expedited clearance at the Canada-US border. A very encouraging start.

Less encouraging, unfortunately, is the continuing self-exclusion of CBSA (now enshrined in law) from the cross border marine enforcement ‘Shiprider program’. For reasons which remain unclear, cross border deployment of the automated, analytical marine radar surveillance system in the St Lawrence-Great Lakes is still on the ‘to do’ list as well. This should be an action item in 2013 with, hopefully, CBSA officers on board those intelligence-led, intercepting vessels. 

CBSA is also still dithering on developing and deploying a face recognition biometric lookout system at Canada’s ports of entry. This risk averse inactivity is in stark contrast to the efforts of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who openly promotes the need for such a lookout system and indeed the commitments of the Beyond the Border Agreement itself. This needs to get done…now… and is another appropriate task for the recommended National Security Coordinator. 

Domestically, there is a continuing need for awareness and anticipation of the Islamist security threat within Canada that is potentially emboldened by the recent ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood and the emerging Caliphate. Hopefully, the RCMP personnel assigned to this task got the memo that terrorism is the attack dog of Islamic (and other groups) extremism and that you don’t have to apologize for arresting suspected terrorists during Ramadan. Brushing up on the subversion from within mantra of the Muslim Brotherhood and its spider web network of affiliates is also recommended.

The other internal security issue that is likely to see action this year is a comprehensive set of legislative and operational reforms dealing with high risk and repeat criminals. The justice system’s ‘revolving door’ approach to these chronic offenders is nothing short of wilful blindness, which the Harper government is well aware needs to be resolved. Self interested defense lawyer horror notwithstanding, the result will not be more people locked up but it will be keeping the right people locked up or under effective supervision longer. The other result will be safer streets and real cost savings because the dominant feature of crime in Canada is that a disproportionately small number of offenders are responsible for a disproportionately large volume of crime. This can’t come soon enough. 

Finally, 2013 should be the year when we finally see progress on database integration efforts which will be important for screening of persons seeking entry to Canada and the U.S and expediting low risk trade and travel especially through enhanced supply chain security. One lower profile but high importance application of database integration enhancements is the need to facilitate collection of unpaid fines in Canada which are now estimated to be approximately $2B. Yes…that’s with a ‘B’. Watch for special statutory ‘Safety and Security’ Funds’ into which these recovered funds will be paid with defined approved spending purposes which means potential non tax funding sources for the security improvements described above. What a concept… collecting debts owed from people who break our laws instead of raising taxes on people who obey them.

Security Sitrep 2013?
Much done… much more to do.

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Scott Newark is a former Alberta Crown Prosecutor and security advisor to Governments in Canada.
© Frontline Security 2013

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Tobacco Roads
A Compilation of FrontLine Articles
EDWARD R. MYERS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 4)

In the murky world of criminal behaviour and clandestine side deals, there lurks a menace to economic fairness and good government – and this is especially evident in the debate on how to deal with the illicit trade in smokes. Public safety and national security are important social issues that are negatively affected by the prevalence of illicit trade in tobacco in Canada (and the world). The complexity of the contraband tobacco issue has provided much fodder for FrontLine Security’s detailed exposé on the topic over the past year.

In Canada, there is an added layer of complexity in that the First Nations communities are heavily involved in cigarette production and distribution, beginning with a constitutional permission, but obviously offering a tempting underground ­market outside the Reserve.

At the end of the day, FrontLine recommends more open and inclusive dialogue on the issue of how best to eliminate, or at least vastly reduce, the incidence of illicit tobacco growing, transporting, manufacturing, packaging and selling.

There are many players within the private sector including legitimate industry players. The tobacco growing farmers and government, including federal and provincial policy and enforcement personnel, need to get on the same page about how to deal with the contraband tobacco problem.

These dialogues need to deal with the real issues that permit the growth of the underground tobacco market and these issues need to be sorted out by the players in a collaborative (if perhaps, mediated as well) way. For example, when the R.C.M.P. fails to provide adequate law enforcement resources or commitment, that failure should provoke a stakeholder response.

Another candid assessment of failure needs to be pointed out: the Ontario Ministry of Revenue’s decision to pussy-foot around the issue of regulating who grows, processes, sells, buys, imports, exports or inter-jurisdictionally transports tobacco. That department has the authority to regulate, and therefore must stop giving excuses for inaction. The time to act is now!

Responsibility for addressing problems related to contraband tobacco also rests with the public, the tobacco industry, and the media.

The tobacco industry has much culpability in the contraband issue as their legitimate product has spawned the appetite for tobacco in the first place. And now they must play a positive role in the demise of the illegal industry which is probably best done by financially supporting counter- ­contraband initiatives.

The public mistakenly believes that the illicit tobacco trade is a “victimless crime”; it will continue so long as there is a willing market. Public health efforts to educate generation after generation of children about the harms of tobacco use must continue.

New social media platforms connect many of the dots needed to get a message through to impressionable youth about the dangers of smoking. Many of those dangers are invisible to the young smoker, but there is truly a criminal network in virtually every community that launders profits from contraband tobacco operations. These operations are conducted with the help of organized crime, biker gangs, and terrorists.

Social media, coupled with the traditional media, has the capacity to add much to the learning curve needed by modern society about the realities of the illicit tobacco industry. However, before we can expect the public to become mature about the realities of that nether world, government officials at all levels, law enforcement at all levels, and other stakeholders should get in a room and start talking.

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Edward R. Myers, Editor
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Demystifying Defence & Security Regulation

© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

Canada's largest law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), has long recognized that businesses operating in the defence and security industry sectors routinely encounter complex issues that require a specialized type of legal expertise. For this reason, it created a Defence and Security Industry Group comprised of lawyers, patent agents and other professionals who have sectoral experience working with industry clients in a wide range of areas.


Members of BLG Ottawa's Defence and Security. Industry Group, from left: Bruce Carr-Harris, Joachim Fritz, Barbara McIsaac, Vincent DeRose, Gerry Stobo, and Yvan Morin.

Given the sensitive nature of defence and security contracts, companies operating in these sectors face a web of regulations that can dictate the smallest of details. Bidding on such contracts requires careful navigation of a labyrinth of constantly changing rules. BLG helps its industry clients work their way through these laws and regulations while avoiding punishing sanctions that can result from a misstep.

Members of BLG's Defence and Security Industry Group regularly advise defence and security industry executives, ranging from large institutional clients to small and medium sized enterprises, with respect to government procurements and bid disputes; export controls and economic sanctions; access to information requests; federal and provincial lobbying rules; joint ventures and teaming agreements; intellectual property rights; and numerous other corporate, commercial and litigation matters.

The professionals within BLG's Defence and Security Industry Group have represented defence and security industry clients before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Some members of the group have also appeared before the Security Intelligence Review Committee and international dispute resolution panels established pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

BLG's commitment to service has resulted in the frequent recognition of many of its legal professionals at home and abroad. Professionals in BLG's Defence and Security Industry Group were featured in the 2012 editions of Chambers Global - The World's Leading Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in Canada, the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, the 2011 editions of the International Who's Who of Public Procurement Lawyers, and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.

As Canadian defence and security industry companies strive to seize new market opportunities in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, they will need to rely upon a legal firm with both national strength and the local knowledge. With professionals in major urban centres across Canada, BLG's Defence and Security Industry Group can bring together teams from across the firm to address their client's most pressing and complex legal needs. 

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© FrontLine Security 2012

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Illicit Tobacco Trade
EDWARD R. MYERS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

View pdf

The illicit trade of tobacco is a global multi-billion dollar criminal market that some believe is fueled by the good intentions of health groups that advocate measures such as higher taxes and plain packaging. While big tobacco frets over the increasingly regulated industry, criminals frolic over the demand for cheaper smokes. This is Part One of a three-part series examining the different macro environmental factors of the illicit tobacco market and its related analyses. First, we focus on how, from a global perspective, this illicit trade is positioned and managed. In subsequent editions, Parts Two and Three will look specifically at the Canadian context and examine possible courses of action.

LOW RISK, HIGH PROFITS
In most parts of the world, the sale and consumption of tobacco to adults is allowed with varying legal limitations, regulatory oversight and other considerations that include the collection of tax and duty. The legitimate tobacco industry operates within this highly ­prescribed framework and is able to generate impressive returns. It should come as no surprise then, that this active, albeit controversial, market is prime ground for those select few who view tax evasion as an opportunity. Some working outside these highly politicized tobacco laws, do so with entrepreneurial vigor.

TOBACCO TAX FRAUD, SWEDEN
Tobacco tax fraud in Sweden earns lucrative profits for criminals and deprives the economy of millions in tobacco tax. One news report states that, between 2009-2011, twelve cigarette import companies robbed the state of €64 million (US$81.3 million) in tobacco taxes. One of these incidents alone comprises $20.3 million USD in lost taxes. The tax fraud scheme involves the legal import of cigarettes and then quickly selling the them at lower prices before the required time limit (72 days) to declare the importation to tax authorities. By the time ­authorities discover the fraud, the registered owners have declared bankruptcy and are on the run. Instructions for this type of scheme were reportedly posted on the Internet. While searching the car of a man convicted for ­economic crimes and links to organized crime in 2005, Swedish authorities came across a how-to plan which explained the tobacco tax scheme.

Source: hetq online (June 21, 2012), “Tobacco Scheme Robs State of Millions”.

http://hetq.am/eng/news/15819/sweden-tobacco-scheme-robs-state-of-millio...

As with most criminal enterprises, those engaged in illicit trade operate to make a profit. Tax evasion schemes are typically multi-dimensional and offer opportunities at different stages of the manufacturing and distribution process. Substantial profit can be made, based on varying degrees of innovation and the margin upon which it is possible to undersell a legitimate competitor – and that is where each country’s laws affect levels of criminal interest.

Illicit tobacco trade is influenced by the price differential between taxed and untaxed cigarettes, which varies from country to country. Domestic regulations and legislation also differ in forms of severity.

Both tax evasion potential, and the ease with which rules can be circumvented, have an impact on the regional dynamics of the illicit trade. This is not to exclude other influencers, such as economic conditions, geographical location, psychographics and demographics.

The modest penalties associated with the illicit trade in tobacco is another important factor fueling this particular market.

Attach low risk to substantial profits and the result is a shrewd cast of characters drawn to a very dynamic criminal market.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND
In addition to low risk and high profits, other commonalities define the illicit trade of tobacco in many countries. One of the more obvious, relates to supply and demand – quite simply, there is a willing consumer market for contraband.

Tobacco may be considered a ‘filthy’ habit for many people, but smoking a ­cigarette is practicable and legal (with the exception of Bhutan where smoking has been banned since 2004). It’s safe to say that for many otherwise law-abiding ­citizens, the only real difference between contraband and lawful tobacco is price.

The World Health Organization and other mainstream reports suggest that the illicit trade in tobacco is particularly attractive to those who are price sensitive. Young people or those in lower-income brackets are prime targets for the black market.

An interesting sociological examination of the contraband market took place in 2003 in a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Harlem, New York, where the respondents “tended to be poorer and less educated than the general Harlem population.” In the study, illicit tobacco vendors “were uniformly viewed as a justifiable and appreciated response to the high price of cigarettes.” Study participants commented: “we’re thankful for the $5 man,” or “it’s stressful living in Harlem, especially with the economy now. You can find a pack of cigarettes before you can find a job.” One might be inclined to cynically call for an end to poverty or unemployment before entertaining the complexities of eliminating a market for contraband.

WEAK PENALTIES, USA
A prominent headline in recent months relates to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot’s stance on illegal cigarette activity. Earlier in the year, he urged the Maryland Senate to pass legislation to increase the penalties for tobacco violations associated with the smuggling of cigarettes and other tobacco products into Maryland. The House of Delegates passed the bill by a 115 to 12 vote margin, however the Senate did not follow suit. Maryland’s cigarette seizures have quadrupled between 2010 and 2012. The penalties in Maryland are so minor that one couple was arrested three times in three months, all on charges of transporting contraband.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Cigarette seizures quadrupled over two years” (July 25, 2012).
 
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-franchot-tax-20...

Some consumers, and even some non-consumers of tobacco, view the issue of contraband cigarettes as relatively harmless or not as serious as other criminal activity. The import and sale of occasional cartons is routinely practiced by otherwise lawful citizens. For example, Finnish Customs estimates that 100 to 200 million duty-free cigarettes are legally carried into Finland across the border from Russia each year. A resident of Finland is allowed to bring back one carton of cigarettes from Russia, where it can cost as little as one-tenth of the Finnish price. This occasional allowance can be interpreted by some to mean two cartons per week. Career smugglers have been known to undertake ­”soldier-ant smuggling”, where busloads of Finnish people returning from sojourns to Russia are solicited to each bring a carton of cigarettes across the border. The tax loss to Finland is formidable, yet this illegal practice is considered harmless by most people.

Looking at the size of the contraband market, it is evident that this laissez-faire attitude extends across numerous borders. In an agreement between the European Commission and Philip Morris International (PMI), a study was conducted to assess the illicit trade in contraband and counterfeit cigarettes in the European Union (EU). The study, by audit firm KPMG, estimates that one in ten cigarettes sold in the 27-nation bloc in 2011 was contraband. The report shows a steady climb for black market cigarettes over a five-year period. It is worth mentioning that, while the study was funded from an industry source, the European Commission considered the data to be of sufficient quality that the results have been shared with member states and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

Cost savings, while key, is not the only factor driving the purchase of illicit product. Studies indicate that easy access fuels demand for the contraband market. Setting aside price, youth are unable to lawfully purchase cigarettes – they “provide a demand for contraband cigarettes that is independent of tax issues.”

Ultimately, one cannot dismiss the fact that there is a willing market for illegal ­cigarettes – with few hurdles in the way. Erroneously believing that the purchase of illicit tobacco products is a somewhat ­victimless crime, many otherwise law-abiding people knowingly become black market consumers in order to benefit from cheaper contraband products.

ORGANIZED CRIME
The clandestine nature of the illicit trade in tobacco poses the obvious challenge of accurately measuring the scope and extent of the problem. In some authoritative reports, contraband tobacco is cited as less lucrative than narcotics. In other more anecdotal accounts, the very opposite is suggested. A Virginia State Crime Commission staff report on illegal cigarette trafficking quoted one agent with the Virginia State Police as saying that “illegally trafficked cigarettes now have a higher profit margin than cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or guns.”

Whether it is less or more lucrative than narcotics, news reports attest to the potent purchasing power of contraband. In 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that an exchange of one kilogram of cocaine took place for 3,000 cartons of cigarettes. In another incident, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a Virginia man was sentenced in 2010 to more than 18 years in prison for conspiring to hire a hit man to murder someone he believed had stolen more than 15,000 cartons of his contraband cigarettes. The case was part of an investigation that charged more than 14 people for their role in the purchase/trade of $8 million in drugs and nearly 40 firearms for 388,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes to sell in New York. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) estimates that a cigarette trafficker taking cigarettes from Virginia to New York City can make about $4 million for a single truckload of 800 cases (one case is usually equivalent to 50 cartons of cigarettes).

‘CHEAP WHITES’ INCREASING MARKET SHARE IN UK
A joint report issued by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the UK Border Agency in April 2011 explains that illicit whites, including Raquel and Jin Ling, have now established themselves in the UK. “Along with counterfeits, they represent the most significant threat to legitimate trade and tobacco revenues in the UK from large scale organized criminality,” it states. Illicit whites, also known as ‘cheap whites’, are made specifically for smuggling and involve the legal production of low-cost cigarettes with made-up brand names. Unlike counterfeit, some of the ­cigarettes bear a similarity to popular brand products but they do not infringe intellectual property rights. The cigarettes are sold legally to a purchaser in the country of origin and subsequent purchasers then smuggle the product across borders without payment of tax. The product is the sold at half the price of domestic duty-paid cigarettes.

Source: “Tackling Tobacco Smuggling – building on our success. A renewed strategy for HM Revenue & Customs and the UK Border Agency” (April 2011).

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.por...

Funding Criminal Activity
Of particular concern is how smuggling profits are invested in other criminal activities. A senior official who heads the cigarette smuggling unit at the European Union’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), reportedly complained that “this trade is financing organizations that are involved in other activities including drug smuggling.”

At the Bolivia-Paraguay border, organized crime and smuggling operations are known to use contraband to launder their money. A centre that provides research, analysis and investigations on organized crime in Latin America states that “while the sale of contraband seems like a lesser crime compared to cocaine trafficking, it is not so far removed from it. Contraband is actually quite commonly used by criminal structures to launder profits from other criminal activities. The lack of recorded transactions provides groups with an easy way to invest the bulk cash associated with drug profits, and allows them to diversify their income as well.” Like many lawful companies, transactions conducted by organized crime groups employ sound practices that enhance their legitimate and/or illegitimate business prospects.

Disturbingly, evidence also suggests the illicit trade in tobacco finances groups that pose a threat to national security. Operation Smokescreen, which took place between 1995 and 2000, revealed that a Hezbollah cell operating in the United States was ­generating money through illegal cigarette trafficking, primarily from North Carolina to Michigan. The money was allegedly used to sponsor military training overseas. Some sources say that over $8 million dollars was illegally earned. The reach of the threat and harm posed by these and other organized crime activities is difficult to appreciate fully and perhaps even record accurately.

The profits from the illicit trade of tobacco are substantial enough to earn the attention of criminals at varying levels of skill and sophistication. Organized crime is resourceful and capable of innovative tax evasion schemes that rob the global economy of billions of dollars every year and put public health and safety at risk.

PRICE INEQUITIES
Opinions on the price of tobacco often depend on objectives. For many health advocates, controlling the price of cigarettes through taxation assists in reducing tobacco consumption. Governments benefit from its additional revenue. Those who oppose higher taxes include smokers and the tobacco industry, for obvious reasons. Reducing the illegal supply of cheaper products and associated criminal activity is perhaps the more compelling objective for those opposed to increasing or maintaining higher taxation rates. One thing is certain, this is a highly politicized debate.

WEAK PENALTIES, USA
Interstate 95 is being used to take cigarettes from low-tax states like Virginia and North Carolina to high-tax states like New York. The justice department estimates these states are losing $5 billion every year on untaxed cigarettes. ATF special agent in Northern ­Virginia explains that the venture is profitable, hard to detect and tempting to criminals because they face less jail time if caught. One Virginia man was trading millions in cash, cocaine, heroin, even luxury automobiles for untaxed cigarettes.

Source: WWT NBC12, “Cigarette Smuggling” (July 11, 2012),

http://www.nbc12.com/story/19004212/12-investigates-cigarette-smuggling

It is not likely that policy decisions will reconcile all these varying and contrasting points of view. For example, the World Bank takes a strong position on the economics of tobacco. Its website explains that “even where smuggling becomes a serious problem, tax increases bring greater ­revenues and reduce smoking.” Some within law enforcement might argue that the cursory reference to smuggling being a lesser consideration does not delve deeply enough into the real implications and unintended consequences of the illicit trade of tobacco. Nations struggling with debt and financial crisis might agree to conditions required for assistance from the World Bank or willingly embark on policies to generate much needed revenue to avoid bankruptcy or a recession.

Regulations guiding tobacco taxation schemes cannot help but vary at the global, regional, national, and inter-domestic levels. The resulting imbalance creates opportunities in the market place for tax evasion and provides unintended fodder for criminal groups.

One solution being currently proposed in Europe, is to implement a single, high EU-wide cigarette tax. It is an approach that strives to tackle price disparity within an entire region. EU member states have a veto on tax policy, however, the initiative seeks a new minimum cigarette tax rate starting in 2014. Countries where the tax is lowest, like Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania, would have until 2018 to implement the change.

Even if this could be accomplished within Europe, it is not too difficult to forecast that smugglers will forge other routes to ensure continued activity in the European black market. This is already evidenced by the amount of illicit or ‘cheap whites’ that are currently being smuggled into the 27-nation bloc by transit zones along the eastern EU borders.

While the proposed EU-wide cigarette tax initiative does not completely eliminate the illicit trade of tobacco, it approaches policy change in a coordinated fashion that can serve to undermine opportunities and levels of unlawful profit.

Reducing the pull and prospects of illicit tobacco appears to be a workable, albeit imperfect, solution. One unavoidable focus is price. Higher taxes have proven effective in reducing smoking rates but also in increasing contraband tobacco. The decision must ultimately consider whether the illicit trade of tobacco, and its unintended consequences, surpasses smoking rates as a priority. If so, minimizing the illicit profit margin, or in some way increasing the cost of illicit production, must become a priority. Other equally important measures include increasing penalties associated with the illegal supply of tobacco, setting up obstacles to access, promoting awareness about the wider impacts of contraband, and increasing enforcement pressure. These synchronized steps may not eliminate the problem, but can take some of the wind out of its sails.

A WORD ON PROHIBITION
The prohibition on alcohol in the United States began in 1920 and ended with a constitutional amendment 14 years later in favor of regulating alcohol rather than banning it. Despite this historical experiment, a number of health advocates and other interest groups believe that a gradual banning of cigarettes along with other controls will eventually work towards curbing and eventually eliminating tobacco consumption.

Some countries have already proposed legislation that moves towards a de facto prohibition of tobacco. Finland has a bill that calls for it to become smoke‐free by 2040. In Iceland, there is a proposal to prohibit cigarette sales except in pharmacies, and eventually for sales to be accompanied by a doctor’s prescription.

While prohibition as a result of regulatory suppression is a phased-in approach, it may fail to meet its goals, especially facing an existing demand for the banned goods.

COLLECTIVE WHO PROTOCOL
Within the context of the World Health Organization Framework ­Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), an agreement was reached on a protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products. After four years of negotiations, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade agreed on a draft text that sets the rules for combating the illicit trade of tobacco products. It will be submitted to the Conference of the Parties for consideration and adoption in November 2012. The draft looks specifically at control of the supply chain. It also establishes what constitutes unlawful conduct and sets out related enforce­ment and international ­cooperation measures. Under the protocol, the Parties propose to establish a global tracking system for tobacco products and reach agreement on other measures, such as licensing, liability, enforcement, information sharing and mutual legal assistance. The measures are designed to counteract and eventually eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco products. All Parties to the WHO FCTC, of which Canada is a member, are expected to monitor and provide periodic reports relating to their respective progress in combating the illicit trade in tobacco products.

Another recent development took place when Australia’s highest court upheld a law that prohibits tobacco companies from displaying their logos on cigarette packs. Starting in December, all regulated packs of cigarettes in Australia will only be allowed to feature graphic health warnings. Other countries are already looking at this unprecedented legislation for their own tobacco control strategies. Critics of this tactic quite legitimately speculate that the move will only impact the legitimate and regulated market while enhancing potentials for organized crime. They argue that plain packaging will make counterfeiters’ and smugglers’ jobs easier and make Australia an attractive target market for those who make and sell counterfeit products.

Bhutan, a South Asian country, enacted a total ban on tobacco sales in 2004. One report indicates that the black market has moved in to meet the existing demand. It adds that de facto (what happens in practice) or de jure (what the law says) prohibitions fuel illegal trafficking, not in spite of, but because of the ban.

CANADA
Like other countries, the illicit trade of tobacco in Canada thrives, in large part, due to a price disparity between the legitimate industry and the fluctuating rate offered by the criminal market. What makes the situation in Canada unique with respect to the manufacturing of cigarettes, is the status of sovereign tribal territories.

Another factor adding to the problem of illicit trade relates to recent developments in the regulation of raw leaf tobacco. Ontario’s Ministry of Finance (which assumed oversight of all forms of raw leaf tobacco in the province on October 1, 2012) announced that anyone who grows, processes, sells, buys, imports, exports, or interjurisdictionally transports any varieties of raw leaf tobacco will be required to hold a registration certificate – but not until March 2013. This generous “grace period” provides a savoury opportunity for unlawful conduct and, in many ways, weakens law enforcement efforts to contain the illicit trade of tobacco.

The next article in this three-part series on the illicit trade of tobacco will focus on these challenges and provide some insight on how the matter of contraband is positioned within the Canadian context.

====
© FrontLine Security 2012

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CBRNE Threats
CLIVE ADDY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

Where does Canada stand on the topic of CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive) threats – this less likely, most dangerous, and much discussed realm of security and safety threats to humanity? There are a myriad of international treaties and conventions on these matters.

The 50-plus year history of these agreements and conventions has been coloured and varied: one major success (no nuclear attack since Hiroshima), several accidents, and many localized breaches. The fact that humanity has steered relatively clear from military use is a testimony to that rare ­wisdom brought about in international relations by “Mutual Assured Destruction” (or even major incapacitating damage). In short, the unpredictable disastrous results outweigh the risk of use for a marginal benefit. This works well at this level when potential use is viewed through “Balance of Power and Cold War lenses”.

The burning questions today are: Will this remain the case in the coming years? What, if any, changes should lead us to pay more, or less, attention to these issues? In what way, and at what levels?

A CHANGING PERSPECTIVE
On the nuclear side, the results of major energy generator accidents such as Chernobyl and Tsushima still lead us to sober contemplation of the risk/benefit discussions of nuclear energy and the reasoned degree of protection and emergency preparedness to attenuate it and make it “acceptable”.

In the chemical and biological arenas, there have been some uses, such as the Iran/Iraq war or Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. However, there is major concern by serious international agencies about the increased risk and sources of their use. This concern relates to the fact that usage, and thus the security risk, will move away from major powers to use by international and local criminals, terrorists and even unethical private sector agencies in this more global economy.

For instance, in the matter of CBRNE, Interpol views the threat as follows:

“Even though CBRN attacks are considered to be low-incidence crimes, it is worth noting that – unlike radiological, nuclear and biological agents – chemical materials can be found and acquired almost anywhere in modern societies. In today’s world, it is relatively easy for terrorist groups to gain access to chemical materials in order to manufacture weapons such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or Improvised Chemical Devices (ICDs). Incidents such as the Oklahoma bombing in 1995, the Madrid bombings in 2004, the London bombings in 2005, the Oslo bombing in 2011, as well as the sarin gas attacks in Tokyo in 1995, are all examples of horrific events where chemical or explosive materials were used to cause death and destruction at levels exceeding those of traditional criminal acts. Terrorist groups have a long history of favouring explosives as a popular weapon of choice to create an immediate large-scale effect with multiple casualties and thus terrorise an entire society. Even a small-scale attack using Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) can inspire extreme fear among a civilian population and have a disproportionate psychological impact.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross shares similar concerns in this area and warn of other deadly options. The International Committee of the Red Cross Summary Report (2002) on Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity stated:

“… The warnings of what can go wrong are profoundly disturbing. The ICRC believes these merit reflection at every level of society. Testimony from governments, UN agencies, scientific circles, medical associations and industry provides a long list of existing and emerging capacities for misuse. These include:

  • Deliberate spread of existing diseases such as typhoid, anthrax and smallpox to cause death, disease and fear in a population.
  • Alteration of existing disease agents rendering them more virulent, as already occurred unintentionally in research on the “mousepox” virus.
  • Creation of viruses from synthetic materials, as occurred this year using a recipe from the Internet and gene sequences from a mail order supplier.
  • Possible future development of ethnically or racially specific biological agents. Creation of novel biological warfare agents for use in conjunction with corresponding vaccines for one’s own troops or population. This could increase the attractiveness of biological weapons.
  • New methods to covertly spread naturally occurring biological agents to alterphysiological or psychological processes of target populations such as consciousness, behaviour and fertility, in some cases over a period of years.
  • Production of biological agents that could attack agricultural or industrial infrastructure. Even unintended release of such agents could have uncontrollable and unknown effects on the natural environment.
  • Creation of biological agents that could affect the makeup of human genes, pur­suing people through generations and adversely affecting human evolution itself.”

A CONTINENTAL APPROACH
In January 2011, Public Safety Canada released its Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Resilience Action Plan for Canada. The document states that:

“This Action Plan is based on the five strategic objectives [that are] core to developing CBRNE resilience:   

  • Provide leadership for coordinated policy and program development;
  • Integrate CBRNE into an all-hazards risk management approach;
  • Use capability-based planning to inform policy, program and investment decisions;
  • Build an effective and interoperable workforce;
  • Optimize information and knowledge management.

Under each strategic objective, action items are identified according to broad themes. Action items, specific tasks towards those action items, and corresponding deliverables form the basis to meeting the strategic objectives.”

Similarly, the US National Science and Technology Council Committee on Homeland and National Security Subcommittee on Standards released “A National Strategy for CBRNE Standards”. This latter report of Aug 2011 stressed the breadth of participation and set goals and timelines for achieving necessary standards: “… this Strategy covers the need for CBRNE standards. In addition to specifying high-level goals, this Strategy identifies lead activities to accomplish these goals, and provides the foundation to bridge current gaps. As such, it ­establishes a structure to facilitate the coordination of CBRNE investments and activities among agency leaders, program managers, the research and testing community, and the private sector.”

Finally and most significantly, both of these initiatives were formally correlated and made part of one of the most important governance documents between the US and Canada since the Free Trade Agreement, when Prime Minister Harper and President Obama released the “Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan in February” wherein it states the following, deemed pertinent to CBRN:

“Establish binational plans and capabilities for emergency management, with a focus on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) events.

Next Steps: The first working group will focus on preventing, mitigating, preparing for, responding to and recovering from CBRNE events. It will:

  • Establish joint training opportunities and share lessons learned to enhance preparedness for, and response to, CBRNE events in both countries;
  • Establish bilateral information-exchange opportunities to share advancements in policies, plans, science and technology, and lessons learned;
  • Establish a strategy that can enhance bilateral interoperability for conducting CBRNE response; and
  • Develop a mutual-assistance CBRNE concept of operations.

The second working group will focus on cross-border interoperability as a means of harmonizing cross-border emergency communications efforts. It will pursue activities that promote the harmonization of the Canadian Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System with the U.S. Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to enable sharing of alert, warning and incident information to improve response coordination during binational disasters. Specifically, this working group will:

  • Coordinate national-level emergency communications plans and strategies;
  • Identify future trends and technologies related to communications interoperability;
  • Promote the use of standards in emergency communications;
  • Promote governance models and structures; and
  • Share best practices and lessons learned.

Measuring Progress: Public Safety Canada, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will establish the working groups that will develop work plans and validation metrics by October 30, 2012. They will validate their bilateral efforts within a five-year period.”

On the 23 November Candice Bergen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, stated:

“Serious incidents involving hazardous materials can happen in Canada and the United States. Establishing the bi-national CBRNE Work Group demonstrates our commitment to preparedness with a common focus across the Canada-US border so that we can remain resilient in the event of a CBRNE situation. Given the prevalence of CBRNE materials for industrial and scientific use and the evolving nature of potential threats, cooperation and preparedness at all levels is crucial. Shared learning opportunities with our provincial and territorial counterparts support our collaboration with the U.S. It is in our national interest to ensure our shared border with the U.S. is as open, efficient and secure as possible.”

Monitor Accountability
(Also see: http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/page/bbg-tpf/perimeter-security-and-econo...)

All of these initiatives are indeed to be applauded. They must also be measured and followed as they progress. For instance, since the January 2011 CBRNE Action Plan was published, we are already entering into the second year (or level as indicated in the Plan), and many actions and designations will come due in 2013.

To keep the focus on achieving these will undoubtedly be important to the pertinence of these issues, as surrounding fiscal challenges hit every level of government and private enterprise. The all-encompassing nature of the CBRNE threats, like those of Emergency Response and Cyber Security, are better dealt with on a continental level and in depth throughout our public and private sectors for they know no boundaries when they appear. What we learn in one will affect the other.

Let us not end up two years from now with an Auditor General of Canada report on the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan like the one we just received in October of this year on Cyber Security for Critical Infrastructure, wherein the following criticisms, among others, were reported:

  • “we were unable to determine how much of the $780 million was specifically allocated to activities for the protection of critical infrastructure from cyber threats.”
  • “At the time of our audit, 11 years after the Government of Canada first committed to using partnerships to strengthen Canada’s critical infrastructure protection, we found uneven progress in establishing working sector networks.”
  • “Monitoring the cyber threat environment has not been complete or timely.”

Canada, we can do better.

====
Clive Addy, is the Executive Editor of Frontline Security.
© Frontline Security 2012

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Illicit Tobacco: What's the Big Deal? (part 1)
EDWARD R. MYERS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 4)

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The illicit trade of tobacco is a global multi-billion dollar criminal market that some believe is fueled by the good intentions of health groups that advocate measures such as higher taxes and plain packaging. While big tobacco frets over the increasingly regulated industry, criminals frolic over the demand for cheaper smokes. This is Part One of a three-part series examining the different macro environmental factors of the illicit tobacco market and its related analyses. First, we focus on how, from a global perspective, this illicit trade is positioned and managed. In subsequent editions, Parts Two and Three will look specifically at the Canadian context and examine possible courses of action.

LOW RISK, HIGH PROFITS
In most parts of the world, the sale and consumption of tobacco to adults is allowed with varying legal limitations, regulatory oversight and other considerations that include the collection of tax and duty. The legitimate tobacco industry operates within this highly ­prescribed framework and is able to generate impressive returns. It should come as no surprise then, that this active, albeit controversial, market is prime ground for those select few who view tax evasion as an opportunity. Some working outside these highly politicized tobacco laws, do so with entrepreneurial vigor.

TOBACCO TAX FRAUD, SWEDEN
Tobacco tax fraud in Sweden earns lucrative profits for criminals and deprives the economy of millions in tobacco tax. One news report states that, between 2009-2011, twelve cigarette import companies robbed the state of €64 million (US$81.3 million) in tobacco taxes. One of these incidents alone comprises $20.3 million USD in lost taxes. The tax fraud scheme involves the legal import of cigarettes and then quickly selling the them at lower prices before the required time limit (72 days) to declare the importation to tax authorities. By the time ­authorities discover the fraud, the registered owners have declared bankruptcy and are on the run. Instructions for this type of scheme were reportedly posted on the Internet. While searching the car of a man convicted for ­economic crimes and links to organized crime in 2005, Swedish authorities came across a how-to plan which explained the tobacco tax scheme.

Source: hetq online (June 21, 2012), “Tobacco Scheme Robs State of Millions”.

http://hetq.am/eng/news/15819/sweden-tobacco-scheme-robs-state-of-millio...

As with most criminal enterprises, those engaged in illicit trade operate to make a profit. Tax evasion schemes are typically multi-dimensional and offer opportunities at different stages of the manufacturing and distribution process. Substantial profit can be made, based on varying degrees of innovation and the margin upon which it is possible to undersell a legitimate competitor – and that is where each country’s laws affect levels of criminal interest.

Illicit tobacco trade is influenced by the price differential between taxed and untaxed cigarettes, which varies from country to country. Domestic regulations and legislation also differ in forms of severity.

Both tax evasion potential, and the ease with which rules can be circumvented, have an impact on the regional dynamics of the illicit trade. This is not to exclude other influencers, such as economic conditions, geographical location, psychographics and demographics.

The modest penalties associated with the illicit trade in tobacco is another important factor fueling this particular market.

Attach low risk to substantial profits and the result is a shrewd cast of characters drawn to a very dynamic criminal market.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND
In addition to low risk and high profits, other commonalities define the illicit trade of tobacco in many countries. One of the more obvious, relates to supply and demand – quite simply, there is a willing consumer market for contraband.

Tobacco may be considered a ‘filthy’ habit for many people, but smoking a ­cigarette is practicable and legal (with the exception of Bhutan where smoking has been banned since 2004). It’s safe to say that for many otherwise law-abiding ­citizens, the only real difference between contraband and lawful tobacco is price.

The World Health Organization and other mainstream reports suggest that the illicit trade in tobacco is particularly attractive to those who are price sensitive. Young people or those in lower-income brackets are prime targets for the black market.

An interesting sociological examination of the contraband market took place in 2003 in a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Harlem, New York, where the respondents “tended to be poorer and less educated than the general Harlem population.” In the study, illicit tobacco vendors “were uniformly viewed as a justifiable and appreciated response to the high price of cigarettes.” Study participants commented: “we’re thankful for the $5 man,” or “it’s stressful living in Harlem, especially with the economy now. You can find a pack of cigarettes before you can find a job.” One might be inclined to cynically call for an end to poverty or unemployment before entertaining the complexities of eliminating a market for contraband.

WEAK PENALTIES, USA
A prominent headline in recent months relates to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot’s stance on illegal cigarette activity. Earlier in the year, he urged the Maryland Senate to pass legislation to increase the penalties for tobacco violations associated with the smuggling of cigarettes and other tobacco products into Maryland. The House of Delegates passed the bill by a 115 to 12 vote margin, however the Senate did not follow suit. Maryland’s cigarette seizures have quadrupled between 2010 and 2012. The penalties in Maryland are so minor that one couple was arrested three times in three months, all on charges of transporting contraband.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Cigarette seizures quadrupled over two years” (July 25, 2012).
 
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-franchot-tax-20...

Some consumers, and even some non-consumers of tobacco, view the issue of contraband cigarettes as relatively harmless or not as serious as other criminal activity. The import and sale of occasional cartons is routinely practiced by otherwise lawful citizens. For example, Finnish Customs estimates that 100 to 200 million duty-free cigarettes are legally carried into Finland across the border from Russia each year. A resident of Finland is allowed to bring back one carton of cigarettes from Russia, where it can cost as little as one-tenth of the Finnish price. This occasional allowance can be interpreted by some to mean two cartons per week. Career smugglers have been known to undertake ­”soldier-ant smuggling”, where busloads of Finnish people returning from sojourns to Russia are solicited to each bring a carton of cigarettes across the border. The tax loss to Finland is formidable, yet this illegal practice is considered harmless by most people.

Looking at the size of the contraband market, it is evident that this laissez-faire attitude extends across numerous borders. In an agreement between the European Commission and Philip Morris International (PMI), a study was conducted to assess the illicit trade in contraband and counterfeit cigarettes in the European Union (EU). The study, by audit firm KPMG, estimates that one in ten cigarettes sold in the 27-nation bloc in 2011 was contraband. The report shows a steady climb for black market cigarettes over a five-year period. It is worth mentioning that, while the study was funded from an industry source, the European Commission considered the data to be of sufficient quality that the results have been shared with member states and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

Cost savings, while key, is not the only factor driving the purchase of illicit product. Studies indicate that easy access fuels demand for the contraband market. Setting aside price, youth are unable to lawfully purchase cigarettes – they “provide a demand for contraband cigarettes that is independent of tax issues.”

Ultimately, one cannot dismiss the fact that there is a willing market for illegal ­cigarettes – with few hurdles in the way. Erroneously believing that the purchase of illicit tobacco products is a somewhat ­victimless crime, many otherwise law-abiding people knowingly become black market consumers in order to benefit from cheaper contraband products.

ORGANIZED CRIME
The clandestine nature of the illicit trade in tobacco poses the obvious challenge of accurately measuring the scope and extent of the problem. In some authoritative reports, contraband tobacco is cited as less lucrative than narcotics. In other more anecdotal accounts, the very opposite is suggested. A Virginia State Crime Commission staff report on illegal cigarette trafficking quoted one agent with the Virginia State Police as saying that “illegally trafficked cigarettes now have a higher profit margin than cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or guns.”

Whether it is less or more lucrative than narcotics, news reports attest to the potent purchasing power of contraband. In 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that an exchange of one kilogram of cocaine took place for 3,000 cartons of cigarettes. In another incident, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a Virginia man was sentenced in 2010 to more than 18 years in prison for conspiring to hire a hit man to murder someone he believed had stolen more than 15,000 cartons of his contraband cigarettes. The case was part of an investigation that charged more than 14 people for their role in the purchase/trade of $8 million in drugs and nearly 40 firearms for 388,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes to sell in New York. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) estimates that a cigarette trafficker taking cigarettes from Virginia to New York City can make about $4 million for a single truckload of 800 cases (one case is usually equivalent to 50 cartons of cigarettes).

‘CHEAP WHITES’ INCREASING MARKET SHARE IN UK
A joint report issued by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the UK Border Agency in April 2011 explains that illicit whites, including Raquel and Jin Ling, have now established themselves in the UK. “Along with counterfeits, they represent the most significant threat to legitimate trade and tobacco revenues in the UK from large scale organized criminality,” it states. Illicit whites, also known as ‘cheap whites’, are made specifically for smuggling and involve the legal production of low-cost cigarettes with made-up brand names. Unlike counterfeit, some of the ­cigarettes bear a similarity to popular brand products but they do not infringe intellectual property rights. The cigarettes are sold legally to a purchaser in the country of origin and subsequent purchasers then smuggle the product across borders without payment of tax. The product is the sold at half the price of domestic duty-paid cigarettes.

Source: “Tackling Tobacco Smuggling – building on our success. A renewed strategy for HM Revenue & Customs and the UK Border Agency” (April 2011).

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.por...

Funding Criminal Activity
Of particular concern is how smuggling profits are invested in other criminal activities. A senior official who heads the cigarette smuggling unit at the European Union’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), reportedly complained that “this trade is financing organizations that are involved in other activities including drug smuggling.”

At the Bolivia-Paraguay border, organized crime and smuggling operations are known to use contraband to launder their money. A centre that provides research, analysis and investigations on organized crime in Latin America states that “while the sale of contraband seems like a lesser crime compared to cocaine trafficking, it is not so far removed from it. Contraband is actually quite commonly used by criminal structures to launder profits from other criminal activities. The lack of recorded transactions provides groups with an easy way to invest the bulk cash associated with drug profits, and allows them to diversify their income as well.” Like many lawful companies, transactions conducted by organized crime groups employ sound practices that enhance their legitimate and/or illegitimate business prospects.

Disturbingly, evidence also suggests the illicit trade in tobacco finances groups that pose a threat to national security. Operation Smokescreen, which took place between 1995 and 2000, revealed that a Hezbollah cell operating in the United States was ­generating money through illegal cigarette trafficking, primarily from North Carolina to Michigan. The money was allegedly used to sponsor military training overseas. Some sources say that over $8 million dollars was illegally earned. The reach of the threat and harm posed by these and other organized crime activities is difficult to appreciate fully and perhaps even record accurately.

The profits from the illicit trade of tobacco are substantial enough to earn the attention of criminals at varying levels of skill and sophistication. Organized crime is resourceful and capable of innovative tax evasion schemes that rob the global economy of billions of dollars every year and put public health and safety at risk.

PRICE INEQUITIES
Opinions on the price of tobacco often depend on objectives. For many health advocates, controlling the price of cigarettes through taxation assists in reducing tobacco consumption. Governments benefit from its additional revenue. Those who oppose higher taxes include smokers and the tobacco industry, for obvious reasons. Reducing the illegal supply of cheaper products and associated criminal activity is perhaps the more compelling objective for those opposed to increasing or maintaining higher taxation rates. One thing is certain, this is a highly politicized debate.

WEAK PENALTIES, USA
Interstate 95 is being used to take cigarettes from low-tax states like Virginia and North Carolina to high-tax states like New York. The justice department estimates these states are losing $5 billion every year on untaxed cigarettes. ATF special agent in Northern ­Virginia explains that the venture is profitable, hard to detect and tempting to criminals because they face less jail time if caught. One Virginia man was trading millions in cash, cocaine, heroin, even luxury automobiles for untaxed cigarettes.

Source: WWT NBC12, “Cigarette Smuggling” (July 11, 2012),

http://www.nbc12.com/story/19004212/12-investigates-cigarette-smuggling

It is not likely that policy decisions will reconcile all these varying and contrasting points of view. For example, the World Bank takes a strong position on the economics of tobacco. Its website explains that “even where smuggling becomes a serious problem, tax increases bring greater ­revenues and reduce smoking.” Some within law enforcement might argue that the cursory reference to smuggling being a lesser consideration does not delve deeply enough into the real implications and unintended consequences of the illicit trade of tobacco. Nations struggling with debt and financial crisis might agree to conditions required for assistance from the World Bank or willingly embark on policies to generate much needed revenue to avoid bankruptcy or a recession.

Regulations guiding tobacco taxation schemes cannot help but vary at the global, regional, national, and inter-domestic levels. The resulting imbalance creates opportunities in the market place for tax evasion and provides unintended fodder for criminal groups.

One solution being currently proposed in Europe, is to implement a single, high EU-wide cigarette tax. It is an approach that strives to tackle price disparity within an entire region. EU member states have a veto on tax policy, however, the initiative seeks a new minimum cigarette tax rate starting in 2014. Countries where the tax is lowest, like Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania, would have until 2018 to implement the change.

Even if this could be accomplished within Europe, it is not too difficult to forecast that smugglers will forge other routes to ensure continued activity in the European black market. This is already evidenced by the amount of illicit or ‘cheap whites’ that are currently being smuggled into the 27-nation bloc by transit zones along the eastern EU borders.

While the proposed EU-wide cigarette tax initiative does not completely eliminate the illicit trade of tobacco, it approaches policy change in a coordinated fashion that can serve to undermine opportunities and levels of unlawful profit.

Reducing the pull and prospects of illicit tobacco appears to be a workable, albeit imperfect, solution. One unavoidable focus is price. Higher taxes have proven effective in reducing smoking rates but also in increasing contraband tobacco. The decision must ultimately consider whether the illicit trade of tobacco, and its unintended consequences, surpasses smoking rates as a priority. If so, minimizing the illicit profit margin, or in some way increasing the cost of illicit production, must become a priority. Other equally important measures include increasing penalties associated with the illegal supply of tobacco, setting up obstacles to access, promoting awareness about the wider impacts of contraband, and increasing enforcement pressure. These synchronized steps may not eliminate the problem, but can take some of the wind out of its sails.

A WORD ON PROHIBITION
The prohibition on alcohol in the United States began in 1920 and ended with a constitutional amendment 14 years later in favor of regulating alcohol rather than banning it. Despite this historical experiment, a number of health advocates and other interest groups believe that a gradual banning of cigarettes along with other controls will eventually work towards curbing and eventually eliminating tobacco consumption.

Some countries have already proposed legislation that moves towards a de facto prohibition of tobacco. Finland has a bill that calls for it to become smoke‐free by 2040. In Iceland, there is a proposal to prohibit cigarette sales except in pharmacies, and eventually for sales to be accompanied by a doctor’s prescription.

While prohibition as a result of regulatory suppression is a phased-in approach, it may fail to meet its goals, especially facing an existing demand for the banned goods.

COLLECTIVE WHO PROTOCOL
Within the context of the World Health Organization Framework ­Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), an agreement was reached on a protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products. After four years of negotiations, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade agreed on a draft text that sets the rules for combating the illicit trade of tobacco products. It will be submitted to the Conference of the Parties for consideration and adoption in November 2012. The draft looks specifically at control of the supply chain. It also establishes what constitutes unlawful conduct and sets out related enforce­ment and international ­cooperation measures. Under the protocol, the Parties propose to establish a global tracking system for tobacco products and reach agreement on other measures, such as licensing, liability, enforcement, information sharing and mutual legal assistance. The measures are designed to counteract and eventually eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco products. All Parties to the WHO FCTC, of which Canada is a member, are expected to monitor and provide periodic reports relating to their respective progress in combating the illicit trade in tobacco products.

Another recent development took place when Australia’s highest court upheld a law that prohibits tobacco companies from displaying their logos on cigarette packs. Starting in December, all regulated packs of cigarettes in Australia will only be allowed to feature graphic health warnings. Other countries are already looking at this unprecedented legislation for their own tobacco control strategies. Critics of this tactic quite legitimately speculate that the move will only impact the legitimate and regulated market while enhancing potentials for organized crime. They argue that plain packaging will make counterfeiters’ and smugglers’ jobs easier and make Australia an attractive target market for those who make and sell counterfeit products.

Bhutan, a South Asian country, enacted a total ban on tobacco sales in 2004. One report indicates that the black market has moved in to meet the existing demand. It adds that de facto (what happens in practice) or de jure (what the law says) prohibitions fuel illegal trafficking, not in spite of, but because of the ban.

CANADA
Like other countries, the illicit trade of tobacco in Canada thrives, in large part, due to a price disparity between the legitimate industry and the fluctuating rate offered by the criminal market. What makes the situation in Canada unique with respect to the manufacturing of cigarettes, is the status of sovereign tribal territories.

Another factor adding to the problem of illicit trade relates to recent developments in the regulation of raw leaf tobacco. Ontario’s Ministry of Finance (which assumed oversight of all forms of raw leaf tobacco in the province on October 1, 2012) announced that anyone who grows, processes, sells, buys, imports, exports, or interjurisdictionally transports any varieties of raw leaf tobacco will be required to hold a registration certificate – but not until March 2013. This generous “grace period” provides a savoury opportunity for unlawful conduct and, in many ways, weakens law enforcement efforts to contain the illicit trade of tobacco.

The next article in this three-part series on the illicit trade of tobacco will focus on these challenges and provide some insight on how the matter of contraband is positioned within the Canadian context.

====
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Time to Stop Health Care Fraud
CLIVE ADDY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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WE HAVE LONG BEEN WARNED
While examining the issue of safer ID cards, I happened upon what might best be described as the Invisible Elephant in the Emergency Room. For some years now, I have watched the evolution of identity and screening systems from both counter-terrorism and anti-fraud perspectives, and have monitored the growing debate in which respect for individual privacy faces off with the challenging imperatives of society's security. Add the tremendous help provided by cyber technology in diagnosis and patient identity in a crisis, and we see both the need for clarity and a sense of urgency for reaching solutions.

A search for OHIP Card Fraud brought me to the Ontario Government web site. The 227,840 results show it is indeed a concern, but one that seems focused on caution rather than reassurance. Perhaps with good reason? I resisted the temptation to go to all of these "suggested sites" - suffice it to say, however, that I am captivated by how long this problem has lasted and how ineffectual government measures have been at curtailing identified abuse by unauthorized users.

One of the first and novel finds on my search was a 1995 winning essay by Albert Shu of Willowdale, Ontario. The competition, intended to stimulate interest in medical and health-related writing among journalism students, is named in memory of longtime Canadian Medical Association Journal and Canadian Journal of Surgery contributor Amy Chouinard.

Shu's winning essay, written prior to that year's Ontario provincial election, examined health care fraud in the province and the impact of the photo health card that was introduced by the New Democratic Party government. In it, he commented: "Before the 1995 election, Mike Harris said a report commissioned by the health ministry estimated that approximately 60,000 ineligible people from outside Ontario received health care services through OHIP between November 1992 and March 1993, at a total cost of $85 million." [Health Minister Ruth] Grier was less conclusive. 'I think it's a very real problem, [but] I don't think anybody has an accurate handle [on how big it is] because obviously if we knew the amount of fraud, then we would know how to stop it.'

"Grier said forensic consulting firms estimated the new health card would prevent about $65 million in fraud annually. 'The card is the key to a $17 billion health care system, a system that for too long has been neither secure nor controlled, she argued. Other security measures implemented by the NDP included:

  • legislation that requires health care providers to report suspected fraud and allows them to retain invalid cards;
  • swipe readers and toll-free numbers for hospitals and clinics to check card validity; and
  • a special investigations unit to investigate fraud."

Now skip ahead some ten years to the Ontario Auditor General's audit report of 2006 on OHIP at Chapter 3 which stated:

"We reported our concerns with the reliability of OHIP data in our 1992 Annual Report when we noted that, at that time, there were approximately 300,000 more cards in circulation than the estimated population of Ontario. The Ministry acknowledged at that time that, given the limited controls in place at the time of converting from a family-based to an individual-based registration system, it was almost impossible to detect cases of fraud.

"As of December 2005, the Statistics Canada estimate of the population of Ontario stood at 12,590,000. According to our data analysis, at this time, there were approximately 12,895,000 health cards in circulation, indicating that there were still approximately 305,000 extra health cards in circulation. While we recognize that many of these cards may belong to individuals who have died or no longer reside in Ontario, some of these cards may be in the hands of ineligible individuals.

To analyze this issue further, we reviewed the health-card-address data and found that 263,000 or 86% of these extra cards were in circulation in the Toronto area. Given the Toronto population, this amounts to one extra health card in circulation for every 10 Toronto area residents. We also noted that there appeared to be over 10,000 extra health cards in certain Ontario regions that border the United States. These regions included Algoma District, Essex County, Thunder Bay, and Rainy River."

Then at Page 185 of this report we find the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1
To ensure that publicly funded health services are provided only to eligible individuals, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care should expedite the conversion of the pre-1995 red-and-white Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) cards to the current OHIP photo cards in order to properly verify the eligibility of these health-card holder.

Recommendation 2
To identify potential ineligible use of publicly funded health services, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care should:

  • review the mandate of its Fraud Program Branch, with a view to expanding the range of its activities to include OHIP-usage monitoring and fraud investigations;
  • consider expanding its monitoring activities to identify potentially suspicious individual health-card usage; and
  • resolve the outstanding backlog and follow up on potentially ineligible cases in a consistent, rigorous, and timely manner."

OTHER GOVERNMENTS ALSO CHALLENGED
The need for a smart card to amalgamate a number of health and authorized ID cards is shared by all western countries, to one degree or another. Continentally, it is wise to recognize that differences in health services encourage identity theft and put further stress on our health care dollar.

In 2004, consumer fraud in Ontario's health-care system was estimated to be between $11 million and $22 million annually. An Ontario Contracted Consultant Study recommended the Ministry develop a Fraud Measurement Framework to be used as a benchmark to measure higher risk areas, to measure the effectiveness of preventive and detective methods applied and to guide future work to mitigate consumer fraud in OHIP.

Back in 2007, Premier Dalton McGuinty insisted the government wasn't being complacent about replacing the old cards. With technology available today it's hard to imagine the reasons why phasing them out has taken this long.

"At the beginning of the 21st century - where we've progressed light years in terms of sophisticated identification technologies - we can and must move faster than that", McGuinty was quoted by the Canadian Press. "We're going to have to find a way to move faster."

That was four years ago. Progress since then has not met public and professional expectations to take best advantage of electronic identification and reduce waste.

British Columbia, on the other hand, is moving briskly ahead. In 2010, a substantive program began in that province to replace its CareCard. With a reported 9.1 million CareCards in circulation and only 4.5 million eligible residents, the province placed a high priority on getting the new "Smart Card" up and running. Health Minister Mike de Jong announced the plan in May 2011. Recent news reports state that amendments to the information and privacy law now before the BC legislature could allow secure online access to authorized medical professionals for medical records, prescriptions and lab tests, while keeping other data private. Using today's innovative technology, a host of new options for the smart card include confirming BC residency, student status or age of majority status. It may also double as a driver's licence in time. The government announced it would start issuing the new cards in 2012. These new photo and electronic chip cards will expire every five years.

Nationally, there is recognition by most key agencies, particlarly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, "the proof-of-identity requirements established in 1976 are no longer sufficient. New technologies have made it relatively easy to forge identity documents such as birth certificates."

In November 2006, The New York Times had identified "acute public concern about security breaches and identity theft" as the toughest challenge the US federal government faces with the increasingly politicized issue of electronic health records. Three months later, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published its conclusions from its task of describing the effort of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure privacy as part of its national strategy and to identify challenges associated with protecting electronic personal health information.

AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION
In recent articles, Dr. Atherley has best summarized the key strategic questions for electronic health records systems facing us:

  • Is the public well enough informed to judge claims - implicit or explicit - that healthcare's IT is demonstrably safer than that used in the financial, commercial and government sectors? Does Canada need a comparable system to the U.S. GAO to provide critical overviews of government initiatives for interoperable electronic health records at their early stage?
  • Does 'need to know' criteria provide a practicable and reliable basis for deciding who, among perhaps 160,000 healthcare personnel and others, can or cannot see all or part of a patient's personal interoperable electronic health record?
  • Are consent-based privacy laws adequate against information misuse and ID abuse? Should Canadians have the right to opt out and not be restricted to the limited protection of lock-boxes?
  • Given the significant but unpredictable costs of achieving and maintaining health care IT safety, security and privacy at a level that satisfies public, patient and provider trust, current and future, are the costs are too great to sustain such a healthcare system under mounting financial pressures?

Safety of IT generally is a strategic challenge for governments as part of their fundamental responsibilities to protect. To be convinced of the prevalence and immediacy of these challenges, one need only go online to see the fraudulent products available. Potential losses are enormous.

====
Clive Addy is FrontLine's Executive Editor.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Networked Threat, Networked Intelligence
BY ARNAV MANCHANDA
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

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Cyberspace - The Fifth Strategic Domain

Cyberspace is a core strategic domain  that is central to social, economic and political life in North America. Approximately 79% of Americans and Canadians access the internet, and $174 billion dollars transit Canadian cyber networks every day. Cyberspace forms an arena of critical infrastructure for public service, healthcare delivery, banking, finance, education, energy and defence – it is key to our future economic growth. Internationally, cyberspace amplifies our global presence and connects us instantaneously to conflict zones. It promotes market opportunities and innovation across borders. NGOs, businesses, academia and others operate across global networks and act as important ambassadors, representing their country’s interests and values. Cyberspace also represents a new domain for the expression of human rights and freedoms – and for ­contesting their suppression.

In the aftermath of the Afghan and Libyan missions, the Government of Canada must assess its current and future security environment for possible threats, challenges, and required capabilities. The Canadian Forces will undergo fundamental transformations due to mission assessments, tightening of budgets, and shifts in priorities. Canada’s public and private ­sectors must take stock of the country’s intelligence capabilities and consider their suitability to the defence and security challenges of the information age.

Organized criminal syndicates, insurgents, terrorist groups and hostile states, as well as legitimate interests such as activists, commercial organizations, and billions of individual users, share a revolutionary trait: they are all networked. Cyberspace is their enabling domain, allowing them to pursue their interests through a medium with extremely low entry barriers.

This global revolution in communications and technology has also bequeathed sophisticated Command, Control, Computers, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (otherwise known as C4ISR) capabilities to all actors, be they state or non-state, benign or malevolent. The disenfranchised are now empowered, and non-state actors can acquire intelligence and even operational capabilities (often called “cyber warfare” capabilities) that traditionally were held exclusively by the state.

Non-state actors use cyber technologies and tradecraft that are often equally (or more) advanced, practised and effective than those of their government counterparts. Furthermore, dual-use technical developments are increasingly driven by the private sector in areas that have traditionally been the strength of the state.

Government has traditionally been its own client for intelligence or defence. However, most acts of espionage and crime today are directed at the riches held by industry, and not at Cold War “state secrets.” Thus, it was inevitable that comprehensive C4ISR capabilities would evolve in the private sector to serve growing business demands of these industries and of critical infrastructure. On the flipside, it was also inevitable that there is now a growing demand for (and supply of) capabilities to attack private industry and critical infrastructure from hostile state and non-state actors.

Cyberspace played a vital role in ­fostering and facilitating a number of key mobilizations in 2011, including the mass movements of protest across the Middle East and North Africa, the London riots, the rise of Wikileaks and Anonymous, and the various Occupy movements across the world. Non-state actors used cyberspace to generate real-world effects, such as the Stuxnet virus attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2010. Situational analyses produced by governments around the world offered only anecdotal accounts of these events and lacked the real-time awareness to anticipate or proactively shape them. Traditional C4ISR, hard-coded to enumerate rigid hierarchical command structures and orders-of-battle, is less effective against asymmetric threats and is inadequate for analyzing grassroots social movements and complex eco-systems like cyberspace.

These new forms of C4ISR, mobilization, and expression can and should be incorporated into the larger intelligence cycle. Concurrently, we should also recognize that the distinction between ‘classified,’ ‘proprietary’ or ‘public’ information is becoming increasingly blurred. The ‘street value’ for sensitive commercial information, financial data and personal information, has far surpassed that of traditional public sector classified or secret information. Valuable data points lie across a number of different public or private sources. For example, open source information has been used to analyze criminal networks, ascertain the location of secret nuclear facilities, track secret rendition flights, assess the effectiveness of stability and humanitarian operations, and compromise multi-billion-dollar companies and even governments. Globally, the political spin on institutionally-provided information makes it unreliable as a source. Open source is often the only, or most reliable, source of some information, especially in at-risk regions with weak state authorities (such as law enforcement and security agencies) and minimal traditional non-state sources of information (the press). For example, large areas of Mexico can effectively be considered a failing state with ­minimal government presence or traditional media coverage; often the most reliable source of information is from social media, which is increasingly under violent threat from ­hostile cartels.

CYBERSPACE DOMINATION KEY TO MILITARY AND SECURITY SUCCESS
For Canada, the Afghan mission, in particular, elicited several long-term intelligence requirements. Complex counterinsurgency missions require a variety of information, including signals intelligence, aerial imagery, reports of significant actions and interactions with key actors on the ground and online. This challenge applies similarly to stabilization and humanitarian missions, such as the one in Haiti. It was open source data that allowed intervening countries to identify, map, and track hotspots of disaster and humanitarian efforts there. Various open source projects provide some of the most robust mapping of violence in Syria. In Libya, it has been argued that the NATO powers were not adequately cyber-enabled, not only in terms of capabilities but also in terms of more traditional military preoccupations such as information operations.

Soldiers, diplomats, development personnel, business, and the not-for-profit sector need to be able to plug in and contribute to the bigger intelligence picture in real time. The All Source Intelligence Centre that deployed to Afghanistan partially met this requirement, but it was not a long-term capability available to the wider Canadian Forces. Individual departments such as DND have initiated projects to develop such a capability, but these often suffer from decades-long timelines, a reliance on expensive and cumbersome custom-built or in-house capabilities (rather than off-the-shelf commercial capabilities), and a research and development mentality to something that is operationally required right now.

In contrast, key players within the U.S. government and industry are already employing these capabilities, with visible results. A number of enabling factors allowed the U.S. military’s Skope cell to defeat IED and insurgent networks in Iraq. These included innovative technology, interagency cooperation and unprecedented access to intelligence from different agencies and classification levels. The raid on the compound that housed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on 2 May 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, truly underlined the strategic shifts and technological advancements that have been empowering the U.S. fight against al-Qaeda since 9/11, namely, the sharing of information and blurring of boundaries between U.S. national security, military, and law-enforcement agencies, and the ability to rapidly exploit intelligence.

Similar challenges confront law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, and even the telecommunications and financial communities. Malevolent activity takes place online, and investigators need the capability to explore large and disparate data sets quickly.
Police officers and security intelligence investigators already gather vast amounts of information (surveillance records, wiretaps, digital forensics, and cyber logs) but require the ability to analyze these with operational relevance and efficiency. Even large financial institutions are using the same capabilities as governments to combat many types of fraud that, in the past, were difficult to detect and mitigate.

Multi-disciplinary thinking is required. Operators, subject matter experts, analysts, and technical experts must be brought together to exploit the wealth of information that is available in both open source and proprietary/confidential databases. All must work and share together, overcoming bureaucratic tendencies to compartmentalize analysis within ‘silos of excellence.’

APPLYING A CYBER STRATEGY
The strategic direction of Canadian cyberspace is being influenced by the owner-operators of national information infrastructures, market forces, foreign technology vendors/suppliers, the cyber commons, and aggressive threat agents. Research has demonstrated that in Canada, public policy has had diminishing effects on the strategic direction of cyberspace, as it continues to be shaped by powerful socio-technological trends such as globalization, consumerization, convergence of capabilities, and the malevolent use of cyberspace.
A far deeper sophistication is demanded from public policy in order to influence a system as complex as cyberspace. Do we continue to draft strategic policies, or do we actually make use of enabling technologies and processes to mine the data and achieve strategic effects across foreign policy, defence, security, foreign aid and commerce in a pragmatic and proactive fashion?

Canada is being left behind. The United States has designated cyberspace as the “fifth domain” of war fighting, equal in importance to land, sea, air and space, and western states are seeking means of securing an inherently open system against ­”outside threats,” while also leveraging cyberspace to fight hostile networks, fraud and crime. Other states, such as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, also view cyberspace strategically, although largely out of fear that it may be used for mobilizing dissent against the state by people using technologies that were developed in the west.

Key actors within the Canadian government have already advocated for more strategic thinking regarding cyberspace. Within operational departments and agencies, such as DND, CSIS, CSEC and the RCMP, are highly competent individuals and divisions who know how to deal with cyber crime, issues of national security and counter-terrorism, and the defence of critical government networks.

The problem is that each agency works within its own mandate, without necessarily having an overarching view, influence or control of operations in cyberspace as a priority for the Canadian government and public policy. Until that real-time common operating picture is in place, the ability of individual agencies to act together will always be limited.

Public and private sector missions and objectives may vary, but they operate in the same theatres, using the same tools, techniques, tradecraft, and technology for command and control, security, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, against the same persistent threats. Sensors, analytics and other capabilities need to be consistently deployed to build a persistent situational awareness of the strategic and operational environment, and to create the means to share critical data and analytical products in real time across previously siloed environments.

====
Arnav Manchanda is an associate with the SecDev Group and an analyst with the CDA Institute.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Policing Toronto's Waterfront
TIM LYNCH
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

The motto of Toronto’s Harbour Square Park is “The world in one place.” This phrase pertinently describes the diversity of people, activities and festivals celebrating Toronto’s multicultural society in the restaurants, shops, concerts, exhibitions and parks that straddle Toronto City inner harbour. With the proliferation of high rise condominiums, the area is one of Canada’s higher density residential locations. During the summer, the population expands by thousands as tourists flock to participate in the city’s many festivities. On the water, marine traffic increases exponentially as boat owners manoeuver around the inner harbour and Island wharfs. Harbour Square Park is a popular place to visit, relax and enjoy urban waterfront experiences – from rowing on inland ponds to kayaking along the shoreline – while harbour tours and ferry services convey people to Toronto Island parkland.

Overseeing law and order in this vibrant, urban, waterfront community is the job of the Toronto Police Marine Unit (TPMU). With its impressive HQ at 259 Queen’s Quay West, the Unit has sub-stations located at Bluffers Park, Center Island and Humber River. Responsible for maintaining law and order on the water, the Unit works in collaboration with the divisions of the Toronto Police that patrol the shoreline, creeks and rivers of the Greater Toronto Area as well as with marine police units in communities along the waterfront. Constable Tanya Policelli, a twenty four year Toronto Police veteran, and with six years on the marine beat describes marine policing as “very rewarding; policing on water is different from community policing. The emphasis is on protection, safety and law enforcement. Persons on water are more inclined to recognize that a situation could arise unexpectedly when they need police support. Consequently, boaters and persons using the waterways tend to appreciate having the police around.”

The largest expanse of fresh water in the world is crossed by the US/Canada border and has been known for many decades as the world’s longest undefended border. How many also know that the 1818 Rush Bagot Treaty demilitarized the border between the U.S. and Canada?

Toronto’s Waterfront Community Policing
TPMU provides a year round first response service in search and rescue (SAR) including ice rescues in the winter. In addition to some small water craft, the unit uses 4 rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), 3 near-shore aluminum patrol vessels, and a large command boat primarily used for diving.

The Toronto Harbour Police, whose primary role was Search and Rescue on the water, amalgamated with the land-based Metropolitan Toronto Police Force in 1982 to become the TPMU. Proud of the 150-year legacy of policing in the Toronto Harbour area, Community Services Officer Constable Scott Cornett, a 34-year veteran with the Unit, remembers the challenges of this change. “The Harbour Police patrolled the harbour on the water; their role was primarily SAR. A land-based sister force of Port Police were armed and patrolled the land,” he recalls. “Both forces had the same Chief; the Harbour Police had to receive side arms training at Ontario Police College in Aylmer and C.O. Bick College after amalgamation.”

Today the Unit has 50 officers who are responsible for river and ice rescue calls on the Humber, Don and Rouge Rivers as well as responding to inland calls on ponds and creeks throughout Toronto. “At the time of amalgamation,” notes Cornett, “the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force had a six man unit policing the Toronto Islands. Today the Marine Unit polices the Island community of 735 permanent residents with four major yacht clubs. During the summer months when the daily population of the Islands parklands can expand by many thousands, the Community Response Unit (Cycle Patrol Police Officers from 52 Division) complements our Unit Officers. Also, we respond to issues arising at the Billy Bishop Island Airport.”

Training for Marine Policing
The marine unit prefers to bring seasoned officers with 10-15 years of “uptown” policing experience into its ranks. “This is not the place for a rookie,” asserts TPMU’s Sergeant Sean Griffiths. Recruits “have to be fit and able to withstand extreme circumstances – for example, they have to be able to lift their own weight out of the water. We operate on a four season basis with nine months on water and three months on ice; all personnel have to engage in ice rescue training in the winter.”

Every officer has to be proficient and be re-certified annually in the unique attributes of each boat. Griffiths explains that it takes at least three years to be proficient on all vessels on the marine beat, which can create its own set of challenges. “Unfortunately officers can be transferred [out of] the Unit after four years. Recognizing that the service has reasons for doing that, we try to maintain a pool of officers whom we believe have the aptitude for working in marine policing. There are relatively small numbers of female officers who apply to work at the Unit; we have four at present.”

The Dive Team
With such a large waterfront to serve, the city recognized the need to respond accordingly. TPMU’s Dive Site Supervisor, Constable Patrick McLeod, a 26-year police veteran with 12 years on the Toronto Police Dive Team, is fully aware of the importance of police divers. “Besides finding human remains that end up in the water, evidence (like guns, knives, cars, etc.) needs to be found to accomplish a successful prosecution. A professional police dive team can be assigned to find anything of a criminal nature that has to be recovered from a water environment. All dive team members are Marine Unit Officers first, responsible for search and rescue and law enforcement on the water, with the dive component as an added responsibility.”

Surface supplied diving (using an air hose from the vessel and where the crew stays in constant communication, monitoring the conditions, and providing back-up when necessary) is the most efficient for depths under 100 feet. McLeod notes that “a diver on surface supply can conduct a longer search than on scuba equipment.” However, if the diver must exceed 100 feet depth, a decompression chamber must be on site. Another option for extreme depths is to deploy a remote operating vessel (ROV) with a remotely operated underwater camera. “In scuba diving the diver carries his air supply equipment but can only stay submerged for a limited time. Our scuba diving capabilities are more employable when we want to check out ponds and rivers. We can search large areas of lake bottom, when the visibility is permissible, by towing two scuba dive officers along on a specially designed board.”

Commercial Shipping in Toronto
To the east of the Toronto Island Ferry Terminal is Toronto Port, a commercial enterprise that moves over 2 million tons of cargo in and out of Toronto every year – mostly bulk goods such as aggregate, cement, sugar, and steel. This translates to about 85 ships including Lakers and Ocean-goers visiting the port annually. With the building boom, cargos like aggregate and cement are critical to the city’s growth. An aggregate manufacturer right on the lake can load directly onto the ship and the cargo is transported to Toronto, replacing the need for fleets of trucks clogging up Ontario highways and polluting the environment.

Commercial aspects of Toronto Port and the Island Airport are overseen by the Toronto Port Authority. Like most waterfront cities, urbanization is closing in around Toronto’s Port. Angus Armstrong, Harbour Master and Chief of Security for the Toronto Port Authority says, “The challenge is determining how to make ports functional and still live with the resident urbanites besides us. We are going to see about $4 billion being invested in the port land along the eastern shoreline of Toronto over the next 30 years. As one of the major stakeholders in the neighbourhood, the Port Authority has to be at the table making sure we are able to work with our partners to ensure that they, with the residents, are able to live right beside the Port.”

Explaining the relationship between provincial and federal legislation, Armstrong says “Everything to do with movement on the water is a federal responsibility. Below the surface you get into environmental issues – what we call ‘logs, frogs and bogs’ – involving the Ministry of Natural Resources. Some provinces take much more interest in their waterways than others. Quebec is extremely involved in the St. Lawrence Seaway; Ontario looks at the waterways as a federal responsibility.”

The International Shipping and Ports Security (ISPS) Code was created through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) following 9/11. Ports and shipping lines around the world wanting to do business with the U.S. have to comply with the ISPS Code. In Canada this Code is governed by Transport Canada. “For a ship to be brought up against the dock, there are security parameters in place; boardings are recorded and the ship must retain records. Canada participates in ISPS to demonstrate that its ports are secure; the goal is to make ports more like airports. Port Security Guards control all aspects of port entry. As a consequence of ISPS, we know who comes and goes. We have cameras and all kinds of surveillance systems. These security systems have provided us with good inventory control and less loss,” Armstrong says.

The Worst Case Scenario
When asked what the worst case scenario is from a security perspective, Armstrong was unwavering in his response. “Terrorists moving through our port. The one thing we are very sensitive to is America’s perception of Canada: that we are weak on security. The ISPS Code is administered the same here as in the United States. The worst case scenario would be that something or someone went through here into the U.S. and caused some sort of a terrorist situation. That would immediately limit our ability to move goods.”

He stresses that this is a whole-of-Canada concern. “The Americans need to feel confident that goods moving into the U.S. from ports in Halifax and Montreal, or Prince Rupert and Vancouver are checked at entry and have secured transportation corridors going through Canada to the US. If we check all cargo at port of entry then it should go right across the border without being re-checked. We are looking for that free flow across the border. Such arrangements are part of the Free Trade Act, but are being updated through the February 2011 “Beyond the Border” declaration by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States.”

A Post 911 World
The consequences of 9/11 on the TPMU’s modus operandi have been positive in re-defining working relationships between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement, says Sergeant Eric Goodwin. “The cooperation between us and our foreign counterparts has been incredible in the partnerships that have been developed since that incident, with greater good of both our countries. We meet with our American counterparts on a routine basis and share what information we can.”

There are, of course, challenges related to managing such information, and Sergeant Goodwin notes that Canada has been “moving towards a balance of responsibility to enforce the laws that uphold the Charter of Rights with regard to a person’s freedom of movement.” Intelligence web policing is a concept that involves “police services at all levels and jurisdiction of authority to work together with all levels of the community to establish intelligence information that we can act upon [without interrupting] the lives of law abiding citizens.” Some information can be shared or vetted, and other information can be shared but not acted upon without the authority of the original issuer of that information. “The acquisition and ownership of data and possibly of putting a name to a face in a legal context in this environment is incredibly complex,” notes Goodwin. “Consequently we are always guarded as to what information should be shared. The cooperation between Canada and the U.S. has been beneficial. If an incident were to happen today, I believe that our response would be far more effective.”

TPMU also focuses on supporting the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure border integrity. Recognizing that the RCMP does not have a mandate to protect Canadian ports, Goodwin explains that “under the Public Services Act of Ontario, the municipal police are required to respond to any emergency as first responders. If we determine the situation is a matter of national security then, automatically, the RCMP continues the response and will further investigate the matter. The intelligence services are set up such that we serve to gather information which is sent to our intelligence branch in Toronto Police where it is vetted accordingly. If thought appropriate, the information is forwarded on to other levels of authority. Our intelligence people are in direct contact with RCMP intelligence.”

Policing Toronto’s portion of the US/Canada Border
The world’s largest inland freshwater corridor is divided by the Canada/U.S. maritime border, which stretches through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence to Thunder Bay. Although marine activities south of Toronto are primarily recreational, the area is relatively well policed and would present challenges for vessels attempting to cross the border surreptitiously. By contrast, the Thousand Islands areas have significant issues of illicit transfer of contraband and aboriginal property rights.

Canadian maritime policing duties along the Canada/U.S. border are under the command of the RCMP. Provincial and municipal police marine units such as TPMU work in partnership with them. There are also strong working alliances with the US Coast Guard (USCG).

Legislation governing Canadian federal departments prevents the sharing of information with outside agencies, including other government departments. However, this can be counterproductive when it comes to national security. Considering this from a maritime security context, the federal government created the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group (IMSWG), which is comprised of 17 federal departments and agencies and is chaired by Transport Canada. IMSWG oversees three Marine Security Operation Centres (MSOCs) on the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts and in the Great Lakes St Lawrence Seaway (GLSLS) region. The MSOCs facilitate information sharing among federal departments at an operational level, in support of a coordinated Government of Canada intelligence response to thwart potential maritime threats. TPMU is an active participant in the Great Lake’s MSOC, along with federal departments like the RCMP.

The USCG is a part of the US military and also functions as a federal maritime police force with full law enforcement responsibilities on land and water. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), on the other hand, is a civilian organization that does not perform any “guarding” duties; its personnel are not armed and cannot be put in harm’s way. The Canadian approach towards coastal defence is to segregate maritime and SAR duties of the CCG from the law enforcement duties of the RCMP. While Canadians are comfortable with this style of government, is it optimal in a post 9/11 world?

The TPMU is integrated with the CCG and shares a first response, search and rescue (SAR) heritage. Maritime security concerns around crime and terrorism on Lake Ontario are addressed through the Maritime Security Enforcement Team (MSET). The Team is comprised of RCMP, TPMU and OPP officers. “We currently share vessels with the RCMP and the CCG, but these arrangements will be changing in the New Year with the arrival of the Hero Class vessels,” says TPMU Staff Sergeant Greg Macdonald. “The interactions of these officers are coordinated through a memorandum of understanding stating the responsibilities of each participant and how they coordinate their duties. The Team is part of an Intelligence network into which we feed information and from which we receive alerts about areas of the lake and/or vessels where we may need to apply extra diligence. We patrol along the Canadian side of the border and work in close relationship with the USCG to monitor vessels that cross the border and we exchange information about ‘vessels of interest’ approaching each other’s shore.”

The CCG will soon get three new 140 ft, Hero Class, Mid-Shore Patrol Vessels (MSPV) to be deployed for the Great Lakes. They will be equipped with two RHIBs for interdiction and boarding requirements. Coast Guard personnel will crew the vessels and be responsible for safety and overall maintenance. However, “all law enforcement duties, such as the interception of fast moving suspect vessels, would be conducted from a RHIB launched from the MSPV and manned by RCMP and law enforcement partners. Only routine side arms will be carried on the MSET Vessels by attending police officers,” confirms Sergeant Larry Campbell, Marine Security Enforcement Team, Niagara RCMP Detachment.

Law Enforcement Differences
The success of the cross boarder relationship between Canada and U.S. has evolved from a mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and laws. One area where both societies are distinctly different is in the area of gun ownership. It is illegal for any American, including American law enforcement officers, to enter into Canadian territory with a gun unless they have the proper documentation in place. Furthermore, law enforcement officers on either side of the border have not been able to pursue and arrest criminals that cross over the international border. This is particularly problematic in the maritime environment where criminals use fast moving vessels.

There are significant differences in law enforcement practices between the U.S. and Canada. Canada has a national police force, the RCMP, which is responsible for ensuring compliance with Canadian federal legislation concerning customs, immigration, border security, and other issues. The U.S. has federal law enforcement practitioners in several departments, including Border Patrol, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), USCG, and agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Since 2004, Canadian and American governments have worked on a series of pilot programs to facilitate more effective working relationships between their respective law enforcement officers. Officially designated “Integrated Cross-border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations”, the shorter and more descriptive title is the “Shiprider” Program.

In Canadian waters, vessels designated as Canada-U.S. Shiprider vessels have a member of the USCG on board and are able to enter U.S. waters to enforce U.S. laws under the supervision of the USCG member. Likewise, designated USCG vessels have an RCMP officer on board and are able to enter Canadian waters to enforce Canadian laws under the supervision of the RCMP officer.

Describing how the Program could evolve in the future, RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, Director General of ­Border Integrity, acknowledges that “the Shiprider Program is more applicable in areas where the US/Canada border provides the geography that facilitates cross border criminal collusion in support of smuggling opportunities like the Pacific Coastline, the Detroit River and the Thousand Islands area. All such areas will likely be served by the Shiprider Program in keeping with any new requirements arising from the February 2011 US/Canada ‘Beyond the Border’ Declaration. In areas such as south of Toronto, MSET will continue to be part of the security infrastructure on the Canadian side of the border that is needed to monitor movement of marine vessels between both countries.”

Discussion
The TPMU is a Canadian benchmark for defining waterfront policing, recognizing the need for continuity between land and water policing. Many jurisdictional obstacles in the marine setting have been assimilated into the provincial justice system.

From a maritime security perspective, Toronto is as much a border city in 2012 as it was in 1812 when the Americans launched a maritime force to invade Canada – the 1818 Rush Bagot Treaty from that war defined the Great Lakes as a “demilitarized zone.”

That said, the USCG is part of the US military. Differences in US and Canada around armament appear in the USCG’s use of 7.62 mm machine guns on its Cutters compared with the RCMP reliance on regulation police side arms on the new vessels. During 2004 Treaty negotiations, Canada reserved the right to arm its vessels, which is reportedly being considered.

Compliance with the ISPS Code by all Canadian ports and the ships passing through them provides assurance to Americans that terrorists are not likely to infiltrate the US through Canada’s commercial maritime traffic. The recreational vessels on the Great Lake are estimated to be around six million on the US side and one million on the Canadian side. Balancing an individual’s right to freedom of movement with the need to collect intelligence presents new enforcement and security challenges for both countries in this marine environment.

The major threats to national security are: transnational organized crime, political activists and anarchists, religious extremists, and cyber criminals. Globally, such threats require geopolitical forces to evolve from the “Iron Curtain” mindset to a “Mesh Curtain” security frame of reference, and these changes are redefining relationships between law enforcement and the military.

Marine policing in Toronto has evolved through the sharing of responsibilities among the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. TPMU’s legislative frame of reference and maritime tradition complements the Canadian government’s separation of CCG navigational maritime duties from the RCMP’s law enforcement role. These arrangements illustrate how Canada finds compromise in achieving “peace, order and good government.”

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Tim Lynch is a FrontLine maritime security correspondent based in Toronto.
Send comments to tim@infolynk.ca
©Frontline Security 2012

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Illicit Tobacco: Canada's Tobacco Roads (part 2)
EDWARD R. MYERS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 4)

The first of this three-part series provided a global perspective, and this second article examines ­environmental factors of the illicit tobacco market, looking at illicit trade along Canada’s tobacco roads. Our focus is almost exclusively on illicit cigarettes manufactured in Ontario and Quebec and the factors driving this specific and lucrative trade. Watch for the final installment of FrontLine’s tobacco series, (to appear in the next edition), which will examine possible courses of action to reduce the scope and impact of the illicit trade.

Today, the illegal trade of tobacco in Canada is mainly linked to unlawfully manufacturing cigarettes. This is quite a transition from the 1980s and 1990s when the primary problem was the diversion of legally manufactured products. The RCMP reported in 2008 that the major illicit manufacturing operations were located at Six Nations, Tyendinaga, Akwesasne (U.S. side) and Kahnawake. One year later, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists determined that manufacturing operations had shifted from the U.S. side of the Akwesasne reserve to Canadian reserves in Quebec and Ontario. Different law enforcement agencies also report an expansion of the contraband tobacco distribution networks from central Canada to the east and west coasts. This change over the last few years is indicative of how much more organized and progressively structured illicit tobacco activity has become in Canada. And yet, the government and other sources continue to highlight “great progress” on its tobacco control strategies, claiming that illicit trade has declined due to law enforcement success in tackling the problem along the borders. The smoke and mirrors ­surrounding the state of illicit tobacco provided the impetus for Frontline Security to examine the issue more closely.

THE ILLICIT TOBACCO TRADE IS PRIMARILY COMPRISED OF:
  • Cigarettes/tobacco products manufactured in the U.S. and smuggled into Canada.
  • Illicitly produced cigarettes/tobacco products manufactured in Canada.
  • Counterfeit tobacco products involving domestic and foreign brands making their way into the country via sea container (mostly from China).
  • Diverted products that are destined for sale on reserves and end up being sold ­elsewhere in Canada. These products are legally manufactured but provincial taxes have not been collected. This scheme also allows the seller to discount the product, which makes it appealing to consumers.
  • Illicit sales via the internet (including illegally manufactured/counterfeited tobacco ­products and products on which duties or taxes are not paid).

Source: RCMP Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy Progress Report for the period May 2009 (April 2010).

During interviews with farmers and others involved in the trade, it became clear that a major source of the problem resides with the regulatory oversight of the tobacco supply chain. Since October 1, 2012, oversight of flue-cured tobacco moved from barely tolerable conditions to a total state of abandon. This criminal market is said to cost the provincial and federal governments tens of millions of dollars each year in lost excise revenue, and yet the ­requisite data and resources to tackle the problem do not appear proportionate to such loss.

This report looks at the prevalence and volume of contraband, the illicit gain potential, the state of regulatory safeguards on the tobacco supply chain, and other areas. We present only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but feel it is important to contextualize, for FrontLine readers, this very complex and multi-layered criminal activity.

PREVALENCE & VOLUME
What do we really know about the prevalence and volume of illicit tobacco in 2011, 2012 or what to expect in 2013? Not much. In absence of Canada’s criminals disclosing the extent of their unlawful transactions, other means and equations have to be relied on. The result is a wanton use of flawed statistics and posturing that dominate the headlines and possibly decision making processes.

With no apparent government studies on this topic, the question is examined by research teams that are often employed by different interest groups. Distinctive methodologies are used and tweaked, and data is inconsistent or unavailable from year to year, making it difficult to formulate a sound assessment. The only certainty is that excise tax revenue is being lost.

The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) are frequently cited by government agencies, however, their approach appears overly abstract. A 2010 report by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada cautions against using either CCHS or CTUMS regional data, which resulted in some provinces having a “negative” illicit trade. The question then becomes how and why regional realities are of a lesser consideration than a theoretically flawed national average. The same report by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, states “the drop in reported tobacco sales has been relatively three times greater than the drop in the number of smokers.” But where are these smokers getting their cigarettes? The approach used by CCHS and CTUMS fails to address these inconsistencies. More alarming is not knowing to what extent their data is used by government to guide tobacco control strategies.

In its 2008 Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy report, the RCMP cites findings by a third-party research company contracted by the Canadian tobacco industry. GfK research examined the issue in a less-abstract manner by conducting a series of annual studies over a three year period that analysed the cigarette pack and product of over 2,000 survey respondents. The results provide a snapshot that shows 17% of smokers consumed illegal tobacco products in 2006, 22% in 2007, and 33% in 2008.

TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN EVADED DUTIES AND TAX IN ONE BUST, ONTARIO

Police seized millions of dollars worth of contraband cigarette packaging in August, and say smuggling in Canada is getting worse. These materials could have been used to make around two million cartons of contraband cigarettes, which would equal tens of millions of dollars in evaded duties and taxes. “This investigation has shown that the contraband producers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to confuse tobacco consumers as well as law enforcement,” said Insp. Steve Martin of the Hamilton/Niagara regional RCMP detachment.
 
Source: CBC News, “Millions in contraband cigarette packaging seized by Hamilton RCMP” (Sept.01 2012), http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/09/01/hamilton-contraband-cig...

In an effort to gain some insight on the prevalence of contraband tobacco among youth, the Arcus Group Inc. was hired by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) to conduct a series of annual studies. Researchers collected cigarette butts from the grounds of high schools in Ontario and Quebec to determine the extent to which teens are smoking contraband cigarettes. The 2009 findings show that an estimated 45% of the cigarette butts from 75 sites in Quebec were found to be illegal. In Ontario, an estimated 30% of the butts collected from 110 sites were illegal. The Arcus studies also found that prevalence of illegal tobacco products is not restricted to large urban areas and that the presence of contraband is relatively high in lower income areas.

It is unfortunate that both the Gfk and Arcus studies were abandoned as a number of changes were then taking place in the tobacco industry. For instance, the federal government launched its Tobacco Transition Program in 2009. Intended to assist growers transition to other crops, these one-time buyouts “lacked key safeguards to prevent abuse of the system.” Also, criminal market dynamics were shifting towards the illicit manufacturing of cigarettes, particularly in Ontario where flue-cure tobacco is grown.

FOLLOW THE MONEY
High profits, low risk and a willing market attract all sorts of criminals at various levels of innovation, sophistication and capacity. Opportunists at every stage of the tobacco market will scrutinize processes and potentials for loopholes to illicit gain.


(Also see: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/22/federal-tobacco-transition-progr...)

CIGARETTE RATES
A consumer looking to purchase 200 cigarettes will most likely be aware of the significant price gap between the cost of tobacco products on and off reserve. A baggie can cost as little as $12 and a carton can range from $20 to $40 compared to an average retail price of $80 off reserve.

Under Canadian law it is technically illegal for non-Aboriginals to purchase these low cost cigarettes that are sold on reserve, however the system is not strictly monitored and is vulnerable to abuse. Given a choice between paying $12 dollars or even $40 for 200 cigarettes, some Canadian smokers will turn a blind eye to the law and subsequently sustain the market for low-cost Aboriginal cigarettes. Similarly, while tobacco commerce on reserve is entirely legal, some will be inclined to manufacture and sell outside established Aboriginal quotas. The scope and extent of this unlawful activity can vary from casual purchases at smoke shops on reserves or it can manifest itself in large scale and organized illicit enterprises that generate ­significant profit.

HIGH PROFIT, LOW RISK
Each scheme and method used in the illicit tobacco trade can potentially yield a different profit margin. For example, Aboriginal tobacco manufacturers pay the federal excise duty for their tobacco products, however, as the RCMP states, some of these products are illegally diverted for sale off reserve. In this way, some illicit product can contain the appropriate federal excise stamp and yet still be destined for the black market. Other product, sold in baggies for instance, may not have any type of tax paid on it. There are so many different schemes used by criminals it becomes quite a task to get a good ­estimate on profit margins.

In an effort to provide a very general idea of the potential profit from cigarettes illegally manufactured in Canada, certain assumptions were made. It has been determined that the cost to produce 200 illicit cigarettes averages approximately $5 and that total government taxes average about $65 per carton (including the federal excise duty). Assuming that an illegal carton of cigarettes is sold at $40 per carton, it is possible to arrive at a national average of total tax loss and potential profit. The base figure of $5 may be higher depending on a number of factors, including packaging (the higher the base cost, the lower the profit margin). While these numbers are over-simplified and should invite a more rigorous methodology, it is intended to provide the necessary context to understand the extent of the problem.

UP TO 3 MILLION CIGARETTES A MONTH IN ONE REGION, QUEBEC

A major police operation targeting cigarette smugglers took place in Joliette and ­surrounding municipalities. “We're talking about an organization that brings in between 150 and 300 cases of cigarettes into the region every month, up to 3 million cigarettes,” said a spokesman for the Sûreté du Québec. “This is a complex investigation that began in September 2009, which addresses the phenomenon in its three areas: supply, distribution and resale neighborhoods,” said Paré. Revenu du Québec participated in the operation. The cigarettes originate from outside the country.
 
Source: La Presse, “Importante opération policière contre des trafiquants de cigarettes” (Nov.30, 2012), http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/quebec-canada/justice/201211/30/01-459...
contenuinterne=cyberpresse_BO2_quebec_canada_178_accueil_POS1

Considering the potential profit generated from the illicit trade in tobacco, the penalties are not proportionately severe. Anyone found in possession of between 1,001 and 10,000 illegal cigarettes in Ontario could be fined $500 plus three times the tax that would be imposed if these cigarettes were obtained legally. In some cases there is a prison sentence but this largely depends on the nature of the criminal activity.

ORGANIZED CRIME
An RCMP report states that, from May 2009 to April 2010, a total of 18 organized crime groups of various levels of sophistication involved in contraband tobacco were disrupted across the country. Investigations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that outlaw bikers are involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and retailing of the illicit tobacco products. According to the Consortium, the capital to buy equipment and set up operations was, in some cases, fronted by organized crime.

Douglas George-Kanentiio, a journalist from Akwesasne, is quoted in a 2010 National Post article saying that it would be “simply impossible for Indian people to have the means to market tobacco off the reservation” and that organized crime assists in making those types of connections.

The political and geographical situation of illicit trade on reserves presents enforcement challenges for Canadian, American and First Nations authorities. The reluctance that Canadian law enforcement has in entering on reserve might encourage organized criminals to use the reserves as a safe haven and trans-border conduit for committing offences.

In 2009, the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative U.S.-based news organization, published an exposé on Canada’s “boom in smuggled cigarettes”. It asserts that the 12-mile stretch of the Canada/U.S. border that runs through Akwesasne is a major security soft spot. “In one February case, U.S. authorities arrested 10 people, alleging they were part of a ring that smuggled 50,000 pounds of marijuana through Akwesasne and into the United States from 2003 to January [2009]. One of the ringleaders has a tobacco manufacturing license from the ­Canadian government.”

WHO’S WATCHING THE WATCHMEN?
This year, farmers sold about 53 million pounds legally, the highest yield since 2006 and over double what was produced three years ago. This year also represents what is predicted to be the most vulnerable year to contraband production and sale due in large part to the transition of authority and lack of regulatory oversight.

REGULATORY OVERSIGHT
In June 2011, the Ontario government made much ado about legislation it introduced to meet its obligations to the Supporting Smoke-Free Ontario by Reducing Contraband Tobacco Act. Among other things, the new legislation transferred the responsibility for licensing raw leaf tobacco from the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board to the Ontario Ministry of Revenue.

MANITOBA’s BLACK MARKET FOR ILLEGAL CIGARETTES
According to officials with Manitoba’s criminal property forfeiture unit, the black-market business appears to be booming. “A single [case] of [50 bags] can provide a profit of $1300 to $2350,” documents filed in court by the unit state. Officials believe the illegal smokes are manufactured on reserves in southern Ontario and in areas along the U.S. border, then smuggled up to Manitoba for resale on the black market.
 
Source: Winnipeg Sun, “Illegal cigarette biz booming in Manitoba” (Oct.17, 2012),
http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/10/17/illegal-cigarette-biz-booming-in-m...

As of October 1, 2012, the Ministry of Revenue is responsible for licensing tobacco growers, controlling the production, distribution, sale and purchase of raw leaf tobacco to help ensure the supply of raw leaf tobacco stays in the legal market.

Just days after this transfer took effect, the Ministry of Finance issued a news release announcing a temporary grace period that would allow participants the time to learn of their obligations and apply for the appropriate registration certificates for the 2013 growing season. This means that anyone who grows, processes, sells, buys, imports, exports or inter-jurisdictionally transports any varieties of raw leaf tobacco prior to March 31, 2013 will not be required to hold a registration certificate with the Ministry of Finance. It remains unclear if the grace period was meant to benefit the participants or to give the Ontario Ministry of Finance more time in fully grasping its mandate and the resources it would need to fulfil its obligation to farmers and to Canadians.

The result is the same. The regulatory vacuum provides a savoury opportunity for unlawful conduct and in many ways weakens law enforcement efforts to contain the illicit trade of tobacco.

TOBACCO SUPPLY CHAIN
The sand belt in southwestern Ontario is the primary region in Canada where flue-cured tobacco is produced. Today, about 241 tobacco farmers located near towns like Delhi, Aylmer and Tillsonburg are licensed to grow and sell their harvest to registered and permitted wholesalers.  

Just prior to the growing season, wholesalers acting on behalf of manufacturers establish contracts with tobacco farmers and tally up projected totals of pounds per acre. This estimate is submitted to the Ministry of Finance who is mandated to ensure that growers are not producing more tobacco than their contracts allow. In the spring, growers are also required to provide detailed maps of their proposed acreage and its precise location. Ideally, investigators at the Ministry of Finance should inspect these plans and projected pounds per acre to ensure and enforce compliance.

Frontline Security learned, for example, that one wholesaler had submitted an estimate of about 2,400 pounds per acre to the Ministry of Finance while another reported about 2,700 pounds per acre. Neither of the two wholesalers can predict if the harvest will be a good or bad one and so there is nothing too irregular in providing higher or lower estimates. As it turned out, 2012 was an amazing year. The wholesaler that had reported 2,700 actually produced 2,950 pounds per acre. In contrast, the wholesaler that had projected 2,400 pounds per acre did not report experiencing a higher yield. While there may be a logical explanation, it is paradoxical for some farmers’ crops to yield more per acre while other farmers in the same region (but who are signed on with a different wholesaler) experience incongruous results.

One industry source cites as much as 4 million pounds have not been reported to the Ministry of Finance. A loosely structured reporting mechanism is just one of many existing loopholes that are ­scrutinized by criminals, and represents one more method to divert raw leaf to illicit manufacturing facilities.

Referring to an internal RCMP briefing note outlining the state of the illicit-tobacco problem, the National Post examined this issue in a recent article. The RCMP memo stated that farmers are allowed to seed as much as 10% above reported crop yield in the event of some crop being damaged due to poor weather conditions or other unforeseen ­circumstances. This reporting loophole means a farmer can easily sell 10% of their yield to illicit manufacturers. Farmers might be tempted or coerced to sell their overage at $8 dollars a pound instead of the $2 dollars that contractual agreements with legitimate industry normally yield.

TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR IN LOST EXCISE REVENUE

Cross-border trade of tobacco and cigarettes largely distributed through Indian reservations costs the provincial and federal government tens of millions of dollars each year in lost excise revenue. About 2.2 million cigarettes and 750 pounds of loose tobacco were confiscated by Mounties and other agencies. The Akwesasne Indian reservation near Cornwall straddles both Ontario and New York state.
 
Source: United Press International, “Mounties make major tobacco interventions “ (Oct.02 2012), http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2012/10/02/Mounties-make-major-to... tions/UPI-52931349211596/

Other “schemes” involve farmers claiming their bales are stolen when they have in fact been diverted to the illicit manufacturing trade. Poor quality tobacco is another scheme in the illicit trade. In one instance this year, a wholesaler refused over 80,000 pounds of raw leaf from one of its farmers. Reasons for rejecting a grower’s produce may be due to poor quality or other entirely legitimate reasons, although some industry experts say that they have never witnessed such a large amount being refused before. If the bales are rejected due to poor quality, it is reasonable to assume that the grower destroys the produce, however, it is not clear if this is being done or who oversees the process.

The RCMP memo stated that more focus was needed on the manufacturing process – “from the suppliers of raw materials to the illicit manufacturers to the large volume distribution networks.” Instead, during one of the highest crop yields since 2006, regulatory bodies are granting “participants” a reprieve until March 2013.  

Without a physical presence of investigators on the ground in Ontario, where flue-cure tobacco is predominantly cultivated, it is unlikely to claim any successes in provincial or federal tobacco control programs. The absence of government inspectors has resulted in production overages that are simply not being captured.

CLIMATE OF FEAR, WILD WILD WEST
During the course of our interviews with farmers this year, some expressed concern for their safety and for the growing regularity of farmers being approached by unlicensed buyers for their raw leaf tobacco. One of them referenced a fire that took place in July that destroyed a cigarette manufacturing building filled with product. In a separate incident, it was reported that a Cornwall-area man fired multiple gunshots at a security guard station at a Six Nations cigarette factory in February 2012. These random and unrelated acts build a climate of fear and growing reticence to openly discuss the problem much less volunteer unlawful activity to the Ministry of Finance or to law enforcement.

LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY
Police pressure is a necessary component in tackling the illicit trade, however, such efforts are unlikely to significantly reduce these crimes by themselves. In many respects, the conditions that created and sustain the current illicit tobacco problem in Canada have nothing to do with law enforcement efforts and everything to do with politics.

Entering on native reserves is highly charged and political in nature. Past confrontations like the 1990 Oka crisis near Kahnawake and the Six Nations land-claims dispute near Caledonia are reminders to both government and law enforcement not to approach Aboriginal issues with force. Until sustained dialogue and consultation take place, police will continue investigations off reserve and seize tobacco smuggled from the U.S.

Another interesting development relates to the potential re-location of the cross-border checkpoint from Canadian law enforcement control to the U.S.-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force at Massena, New York. It is not clear if the move off the island over to the American side will assist Canada’s smuggling problem or allow for undetected movement of contraband tobacco.

A WORD ON HEALTH CANADA
Canadian consumers of cigarettes might be interested to learn more about the content and quality of cheaper cigarettes. Unfortunately, no rigorous data is available. In 2006, Health Canada embarked on a smoke analysis study and published the results on its website. While the information has been recently removed, the report stated that the same chemical substances are present in the smoke of both contraband and legal cigarettes with “no notable difference in the quantity of most of these chemicals found in the smoke of either contraband or legal cigarettes.”

Ontario's First Nations Cigarette Quota: Each year, the Ministry of Finance calculates the total quantity of allocation cigarettes for each reserve. Working within this quota, ministry-authorized tobacco wholesalers are permitted to deliver cigarettes to ministry-authorized reserve retailers for the allocation year. Under the allocation system, First Nations individuals may buy allocation cigarettes on a reserve, for their exclusive use, that are exempt from Ontario tobacco tax.

Section 87 of the Indian Act stipulates that the personal property of a status Indian or a status Indian Band situated on a reserve is not subject to tax. This does not apply to the excise duty. Aboriginal manufacturers, whether licensed or unlicensed, are required to pay the excise tax prior to moving merchandise to other reserves or duty free areas. It is the subsequent sales taxes, whether a federal tax, such as the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax, or a provincial tobacco/ sales tax, that is subject to the Section 87 exemption.

The analysis was apparently conducted on contraband provided by CBSA, however, it is unclear if this represents an accurate sampling of all types of illicitly traded tobacco, including those unlawfully manufactured in Canada. Also, one has to question the need to finance and impose regulatory quality control on legitimate industry especially if illegally traded tobacco yields the same type of product, as Health Canada claims it does.

The spokesperson for the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) has stated that “people buying illegal smokes might be inhaling more than the usual toxic brew of chemicals found in cigarettes because officials say insects and feces are more likely to be found in unregulated, illegal cigarettes. Health Canada or another governmental agency with less conflict of interest may need to examine this issue with more due rigour in order to provide lawful consumers with information that might impact their health.

ABORIGINAL TOBACCO TRADE & COMMERCE
The First Nation reserves in Ontario and Quebec have successful and thriving industries that generate greatly needed revenue for Aboriginal communities. The tobacco manufacturing centres have worked diligently to become the predominant facilities for manufacturing and distributing tobacco products to other reserves across Canada. As long as the federal excise duty is paid, Aboriginal manufacturers, whether licensed or unlicensed, have the legal right to produce cigarettes within Aboriginal population quantity quotas.

Some, however, do not recognize cigarette quotas because they are established by a provincial body. Aboriginals claim their reserves are on federal land and that the provincial government does not have jurisdiction to enforce any controls.

A Manitoba First Nations leader began selling discounted cigarettes at his smoke shop without paying provincial sales taxes. Since that time, law enforcement has raided the shop five times. The confiscated cigarettes originate from Mohawk distributors from Quebec and are federally stamped under the Excise Act 2001 but are not marked or stamped for sale in Manitoba.

It is clear that the issue of tobacco is a pretext for larger issues that need to be resolved by the federal government. The Belleville Intelligencer published an article on Shawn Brant, who is depicted as an activist fighting two causes: one, dealing with contraband tobacco and the other regarding land treaty rights. However, for Brant, and possibly for many Aboriginals, the two are synonymous.

To bridge the disparity of prices of cigarettes in Canada, it is important to include First Nations communities in the decision making process and allow them to benefit from business opportunities. These might include revenue sharing agreements or for ­Aboriginal communities to develop and enforce their own taxation system on tobacco that is on par with the Canadian provincial and federal tax rate.

TOBACCO FARMERS’ LAWSUIT AGAINST GOVERNMENTS DISMISSED
An unusual $500-million class-action lawsuit by tobacco farmers that accuses the federal and Ontario governments of turning a blind eye to contraband tobacco was dismissed. The farmers allege tax authorities chose to let the trade in unlicensed, untaxed tobacco flourish to avoid angering First Nations’ communities where the cigarettes are made and sold. But Justice Duncan Grace has ruled even if the government did act to appease First Nations, it was a decision made for economic, social and political reasons, and cannot be challenged legally. One of the tobacco farmers' lawyers stressed the lack of enforcement action by federal and provincial officials has had dramatic effects, pointing to a 32-kilometre stretch of highway near the Six Nations’ community in southern Ontario that is lined with makeshift stores selling unlicensed tobacco.  
 
Source: National Post, “Judge dismisses tobacco farmers’ $500M lawsuit against governments over illegal cigarettes” (Aug.15, 2012), http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/08/15/court-dismisses-tobacco-farmers-...

LAST STOP
Illegal cigarettes target youth and lower income smokers, with disproportionally higher incidence in Aboriginal communities. While we did not cover all the byways, two issues dominated our expedition. The lack of provincial regulatory oversight has allowed and continues to allow central Canada to deepen its roots in promoting the illicit tobacco trade to other provinces and territories across Canada. Also, it is clear that the illicit trade in tobacco is a consequence of a much larger and unresolved political issue at the federal level. Without addressing these fundamental concerns, it is disingenuous to report optimistically about Canada’s tobacco control program.

Targeting youth promotes yet another generation of smokers. An increase in the price of cigarettes to either curb smoking or generate higher tax revenues is quickly neutered with low cost cigarettes infiltrating the market. Other innovative strategies need to be devised but will largely depend on a more serious effort by both the provincial and federal governments to regulate and enforce.

The conclusion of this three-part series will focus on courses of action to mitigate the negative impact of illicit trade.

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© FrontLine Security 2012

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Improving Safety and Reducing Health Costs
BY FRONTLINE MAGAZINES
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

Michael Nolan, President of the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada (EMSCC) has a day job that is devoted to responding to the needs of his community in Renfrew County, Ontario. When not on that job, he is buried in dealing with the issues facing the EMS professionals across the country.

Part of Mike's EMSCC job is to coordinate activities with the other Tri-Services Chiefs Associations to make sure that when issues that impact all first responders arise like the 700 MHz Spectrum issue that recently concluded in favour of first responders gets the attention and support required from the EMS chiefs across Canada. Another of Mike's major roles is to make sure that when there are issues that cross the jurisdictional border and need to be considered at a federal level, these issues are presented cogently and with the conviction that comes from a group of professionals dedicated to the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve. Last fall, the EMSCC arrived in Ottawa with a list of 5 issues that required the immediate attention of the federal government. In a series of 80 meetings with federal officials, the following issues were presented:

  1. The federal government should make automated external defibrillators mandatory in all public buildings.
  2. Wireless carriers should be required to meet standard criteria for providing cell phone user location services to Emergency Responders when calling 911.
  3. The current nurse practitioner and physician debt forgiveness plan should include Advanced-Care Paramedics recruited to rural and remote areas of Canada.
  4. The federal government should study the Community Paramedic Model as a way to reduce the burden of chronic disease and depressurize the overwhelmed primary care health system in Canada.
  5. The federal government must introduce a common national standard of Paramedic care in Canada.

An overarching theme shared with government was that Paramedics are the first line of defense for Canadians in emergencies, disasters and pandemics, and are a reliable and constant force in communities across the country - from remote and rural areas to the largest cities, and serve on the front line of every community across the country - providing essential health care to Canadians when they need it the most. 

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© FrontLine Security 2012

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Policy Task Group
KEN POLE
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

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Though well-recognized as vital in the public safety and security sector, interoperable communications remain a constant challenge. This was made clear at a recent closed door event coordinated by General Dynamics Canada (GDC), where industry, government and customers addressed today’s ­capability gaps.

The increasing potential of both internal and external threats to public safety and security in North America provided the context for the meeting. The intent was to create a non-competitive forum for exchanging ideas, and GDC subsequently released a synopsis of the presentations to ­FrontLine Security.

According to the synopsis, it remains obvious that continuous and real-time field access to critical information continues to be compromised. Noting that “past policies of municipal, provincial, and federal governments, combined with the independent ­practices and procurement processes of public safety and security organizations, have created a collection of ‘siloed’ communications networks”, attendees acknowledged the need for effective interoperability. The solution, they suggest, lies in the efficient use of current and emerging hardware, ­software and end-user applications in the military and civil sectors.

The day-long session of presentations and discussion tended to confirm that providing additional applications that personnel can use in the field is not the main challenge. The need to establish a workable policy framework and processes for creating networks was considered much more urgent.

Keynote speaker Chris Phillips, whose 30-year police career includes a stint as Head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office in the U.K., pointed out that since 9-11, grievances have compounded and threats have changed (under continuous efforts to ­cultivate, improve and innovate). Phillips also noted additional challenges due to the accelerated speed at which information is spread via social media.

Now Managing Director of the private-sector International Protect and Prepare Security Office that he founded, Phillips cautioned that every country can expect previously-suppressed extremists to become more globally active, including in the West where many economies are fragile and ­experiencing growing unrest.

“People in these countries conclude that economic conditions have created a situation in which there are not enough police, so they are taking to the streets, assuming that they can get away with anything,” the report says in summarizing Phillips’ remarks, citing the 2011 Vancouver riots. “Confusing the issue is the emergence of groups whose sole objective is to protest … and they are mostly interested in a public display of their disaffection.”

CHANGING NATURE OF THE TERRORIST THREAT
Another key issue is the changing nature of terrorism, and a growing focus on mass casualties in easy targets such as transportation facilities. Terrorists are also resorting to multiple rather than single strikes – and their toolkit has expanded to include cyber attacks, kidnapping, non-suicide attacks, incendiaries, and “dirty” bombs.

The latest terrorist trend is to start wildfires. Setting uncontrollable fires threatens communities and large expanses of terrain, results in death and injury, causes pollution, and possibly the main goal is the significant economic strain from commandeering huge amounts of responder resources, exhausting police and other emergency services.

“The problem is that all the mad, bad, and sad people within a society … can buy anything they need to build a bomb at the local department store, or they can go online and get the information they need to build bombs quite easily. What’s more, all of these people have access to a variety of social media applications and outlets where they can claim to be a part of … any other terrorist group.”

Complicating matters, and adding another layer of vulnerability and instability, is the growing “insider” threat, from individual infiltrators or disaffected employees, that cyber security experts warn of.

Phillips suggests that Canada can no longer afford to assume that terrorism is someone else’s problem and we must adjust security processes and policies, learn to use the same tools terrorists use, and innovate. That includes monitoring social media and sharing whatever information is gleaned with other security agencies.

In the ensuing discussions, a task-force approach was described as the most effective way of plugging ‘capability gaps’ by involving not only public agencies but also the ­private sector. It was considered critical that such a task force should not have allegiance to, or be influenced by, any single public or private body.

The Centre for Security Science (CSS) within Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC) was held up as a model approach in that it is mandated to develop, among other things, holistic solutions to problems. However, it was noted that reliable and ongoing funding could be problematic.

DRDC’s latest annual report shows that it had revenues of $342 million in 2010-2011 compared with $317 million the previous year, and $324 million in 2008-2009. However, like everything else in the federal structure, it is vulnerable to the ­latest round of spending constraints, details of which are expected to be released later this year when the government tables its fall economic update.
In the United States, meanwhile, there is renewed focus on developing and deploying a national interoperable wireless network for public safety. President Barack Obama’s administration is seeking $10.7 billion for the first year, and Congress has already approved $7 billion in start-up funding.

A similar setup in Canada was described in the synopsis as “unlikely” due to funding issues, but there was ­concensus at the meeting that a “uniquely Canadian” ­interoperable network should be a priority.

TASK FORCE APPROACH
“A task force approach can be used to affect changes in the laws governing how public safety and security should be managed and delivered,” the synopsis explains. “This can be achieved by including individuals and organizations in the task force that can influence how policies are written. By collaborating as part of a task force, everyone involved can concentrate on making real changes without worrying about organizational affiliations. In addition, a task force approach allows the team to focus on identifying potential problems or challenges associated with getting things changed, and address them before they become an issue.”

However, an overriding and “extremely difficult” challenge was to find ways that policy-makers can be made aware of a task group’s efforts, which could then be translated into policy with appropriate funding. This requires overcoming multiple layers of governance and jurisdictional issues.

“A collaborative approach will ensure that changes are implemented that everyone can agree on … rather than disconnected, individual solutions,” the synposis says. “Task forces like CSS don’t have a specific institutional perspective on any issue. Therefore, they are in the best position to determine who the key players in a discussion should be and who needs to be involved to advance recommendations … to the right government agencies.”

The synopsis suggests there are clear savings to be had through such a coordinated approach, but adds that it can only succeed if public-sector ­procurement is better aligned with interoperability objectives and if the various agencies optimize and share each other’s resources.

Meanwhile, the private sector should begin to think of a nationally interoperable network as an opportunity to engineer one hardware kit, which could be sold to multiple organizations in large volume, rather than proprietary hardware with more limited appeal.

“Most of the technology needed to enable ­interoperable ­communications already exists,” the synposis concludes, citing general acknowledgement among the meeting’s participants. “The key benefit of a dialog between all stakeholders is that it makes it easier for everyone involved to determine what technology is available beyond the radio and how it can be adapted to improve public safety and security.”

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Ken Pole is a contributing editor at FrontLine Security.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Emergency Preparedness in Quebec
BY ANDRE FECTEAU
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

It was one of those frosty January mornings in Saguenay, Quebec. The year was 2009, and almost 70 elderly people were shivering out in the cold as the walls of the now blazing seniors’ residence, Belle Génération, began to fall. Chances of saving the building looked slim.

The first in command that morning, Saguenay’s fire chief Carol Girard, had a lot on his mind but one thing was foremost: his clients. It was –30°C and many of the Belle Génération’s residents were in their pyjamas, standing barefoot in the snow. They had to be relocated – and quickly.

A call to the Red Cross, with whom Ville de Saguenay has an agreement to provide disaster services, allowed the victims to be temporarily sheltered, while Girard’s team was fighting the fire.

“Fires are no longer emergencies,” says Girard. With a new approach to emergency planning, Saguenay’s emergency response has become a series of procedures. “It turned into managing emergency responses, because we planned the situation.”

This emergency response approach is client-based, or consequence-based, as opposed to all-hazard, as used in most North American jurisdictions.

Although results are similar, the difference between the two approaches lies in the planning process. While the all-hazard approach encompasses the functions and activities needed to be addressed in case of any type of incident, the client-based approach is driven by focussing on first serving the population’s needs.

During an emergency response such as at Belle Génération, the client-based approach meant for Girard that, once his 70-something firefighting force had stabilized the blaze, he had to permanently relocate the victims. Under his leadership, Saguenay’s arts, culture, community and library division would find new homes for the homeless elderly.

“[The client-based approach] makes sure that any need the population could have is not forgotten,” says Josiane Simon, president of Multi Risk International, a Montreal-based risk management consultancy group.

This requires identifying organizations that are not necessarily thought of during the planning process, such as a city’s arts and culture division for providing long-term housing to victims.

It was the Quebec government’s intention that the switch to client-based emergency preparedness would be facilitated by the 2002 municipal reorganization.

Lévis, Quebec, just across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City, is one city that implemented this new approach when it amalgamated. Its post-2002 area of responsibility includes ten former cities and villages, each with their own vision and culture. A temporary emergency plan was first set up following the amalgamation, and then began the plan overhaul.

The new city’s resources were not only reorganized, but were also re-identified. According to Lévis’ fire chief, Yves Després, this proved to be a great communication exercise between the different services, which, on top of determining each division’s responsibility, led to greater cooperation in other matters that still exists today.

“We’re very proud of the ease with which we can maintain our network of partners,” says Després. From ministries to health organizations, people working for different partners know each other. “This networking exercise makes us more efficient (on site),” he says.

One of Lévis’ tools to improve communication between the city and businesses was the creation in 2006 of its “Comité mixte municipal et industriel”. The committee has assisted the city in implementing an integrated process for industrial emergencies in bringing together resources, ­professional expertise and equipment.

Ultramar, which has an oil refinery in Lévis, has become one of the committee’s most important members and is working to harmonize its emergency plans with the city.

Creating the committee paid off at the onset when an explosion occurred in one of Ultramar’s refinery units in 2006, putting at great risk the 130,000 residents. The fire was quickly contained by Lévis’ fire department and no injuries were reported.

In Saguenay, the task of revising the emergency plan and facilitating communications between various partners was given to a fulltime advisor created especially for the purpose; this emergency preparedness advisor answers to the fire chief.

The advisor holds two or three meetings per year with city staff and meets regularly with external partners. According to Saguenay’s deputy fire chief Steeve Julien, these meetings have improved communications both at the planning stage and when responding to emergencies. “(Communications issues) have decreased a lot since the advisor’s arrival,” says Julien.

However, not all municipalities are fortunate enough to have the financial means to hire more staff. As elsewhere in Canada, Quebec cities are being given greater responsibilities, but not necessarily more money.

Cities’ budgets dedicated to emergency preparedness are not grand, but there are ways to get money from other services, says Lévis’ Després. For example, although it is a part of responding to an incident and should fall under the emergency preparedness budget, relocating victims of a disaster is part of the arts budget in Lévis.

Although cities could use more funds, the situation is not dire. “Emergency preparedness at Ville de Lévis is not compromised by funding,” says Després.

In 2001, the Quebec government enacted the Civil Protection Act, which imposes on every municipality in the province the requirement for an emergency plan. According to Joël Chéruet, certified consultant in emergency and civil security, although this law is “the best in the world,” there is no mechanism to enforce its provisions.

Through the 2002 municipal reorganization, the Quebec government attempted to compel all cities to prepare emergency plans, but that failed, says Chéruet, who compares the situation with Canada’s most populous province.

In the early 1990s, the lack of emergency plans at the city-level in Ontario had been the same as in Quebec. However, the Progressive Conservative government at the time embarked on a municipal reform that, among other things, reduced the number of municipalities dramatically. Today, each Ontario city government has an emergency plan, thanks largely to funding provided by Queen’s Park.

The Quebec government also provides no incentives for municipalities to have an emergency plan, says Chéruet. In fact, each city struck by disaster is financially compensated regardless of the efforts it made towards emergency preparedness.

“In Quebec, the mentality it that once you have a plan, all is good,” he says, explaining that it is important to keep plans active and up to date.

Before Saguenay’s amalgamation, (today a city of close to 145,000 inhabitants and covering roughly 1,700 square kilometres) emergency plans were not a priority, says Julien. He estimates that, back then, real catastrophes ­happened only every ten to 20 years. For example, Chicoutimi and La Baie, which are now part of Saguenay, were the site of one of the biggest overland floods in recent Canadian history. In July 2006, 275 millimetres of water fell on the region over a two-week period, causing the Saguenay River to swell two metres higher than normal and washing away an entire neighbourhood.

The catastrophe claimed seven lives, and over 16,000 people were evacuated, while 488 homes were destroyed, and 1,230 were damaged, for an estimated $1.5 million in damages in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord regions. “People are still fearful,” especially when the river’s level rises, says Saguenay’s Julien.

To mitigate this threat, Saguenay purchased electronic equipment that phones residents to inform them on the river’s levels and whether the situation is normal or requires evacuation. The automated system also provides information for any type of emergency situations, such as landslides or ice storms, and is used in concert with the media and emergency responders.

Saguenay’s fire department also began an annual campaign in the summer of 2010 to educate citizens on the importance to prepare themselves for the first 48 hours of a natural or industrial disaster. It is hoping to reach close to 10,000 people per summer.

“We’re trying to raise people’s awareness on emergency preparedness,” says Julien. In the end, it’s the client that matters the most. In fact, a disaster is always judged by the number of victims and its impact on their lives. 

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André Fecteau is a freelance writer based in Ottawa.
© Frontline Security 2012

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Illicit Tobacco: Courses of Action (part 3)
EDWARD R. MYERS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 4)

Unfortunately, the clamour over the dangers of tobacco has overpowered any intelligible discourse concerning what to do about illicit tobacco. The only audible voices expressing concern are organizations that are trying to protect their bottom dollar as the market turns towards cheaper products.

However, illicit tobacco is a low risk, high-profit criminal activity that undermines the national economy, exposes minors to unsavoury people and products, and places unlawful profit into the hands of organized crime. As such, this issue requires the attention of government authorities that are willing to see past the ruckus and focus on the “illicit” part of the problem. This matter cannot be remedied by a single initiative, nor through the sole efforts of law enforcement. As such, a comprehensive program that approaches the problem with meaningful strategies is long overdue.

This article will examine a few different courses of action, best practices, and perspectives that are being promoted and lobbied by different interest groups in Canada and proposed next steps.

COURSES OF ACTION
A TAXING ISSUE
• INCREASE, DECREASE OR MAINTAIN TAXES?

The most obvious remedy to reduce and possibly eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco is to completely abolish taxes on cigarettes. Remove the illicit profit margin and you remove the problem. While effective, this is an overly indulgent solution as it would mean less ­government revenue and the potential for more people to take up smoking, which in turn burdens the health care system. Clearly, the implementation of indulgent policies has far reaching repercussions that impact more areas than otherwise intended. Just as lower taxes would threaten successful smoking cessation habits, higher taxes undermine lawful process, support criminal enterprise, and put an enormous burden on law enforcement. Health care, public safety, and government revenue are just some of the more obvious interests impacted by how this issue is managed.  

Health advocates have long touted higher taxation as the primary way to promote smoking cessation, however, this singularly-focused strategy may have already saturated its objectives in Canada. A 2011 report by the Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian public policy organization, states that “recent research has found that the deterrent effect of higher tobacco taxation has waned in recent years.” This suggests that those who take up smoking or continue to smoke have entrenched attitudes about smoking despite an increase in the rate of taxation or the knowledge that it’s bad for you. These are generally lower income smokers, and the question becomes whether it is possible to direct them to legitimate, regulated products.

The notion that prohibitive pricing models are counter-intuitive is a common enough assessment. At a recent European conference on smuggling tobacco products this February, a professor from the Warsaw School of Economics made reference to the Laffer curve, which explains why prices cannot grow endlessly. At some point, consumers will switch to cheaper, smuggled or counterfeited goods.

In Canada, two professors at the Department of Economics at Concordia University produced a report in May 2012 for the C.D. Howe Institute, an independent not-for-profit organization focusing on economically sound public policies. The report, A Taxing Dilemma, assesses the impact of tax and price changes on the tobacco market. Their research suggests that an increase in taxes “would further increase the price spread between the legal and illegal products and, consequently, place more pressure on enforcement and exacerbate the problems that attend the illegal market.” At the same time, the report recognizes the value of a taxation policy to generate revenue and to meet health concerns.

However, attempting to address the issue with token tax reductions will not dramatically alter the situation as the illegal market would still benefit from a disparity in pricing. In other words, the report suggests leaving the taxes as they are and consider other strategies to mitigate the illicit market. In summation, the authors recommend increasing the price of black market products through legal or enforcement pressures on unlawful suppliers.

Ironically, in contrast to this staid economic approach that appears to at least consider other aspects of our social fabric, the World Bank invariably promotes one position: raise tobacco taxes. Its website explains that “even where smuggling becomes a serious problem, tax increases bring greater revenues and reduce smoking.” Fortunately, unlike many other countries, Canada is not forced to boost tobacco prices in an effort to support the national economy and/or to get the funding and assistance from the World Bank. Seemingly, the World Bank’s key motivation is to gain quick money for cash strapped governments. It fails, however, to consider the country’s long-term, sustainable, economic integrity much less corresponding enforcement challenges or the unintended social ramifications of its proposed policies.

The Fraser Institute, on the other hand, calls for the revocation of taxes as one of the steps needed to counter contraband in Canada. According to its February 2012 report, “Combating the contraband trade is particularly difficult given the tax environments of neighbouring jurisdictions. A price differential between domestic and smuggled cigarettes increases opportunities for black market profit.” It suggests that a drop in these taxes will deter the underground trade in tobacco.

Far from being a devious argument conceived by big tobacco, the emergence of illicit tobacco is clearly a direct result of taxation policy. While it appears to have abated smoking habits in the past, increasing taxes has reached the threshold of its effectiveness. Moreover, increasing tobacco taxation in Canada will continue to be ineffective in preventing new generations of smokers unless there is a concerted effort to suppress the illicit trade in tobacco.


Kahnawake Mohawk Territory (Montreal). Currently, Aboriginal tobacco commerce is a privatized and unregulated sector that is not subject to the same taxes or scrutiny as other legitimate tobacco industries operating in Canada.

• FIXED PRICING MODEL ON LEGITIMATE TOBACCO PRODUCTS
The problem of illicit tobacco is due in part to a scattered legislative framework that results in price disparities of legitimate products between jurisdictions. It is not uncommon for seized contraband tobacco products to have some form of legitimate stamping but then be transferred outside its authorized market for illicit gain. Introducing a harmonized tobacco tax, or striving to set a fixed rate on the sale of cigarettes across Canada may remove some of the financial incentives and loopholes used by traffickers.

A similar solution is being proposed in Europe, where implementation of a single, high EU-wide cigarette tax, starting in 2014, is being considered. This approach seeks a new minimum cigarette tax rate and strives to tackle price disparity within an entire region. Even if this could be accomplished within Europe or Canada, there still remains a price differential across the next border. A harmonized cigarette tax initiative does not completely eliminate the illicit trade of tobacco, however, it approaches policy change in a coordinated fashion that can serve to undermine opportunities and levels of unlawful profit.

ABORIGINAL CONSULTATION & PARTNERSHIP
The RCMP’s Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy reaffirms, year after year, that the “Canadian contraband tobacco market continues to be dominated by tobacco products originating in Aboriginal communities in Central Canada and the adjacent state of New York. It is therefore crucial to the success of addressing the illicit tobacco trade to increase dialogue on the issue with those ­communities.” In fact, most courses of action include engaging Aboriginal leaders and developing a closer partnership with their communities. The following are possible options through which to shape effective anti-illicit tobacco strategies when reaching out to Aboriginal governments.

• EXPEDITE ABORIGINAL SELF-GOVERNMENT
First Nations has a flourishing tobacco industry that provides employment and growth to reserves across Canada. Any consideration towards harmonizing tobacco rates in Canada must also ensure price parity is achieved with tobacco produced on sovereign Aboriginal land.

Currently, Aboriginal tobacco commerce is a privatized and unregulated sector that is not subject to the same taxes or scrutiny as other legitimate tobacco industries operating in Canada. A comprehensive anti-illicit tobacco strategy must include discussions and consultation with Aboriginal leaders in order to put the tobacco prices in both industrial sectors at par.

An Aboriginal tobacco tax, for example, would serve to reduce illicit profit margins and also provide Aboriginal communities with a way to generate their own independent revenues that encourage legitimate and viable economic development on reserves.

A number of legal instruments are already in place for First Nations to introduce taxes on reserve. The Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development website states that current tax policy allows agreements under which federal, provincial or territorial taxes would be abated or cease to apply on the lands where the corresponding harmonized tax of the Aboriginal government applies. Although the process of negotiating a tax agreement is a time-consuming process, the same website lists over 30 First Nation governments that have already made an arrangement to apply some form of tax on tobacco products.

A 2009 report by the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association (NSRA) advocates for an acceleration in policies to allow First Nation governments to more readily impose their own tobacco taxes.

• QUOTA SYSTEM
In Part 2 of this article, we touched on the Aboriginal Cigarette Allocation System (CAS). Aboriginal manufacturers, whether licensed or unlicensed, have the legal right to produce cigarettes as long as federal excise duty is paid and quantities are within ­Aboriginal population quotas. The problem is that more tobacco is manufactured on reserve than could ever possibly be consumed by the Aboriginal population.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation recently published a report, entitled “How Much is Contraband Tobacco Costing Taxpayers in Ontario?” It alleges to have demonstrated that the majority of tobacco sold on Aboriginal reserves ends up in the black market. “If all recorded allocation tobacco sold on Ontario reserves was for personal, legal use, Status Indians who are smokers would need to consume an estimated equivalent of 32 to 70 cigarettes a day. At its high end, that is 466% of what the reported smoking rate is for Aboriginals and just under three packs a day,” according to key findings from the report.

A course of action proposed by the NSRA is to make wholesalers responsible for ensuring that no product is supplied in excess of the quota and that “the federal government should not hesitate to revoke any licence if a tobacco manufacturer operates without the required provincial licence and vice versa.” The NSRA recognizes, however, that this initiative is wholly dependent upon a government’s commitment to enforce the quota. In order for this proposed course to be effective, First Nation leaders and other Aboriginal authorities would need to be consulted and involved.

• THE BIGGER PICTURE
Dialogue with First Nations leaders on tobacco strategies keeps returning to the unresolved issue of Aboriginal land claims. Far from needing to justify overages in cigarette quotas, some Aboriginals do not recognize the CAS because it was established by a provincial body. They claim their reserves are on federal land and that the provincial government does not have jurisdiction to enforce any controls. Therefore, courses of action that recommend enforcement of the quota system, appear altogether too naïve. Before effective enforcement can take place, there needs to be clarity on what all participants should be adhering to.

The authority of Canadian enforcement action is another matter that needs to be addressed. Provincial police routinely confiscate cigarettes that are federally stamped under the Excise Act 2001 but are not stamped for sale in the province where they are seized.

In areas where land claim issues are unresolved, law enforcement and regulatory oversight quickly becomes a sticky issue. In November 2012, a provincial court ruling to shut down a Manitoba smoke shop came only after police had raided the smoke shop five times. The smoke shack, jointly run by the Dakota Plains, Sioux ­Valley and Canupawakpa First Nations, had been selling cigarettes manufactured by Rainbow Tobacco, a federally licensed facility located on Quebec’s Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. The federal excise tax had been paid, but not the Manitoba provincial taxes. According to the operator of the smoke shop, Chief Frank Brown of the Canupawakpa First Nations, and other Aboriginal leaders in the community, the real issue is not the cigarettes but forcing Ottawa to settle a century-old land dispute. A National Post article, published soon after the court ruling, stated that Chief Brown “wants the province to give him a legal document saying the Dakota people have to pay provincial sales taxes on their own land. Until that ­happens, he said he’s not breaking any laws.”

Grey areas in dealing with the extent of Aboriginal self-government are not confined to the topic of tobacco. Another National Post article, “Ottawa’s policy vacuum undermines its oil sands rhetoric”, illustrates how First Nations communities are challenging the legality of a lucrative oil project through land claim disputes.

In yet another case, the Westbank First Nation near Kelowna has plans to build a private hospital. There have been rumblings that this project will be challenged by the federal government. In a CBC News article, a constitutional expert noted that the Westbank self-government agreement suggests the band does not need approval from the province to build and run the hospital. “There’s a difference of opinion, apparently, about how far self-government extends,” said Gordon Christie. “This is pretty much untested waters.”

Thus, the threat and harm posed by illicit tobacco in Canada is a by-product of a much larger and older issue that must be addressed by the federal government. In a complete lack of deference to a growing pile of issues, there is a general unwillingness to work with Aboriginal leaders. Instead, ‘Idle No More’ and other related tensions dominate the headlines, and the situation appears to be getting worse. Areas of immediate concern are relegated to constitutional experts or to the courts, rather than being managed with any diplomacy or strategy. In the interim, police investigations and regulatory oversight as proposed courses of action will continue to be a challenge until the Federal Government, along with First Nation leaders, define the degree to which Aboriginal self-government extends.


Cases of cigarettes inside vehicles. Photos: RCMPLaw enforcement efforts are mostly mobilized off reserve along the St Lawrence Valley Region, where the infamous Smugglers’ Alley is used by upwards of 175 organized crime groups, according to the RCMP.

REGULATORY OVERSIGHT OF SUPPLY CHAIN
A common course of action relates to prohibiting the supply of raw materials to unlawful tobacco manufacturers in Canada. Tobacco production in Canada is predominantly confined to southern Ontario, which means it is the responsibility of the Ontario Ministry of Finance to regulate the tobacco supply chain.

A few days after the Ontario Ministry of Finance officially assumed its new regulatory role on October 1, 2012, it issued a “temporary” grace period from the requirement to ­register with the Ministry of Finance before engaging in raw leaf tobacco activities. This means that anyone who grows, processes, sells, buys, imports, exports or inter-jurisdictionally transports any varieties of raw leaf tobacco prior to March 31, 2013 will not be required to hold a registration certificate with the Ministry of Finance. More amazingly, that grace period was recently extended to January 1, 2014.

Prior to October 2012, it was the responsibility of the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers’ Marketing Board to help ensure the supply of raw leaf tobacco stays in the legal market. The Ontario Ministry of Finance has not only compromised any forward momentum of its predecessors but has taken huge backward strides. The good news is that any tiny step the Ministry of Finance may take towards fulfilling its mandate could quite accurately be identified and interpreted as “progress”.

According to our research, regulatory oversight of the supply chain can be improved by:

  • Having the Ontario Ministry of Finance work with the previous administration, the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers’ Marketing Board, in order to get advice and an historical overview of tobacco yields by farmer;
  • Enhancing information sharing practices and developing working relationships between investigators at the Ontario Ministry of Finance and law enforcement;
  • Requiring suppliers to submit regular reports to the authorities for all of their shipments;
  • Placing Ontario Ministry of Finance investigators on the ground with the wholesalers and farmers to ensure an understanding of the scope and nature of their working environment and to identify loopholes that allow for the diversion of raw tobacco to the black market; and
  • Having the Ontario Ministry of Finance prepare an official strategy and report on its progress.

TRACK AND TRACE
On November 12, 2012, delegates of more than 140 parties to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) adopted a new international treaty, setting the rules for combating illegal trade through control of the supply chain and international cooperation. The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products commits countries to establishing a global tracking and tracing system to reduce the illicit trade of tobacco products. It focuses on controlling the supply chain through licensing, due diligence, tracking and tracing, record-keeping, security and preventive measures, sale by Internet, telecommunication or any other evolving technology, free zones and international transit, and duty free sales. Canada is a signatory to the WHO FCTC although it has yet to sign the Protocol.

Many countries are already looking at ways to better track and trace legitimate products. A retail group in Ireland suggests working with the tobacco industry in printing a unique 12-digit code directly onto packs and cartons during manufacturing. These and other ideas should be explored in a Canadian context. The Canadian government, in particular the Ontario Ministry of Finance, should be forced to report on its progress as provided in the new WHO FCTC framework. There will be pressure to scrutinize gaps in the supply chain and to establish improved systems throughout Canada.

EMPOWERING LAW ENFORCEMENT
As mentioned, the political and geographical situation of illicit trade on reserves presents unique enforcement challenges for Canadian, American and First Nations authorities. A 2010 report, Contraband Tobacco in Canada, prepared by the Fraser Institute summarily concludes that “it is exceedingly difficult for law enforcement to obstruct illicit trade and smuggling activities if they lack access to the territory on which it takes place and do not possess the clear authority to take enforcement actions.’’ Past confrontations like the 1990 Oka crisis and the land-claims dispute near Caledonia are reminders not to approach Aboriginal issues with force. As a result, law enforcement efforts are mostly mobilized off-reserve along the St Lawrence Valley Region, where the infamous Smugglers’ Alley is used by upwards of 175 organized crime groups, according to the RCMP.


The Harper government announces a 50-officer RCMP anti-contraband tobacco force.

• AT THE BORDER
Ongoing surveillance in the St. Lawrence Valley Region is the most widely promoted strategy in the fight against illicit tobacco trade in Canada. Between the Canadian and American shores of the St. Lawrence River sits Cornwall Island, home to Canada’s Akwesasne Mohawk community and the U.S. St. Regis Mohawk reserve. This unique geographical and political node makes the port of entry at Cornwall an important gateway for regulatory and law enforcement presence.

Currently, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) serves that port of entry, however, there are plans to move the Cornwall border station across the St. Lawrence River to a new U.S. Customs and Border Patrol station in Massena, New York. According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen, convenience store operators fear more cigarette smuggling if the Cornwall border station is moved. The intent of the U.S. authorities, they contend, “is to intercept the truckloads of raw and fine-cut tobacco before they reach clandestine cigarette manufacturing plants on the U.S. portion of Cornwall Island.” Canadian interest groups believe that moving the port of entry to the United States “will leave the door to the Canadian mainland wide open for those who can find a way to skirt Massena or ship Canadian-grown raw tobacco to the island for processing and then back on across the undefended bridge to Cornwall and the rest of eastern Canada.”

Various law enforcement members who are willing to express an opinion on the matter agree that the decision to move the port of entry is not in Canada’s best interest. The decision to create a 50-officer force to combat the illicit trade may have been a concession and a way to offset the challenges posed by the new port of entry arrangement. As it stands, however, 50 officers in lieu of a Cornwall border station is being interpreted as “one step forward and two steps back.”

• PROPER FOCUS
While it is clear the border continues to be vulnerable and porous, it is nevertheless important to examine the shifting nature of the illicit trade in tobacco and to ensure that human and financial resources are invested towards meaningful outcomes.

RCMP records over the past few years show a decline in contraband seizures, however, it is unclear if this is confined to the location of its operational efforts – the St. Lawrence Valley Region.

Is a shift taking place in Canada? Are federal, provincial and municipal strategies in line with current realities and/or emerging patterns? Why has Aboriginal tobacco commerce (including the manufacture of cigarettes) developed at an exponential rate over the past few years?

As mentioned earlier, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation report shows that Aboriginal production under the Cigarette Allocation System far exceeds authorized sales. This suggests a possible new development and shift in the routes and distribution channels of illicit tobacco to communities across Canada.

Prior to embarking on any type of investment in anti-illicit tobacco strategies, it is important to gain accurate, timely and rele­vant intelligence. Instead of using RCMP progress reports on contraband as a means to promote successful outcomes, Canada would be better served by identifying gaps and challenges that need to be addressed.

Effective strategic intelligence assessments are best conducted outside of the sphere and influence of law enforcement in order to remove any conflict of interest. Understanding the environment will ensure the issue is approached with the proper focus and appropriate solutions. External groups would be able to provide audits on law enforcement strategies, plus strategic assessments and primary research required for operational activities.

• COLLABORATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Another course of action relates to increased collaboration between the various federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal law enforcement authorities. Collaboration with American and Aboriginal counterparts is an equally important dynamic in making law enforcement actions more targeted and efficient. This type of professional outreach is critical to any initiative and requires innovative solutions that include hosting conferences and producing joint operational and tactical intelligence reports.


 
REGULATION & LEGISLATION
There are a host of regulations and legislative changes that can reduce the threat and harm of the illicit trade in tobacco. Enhancing the risk associated with criminal activity is a powerful way to offset the allure of unlawful profit. Moreover, innovation in regulatory and legislative frameworks should strive to empower law enforcement authorities in a way that removes unnecessary impediments and provides the necessary tools to effectively enforce compliance. While not an exhaustive list, following are some possible courses of action in the domain of regulatory and legislative changes:

• HARSHER PENALTIES
The Harper government recently announced plans for a new ­Criminal Code offence with mandatory jail time for repeat offenders involved in the trade of illicit tobacco. The enhancement of criminal penalties is intended to establish a stronger deterrent to involvement in criminal activity. It is a course of action that is increasingly being used in regional anti-illicit tobacco strategies. New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia are just some states all pursuing similar legislative changes.

While it is beneficial to introduce stiffer penalties to those transporting or selling illicit tobacco products, it should not be confined to one stage of the process. Tobacco manufacturers should also be held liable if their products are discovered and seized on the black market. A 2009 report by the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association states that “penalties should be stiff enough so that it would become a financial incentive for manufacturers to stop supplying any customer (distributor or retailer) involved in any kind of smuggling activity.” For legislation to be effective, it must scrutinize each step of the illicit trade process with due diligence. Penalties need to be sufficiently steep in order to discourage unlawful activity from suppliers, leaf buyers, manufacturers, street level retailers and consumers alike.

• EMPOWERING LAW ENFORCEMENT
Anti-illicit tobacco investigations can be complex and require a significant investment of resources. In the United States, investigative units are able to request financial support through the Churning Authority. It allows the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to use the financial proceeds obtained through undercover operations to offset the expenses incurred in other long-term, complex investigations. The Churning Authority is just one example of how to support and empower law enforcement operations. Establishing similar legislation and authority to Canadian law enforcement would go a long way towards sustaining meaningful investigations that are resource-intensive.

• ACCOUNTABILITY
There are different ways to put pressure on criminals involved in the illicit trade of tobacco while also providing a benefit to law enforcement and regulatory authorities. The 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between the U.S. and the tobacco industry is an example of a course of action that not only generates revenue for anti-illicit tobacco strategies but also points a spotlight on ­participants that stand to benefit from the sale of tobacco. Initially focused on a settlement with major industry players to address health care, it was later expanded to cover the whole industry. It required all tobacco participants to register with authorities and pay into escrow accounts. This overarching oversight allows regional governments to impose taxation and escrow requirements on sales of tax-free tobacco to non-natives, and prosecute offenders if they are not compliant. The conditions of the MSA allow regulatory and law enforcement authorities the latitude to ensure compliance and it is used as a tool to identify participants of the tobacco trade.


Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) currently serves the port of entry, however, there are plans to move the Cornwall border station just across the St. Lawrence River to a new U.S. Customs and Border Patrol station in Massena, New York.

EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGN
For many Canadians, the illicit trade in tobacco is more often ­identified as a victimless crime than organized crime. Informing the general public about the threat and harm posed by contraband is intended to dissuade them from buying unlawful products. It should also be designed to engage them to contact authorities if they see suspicious activity in their neighbourhoods and ­communities.

The Ontario Convenience Store Association (OCSA) launched a 10-week billboard campaign last year about the harmful effects of illegal cigarettes. While it was an excellent initiative, it may have been perceived as a self-serving platform to protect retailers’ bottom line. When promoting awareness that delivers a message intended as a public service, the source of the message is paramount, and usually scrutinized by the audience. To lend credibility to the issue, the government should be engaging or endorsing these types of educational campaigns. To date, however, the ­government has only been receptive to funding anti-tobacco ­campaigns, minus the “illicit” or public safety part of the equation.  

The general public is an important audience to target, however, it could arguably be more prudent to hone in on the farmers and leaf buyers involved in the supply chain. Whether it is informing them of regulatory requirements, the harm and threat of illicit tobacco, or the penalties associated with supplying raw leaf to unlawful manufacturers, it is imperative that those directly involved in the trade are informed of developments and key government messages.

NEXT STEPS: GET INFORMED
Using ­taxpayers’ hard earned dollars on feel-good, tokenistic efforts is offensive and irresponsible. Such initiatives seldom meet long term objectives and are devised to support political posturing without an informed understanding of the issues. Announcing a 50-man force to combat contraband, for example, may sound impressive – but not when compared to losing authority of the port of entry that serves Cornwall. Isolated efforts are ineffective if they are not working in tandem with a greater overarching strategy. The dots need to be connected between different stakeholders who can apply pressure on criminals involved in the illicit trade in tobacco. Some of the ways to jump-start the process are listed below and should be conducted prior to investing more public funds.

STANDING COMMITTEE
Prior to engaging in solutions on the topic of illicit tobacco it is important to establish a balanced and objective decision-making body that is willing to become informed on the many facets of the issue. This body can facilitate discussion and commission studies. For example, the Virginia State Crime Commission was asked by a Senate Joint Resolution to document the impact of illegal cigarette trafficking on state and local governments and on the industry, review statutory options to combat illegal cigarette trafficking, and determine the beneficiaries of illegal cigarette trafficking. The report was presented before the Virginia Legislative Assembly in January 2013 and provided a total of 12 policy considerations. In Canada, the establishment of a similar committee on illicit tobacco can be facilitated through an existing parliamentary standing committee or other dedicated group that is in a position to request information from various informed stakeholders.


Left: The Ontario Convenience Store Association (OCSA) launched a 10-week billboard campaign last year about the harmful effects of illegal cigarettes, which appeared in locations around Ontario. Right: Contraband cigarettes confiscated by Cornwall RCMP. Organized crime networks are using the illicit tobacco trade to exploit aboriginal communities, say police.

CONFERENCES OR NATIONAL FORUM
There does not appear to be a regional conference in North America that invites senior government officials and subject matter experts from relevant disciplines, countries or regions to provide different perspectives that can inform policy and anti-illicit tobacco strategies. A conference on this topic, if undertaken, can yield impressive results and shed light on ways to combat the illicit trade.

A recent conference in Warsaw in February examined the illicit tobacco trade through various national perspectives, specifically focusing on smuggling across the European Union’s (EU) eastern border. With the financial support of a major international tobacco company, the conference was hosted by EurAcitv Poland, a member of the EurActiv Network that delivers localized EU policy information and follows EU legislation from the beginning of the process to implementation and evaluation. Participants at the conference included government officials from different political parties and representatives from the border agency, taxation office, customs, and commerce. The enlisted speakers of various disciplines, including economists, examined the draft update of the EU Tobacco Products Directive and expanded the debate to look at wider smuggling issues. Each offered a glimpse into their country’s particular circumstances while offering solutions and best practices to combat the problem.

The United States also had a similar approach. A one-day conference sponsored by the Tobacco Merchants Association (TMA) was recently held in Virginia in February 2013. Federal officials, tobacco industry executives, professors and other experts gathered to discuss the persistent illicit trade in tobacco products such as large-scale interstate trafficking of tobacco products and the smuggling of cigarettes into the country by criminal organizations. The conference analyzed the wide range of schemes used to engage in illicit trade, and some of the steps that could be taken to address it. Topics included a case study on the public health cost from illicit trade in Canada, the financial cost, enforcement experiences and challenges in the United States, Native American enforcement issues, and tools to support enforcement.

The results from these and other conferences can be used as a stepping stone to inform policy. Having the tobacco industry sponsor such an event should not be viewed as a conflict – legitimate tobacco companies are eager to contribute resources and provide solutions to combat any illicit aspects of their business. A host of participants from different and opposing viewpoints and agendas can offset the potential for manipulation. The main objective is getting policy makers in a forum to hear different points of view from all stakeholders prior to deciding, developing and implementing strategies.

EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE
Research, strategic assessments and the development of intelligence on illicit tobacco is intended to assist law enforcement, the government, and legislative and regulatory bodies in a quest to shape policy and determine the efficacy of their respective tobacco control strategies and anti-illicit tobacco programs. The findings are also picked up by assorted media outlets to promote awareness surrounding the issue and potentially identify successes and/or existing gaps.

Empirical evidence and research is therefore exceedingly important and should come under intense scrutiny prior to being presented to an audience. Without examining those numbers and demonstrating some due diligence, it is easy to formulate flawed policy and strategy. The methodological approach must be sound, and specific to the sociological and geographical areas in which it claims to offer intelligible analysis. Not only do methodology, geography, and sociological factors have to be defined, it is equally important for the research to be timely and reflective of the changing dynamics in the criminal market place.

What do we know about the prevalence and volume of illicit tobacco specifically in Canada from 2011 to 2012? What can we expect in 2013? Not much. The Canadian government does not conduct its own research on this topic and relies on external data to formulate policy.

A November 2012 news release by the Association québécoise des dépanneurs en alimentation states that illicit tobacco in Quebec is on the decline, which flies in the face of anecdotal feedback from provincial police. The retail group bases its assumptions on outdated statistics or data provided by Euromonitor’s global study. It is unfortunate that both the Gfk and Arcus annual studies were abandoned after 2009 – their methodologies were less flawed and less abstract than most and, attempted to look specifically at the Canadian context and its unique realities.


May 2013 – The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) seized 6,514 kg of ­contra­band tobacco (with an estimated street value of over $500,000) at the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle border crossing (south of Montreal). Examining the vehicle, CBSA officers found loose tobacco hidden under piles of used clothing.

Discrepancies in available data add to the challenge of accurately conveying the impact that illicit tobacco has in Canada. It is up to policy makers to take a serious peek behind the numbers or to commission much needed empirical research on the illicit trade in Canada. For the moment, a wanton use of flawed statistics on illicit trade and other posturing dominates Canadian headlines.

CONCLUSION
While there is some disagreement on taxation as a way to manage the illicit tobacco trade in Canada, other courses of action are ­generally agreed upon and advocated by a number of different organizations and associations. These include working with Aboriginal communities to discuss taxation agreements, educational campaigns about contraband tobacco, increased policy and enforcement against those involved in contraband from supply to retail, and updating legislation on penalties associated with the illicit trade in tobacco products.

There is no single policy instrument or initiative that can overcome the challenges and dynamics of illicit tobacco on its own. A concerted approach is needed that is based on a strategic vision ­versus a hodgepodge of token feel-good efforts.

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Edward R. Myers is the Editor of FrontLine Security Magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2013

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Crossing the Line
EDWARD R. MYERS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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Interoperability is the glue that will bind effective and efficient pubic safety response operations in the future. One of the most apparent examples of this is the 700 MHz spectrum campaign that is intended to provide the tri-services (fire, law enforcement and paramedics) with modern broadband communications capability. Interopera-bility is also attained in other ways, such as cross training of firefighters to respond to minor medical injuries and safely transport patients to a hospital.

Tactical Emergency Medical Services (TEMS)
Effectively crossing operational lines, EMS and law enforcement personnel form team groups in Ontario to support operations where serious injuries may occur during a police operation. The model comes from the military, where medics are assigned to units and travel with them during military operations. Unlike the military model, which uses medics, the Ontario program, under the command of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), uses a fully qualified Medical Doctor to run the program.

This specialized program, the Tactical Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) Program is managed by Dr Andrew Reed, the OPP Physician. Dr Reed is an Emergency Specialist, Assistant Professor at Queen's University, and an Emergency Physician at Kingston General Hospital.

Tactical medical capability was realized in 1985 when the OPP allowed civilian medics to accompany tactical teams during high-risk incidents. Dr Reed joined the OPP in 2002 and took a position as an EMTT with the Eastern Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU). Shortly after joining, he recognized the need for a more robust medical response within the OPP. In 2006, he was tasked with the creation and implementation of a tactical paramedic unit known as the TEMS program. These TEMS include Advanced Care Paramedics that currently work full-time with an Emergency Medical Service in the province of Ontario, and who is willing to provide 6 to 7 days of on-call availability to the OPP. The initial group of 16 TEMS were hired as part-time employees of the OPP in 2007 and received intensive training to prepare them for their new roles. They carry with them all of the advanced medical equipment and supplies required to provide advanced pre-hospital care in a high-risk incident.

The Mandate
The mandate of the OPP TEMS program is to provide emergency medical care to anyone within the perimeter of an OPP critical incident. These include: tactical, CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive), and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) incidents. They also train to provide close support to Public Order Units for crowd management. TEMS are also provided with protective equipment required to provide medical care safely at these incidents.

Since 2007
Since their inception, the TEMS team has grown to become a 24-member unit. They have provided care at hundreds of tactical incidents, several Presidential visits, the 2010 G8/G20 and, most recently, in the aftermath of the Goderich Tornadoes. Beyond providing advanced medical care at OPP incidents, TEMS also provide advanced medical training to specialized response units of the OPP.

An OPP Medical Response
In addition to supervising the TEMS program, Dr Reed has developed a more comprehensive medical program within the OPP's Field Support Bureau. Dr Reed has created training programs for Ballistic Injuries, Blast Injuries, OPP Countermeasures (Antidotes to Chemical Weapons), Excited Delirium, Heat Related Injuries, Less Lethal Weapons, and the Tourniquet and Pressure Dressing. He works closely with the OPP Academy, creating first aid content for all officers. Dr Reed is available to provide medical advice to any critical incident commander 24 hours a day.

One of the great successes of the OPP Medical Program was the implementation of the tourniquet program for all tactical response officers and In-Service trainers. One of the OPP's In-Service trainers who had been seconded to the Ontario Police College (OPC) was present when a recruit accidently discharged a weapon into his own leg. The recruit was experiencing life-threatening bleeding from the wound and without the tourniquet provided by the OPP member, could have undoubtedly bled to death prior to arrival at the hospital.

Upon hearing of the incident, the OPP sent Dr Reed to work with the OPC to institute a train-the-trainer program to teach their instructors how apply tourniquets and pressure dressings. For its own members, the OPP has committed to providing each of its 6000 plus officers with a tourniquet and pressure dressing. This investment will save additional lives.

Another recent investment, part of the OPP's commitment to improving medical care, has been the purchase of more than 200 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for its detachments.

The OPP is also developing an ERT (Emergency Response Team) Medic program. This involves selecting former paramedics as ERT officers and providing advanced medical training and equipment to provide emergency medical care while performing their duties. The first cadre of ERT medics has already saved the life of a civilian during a tactical incident where the local Emergency Medical Services were unable to respond.

As our world grows more complex with new threats to public safety, the law enforcement community continues to search for new ways to provide safety and security to its ranks as well as to the general public. Dr. Reed and his TEMS Program provide an integrated and interoperable level of medical expertise that can be counted on to save lives in times of crisis. Thank You Dr. Reed!

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Edward R. Myers is the Editor of FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Virtual Operations Support Team
BY WILLIAM MACKAY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

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The Scenario
You are in the midst of responding to a major incident, your response organization has been fully activated, your plan has worked reasonably well so far, for which you are thankful. External communication has been fairly traditional, with information being released periodically and the team is responding to questions as best they can. But is this enough? Largely unknown to you, people are commenting and speculating about the incident (and the response) on social networks – sometimes relaying false information. There is a lot of Twitter and Facebook activity floating around, plus photographs posted on Flickr and videos posted to YouTube.

You don’t see this information directly because you don’t have time to look for it, but you know it’s there because the radio and television reports are quoting it. Is it possible to tap into this stream and use it in a more meaningful way? Is there a need? Could it increase situational awareness, improve your response, identify potential issues before they are reported in the media? This is all so new and you only have limited resources, so the challenge is daunting; yet, there is a potential solution to this challenge.

The Solution
One potential solution for dealing more ­effectively with social media during the heat of a response is known as a “Virtual Operations Support Team” – a concept being successfully tested and used in the United States and New Zealand (see FrontLine’s online article for links). This concept involves farming out the monitoring of social media to enhance one’s situational awareness about the incident and potential emerging issues. It also involves engaging the social networks to help deliver accurate key information about the incident and the response more effectively. This task is performed by fellow emergency managers and technical specialists who are not directly involved with the response.

If this is possible, how can it be made available to support Canadians who are responding to emergency incidents?

Developing the Solution
A Virtual Operations Support Team is comprised of emergency managers and technical specialists, but it is not enough to simply identify these individuals. To work effectively there needs to be a clear understanding of the deliverables, the functions team members are to perform, and the organizational structure within which they will carry out this work. There is also a matter of training, and ­possibly accreditation, so that emergency managers who are considering utilizing such a resource can be assured that the team members are fully capable of performing their assigned tasks. Teams formed in other parts of the world have addressed these issues, so there is good resource material available; but, it is still necessary to decide if and how a Virtual Operations Support Team (or teams) will operate in Canada.

Who can do this? How Can We do this?… and How can You Get Involved?
The concept of a Canadian Virtual Operations Support Team was first introduced in May 2012 by Patrice Cloutier in the Crisis and Emergency Communications blog channel of Partnerships Toward Safer ­Communities – Online (PTSC-Online). His article, entitled Creating a Canadian Virtual Operations Support Team (CanVOST), generated a significant amount of interest in the concept. A follow-up article, entitled More on ­Creating the CanVOST was published in June. Cloutier, a Communications Strategist with the Ontario government, is recognized for his abilities as a communicator specializing in crisis communication and emergency management. He has considerable experience dealing with events such as the G8 and G20 summits, and he is an instructor and frequent guest speaker on crisis and emergency communications, with a focus on social media.

Cloutier’s articles have received over 1000 views and several positive comments, and have resulted in identifying several individuals who are interested in investigating the development of such a team.

Partnerships Toward Safer Communities – Online, sponsored by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC), and ­managed by myself, saw potential in the concept and offered PTSC-Online communication and collaboration tools to help interested individuals work together at defining the implementation of this ­concept in Canada.

PTSC-Online was developed by CAFC with financial support from Public Safety Canada to help Canadians responsible for emergency management, business continuity and critical infrastructure protection ­programs, network more effectively, share best practices, and improve their respective programs. The concept of a Virtual Operations Support Team certainly has the potential to help improve Canadian emergency management programs. A mini community space, has therefore been created within PTSC-Online www.ptsc-online.ca/canvost for this purpose. It includes a “Developing CanVOST” blog channel to provide updates on developing the concept, a calendar to schedule and plan significant milestones required to investigate and develop the ­concept, another calendar to announce upcoming events, and a CanVOST wiki to provide a place to store and fine tune resources required to set up and operate a Canadian Virtual Operations Support Team.

Of course, CanVOST remains at the ­conceptual level in the minds of emergency managers and technical specialists who feel it can become a reality and a valuable support to Canadian emergency management programs. So, how do we get from discussing the concept to having a well-tuned virtual operations support team up and ­running? Supporters have met via web ­conference to discuss this, and are consolidating their ideas in the PTSC-Online CanVOST space.

It is important, both for the credibility of the process and its end result, that the right organizations and ­representatives be engaged from the outset.

The next step may be to quantify the interest in and support for CanVOST and define what the finished product might look like. The following step, if the project ­identifies sufficient demand and support, should then be to create and test a pilot virtual ops support team. This test team should be fully operational and tested to support response to a major emergency. This pilot project would then be used to train and fine tune a virtual operations support team and evaluate if it should continue in operation or be modified in any ways.

Please share information about CanVOST with those who may be interested and, if you would like to participate, please visit the web site and sign up to be added to the list of CanVOST supporters. Instructions and links on how to do this are found in the CanVOST space. 

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William McKay is the principal of MacKay Emergency Management Consulting Inc.
He can be contacted through the web site at
www.ptsc-online.ca/canvost
© FrontLine Security 2012

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EMS in the United States
BY ARTHUR HSIEH
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) defines a relatively young public safety profession in the United States, when compared to law enforcement and fire services. In a scant 50 years, the delivery of pre-hospital care and transportation of the sick and injured has evolved rapidly. This rapid development has challenges as well, frequently stemming from oft-ignored and underlying major structural concerns that have not been fully addressed.

A Brief History
Civilian ambulance services in the United States have existed since the mid 1800s, beginning in the major metropolitan cities of New York, Boston and San Francisco. Two major developments in the mid- 20th century improved the delivery of pre-hospital care. One was the successful demonstration of rescue breathing and closed chest compressions by non-physician medical personnel. Pilot projects conducted in Belfast, Ireland and Columbus, Ohio demonstrated that acute cardiac care and resuscitation could be rendered at the site of the emergency, before evacuating the patient to a hospital.

The second was the publication of a seminal report titled “Accidental Death and Disability: The neglected disease of modern society” which was released by the National Academy of Sciences in 1966. More commonly known as the “White Paper”, this report centered around the sobering fact that more Americans were dying from trauma in the United States annually, than from the Vietnam and Korean Wars combined. Importantly, the report recommended the development and implementation of “modern” emergency medical systems that could deploy quickly to arrive on the crash scene, render effective medical care and also transport victims safely to hospitals designed to care for trauma victims.

As early as 1972, national panels recommended the implementation of emergency medical systems on a nation-wide level, coordinated by the federal government. The 1973 EMS Systems Act was designed to implement those recommendations, however, funding was cut off in 1979 – resulting in an incomplete system. Today, EMS systems are organized along state lines, with each state coordinating and managing its own systems and personnel. Large states, such as California, further subdivided its EMS systems at the county level, delegating local regulatory agencies with much of the oversight for emergency medical services. The end result is a national system with very different service delivery models from one region of the country to another.

WHO DELIVERS EMS?
A common saying in EMS is “Once you’ve seen one EMS system, you’ve seen… one EMS system.” This is because significant variables contribute to the uniqueness of each system. One of the major variables relates to who provides the actual service. The following is a brief list of major service providers:

  • Fire Services: Fire departments have provided some level of EMS care  for many decades, often at a “first responder” or basic care level. Some departments such as Metro Dade (Miami, Florida) and Seattle (Washington) have cross- trained firefighter-paramedics on ambulances since the early 1970s.
  • Commercial Services: The private industry has a long tradition of providing ambulance transportation services, stemming from an era when hearses and ambulances were built on similar automobile chassis. In general, local governments contract with commercial providers for all of the EMS response within their jurisdictions. While many commercial services are for-profit, nonprofit organizations are also in existence.
  • Hospital-based Services: Similar to commercial services, systems owned and administered by health care organizations can also be found throughout the United States.

Government-based service providers (also called “third service”): governments may also provide their own EMS.

In a specific region, it is not unusual for EMS to be provided by a combination of two or more types of service providers.  Overall there are an estimated 20,000 agencies in the United states providing EMS services.

EMS PERSONNEL
While the specific scope of practice for the EMS provider is governed at the state level, there are four general levels of EMS practitioners in the United States.

  • Responder: The Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) has typically 60-90 hours of training designed to assist personnel render basic first aid at the scene. This may include techniques such as ­airway management, bleeding control, oxygen therapy, spinal immobilization, and childbirth.
  • Technician: The Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) has a range of 100 to 170 hours of training that expands upon the skills of an EMR, and adds a very limited range of medications to administer. Much of the additional classroom hours involve an understanding of human anatomy and physiology at a basic level.
  • Advanced Technician: The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) expands the scope of the EMT, primarily in advanced airway management and a greater number of medications. This level is a recent evolution from an older term known as EMT-Intermediates. In general, it takes several hundred hours to train an AEMT.
  • Paramedic: The Paramedic requires the greatest number of hours for a certification license (approximately 1200 or more). The student spends significant time in both clinical and field settings. The paramedic is the only level of EMS provider that is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Not all programs are accredited, but the trend is moving in that direction. The paramedic performs all of the skills of the EMT and AEMT, and has greater understanding of human anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. They can administer a significant number of medications. Paramedics can insert endotracheal tubes to assist a patient with breathing, can initiate intravenous (IV) access, and perform a variety of electrical therapies for patients with cardiac rhythm disturbances, including cardiac arrest.

Overall there are about 826,000 licensed or certified EMS providers in the United States. Though working primarily within the emergency response system, EMS providers can also be found in emergency departments, urgent care centers, and other facilities.

Not all EMS providers are compensated for their services. There is a significant number of volunteers that either entirely support their community’s EMS response, or supplement the “career” or paid staff. This is especially true in rural regions of the country, although volunteer EMS organizations can be found in such densely populated cities as New York.

EMS providers that are compensated for their services are overwhelmingly underpaid. Various studies continue to show that compensation for EMTs and paramedics are generally much less than the country’s median income level of $52,000 USD. EMS providers who have been cross-trained as firefighters qualify for higher income levels.

How EMS is funded
Funding for EMS comes from a variety of sources. Much of it is reimbursed through healthcare funding sources such as federal Medicare and Medicaid programs and private health care insurers. Tax assessments also offset some of the operating costs. Overall, however, funding for EMS systems across the United States does not cover operational costs. The federal General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that urban EMS transport is underfunded by 6%, while “super rural” transport is underfunded by 17%. Some EMS systems attempt to make up the shortfall through special district assessments and subscription models.

Challenges facing EMS
Over the past fifty years, the objective of covering the country with “wall to wall” EMS systems has largely been accomplished through the hard work of countless individuals and organizations. However, the development of the nation’s emergency medical response system has not been consistent nor fully effective. A host of challenges not only confront future U.S. EMS development, they actually threaten the existence of present systems.

Funding
As indicated earlier, funding for EMS systems is inadequate. Scarcely a week  goes by without a report of an EMS agency threatening to close its doors or reduce its level of service because of budget shortfalls. While underfunding results, to some extent, from the present global economic slowdown, it will continue to plague EMS systems nationwide.

Lack of Identity
There is a lack of clear understanding by the general public about what EMS is beyond emergency transport, and who provides the service in their community. Within the industry, the variety of associations, representing various perspectives of its mission, create a challenge to achieving consensus on political issues. Nationally, there are competing efforts to locate a federal home for EMS: the Department of Homeland Security, favored by the fire service, or the Department of Health and Human Services, endorsed by other more-healthcare oriented organizations.

At the local level, there is tension and occasional animosity between career and volunteer EMS providers. While volunteers view themselves as providing a service that would otherwise go unmet, career personnel argue that volunteerism depresses compensation throughout the industry and relieves government of the burden of providing such service.

Resistance to change
Essentially, the elemental mission of EMS response has not changed .Meanwhile, the nature of the average EMS call has changed dramatically, The majority are not urgent and do not require transport to an emergency department. This conflicts with the current funding philosophy where the majority of financial reimbursement is based upon transportation of the patient. Additionally, the training that EMS providers receive often does not address the issues of today’s EMS patients, remaining focused instead on providing rapid care to highly critical situations.

While several EMS systems are trying innovative ways to evolve the level and direction of care in their communities, most struggle to continue providing a “traditional” response.  Given the lack of funding, rapidly changing health care reform, and the spiraling cost of overall health care, systems must seek alternative ways to grow and thrive.

Summary
EMS in the United States has seen an incredible phase of growth and development during the past half century. Today, it stands at a crossroads where it must decide which way it should continue to develop, if at all. For all of its heterogeneity, EMS providers, and the public at large, believe that medical response and transport is a basic service, accessible to all people, regardless of their ability to pay. How we do it, who does it, and how we pay for it are the devils in the detail.

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Arthur Hsieh has been in the EMS profession since 1982. He has worked as a volunteer, line medic, educator and chief officer in private, third service and fire-based EMS. He is a published textbook author, editorial columnist and has presented at conferences nationwide.
© Frontline Security 2012

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Contraband Tobacco: It's a Crime
RICHARD BRAY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 4)

Many people believe the sale of contraband tobacco is a “victimless crime,” acknowledges Gary Grant, a retired police officer and spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco. In fact, he suggests every Canadian is a victim of the contraband tobacco chain. Profit from Illegal cigarettes finances criminal gangs, cuts legitimate tax revenues, defeats attempts to discourage tobacco use (which is overloading the health care system), and harms new generations of Canadian young people every day.

Contraband tobacco is big business in Canada – a “cash cow” that is virtually “risk free”. Statistics Canada estimates that Canadians spent $2.6 billion on illegal tobacco in 2008. These massive profits help illegal organizations entrench criminal elements further into society. According to RCMP estimates, there are approximately 175 criminal organizations involved in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of contraband tobacco. Many of these also deal in drugs, weapons and even human trafficking.

 A Moncton man was arrested recently with methamphetamines and 200,000 contraband cigarettes. Grant points to reliable indicators that show the illegal tobacco trade is becoming entrenched in Canada. “We are seeing an increase in contraband tobacco seizures in Atlantic Canada as illegal manufacturers in Quebec have realized that driving to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is not much further than driving within Ontario and Quebec. The trade is also heading west: In 2011, Manitoba’s first smoke shack opened. In Alberta that same year, the province seized nearly 16 million cigarettes that were destined for sale in the province. It’s important to note that the RCMP estimates that they only seize about 5-6% of the total market. So we still are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

That is just distribution. On the supply side, there are still more than 300 smoke shacks in Ontario and Quebec selling tobacco outside of the regulated market. And about 50 illegal cigarette factories operate without paying appropriate taxes and without inspection from health authorities.

Only a few years ago manufacturing contraband was mostly taking place on the U.S. side of the Akwesasne reserve. But the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco says it has noticed a shift to Canada. These factories now supply the vast majority of contraband in Canada, and have been left to operate with no possibility of interruption from federal authorities.

Targeting Young People
Criminals are intent on getting a new generation of kids hooked on smoking. Canadian regulations, such as requiring photo ID for purchasing cigarettes from retailers, banning cigarette ads, and hiding tobacco from view in stores, are all intended to prevent young people from getting access to tobacco. But these are undermined by the ready availability of low-cost contraband tobacco. A “baggie” of 200 contraband cigarettes can cost as much as $70 or $80 less than legal product – and contraband dealers don’t check ID. Low price and easy availability have made contraband tobacco a prime source for youth smoking. A recent study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto found that where teen smoking rates had been on the decline, that was no longer the case. In fact, the CAMH has identified contraband tobacco as a reason for Ontario’s stubbornly high youth smoking rate. “Young people are smoking contraband cigarettes, and they are smoking more of them.” Grant says. He believes decision-makers are underestimating the future ramifications as young people interpret our inaction as tacit acceptance of breaking the law, which can quickly escalate as they learn there is very little risk from the enforcement community. “As a father and former police officer, I’m worried that this teaches young people that it is acceptable to break the law, and that they can buy other illicit goods from these criminals.”

Burning Tax Dollars
A recent report by the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation claims the contraband tobacco trade in Ontario cost an estimated $3.7 billion to $6 billion in lost provincial and federal tax revenue over the last 5 years. “This much-needed money could have funded many worthwhile federal and provincial programs but is instead going into the pockets of criminals who are certainly not spending that money for the welfare of all Canadians,” Grant notes. “In their 2012 budgets, both Ontario and Quebec had identified cracking down on illegal cigarettes as an important part of recovering lost tax revenues. People who smoke should pay the tax. In tight fiscal times, governments can’t allow billions of dollars in potential tax revenue to be siphoned into criminals’ pockets.”

In addition to working with law enforcement and providing police with the authority to investigate suspicious activity, regulatory authorities have an important preventive role. Since 2009, the regulatory oversight of tobacco in Canada has seen major, some say disruptive, shifts. It moved from federal oversight to provincial authorities. Then oversight was moved from the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board to the Ontario Ministry of Finance. The Ministry became responsible for licensing tobacco growers, and controlling the production, distribution, sale and purchase of raw leaf tobacco to help ensure the supply of raw leaf tobacco stays in the legal market. However, it is clear that they don’t have the resources to fulfill this mandate. Without investigative resources that can be mobilized in the tobacco growing region, they have instituted a ‘grace’ period where there really is no oversight of the supply chain, and stocks of tobacco and packaging material that support cigarette manufacturing are subject to almost no enforcement. Organized crime has not missed the opportunity. In the past few years, the lack of consistent and regulated control has allowed criminal groups to take advantage of these regulatory loopholes. The authorities in Ontario do not seem able to get organized on anti-illicit tobacco strategies in a meaningful way, and this has allowed related criminal activity to spread to other parts of Canada.

Law Without Borders
One solution to the limited resources at the Ontario Ministry of Finance is to empower local law enforcement agencies to do anti-contraband enforcement investigations directly, as is the case in Quebec. This lets the frontline police forces investigate the crimes that are affecting their communities without the need to go through a provincial middleman.

“We are seeing very gradual progress, but there is a lot more to do,” says Grant. “Ontario and Quebec have taken some steps, but their anti-contraband regime could still be bolstered.” During the 2011 federal election, the Conservatives made a campaign commitment to introduce tougher sentences for contraband tobacco repeat offenders and to dedicate 50 more RCMP officers to the problem. The government followed through on this commitment on June 4, 2013 when the Senate passed Bill S-16, which amends the Criminal Code to create a new offence of trafficking in contraband tobacco and to provide for minimum penalties of imprisonment for repeat offenders. However, a date for this Act to come into force has yet to be determined.

Across the board, legislation needs to be adopted that will serve harsher penalties for offences relating to the illicit trade of tobacco. With Bill 59, Quebec has given local law enforcement important powers to curb the distribution and sale of contraband cigarettes. These include allowing local police to conduct contraband investigations and lay charges, and even allowing municipalities to keep proceeds from convictions. It also places tougher controls on importing cigarette-manufacturing machines. In its last two budgets, Ontario has indicated that it would consider similar measures, but has yet to adopt them.

A report by the National Assembly’s finance committee in 2011 suggested a number of new anti-contraband measures; they have yet to be adopted. “Meanwhile, our highway systems remain corridors for illegal cigarette trafficking,” says Grant. “We’ve called the 401 corridor in Ontario the ‘contraband trail’, as millions of cigarettes are shuttled through Ontario and Quebec and elsewhere each year. We are even seeing more seizures in Atlantic Canada now, as smugglers have adapted their smuggling networks to head East. We have a lot of work to do.”

Need to Lead
The enforcement challenges point to a need for national leadership to bring all parties together to better address the problem. Such coordination was a key element of the RCMP’s 2008 Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy, as well as in the Ontario and Quebec’s 2012 provincial budgets. To date, this commitment has not translated into action.

Observers suggest that the reason illicit trade of tobacco products is so out of control is because the federal government has not yet engaged in meaningful discussions with Aboriginal communities. With First Nations’ tobacco manufacturing and sales in a legal framework, those First Nations communities could benefit from tobacco sales, not just criminals. “Government needs to work with First Nations leaders to develop a comprehensive, long term solution to this problem,” says Grant.

Many also believe the limiting factors are perception and funding. “Until governments see this as a serious crime that is worthy of adequate budget resources,” says Grant, “this criminal element will continue to flourish and its tendrils will increasingly impact society.”

Police need more power to stop contraband. Government need to give law enforcement agencies the resources and support required to do their job effectively. More specifically, a police presence is required along the 401 corridor and along smuggling routes to the west, into Manitoba, and to the Maritime provinces.

Because illegal cigarettes cross jurisdictional and departmental boundaries, governments need to take a more coordinated approach to illegal cigarettes. It has implications for departments of finance, revenue, public safety, health, and aboriginal affairs at all levels of government. Governments need to make sure that all relevant parties are communicating with each other to ensure a coordinated response. Contraband does not stop at borders, and neither should effective law enforcement.

====
Richard Bray is FrontLine’s Senior Writer.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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EMS in Ontario
STEVE ROWLAND
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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1. Where we've been
Prior to 1968, one of the few requirements needed to run an ambulance service in Ontario was to have a vehicle long enough to lay someone down. Generally speaking, the only people able to meet that specific requirement were the local undertakers - they were usually well staffed, their telephones were answered day or night, and they met the vehicle requirement. Occasionally, other dedicated citizens took up the challenge and provided local ambulance service - they were sometimes mechanics who loved the idea of driving fast on city streets. Cab or towing companies were also known to start their own service by buying an ambulance. With no regulations, there were frequently no qualifications and no equipment in these vehicles, aside from the stretcher.

In 1968, the Province of Ontario regulated ambulance services and tasked Dr. Norman McNally (a retired army doctor and Director of the Emergency Health Services Division of the Ontario Hospital Services Commission) with establishing "a balanced and integrated system of ambulance services".

Doctor McNally instituted standardized training, vehicles and equipment and radio communications. Part of the standardized training was held at Canadian Forces Base Borden for all provincial ambulance attendants. This training, called the Fundamentals of Casualty Care, consisted of 160 hours of anatomy and physiology, advanced first aid, splinting for fractures, and light rescue techniques. Benefits of the programs established by McNally and EHS included standardized vehicles and training, and a province-wide radio network in which an ambulance starting in Cornwall, Ontario could theoretically drive to Kenora, Ontario without ever being out of radio range of a dispatch centre or having to switch channels.

2. Where we are
In Canada the scope of practice of paramedics is described in a document by the National Occupational Competency Profile (NOCP) for Paramedics. It was developed by the Paramedic Association of Canada with financial support from the Government of Canada. The NOCP outlines four levels of providers: Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), Primary Care Paramedic (PCP), Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP), and Critical Care Paramedic (CCP).

With the establishment of the community college programs in the early 1970s, trained ambulance attendants were now providing a higher level of care across the province. Several ambulance services across Ontario had noted that an experimental program dealing with pre-hospital care cardiac patients had been successfully conducted in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Some services here began to believe that if pre-hospital cardiac patients could be dealt with in Belfast, then paramedics could do it in Ontario too.

With that in mind, Oshawa physician Dr John Forsythe approached the manager of a local ambulance service and proposed training the ambulance attendants to deal with out-of-hospital cardiac patients. This training began at the Oshawa General Hospital in January 1979.

The ambulance attendants took the training on their own time and at their own expense but received no additional increases in salary from their employer, the Ontario Ministry of Health. They started treating patients in their homes and on the street in December 1979.

The Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) must have a minimum of 2 years of experience as a PCP before being able to qualify for training at the ACP level. The ACP program is an additional 1 year in length and is considered a post-diploma program (1200 hrs). The intensive ACP course requires weeks of in-class didactic training, weeks of in-hospital clinical training where the student works directly with physicians, and months of preceptorship practicum where the aspiring ACP must demonstrate competence to multiple paramedic service preceptors. In addition, ACP students must successfully complete many mandatory and elective continuing medical education courses on an annual basis to maintain their certification. ACPs can be recognized by the two stripes above the word "Paramedic" on their shoulder epaulettes.

The ACP typically carries approximately 20 different medications, although the number and type of medications may vary substantially across Canada. ACPs perform advanced airway management including intubation, surgical airways (although not all services can do this procedure), intravenous therapy, place external jugular I.V. lines, perform needle thoracotomy, perform and interpret 12-15 lead electro-cardiograms, perform synchronized and chemical cardioversion, transcutaneous external cardiac pacing, perform obstetrical assessments and out-of-hospital deliveries, provide pain relief for various conditions through medications, and reverse hypoglycemic diabetic states. A number of services in Canada have experimented with pre-hospital thrombolytic drugs (to dissolve blood clots) and rapid sequence induction intubations. Pre-hospital medical research has permitted a great number of variations in the scope of practice for ACPs. Current programs include providing ACPs with discretionary direct 24-hour access to percutaneous intervention labs, bypassing the local emergency department, and represents an essential change in the way that patients with S-T segment elevation myocardial infarctions (aka STEMIs) or heart attacks are treated.

3. Where are we going?
The health care system is in crisis. Emergency departments are overloaded, the hospitals have no empty beds and ambulances are being tied up - sometimes for hours - with patients on their stretchers waiting to be transferred to hospital beds.

One potential option being investigated, and which is currently operating in parts of Canada and around the world, is that of Community Paramedics. Specially-trained paramedics have been operating in conjunction with a nurse practitioner and an off-site physician at the two isolated island communities of Long and Brier in Nova Scotia. There has been a 23% decrease in Emergency Room visits by residents of the islands since inception of the new program.

Paramedics were used on the night shift at the Chedoke hospital in Hamilton for several years in place of on-site physicians. They used their paramedic directives to deal with any medical problem that arose - and if further treatment was necessary, the patient was transported by an EMS vehicle to a tertiary care facility.

Utilizing all of the resources available is one positive way to deal with the increasing number of hospital visits and the sky-rocketing costs of health care. If paramedics, nurse practitioners and non-emergency clinics that are open 24/7 were to be efficiently utilized, it might be possible to rein in some of the costs of health care without cutting essential services, staff or quality care. 

EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONDER
In some rural areas of Canada, EMRs are volunteers who are trained to the Advanced First Aid level, have CPR training. They may also have access to S-AEDs (Semi-automated External Defibrillators).

EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF PARAMEDICS
In order to apply to one of the 22 Community College Programs approved by the Province of Ontario to become a Primary Care Paramedic in Ontario, a candidate must meet the following qualifications:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent, or mature student status
  • Grade 12 English, or equivalent
  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology, or equivalent
  • Grade 11 or 12 Chemistry, or equivalent
  • Grade 12 Mathematics, or equivalent
  • Completion of admission testing for senior-level biology, chemistry, writing skills, and arithmetic
  • Submission of documented proof of current CPR-C for HCP and Standard First Aid certifications
  • Submission of documented proof of completion of current full Class G or G2 driver's licence.

Additional requirements include:

  • Complete immunization record including immunization against Hepatitis B, polio-myelitis, tetanus, diphtheria, MMR, chickenpox, influenza and test negative on the Two-Step Tuberculin Skin Test
  • Valid CPR-C for Health Care Professionals and Standard First Aid certificate
  • Students in programs or occupations involving direct contact with vulnerable persons are required to undergo a Police Record Check.

PRIMARY CARE PARAMEDIC

A Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) is a community college graduate from a program dedicated to the Paramedic profession. A diploma in "Paramedic Studies" is two years in duration, and emphasizes anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and mechanisms involved in acute injury and illness. These programs involve classroom learning and clinical hours working directly in the field. Once a college program is successfully completed, a paramedic must pass a provincial examination. Known as the Paramedic exam or the Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant (A-EMCA) exam, this certification is needed to practice as a primary care paramedic in Ontario. In addition, PCPs must complete many continuing medical education courses on an annual basis to maintain their qualifications. The PCP is also certified by a physician to perform a number of controlled medical acts for individuals experiencing acute injury or illness. PCPs are distinguished by the one stripe above the word "Paramedic" on their shoulder epaulettes.


Ontario Air Ambulance

The PCPs function is to provide:

  • emergency patient care
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • patient immobilization
  • oxygen therapy
  • basic trauma life support; and
  • blood glucose testing

The PCPs skill set and medications may also include:

  • acetylsalicylic acid
  • semi-automatic defibrillation
  • epinephrine
  • glucagon
  • glucose gel
  • nitroglycerine spray
  • salbutamol
  • peripheral IV starts
  • 12-Lead ECG application; and
  • pulse oxymetry monitoring

====
Steve Rowland retired after 37 years as a Superintendent at Durham Region EMS.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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The New Reality Cyberwar
DAVID GEWIRTZ
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

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A Key takeaway from this article: Cyberwar is getting real. Really, really real.
Whether it’s nation states attacking each other in a new, 21st century form of age-old spycraft, strange attacks coming from unexpected sources, secretive armies of faceless hackers wreaking havoc worldwide, massive security breaches on a breathtaking scale, theft of intellectual property from companies once thought impregnable, or even the simple fact that almost everyone is carrying a wireless supercomputer in his or her pocket – cyberwar is no longer just theory. It’s fact. It’s happening. It’s constant. And it’s unrelenting.Let’s take a brief look at the major trends that have transformed cyberwar from a ­theory to a hot war fought right inside your own network. If you think you’re safe, you’re not. If you think this is science ­fiction, congratulations, you’re now living in the future.

Preemptive Cyberattack on a Nation-State Level
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Stuxnet. You may have also heard of Duqu, Flame, and Gauss. These are the names of malware weapons that have been used against Middle Eastern nations like Iran and Lebanon.

Stuxnet was carried into Iranian nuclear facilities on USB thumb drives. It is reputed to have destabilized and severely damaged nuclear centrifuges, setting the Iranian nuclear program back years.

Duqu is an industrial espionage worm used to tunnel into industrial facilities and exfiltrate confidential information about how those facilities operate.

Flame is something of a substitute for the age-old technique of gathering human intelligence. It turns on computer webcams and microphones to record what it sees and hears; it captures keystrokes; and intercepts Bluetooth transmissions. The information is then sent to its masters for further action.

Gauss is also an espionage tool, but it appears to be aimed specifically at Middle East financial institutions, carrying out the cyber equivalent of “follow the money.”

Almost all such tools – developed by North Korea, China, Russia, and many other nations – are either aimed at making money for their masters, gathering information, or both.

What makes Stuxnet, Duqu, Flame, and Gauss particularly curious are the accusations that these tools were developed by the United States government, in some level of cooperation with Israel. The New York Times claims this to be true, but provides neither supporting facts nor confirmation from America’s government.

Regardless of their origins, once these weapons were released into “the wild” of the Internet, they became accessible by ­talented technologists working for other nations, organized crime groups, terrorist organizations, and the like. The design behind these tools is likely being reverse engineered. It’s only a matter of time until these weapons of destruction and espionage are firmly in the hands of any number of destructive organizations.

Unexpected Attack Vectors
We’re all familiar with malware attacks that arrive via email attachments, or are downloaded when ­visiting a Web page of particular ill-repute. But cyberattack engineers have gotten even more creative in distributing digital disease.

One example of this is the Power Pwn. It’s a power strip that looks just like one you’d use under your desk, but the Power Pwn contains a wide variety of spectrum-scanning hardware, designed to explore your facility wirelessly from the inside. It then sends that information via wireless connection back to its operators.

On the consumer front, Web sites have become easier and easier to build. Much of that is because of the prevalence of “themes,” pre-built looks for Web sites that can be bought and installed by regular users, transforming the look of a site or a blog.

Criminals have picked up on the enormous popularity of these themes, and are now packing them with malicious payloads. They make the themes available online for free download, thereby assuring relatively widespread adoption. The themes aren’t meant to attack the Web site operators themselves. Instead, the Web site operators unwittingly become virtual mules after installing the themes on their Web sites. Once the theme is installed, every visitor to these legitimate sites can now be infected by the corrupted themes.

And then there’s social networking. A few years ago, social networking services like Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist; today, they have more than a billion users. That’s what you’d call a “target rich environment,” because every one of those billion users is a target. Whether it’s through URL shorteners like Bit.ly that take Twitter users to unknown and malicious Web sites, or Facebook applications that exist to separate users from their money, social networking attacks are on the rise.

Hacker Collectives and Massive Password Breaches
Hacker collectives with now-famous names like Anonymous, LulzSec, and AntiSec are groups of individuals – hidden behind strange-sounding, mysterious user names and “handles.” Their members, said to be the digital “everyman” (teenagers, doctors, programmers, gardeners, laborers, teachers, cops and cabdrivers), are unified by a few simple elements: anger, the desire to extract ­retribution, boredom, and a need for Lolz (online amusement).

Hacker collectives have become a major force – causing disruption on an epic scale. Using Low Orbit Ion Canon, a distributed denial of service attack weapon designed to disrupt systems, groups have aimed vast amounts of digital data (think of it as millions of fire hoses firing on a single target) at organizations as diverse as the U.S. Department of Justice, the Church of Scientology, the Recording Industry of America, and even PayPal.

The penetration of networks and the publication of user names and passwords is a newer trend. Within the past year, ­millions upon millions of login credentials have been stolen and published online, including 8.24 million Gamigo credentials, 32 million RockYou credentials, 6 million LinkedIn credentials, 1.5 million eHarmony credentials – the list goes on and on. This, of course, is after massive penetration attacks of banks, government facilities, and the famous Sony gaming breach.

It’s important to note that these ­password breaches aren’t just political statements. They’re destabilizing the very nature of computer security. With so much data now available about how people think about their passwords, hackers have been able to develop password hacking kits derived from their now vast sociological knowledge of human behavior. Where passwords used to provide a moderate level of security, they’re now vastly easier to breach than ever before.

Other breaches are even more famous, and not all were accomplished by hackers. Wikileaks, for example, published a tremendous amount of top secret government diplomatic information. The data was removed by a soldier entrusted with access. Even though the breach wasn’t from the outside, Wikileaks has been the center of its own firestorm, and hacker attacks have been perpetrated far and wide – both on behalf of, and against the activities of Wikileaks.

IP Theft and the Danger of Counterfeit Goods
In a recent study conducted by IT vendor GFI, 44% of the responding businesses indicated that their company networks had been breached. Another 6% indicated that they had no idea whatsoever whether or not their networks were secure. In a ­different survey, conducted by Verizon, respondents indicated that hundreds of millions of records had been stolen.

Intellectual Property (IP) theft is actually more dangerous than you might expect – especially when it comes to the theft of medical and drug information. After all, you might not be happy if your pair of counterfeit designer jeans splits open at an inopportune time, but that’s far different than ingesting poisonous compounds when you think you’re taking your medicine.

Fake medications are on the rise. Drugs (particularly in the U.S.) can be wildly expensive, so patients are turning to the Internet for discounted medications. In many cases, these discounted pills are knockoffs, counterfeited to look like the real pills made by the pharmaceutical industry. Patients are relying on them for their health. It’s bad enough that the fake pills don’t contain real medication. Even worse, they often contain dangerous compounds. So rather than the pills keeping patients healthy, they’re poisoning patients, causing severe damage.

Of course, it’s not just counterfeit medication. Intellectual property theft has resulted in counterfeit computer chips and even counterfeit military gear – all less safe than their originals. Speaking on the topic, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated, “Put simply, when fake goods find their way into our nation’s marketplace, the health and safety of our people can be severely ­compromised.”

The Digital Mobilization of the World’s Population
Each of these trends may be disturbing, but they pale in comparison to the big kahuna of them all: the rise of ubiquitous smartphones. According to Gartner Inc, worldwide sales of smartphones hit 419 million units in the first quarter of 2012. There are billions of smartphones in use across the world, and each has more power and reach than many of the most powerful desktop PCs from just a decade ago.

Each smartphone is both a network node and a pocketful of trouble. While some phones – like Apple’s iPhone – are moderately-well hardened against intrusion and malware, other smartphone environments are almost purposely vulnerable to attack.

The combination of an app-hungry populace with the desire for instant ­gratification and a lack of interest or belief in the need for security plus a lack of technical know-how, makes the billions of smartphone users worldwide very juicy targets indeed.

Not only are smartphones being breached and financial and account information being stolen, but more and more smartphones are being turned into roving malware zombie robots. They’ve become nodes on a widely distributed attack network, teaming up from the pockets of unsuspecting owners to carry out attacks or gather information – all while moving about from ever-changing locations.

The Times, They Are A-Changed
The great singer/poet Bob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a-changin’.” Although I’ve been very busy in the world of cyberdefense, the last article I wrote for FrontLine Security was back in 2009. While social networks were on the rise, and cyberattacks were an issue, we thought of cyberwar as something that would soon be upon us, but not as something that was that much of a current threat.

Those times have already changed. Cyberespionage and cyberattacks are now constant and unrelenting. They are an ever-present part of the industrial, military, government, and consumer worlds. It’s a digital arms race out there.

The worrisome fact is: there is often more motivation on the part of ­criminals and attackers than there is on the part of their victims.

I can’t give you a single recipe to protect your company, your organization, your agency, or your loved ones. But I can ­recommend you practice some of the same best practices we’ve recommended for years. Keep up with security updates. Be careful what you open and what you visit. Be sure to use a secure firewall. And, if you’re the one making the financial ­decision about whether or not to pay for additional cybersecurity in your organization, remember that, on average, a single cyberattack costs companies well in excess of $2.5 million – yes, per attack.

The bottom line: it’s become a dangerous digital world, and it’s up to security and IT professionals to keep everyone safe. No law will stop a virus, no politician will dissuade a distributed denial of service attack, and no lawyer can litigate away a cyberspy that’s taken up residence inside your network.

Diligence and best practices are your very best defense.

====
David Gewirtz, distinguished lecturer for CBS Interactive, is also director of the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, cyberwarfare advisor for the International Association of Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, and IT Advisor to the Florida Public Health Association.
©FrontLine Security 2012

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Replacing Coast Guard Helicopters

© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)


(Also see: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/decades-long-mission-to-rep...)

“Renewing the Canadian Coast Guard fleet of helicopters will stimulate economic growth in the aerospace industry, as well as create a variety of jobs and business opportunities,” declared Keith ­Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in August 2012. Accompanied by Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, he announced that the government was going to purchase 16 light-lift and 8 medium-lift helicopters plus “at least one flight simulator” for the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). With the federal government’s turbulent history of buying helicopters (who doesn’t recall the 1993 federal election campaign when Jean Chrétien derided the EH-101 as a “Cadillac” and summarily cancelled the program on taking office, to the tune of a hefty C$158 million in cancellation fees?), this ­latest announcement is significant.

To begin the process, a Letter of Interest inviting aerospace representatives to an Industry Day was posted on MERX, the government’s contracting website. Next will be the draft Request for Proposals (RFP), followed by a formal RFP in early 2013 and, if all goes well, the signing of a contract next summer. The RFP has been split into three parts: light helicopters; medium helicopters plus the simulator; and a requirement to support the future missions of Canada’s new Polar Icebreaker (to come later).

What will these new helicopters be used for? According to the Coast Guard, approximately 65% of its flying hours are devoted to supporting the safety of marine traffic. Icebreaking operations comprise the next largest block, about 15%, and the balance includes everything from finding the lost ships of the doomed Franklin expedition to environmental response to marine spills and – given the priority that the Harper government has assigned Arctic sovereignty – to “showing the flag” missions. These tasks are presently being accomplished by a mix of 23 helicopters: 17 ‘light-lift’ helicopters (14 MBB Bo-105s and 3 Bell 206s); 5 ‘medium-lift’ Bell B212s; and a single ‘heavy-lift’ Sikorsky S-61N.

“The aircraft of the CCG air fleet are in good working order and provide safe and effective delivery of CCG programs,” says Gary Sidock, former DG Fleet Directorate and now Senior Advisor to the Assistant Commissioner. “Having said that, our air fleet is dated technology, as the aircraft range in age from 25 to 37 years old. The entire fleet is only VFR [Visual Flight Rules] capable, with the exception of our current single heavy-lift S-61N aircraft based in Prince Rupert, BC.” Siddock believes the replacement is ­necessary due to the age of the fleet, warning that “operating and maintenance costs for our helicopters are an issue.”

Chief among the contenders for the contract are Augusta Westland, Bell Helicopter and Eurocopter – with Sikorsky and Kaman as long shots. In the light-twin category, the candidates include the Agusta Westland’s AW109, the Bell 429 and Eurocopter’s EC135 and 145. Potential medium-twin candidates are the AW139, the Bell 412 and the Eurocopter EC175. Sikorsky’s S-76D might suit the medium category, but its record in Canada is severely tarnished by the company’s continuing inability to provide a compliant CH-148 Cyclone from the 2004 contract to replace the Sea King. The distant outsider is Kaman’s SH-2G Super Seasprite, its specialty is small ship operations, maritime security and support roles.

What may tip the scales in favour of any bid proposal – besides proven performance especially with foreign coast guards – will be Industrial Regional Benefits and the amount of “Canadian content” each company has. In 1984, a key reason that the Canadian government chose the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 (over the traditional U.S. choice) for the Coast Guard, is said to be because the German helicopters were to be assembled at MBB Canada’s Fort Erie facility – renamed Eurocopter Canada Ltd in 1992.

BELL HELICOPTER
No helicopter manufacturer has a larger Canadian footprint than Bell Helicopter. In the Canadian aerospace industry as a whole, only Bombardier is bigger. Established in 1986, Bell Helicopter’s Mirabel facility is home to more than 2,000 employees ­providing engineering design, manufacturing and support for Bell Helicopter’s commercial helicopter business. With its 61,000 m2 (656,600 sq.ft.) of hangar, assembly and office space, the plant has produced more than 4,000 commercial variant helicopters. The Mirabel facility supports Bell customers with airframe design, product development, composites, complete integration, flight testing, certification and product support.

A second Canadian footprint is located at Calgary International Airport. For more than 35 years, its Canadian Supply Center has been responsible for providing Bell Helicopter parts, sales and distribution for the Bell fleet, both commercial and military in Canada.

Bell Helicopter is the leader in offshore oil and gas helicopters, with 37% of the more than 1,700 rotorcraft in that sector.

In this competition, Bell may have an advantage over the other manufacturers due to the fact that the CCG already uses its 206 and 212 models. The Canadian public is also familiar with its machines as Bell’s CH146 Griffon did such stalwart work with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. The Griffon is the militarized version of the Bell 412 medium twin. The 412EP has all the advantages of the 212 – like the large cabin, payload, and performance – but is much more. While the 212’s designed useful load is 2,261 kg (4,985 lb), for instance, the 412EP can carry 2,313 kg (5,100 lb). Partially because of its four-bladed main rotor and higher transmission ratings, the 412EP outperforms its predecessor. It has a maximum cruise speed of 226 km/h (122 knots) versus 185 km/h for the 212 and a range of 659 km (356 nautical miles) to the 212’s 424 km.

“Conditioned for all conditions” is how Bell advertises its 412EP medium utility twin workhorse. Powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada’s proven PT6T-3D Twin Pac engine, the 412EP has a range of 659 km and can handle a load to 2,286 kg through its wide opening, fast-loading doors. It has a dual digital automatic flight control system as standard equipment and the flexibility to integrate automatic approach to hover and automatic hover capabilities in the future.

Also designed and completed in Canada is its newest production aircraft, the Bell 429. Now sold and flying in over 40 countries, this aircraft has been designed with ‘Category A’ capability, speed and versatility, spacious cabin, excellent maintainability, and hot and high performance. The Bell 429 meets the latest requirements of Part 27 airworthiness rules, which the company says are more stringent than the requirements, set a decade or more ago, under which competing light twins were certified.

After an extensive technical evaluation, Transport Canada approved operation of the Bell 429 at 3400 kg (7,500 lbs) in January 2012. Bell Helicopter explains that the increased gross weight was driven by customer requirements for an increased load – such as a Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System (HTAWS), a radar altimeter, cockpit voice/flight data recorder and forward flashing lights – which dramatically enhances the aircraft’s capabilities. A company spokesperson tells FrontLine that the increased gross weight of the 429 has been approved by 12 countries to date – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

EUROCOPTER
From its Fort Erie plant, Eurocopter Canada is eminently capable of providing the CCG with proven aircraft solutions for its missions. Both the EC135 and EC145T2 are safe and reliable choices with solutions for corrosion protection. The EC135’s Fenestron (shrouded tail rotor) that also equips the EC145 T2, ensures full protection of the anti-torque when flying close to terrain, providing enhanced safety for ground personnel and a low noise external noise signature. All in all, the EC135 and EC145 are proven and evolving helicopters, easily adapted for the CCG missions.

The EC225 and EC725 are currently performing a SAR role for the following: Japanese Coast Guard, French Navy, Taiwanese Air Force, Bristow Norway (for all-weather SAR needs to support oil installations in the North Sea), CHC, Korea’s 119 Emergency Service, and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

The Eurocopter 145 is a strong contender in the medium lift twin-engine class. Its origins can be traced to the proven, rugged German BK117s, but the EC145 is definitely unique. When asked what puts the EC145 ahead in its class, Gary G. Krebs, Eurocopter Canada’s chief test pilot, says: “Three assets – space, ergonomics and man-machine interface.” A former air ambulance pilot, Krebs remembers helicopters from 20 years before when pilots had to continually keep looking at various instruments to monitor engine and transmission torque, gearbox and engine oil temperatures – all just as they were executing intricate hover manœuvres.

The EC145 T2 is Eurocopter’s newest 4-ton multi-mission aircraft, with high flight performance, mission capability, flight safety and excellent cost of operations. Its new avionics suite will provide enhanced mission capacity with its single flight navigation display (FND) for all necessary parameters which includes an FND (Meghas Primary Flight Display and Naval Multi Display) plus Synthetic Vision System display, Power Indication (FLI), Caution advisory messages, rotor speed and Fuel level. A second identical FND has 100% mission display dedicated to basic or optional mission systems, DMAP, H-TAWS, FLIR, Electronic Flight Bag, Display of Vehicle monitoring system (VMS) and a back-up FND. It has a 4-axis autopilot, a Fenestron instead of conventional tail rotor and FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) engines. Its large payload (3900 lbs) would make it an asset to resupply missions and equipped with blade folding and strong skid landing gear makes it perfect for landing on CCG ships.

The advanced cockpit design and avionics are enclosed in a superbly designed, energy-absorbing fuselage. But what strikes one on entering the EC145’s main cabin is the unobstructed interior. The absence of floor-to-ceiling door posts means the machine can fit up to 10 high-density seats or 6 m3 (213 ft3) of cargo volume. “When I look behind me and see the space,” says Krebs, “this is a flying cube van. We can do any kind of passenger /cargo combination. In one aircraft you have SAR, VIP, EMS, troop transport.”

Especially welcome in any Arctic blast would be the helicopter’s two wide passenger sliding doors and two rear hinged clamshell doors that make for quick, easy access and exit of passengers and patients or materials. For rescue in difficult environments and confined spaces, the company believes the EC145T2 will provide “incredible safety thanks to its powerful engines and the APM2010 autopilot”. The cabin size is considered optimal for SAR and emergency medical missions, as witnessed by the French Sécurité Civile and many U.S. hospitals which are equipped with this type.

The machine’s most prominent feature is its hingeless rotor system with its monolithic titanium hub and four-glass and carbon fibre reinforced blades – all ensuring low noise and vibration levels. The low vibration and high flight stability are designed for transporting patients, medics or Coast Guard personnel and because the titanium hub is high set, there is no need for crouching from the main rotor, providing safe access to the cabin. The EC145 is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2E 2 engines, each able to provide vital power reserves even in one engine-inoperative (OEI) scenarios.

The EC135 (having accumulated over 2.3 million flight hours with over 1000 aircraft in operation) and the EC145 T2 (this family of helicopters has accumulated more than 3.0 million flight hours with deliveries of over 800 aircraft) are proven platforms ready to assume roles for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Eurocopter Canada also proposes the AS365N3e for Canada’s needs. Already in use by the US Coast Guard (as the HH65), this modernized variant combines numerous improvements in terms of performance, flight qualities and autopilot capabilities.

AUGUSTA WESTLAND
In the light helicopter category, Agusta Westland could offer their AW109. With retractable landing gear and powered by Canadian-made Pratt & Whitney PW206Cs, the twin-engined A109 is sleek and fast. Aimed primarily at the police and executive market, the retractable undercarriage accounts in part for its speed. A simple, fixed landing gear would be an available option on the AW109.

The AW109 (as the MH-68A Stingray) was at one time used by the U.S. Coast Guard, and Augusta Westland believes it would make an ideal shipboard helicopter because of corrosion-resistance and flight performance, but no agency has operated the AW109 in this role. The AW109 is slightly larger than the CCG’s current shipboard helicopter, the Bo-105.

The AW139 is already familiar to thousands of Ontarians and Albertans. It is one of the brightly coloured helicopters used by the not-for-profit medical transport organizations – ORNGE (formerly Ontario Air Ambulance) in Ontario, and the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) in Alberta. Serving these huge provinces, ORNGE and STARS looked for rotary air ambulances that were practical, cost effective and could transform into a state-of-the-art flying hospital in minutes. The AW139 fitted those criteria for both ORNGE and STARS. When asked what models his company would enter in the CCG competition, Geoff Russell, External Relations at Augusta Westland UK said: “Until we have reviewed further the requirements, we are not announcing which products we will offer. We have a number of products to choose from, ranging from the AW109 ‘Power up’ to the AW189, with the ‘GrandNew’ AW169 and AW139, between these.”

More than 500 AW139s have been sold worldwide with considerable success in SAR and maritime security work and is currently in use by the coast guards of Japan, Korea, Britain, Malaysia and Italy. In many more countries the AW139 is used for off shore work, especially by the CHC Helicopter Group, the largest operator of AW139s in the world and a leading player in the provision of helicopter support to the oil and gas industry and search and rescue (SAR). The AW139 experience has given birth to a family affair with two new civil helicopters – the smaller AW169 light-intermediate twin, primarily for security and EMS missions and the heavier AW189, primarily in use by the oil and gas industry.

Agusta Westland has no manufacturing presence in Canada – its North American production line is set up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, all Agusta Westland light-lift models are now available with Pratt & Whitney Canadian engines. The AW109 SP uses twin P&W Canada PW207C turboshafts built in Montreal. In 2009, Agusta Westland and Heli-One, the maintenance division of CHC, established a worldwide service centre network plus a Repair & Overhaul Centre at Heli-One’s headquarters in Vancouver, Canada.

SIKORSKY

As to Sikorsky, its multi-mission helicopter the S-76D could have been a threat to Bell, Augusta Westland and Eurocopter – except that in October, 2012, the federal government had to ­renegotiate the contract for the CH148 Cyclone once more. The $5.7 billion contract to replace the aging Sea Kings was signed by the government of Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2004 (with deliveries due to begin in 2009), however, not a single “mission capable” CH148 has yet been delivered. Given the bad blood between ­Public Works and this helicopter manufacturer, it is unlikely that its S-76D will feature in the CCG competition.

WRAP UP
Whichever helicopter (or mix of helicopters) is selected, their role in the CCG is guaranteed to be high profile – more so than the MBB 105s that have been quietly serving for the last 30 years. With its largely untapped natural resources, the Canadian Arctic is growing in strategic and economic importance. With the steadily increasing marine activity, the Canadian Coast Guard’s role in the Arctic will become ever more critical in the coming years, and this is especially true for Search and Rescue (SAR) requirements.

All of the helicopters reviewed are currently being used for SAR by coast guards and navies around the world. For instance, the British use the Sikorsky S92, the Australians the Bell 429, the Italians the AW139, the French, Japanese, Koreans and others use Eurocopters, Norwegians the Bell 412 and the Americans the AW139 among others. As helicopter SAR is a unique service, performed in the most challenging circumstances, it’s safe to say that all of those countries went through as rigorous a selection process as Canada is about to begin. It requires the right aircraft, the best people and the latest technology. But as experienced and capable as those other coast guards might be, none conduct SAR missions in the wide variances of geography and ­climate that the CCG regularly has to.

The lead government department in charge of Canada’s National SAR Program (NSP) is National Defence. Through the Joint Rescue Coordination Centres, the Canadian Forces provide fixed and rotary wing aircraft from CFB Trenton and CFS Yellowknife for SAR duties. But the marine component of the NSP is the responsibility of the CCG and it relies primarily on its helicopters and icebreakers. Whatever that choice of helicopters made, the lives of many in the future will depend on it.

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is a national Special Operating Agency of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) that provides marine safety and environmental protection services to Canadians, and essential at-sea support to other federal government departments and agencies, including the DFO itself. In the Arctic, the Coast Guard performs considerable and critical work. Its red and white icebreakers and ­helicopters are often said to be the most visible symbol of Canada’s sovereignty and presence.

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Peter Pigott is a regular contributor for FrontLine Magazines.
© Frontline Security 2012

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Culture of Safety for Paramedics
EDWARD R. MYERS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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The Strategy for a National EMS Culture of Safety asserts that "Emergency medical service (EMS) provider organizations nationwide potentially expose patients, practitioners and members of the public to preventable risk of serious harm, in contrast with advances in safety practices that have been broadly implemented in many other healthcare settings in recent years."

This sounds like a very "bad news" story from the EMS providers in the United States. In fact, although their "news" may sound bad, the fact is that this group is talking about turning a "culture of risk" in the EMS industry into a "culture of safety".

This project is being produced under a cooperative agreement between EMS stakeholders in the U.S. - including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with support from the Health Resources and Services Administration's EMS for Children (EMSC) Program, and is being managed by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

In establishing the need to come to grips with the enduring requirement for EMS operations to perform at maximum peak, the working group generalized that, "the sphere in which EMS operates is complex and frequently changing, and its mission is complicated by emotionally charged situations and public expectations that are not always reasonable or realistic".

Facing Risk and Danger
As with the other two tri-service organizations, law enforcement and firefighting, there is an "A-type" personality element to the EMS profession. As stated in the strategy document, many EMS recruits "are drawn to the perceived adventures that accompany a career that involves lights and sirens, driving fast and working in life-and-death situations." The fact is, we would not feel comfortable with EMS personalities of the opposite type if our family's lives were in danger and required decisive and immediate response.

What can Canada Learn from the U.S. EMS Experience?
Many issues that gave rise to the development of a National EMS Culture of Safety Strategy in the U.S. are equally relevant to Canada. Primarily, the idea of a "culture" of safety is important, as it underpins the whole need for a comprehensive examination of the way EMS services operate.

Culture implies a deep-rooted commitment to a cause and the three pillars of EMS safety - patient, responder, and public safety. The U.S. has borrowed the following definition that should work equally well in Canada - or just about anywhere else in the world for that matter:

Safety culture:
"The enduring value and priority placed on worker and public safety by everyone in every group at every level of an organization. It refers to the extent to which individuals and groups will commit to personal responsibility for safety; act to preserve, enhance and communicate safety concerns; strive to actively learn, adapt and modify (both individual and organizational) behavior based on lessons learned from mistakes; and be rewarded in a manner consistent with these values." (Douglas A. Wiegmann, Hui Zhang, Terry von Thaden, Gungan Sharma and Alyssa Mitchell)

To get there, a number of challenges must be addressed, some of which require wholesale changes in structure and/or behaviour. In each case, the Canadian approach could mirror that of the U.S. in terms of openness to change and willingness to fundamentally re-evaluate attitudes and more tangible items like infrastructure and funding commitments. Stemming from the Strategy draft, the following checklist of critically important aspects of change could frame a new culture of safety for EMS in Canada:

Resource Limitations. EMS constantly finds itself vying for budget and other municipal resources as it is asked to expand capability with diminishing money. Perhaps the most troublesome aspect of this resource squeeze is the distraction it causes at both an organizational and a leadership level.

Lack of a Systems Approach. EMS organizations respond to events and are very good at that. Other public safety sectors - aviation safety to name one - have adopted a systems approach to safety which has proved effective over time.

Personality Types. As described earlier, EMS attracts 'Type A' personalities. The question becomes how to attract equally effective responders without the risk of recklessness.

Adapted Practices & Equipment. EMS culture is built on a history of adapting practices, vehicles and equipment originally developed for other applications in medical or emergency response fields. According to the draft EMS Culture of Safety Strategy, some equipment and protocols have been designed exclusively for EMS field use but, historically, the culture has not demanded its own set of tools, and, consequently, is not particularly adept at articulating specific requirements for the job.

Operational Performance Pressures. For most EMS personnel, on-the-job pressure is very high, not necessarily due to the high energy activity of the job, but due to the need to achieve response times that are contractually set or set by management. Moreover, increased performance becomes a management mantra that ends up subjugating safety for performance.

Disasters. When disasters strike, the rulebook sometimes goes out the window. This can be true for EMS personnel as well if the scope of the disaster goes beyond the normal operating environment.

Misplaced Beliefs. Ironically, one of the elements seen out as problematic is "the widespread cultural belief in 'going all out' for patients, which can lead to poor safety choices and unsafe actions (such as driving unsafely, rushing procedures, taking shortcuts, failing to use personal protective equipment, etc.)".

Influence of Media Depictions. Media portrayals of EMS personnel in action dramatize the elements of response time (the need for speed, and risky driving behaviour). While it may be depicted in movies as heroic behaviour, the truth is, it is more likely negligent or careless at best. As the Strategy notes, such action movies can unwittingly attract risk-taking personalities to the EMS field.

Patient Safety Misperceptions. The Strategy draft states that "many EMS personnel do not fully understand the concept of patient safety, particularly when it comes to medical errors or harm that results from errors of commission or omission. Typically, they think of patient safety as protecting the patient from injury resulting from drops or crashes."

Gaps in Leadership Development. As in other emergency management disciplines, or other healthcare business environments for that matter, there are proven methods and procedures for assessing, selecting and developing leadership skills that can be brought to the EMS arena. These need to be adapted and adopted in a manner consistent with the overall development of a culture of safety.

Disconnect Between Clinicians and Leadership. In the U.S., there is concern that some EMS systems are led by administrators who have no clinical experience. While this seems to be less prevalent in Canada, it is a situation that requires examination.

Cynicism/Mistrust of Leadership. While not an exclusive concern to the EMS community, the U.S. experience has seen a "common (although not universal)" situation where EMS personnel mistrust their leadership, even if for unknown reasons.

"Check the Box" Safety. Evidence from the U.S. experience shows the EMS culture pays lip service to safety considerations.

Additionally, this veritable disdain for safety is likely to be reinforced in trainees by experienced EMTs and paramedics.

Focus on Response Times. Oddly, the use of response times as a metric for EMS effectiveness has been shown to be inaccurate.

According to the document, there is "scant evidence that the difference between a lights-and-siren response and a non-emergency response makes a clinical difference."

Reinforcement of Unsafe Behaviour. The Strategy document claims the "system" has perpetuated a myth that the individual is to blame when things go wrong, whereas the fault actually lies with the lack of a culture of safety and a system to support it.

Lack of National Priority. The draft document concludes that a Culture of Safety is indeed becoming a national priority in the USA. It is hoped that Canadians will similarly place a higher priority on safety.

Prescription for a Canadian EMS Culture of Safety
With these cautions in mind, what is the way forward? To achieve a true Culture of Safety, the Strategy recommends focusing on some fundamental changes that will ultimately realize an improved safety environment for patients, responders, and the public. These developments will undoubtedly be effective in Canada as well, and should serve to support cross-border harmonization, should the need arise in the future.

  1. Increase efforts to develop new data and quality measurement systems.
  2. Create an environment of empowerment where everyone in the EMS world - from trainer to trainee to responder and management  - embraces the concept of a Culture of Safety and feels personally empowered to act in the interests of safety at all times.
  3. Develop an environment of knowledge whereby all relevant personnel, from the top of the organization to the newest recruit, constantly strive to know what it takes to maximize patient, responder, and public safety.
  4. Foster an environment of openness where, rather than getting swept under the rug, mistakes are corrected and used as teaching points.
  5. Promote an environment of inclusiveness throughout the organization, including intra-jurisdictionally, so that all components of a Safety System feel engaged and involved.
  6. Create an environment of continuous improvement, with the understanding that fundamental shifts like this require time and diligence.

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Edward R. Myers is the Editor of FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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First Responder Technologies
BY KEVIN WENNEKES
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

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Changing Culture in Changing Times
A fundamental culture shift is taking place among First Responders (police, fire, and emergency medical services personnel) as they seek to adopt and adapt the technology tools and applications that can affect all aspects of their ability to serve the communities they are sworn to protect.

The Culture Change
Unlike a decade ago, when the most common form of technology a responder might readily identify was their push-to-talk radio, today almost every responder has an abundance of diverse technology-based tools and myriad applications to support them.

In a study currently underway, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) is working with the Emergency Responder Testing and ­Evaluation Establishment (ERTEE, formerly the Canadian Police Research Centre), the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada, and over a dozen first responder groups from across the country, to conduct a national technology capability assessment. This study has identified over 100 different technologies that responders use in the line of duty.

While many of the technologies identified, in areas such as Administration (payroll, scheduling, fleet management) and Personal Protection (body armour, respiration protection, non-lethal tools), were considered important, the longest list and items providing the greatest challenges are those related to information management (IM) and information and communication technology (ICT) needs.

There can be no doubt that IM and ICT are changing the way first responders operate at every level within their organizations. Changes are occurring through tangibly realized efficiencies in operations but also in how they communicate and interact among themselves and with the public they serve.

Gone are the days when only the privileged few had access to advanced technology in the form of pagers, PDAs, desktop PCs or cell phones. Today, almost every member of the Force owns a smartphone and/or tablet for ­personal use and many bring them to work and deploy them in the field.

Far from making the job easier, these developments have caused serious concerns regarding the appropriateness of the use of these devices in the workplace and the potential impact on privacy, security and accountability. Today’s young constable will be as likely to text message pertinent information to a citizen (one who is just as amenable to receiving information this way) versus sending a form letter through snail mail. Yet, from a chain-of-evidence or ­procedural point of view, how does one track/record this activity? If the smartphone is needed for evidence, what are the ramifications on the otherwise non-related personal information stored on the device? Many Forces are faced with the need to develop strict guidelines ­limiting their use, and this is one of the drivers spurring the coming technological revolution among the responder community.

While not entirely split upon generational lines, there is an obvious disparity in comfort levels and acceptance of use. In areas such as social media, tweeting, texting, instant messaging, and expectation of online access/processes, younger officers are likely to be much more frustrated at the lack of adoption than their seniors.

Further fuelling this cultural shift are public expectations regarding accessibility and live, real-time communications with the responders that serve them. Responders cite the “CSI effect” in which public expectations are artificially heightened based on the non-real-time depiction of cutting edge technology and which may not even be available to many response units. As a result of the explosive growth of smartphone usage and an “app-for-that” mentality combined with the prevalence of social media platforms, ­citizens now hold high expectations that immediate conversations can take place, and that real-time information will be relayed to them during a crisis using an array of common communication devices and platforms.

The general public would be justifiably shocked to learn that, all too often, fire, police and EMS personnel in the same city cannot speak to one another on-scene unless they swap radios first!

Changing Times
At a recent Economics of Policing conference, it was evident that a growing realization was developing among Responders that, unlike in the past, waiting for a return to status quo is simply not going to work in weathering the global economic realities of today. The days of expanding budgets and ad-hoc purchasing and acquisition are long gone.

Presumably, the procurement and implementation of technology will become more strategic as responders seek to become even more capable of adopting new efficient technologies.

There is a growing realization that economies of scale could be realized through more disciplined, multi-agency procurement approaches. This could be supported by a national body responsible for establishing standards, best-practices and possibly certification levels for technological solutions that have been proven to meet operational requirements. Such potential savings and standards are currently being lost through a lack of coordination and inter-agency ­sharing.

Responders are also recognizing the need to break down the silos – to move from a ‘need to know’ to a ‘need to share’ mindset. This goes beyond the need to speak more openly with one another and other supporting agencies, to communicating with the vendor community as well.

Traditionally, and very likely still the case for many responders today, meeting one-on-one with a vendor was considered taboo and could be perceived as “cavorting with the enemy.” Understandably, given First Responders’ positions of public trust, any possible appearance of impropriety in the procurement process must be allayed. However, the restrictive culture of complete avoidance of potential vendors that has heretofore been the standard, is slowly changing. In fact, responders are now realizing that by not communicating with vendors, they render a disservice, both to the company seeking to support them through an innovative solution, as well as to themselves, since this knowledge vacuum limits their own understanding of the full range of technology options available to them. They also miss out on potential private-public partnerships that could ­otherwise develop. In most cases, vendors would welcome responder collaboration in the co-development of new products or to explain precisely what is needed to ensure the development of products that will perform the necessary functions. 

Innovative Settings and Approaches
To create a setting where open dialogue among ­vendors and responders can take place, CATA has partnered with the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG) to form the First Responder Vendor Outreach Forum. Now in its fifth year, the annual two-day Forum combines ­plenary sessions with a “Dragon’s Den” approach that provides an effective and neutral meeting ground for first responders to openly reveal their technology opportunities and challenges, while providing a ­vehicle for the most innovative solutions to be shared among a core group of response ‘investors’ using a boardroom presentation format. These Forums have been cited by many senior responders as changing their views on the benefits of speaking with Industry, and have helped spark much of the cultural change taking place today.

With an eye to the future, the looming acquisition of 10 MHz of the 700 MHz spectrum recently provided to Canada’s public safety community for the development of a national broadband public safety network is adding to the urgency for change. Described as the single largest national undertaking since the development of the national rail system, this will effectively allow first responders to “own” the communications landscape on which to build their mission critical data (and potentially one day voice) communication needs to the exact specifications they require.

Working alongside partners at Public Safety Canada’s Interoperability Development Office, Defence Research and Development Canada, Canadian Security and Safety Partnership, CITIG, ERTEE, the three Chiefs Associations, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and many others, CATA has been helping to define the national entity required to own this spectrum, set national interoperability ­standards, and define the technology architecture required to achieve a truly national system-of-systems network – offering seamless, dedicated LTE broadband capability. This august body has been working diligently towards building the case for why a second 10 MHz of spectrum is still required, and will present their arguments in the pending round of ­Industry Canada’s consultations relating to this spectrum and planned auction.

In preparation, Canadian responders are proactively addressing technology opportunities and challenges. For example, instead of waiting for the full acquisition of the spectrum before testing and experimenting on what an LTE network can potentially provide, a First Responder LTE testbed is ­currently being developed in Ottawa under the ­stewardship of CATA subsidiary: the Networked Vehicle Association. This testbed is a true private-public partnership involving investment and sweat equity from a long list of government, first responders, academic and private sector organizations. It allows for the early development and testing of dynamic new technologies such as real-time video streaming to vehicles, interoperability testing, traffic clearing solutions, and many wireless applications still under consideration.

The promise of tomorrow’s technology is driving necessary culture changes today. The importance of interoperability standards and the benefits of shared procurement are clear. More than any other time in the past, fire, police and emergency medical services are working alongside one another to present a common front in a search for solutions to their common technology challenges. They are doing so in meetings with other key public safety stakeholders, politicians, and industry leaders, and assuming leadership roles in moving the technology yardstick ­forward within their respective fields.

Revolution can be simply described as the struggle between the past and the future. This requires development of shared national strategies that support local delivery needs.

For today’s responders, the challenge is to avoid the pitfalls of operating in silos and engendering a continued mistrust of private sector collaboration. Seek to embrace the concepts of achieving a truly interoperable future. Strive to encourage the continued adoption of technology through shared procurement and deployment techniques. And finally, help define and develop the technology requirements for the future through collaboration between governments, businesses and academia.  

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Kevin Wennekes is VP Research at the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance. Canada’s largest and oldest non-profit technology association, CATA is recognized as the voice of advanced technology industries in Canada and is a ­long-standing champion of the public safety and security technology community.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Maritime Security
TIM LYNCH
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

A Globe and Mail editorial of 5 June 2012 proclaimed that a sea change is needed in Canada’s Armed Forces as priorities change from land fighting in Afghanistan to preparing for this era defined by the Royal Canadian Navy as the "maritime century.”

The editorial was inspired by remarks Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave at the unveiling of The Royal Canadian Navy Monument on 3 May 2012, in which he said “Canada is a maritime nation, a maritime nation with trade, commerce and interests around the world... Canada and its economy float on salt water.” Mr. Harper went on to stress “Such a nation must have a navy.”

The Modern Day Navy
Canada’s entry into the Afghan field of operation caused Canadians to face the difference between “peacekeepers” and “peacemakers.” Similarly, they need to be aware that the traditional role of the navy is changing. The RCN is no longer just expected to ward off seaborne advances in defence of the country’s sovereignty. The modern day navy is more involved in performing constabulary duties in response to transnational organized crime and terrorism. These naval duties coincide with the challenges experienced by domestic policing authorities on land.

The communities that make up Canada are ultimately the crucibles where such offshore illegal endeavors are financially supported. Transnational crime begins within communities through drug trafficking, people smuggling, money laundering, gun smuggling, and compromising intellectual property. Global political and religious extremist ideologies take advantage of Canada’s traditional community placidity by threatening community values that have evolved in accordance with national laws and mores. Through its global reach, and in collaboration with our allies, the RCN is called upon increasingly to support community peace of mind back home. The Canadian public needs to be aware of these expectations of their navy.

As was evident in the Libya blockade, the RCN still serves a more traditional military role in support of Canada’s international treaty obligations. With 42% of Canada’s trade traveling by sea, access to global shipping routes for vessels heading to or leaving its shores must be secured. A routine Canadian naval presence in maritime “hot spots” around the world as well as collaboration in multi-national exercises is critical to guaranteeing such access.

While the role of Canada’s modern day navy in serving the country’s interests on the world stage is to be appreciated, it is also necessary to define how that role relates to possible domestic security threats in our post 9/11 world. In a recent interview with Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander RCN, discussed the challenges of crewing the new vessels coming on stream from the NSPS (National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy). Discussing the role of Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS), Vice-Admiral Maddison described them as “constabulary vessels, not a combatant. They will be built to commercial standards and aimed at providing Canada with an arctic surveillance offshore sovereignty capability and also to be there for search and rescue, to enable other lead departments in their maritime mandates, whether it is RCMP, Coast Guard, Fisheries and Oceans, or CBSA.”

Although referencing the unique situation in the Arctic, this description of how Canada’s domestic maritime security is being managed raises the question: Who is in charge of such activities? Relying on such tenuous relationships, the AOPS role can be compared to the acquisition of very modern computer hardware forced to apply out-of-date software.

Using the templates for Maritime Security Operations Centre (MSOC) in the Atlantic, Great Lakes and Pacific regions, this matter will likely be resolved through some kind of Arctic MSOC. When this occurs, Canada’s domestic maritime security will be managed through four large, mutually exclusive interdepartmental, bureaucratic committees.

Transport Canada oversees the movement of all marine surface vessels within Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and the coastal provinces have jurisdiction over what happens below the surface. To date, the provinces have not needed to be directly involved with maritime security affairs, however, with submersible drone capability vessels on the horizon, that will need to change. Currently, domestic maritime security is overseen by the Government of Canada’s Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group (IMSWG), comprised of 17 federal departments and agencies, and chaired by Transport Canada.

Guarding the shoreline
The need for a seamless modus operandi between threats that happen off shore and how they relate to inland communities was illustrated by the Mumbai Massacre. This was a tragic example of where there was no real coordination between the navy and the federal, state and municipal police.

The role that a navy plays on the world stage has to be reassessed when the country is reeling at home from internal strife. Such is the situation facing the Mexican navy confronting the challenges of domestic drug warfare. As Mexico does not have a coast guard service, the navy does it all. Acknowledging the difference between naval duties and policing duties, Rear Admiral Fierro Rocha said “It could be an ideal situation” when questioned about Mexico having a Coast Guard service.

More through historical default than design, the Americans have a Coast Guard service that is recognized as a kind of “gold standard” in coastal security operations around the world. This recognition is attributable to USCG being structured as a military operation but with civil law enforcement privileges that allow it to operate at sea and on land. USCG is also unique in that it can serve in foreign theatres wherever U.S. troops are based.

Initially, it was the USCG model that Malaysia followed in the creation of its Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA). Both Canada and Malaysia belong to the British Commonwealth. While their colonial histories are different, there are many similarities in their institutional government structures. Malaysia gained its independence from Britain in 1957, today comprising a federation of thirteen States and three federal territories it has a similar government department structure to Canada.

Commenting on the formation of the MMEA, a Canadian naval policy expert remarked “the Malaysian government had to cannibalize the Royal Malaysian Navy for ships and men to help create the MMEA.” This comment illustrates concern among senior navy personnel that supporting a modern day coastal defence would take resources away from the navy. This is why there is need for a new balancing between Canada’s maritime security global and domestic obligations in our post 9/11, transnational organized crime world.

Responding to this comment Captain Mamu of the MMEA, who was interviewed by Frontline, said, “… the Royal Malaysian Navy roles were diluted before MMEA was formed. The RMN did both defence and constabulary work to conduct surveillance in EEZ (200NM) because the other agencies’ vessels were smaller in size. The RMN was a sturdy supporter of MMEA formation. We share RMN facilities; we conduct exercises and operation at sea.

“All other agencies originally felt unsure of this MMEA formation; after 5 years MMEA has developed very close cooperation with Police, Customs, Fisheries, and the rest of the agencies; it is good for our country maritime sectors”

Expanding further on how MMEA was formed, Captain Mamu said, “Before MMEA was formed, a number of government agencies were responsible for various aspects of maritime safety and enforcement functions. These agencies include the Royal Malaysian Navy, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Department of Fisheries, Royal Malaysian Customs, Marine Department, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Department of Environment, and the Department of Immigration. Sound familiar?

With an amalgamation of assets from various maritime agencies, a nucleus team formed in April 2003 was tasked to establish the MMEA. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Act 2004 (Act 633) was passed by parliament in June 2004 and the Agency began operations in November 2005.

The challenges faced by Malaysia in forming its Maritime Enforcement Agency are very similar to what Canada should expect to encounter were it to follow such a course of action. Balancing the need for security at home with the need to show the flag in critical locations around the world has to be a major policy decision for Canada in coming years.

A Canadian Maritime Renaissance
Stephen Harper is probably the first Prime Minister to acknowledge Canada as a maritime nation. Given his “use it or lose it” characterization of the Canadian Arctic, his support for NSPS, and his rebranding of Canadian Maritime Forces as the “Royal Canadian Navy,” he has a clear vision of Canada’s maritime domain that goes beyond the “coast to coast to coast” rhetoric one usually hears from Ottawa politicians. Given that he represents a constituency in one of Canada’s land locked provinces and is a native son of Toronto one can only hope that other Canadians will support his “maritime nation” vision of Canada.


PHOTO: July 2012 – Ships and submarines participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2012 sail in formation in the waters around the Hawaiian islands. 1,400 Canadian sailors, soldiers, and airmen and airwomen participated in this year’s combined and joint exercise from June 29 to August 3. Scheduled and coordinated by the U.S. Navy, RIMPAC offers the senior members of the Canadian Forces the opportunity to assume positions of leadership, further enhancing Canada’s ability to work with other nations of the Asia-Pacific region. RIMPAC 2012 involves forces from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore. VIEW RCN VIDEO

If such a national maritime renaissance is to occur, one that would awaken Canadians to recognize Canada as a maritime nation, a clear vision is needed of how the navy on patrol relates to the police on the beat. This vision must demonstrate clearly that the home shore line is being guarded by a recognized mariner professional body that has authority to enforce Canadian laws on sea and land.

A new Canadian Maritime Force is required to amalgamate Canadian military and policing cultures in a united and cooperative effort combining all three Ocean shorelines. This Force could be tasked with protecting Canadians from foreign actions (state, criminal and/or terrorist) that begin off shore and threaten community peace of mind on shore. In addition, it would demonstrate a domestic rapid response capability and assume responsibility for all Search and Rescue (SAR) operations along Canada’s coastlines.

The personnel for such a Force must be qualified to serve in any part of Canada’s coastline when called upon to do so, both routinely, and in rapid response situations. In accordance with Canadian gun ownership traditions, this new Force must be appropriately armed and trained in the use of personal and vehicular armaments. Dedicated Canadian mariners need to be recruited for life-long career positions enforcing Canadian law, guarding Canada’s coastline and protecting Canadian communities supported by state-of-the-art maritime technological support, including satellite surveillance.

With such a Force in place, Canadians will have confidence, knowing there is a seamless modus operandi between their navy on patrol and their police on the beat. Having a national leader with a demonstrated interest in promoting Canada as a maritime nation should be the first of many steps towards fulfilling such a vision.

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Tim Lynch is a FrontLine maritime security correspondent based in Toronto. Send comments to tim@infolynk.ca
© Frontline Security 2012

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Building Health Care Faciltiies
BY JEFFREY KRAEGEL
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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Health care facilities must be able to operate under a variety of potential emergency situations, both natural and man-made. This reality creates significant challenges for those who plan, design, build or renovate these facilities. Now, in a landmark standard recently published by CSA Group, best practices for addressing the complexities of health care facilities have been collected into a single, comprehensive document.

The primary aim of Z8000 - Canadian Health Care Facilities - is to contribute to improved efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and patient outcomes; in addition, the standard also takes into account disaster planning requirements and considerations for safety in emergencies by building them into the facilities from the ground up.

Designed to Adapt to Emergencies
The need for a common and consistent national standard for design and construction of health care facilities arose in part because these facilities house vulnerable populations and rely on sophisticated systems for essential functions such as patient monitoring, medical gases, communications and security. Z8000 provides a nationally recognized baseline for the design and construction of hospitals and selected care facilities in addition to measures that can help address crisis situations. Disaster planning requirements and temporary provisions for life-saving and emergency response systems are built into the design from the beginning, so they are completely integrated into the facility. Such measures can help in reducing the spread of infection and help to ensure the safety and security of patients, staff, and the surrounding community in the event of pandemics and large-scale emergencies.

Emergency management and preparedness concepts are present throughout Z8000; from ensuring that health care facilities are designed, built, and equipped to be able to maintain the safety and security of patients, staff, and visitors; to outlining facility technical requirements, necessary to respond to specific emergency such as infectious disease, natural disasters or chemical/biological/radiation (CBRN) incidents.

The standard refers to the four pillars of emergency management and applies them to planning and design for catastrophic event management. It addresses crowd management and design for prompt evacuation. It directs facilities to designate areas that will be used for refuge, decontamination, and as a command centre, as well as utility needs and back-up contingencies in the case of emergencies. It also addresses the need for areas that can be re-purposed to provide surge capacity to create spaces for triage as well as adjacent space that can manage infectious patients.

These are just some of the elements of Z8000 that contribute to the ability of emergency personnel to protect and preserve life in the event of a disaster or wide scale emergency in a health care facility.

About the CSA Group
CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide.

More than 600 CSA Group members participate in 15 technical committees relating to health care. They develop standards through a rigorous, accredited, consensus-based process.

Z8000 joins CSA Group's portfolio of more than 200 standards and related products for the health care sector. 

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Alison Swift is a Project Manager at CSA Group.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Ports and Shipping Security
BY MICHAEL C. IRCHA
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

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New International Guidelines
The growth of global trade is reflected in the continued expansion of the world’s shipping fleet – both in terms of numbers and vessel size. By 2010, the fleet size had risen to 1,276 million dead weight tons, representing an increase of 60% since 2000. The most significant growth was in specialized container ships, representing an astounding increase of 264% during this decade. This growth in the world container ship fleet reflects the continued expansion of the global economy and its dependence on international trade of manufactured commodities. Understandably, this remarkable growth in contain­er­ization has led shipping companies to order larger vessels to handle increased volumes and achieve economies of scale in highly competitive markets. From a security ­perspective, this implies a concentration of ­targets for terrorists, and greater potential for criminal activity.

The maritime shipping world has long suffered from security threats. From ancient times to the present day, piracy has been a continuing problem. Over the past four years, piracy has continued to rise. There were 445 attacks on ships in 2010, up 10% from 2009.

International protocols have been developed to suppress piracy by protecting ships and their crews from attacks by other vessels. This was codified in the 1958 Convention of the High Seas and, subsequently in the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In both of these international legal conventions, acts of piracy were defined as universal crimes involving attacks on a ship by persons operating from another vessel and thus punishable under the laws of every state.

The use of hijacked planes as a weapon of terrorism in the September 11 attacks demonstrated the need for additional legal measures to prevent ships from becoming instruments of terrorist activities – a significant step up from earlier piracy concerns.

The International Maritime ­Organization, the IMO Assembly, adopted a resolution in December 2001 to revise legal instruments to address 21st century terrorist concerns. Revisions and amendments were made to the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) and to SOLAS (the 1974 ­International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea). The IMO developed new requirements under SOLAS by adding a Chapter on special measures to enhance maritime security and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. These were adopted at a SOLAS Conference in December 2002 and the new ­provisions were in force by July 2004.

The ISPS Code has two parts: the first describes mandatory security requirements for national governments, ports, ships and shipping companies; and the second contains a set of guidelines for assessing risk and implementing the mandatory elements. This multi-layered, risk management approach, inherent in the ISPS Code, is useful when contracting governments are required to set appropriate security levels based on the nature and scope of the incident or perceived security threat. As well, each government has the responsibility of approving ship and port facility security plans. Shipping companies must comply with SOLAS and ISPS Code, and such compliance is verified and certified. Port authorities and marine facilities are required to develop and implement security plans, appoint a port facility security officer and ensure appropriate training is provided.

All ports handling more than 500 tonnes of international cargo were required to have an approved port facility security plan in place and operational by July 1, 2004. Similarly, ships carrying international cargo were also required to be in compliance with the ISPS Code by this same date. By 2005, more than 97% of port facilities and over 90% of ships were in compliance, with no disruption in world trade.

However, there are security gaps in the current application of the ISPS Code. The Code excludes small ships (less than 500 tonnes), passenger ferries and pleasure craft. This creates a weak link in the marine security system. For example, the terrorists who carried out the attack on Mumbai hotels in 2008 had hijacked a fishing vessel and arrived as pseudo-fishermen. This vessel did not fall under ISPS Code responsibility and was able to slip into port without adhering to these security requirements. Further, there is evidence that many shipping companies and other marine interests have out-sourced their security requirements under the ISPS Code, such that they themselves do not take the issues seriously.

Both the U.S. and Canada responded quickly to the need to secure their international maritime cargo movements. Funding was provided in each country to assist ports in devising and then implementing their port facility security plans. From the Canadian ports’ perspective, conforming to the ISPS Code by July 1, 2004 was essential as ships serving a non-compliant port would not be permitted access to a U.S. port for the following six months. Canadian ports could not allow this to happen. Indeed, prior to the compliance date, U.S. maritime security officials visited several of Canada’s major ports to assist and monitor the steps being taken to comply with the ISPS Code.

Around the world, the 18-month period between the IMO’s adoption of the ISPS Code and its compliance was a time of significant activity – devising and implementing port and ship security plans.

Many of the security programs implemented in Canada have complemented similar steps in the United States. Indeed, it was sensible to develop a cooperative and ­integrated approach, given the high degree of economic integration between the two countries and our extensive shared border.

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Michael C. Ircha, is Professor Emeritus at the Transportation Group of the University of New Brunswick.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Arctic Cruise Ships
The Urgent Need for Search and Rescue
K. JOSEPH SPEARS and MARK DUNCAN and MICHAEL DOREY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

THE CHALLENGE
Canada has both marine and aviation search and rescue (SAR) requirements and obligations that have been agreed to by longstanding binding international agreements. That is not in dispute. The question is, in view of increasing commercial and cruise ship activity, are current SAR capabilities adequate?

The challenges are great with respect to SAR response capability in the vast Arctic region, and the demand will only increase along with the steady growth of shipping activity. This is especially so when it comes to cruise ships. More tourists are being drawn to the Arctic experience, and such huge numbers of passengers creates incredible risk and special rescue challenges in the event of a catastrophe – of which there have been far too many to ignore. Nearby countries hold an obligation to be able to mount a credible search and rescue operation in and around their waters.

Sea-ice is thinning and diminishing, it has been predicted that the final collapse of Arctic sea ice during the summer months could occur within four years. This will undoubtedly attract increased cruise ship activity, which has been steadily increasing every year since the 1980s. These ships include everything from expedition adventure cruise vessels which are accustomed to operating in remote locations, to the world’s largest cruise ships, which are “non-ice classed”.

Even expedition cruise vessels can run into problems, witness the sinking of the M/S Explorer in Antarctic waters on 23 November 2007, some 20 hours after suffering a gash in its hull. This vessel, owned by a Canadian adventure travel company, was no stranger to Arctic waters. Luckily, there was no loss of life, and its passengers, crew and staff were taken aboard the Norwegian cruise ship M/S Nordnorge after taking to the lifeboats five hours earlier in calm seas. Both vessels were members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) which developed and implemented a contingency plan for self rescue, whereby cruise vessels were paired for mutual rescue assistance.

This incident could easily have occurred in the Canadian Arctic which has seen at least two serious cruise ship incidents involving the Clipper Adventurer (2010) and Hanseatic (1996) in ­addition to other vessel groundings in recent years. Luckily, when the Clipper Adventurer grounded near Kugluktuk in the Coronation Gulf, in the Western Arctic, the conditions were calm and there was no loss of life. Although the reef was known, it was not marked on official Canadian Hydrographic charts. With the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard research icebreaker Amundsen which, thankfully, was nearby, the 128 passengers were safely disembarked. The vessel was subsequently salvaged and returned to service.

In July of 2012, the cruise ship The World, in compliance with our existing Canadian regulatory regime, made its way on a voyage from Vancouver through the Canadian Northwest Passage, arriving in Newfoundland in September. The World is neither an ice-strengthened nor a polar class vessel, yet was likely carrying over 400 people. While the voyage was without incident, how would we have responded if there had been a call for assistance?

The NEED
There is clearly a need for increased Arctic SAR capability.

In 2012, Lloyd’s of London released a report entitled Arctic Opening: Opportunities and Risk in the High North. This 60-page risk insight report, prepared by the British think tank, Chatham House, recommends that companies wanting to be among the successful operators in the Arctic will have to manage their own risk by using technologies, services and best practices adapted to Arctic conditions. Further, the report indicates that cruise ships present a particular challenge for ship owners, regulators and insurers. Specifically, it notes that larger cruise ships that have moved from the Caribbean, Europe and Mediterranean to operate in the Arctic represent a “genuine challenge”.

Superimposed on this finding by the world’s leading insurance market is the work undertaken by the Arctic Council. Meeting in Nuuk, Greenland on 12 May 2011 to sign an International Treaty on Cooperation on Aeronautical Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic (IASAR Agreement), this is the first legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council. It generated a lot of international interest and media attention. The IASAR Agreement coordinates life-saving international Maritime and aeronautical SAR coverage among the Arctic states across an area almost equal to the land mass of Russia.

Prior to the IASAR agreement, the ­Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 report (AMSA), a four-year multinational review, determined that “Search and rescue infrastructure in the Arctic is limited. The most significant emerging challenge to existing SAR infrastructure arises from the increase in marine tourism and passenger vessels operating in Arctic waters. As large passenger vessels continue to operate more frequently further North in Arctic waters, so increases the prospect of having to conduct mass rescue operations with limited SAR resources. Recent growth in Arctic marine tourism is outpacing infrastructure investment, development and support throughout the region”.

The AMSA report highlighted several problems associated with responding to incidents aboard cruise ships. “The number of people that would have to be rescued from a [cruise] ship far exceeds the capacity of most SAR response vessels and aircraft available in the Arctic. Cruise ships have minimal capacity for self rescue. Compliance with IMO guidelines for passenger vessels are voluntary and, as a result, the planning and capability for self rescue varies. Passengers are likely to be ill-prepared for the weather which decreases the likelihood of survival if they are not rescued quickly.”

The report goes on to note the lack of SAR infrastructure in this remote region. “There are also a host of logistical challenges associated with the lack of shoreside infrastructure in most of the Arctic needed to accommodate and care for those that are rescued, including the lack of sufficient food, lodging and medical facilities. In many cases, the only available platform with the capacity to feed and house rescued passengers would be another cruise ship.”

Examining Canada’s capabilities, a recent Interim Senate Report from the Standing Senate Committee on Security and Defense held that there is a need for a central Arctic operating base. The report referenced the words of then Chief of the Air Staff, LGen André Deschamps, who testified: “Search and rescue is a challenging file for us. Canada has the largest search and rescue area in the world – about 15 million square kilometres.”

The report also quoted the former commander of the Canadian Forces in the North, who raised concerns about the need for rapid response, and echoed the words of the Lloyd’s risk report and that of AMSA with respect to timely search and rescue efforts. It noted: “Colonel (retired) Peter Leblanc, the former commander of Joint Task Force (North), told a story to make the point. “We had a case, while I was a commander, where a small aircraft travelling to Yellowknife crashed. The crew on board survived the crash, but died of exposure before search and rescue arrived. […] Time is of the essence with search and rescue in the High Arctic.” Colonel Leblanc pointed out that SAR aircraft based in Southern Canada can take 8 to 10 hours “before the aircraft will be physically over the target to drop either SAR technicians or equipment that will provide shelter for the people there.”

Colonel Leblanc has had long experience in the North and has been a consistent advocate for providing Canadian Rangers with increased SAR capacity, along with the positioning of dedicated SAR aircraft in the region. Canadian Rangers are members of the Canadian Reserve Army, and, in the Arctic, are primarily Inuit who have an intricate knowledge of the land; they possess the traditional skills to survive and operate year round and have proved their worth in SAR operations time and time again. At present, Canadian Rangers do not have any dedicated SAR equipment other than what they personally own and provide when called on a mission.

Death from exposure is the biggest risk factor faced by incident victims, and it is also important to remember that in the Arctic it is dark for half the year, which further complicates search efforts. Presently, there are no primary SAR aircraft operating in the Arctic. Accordingly, it takes anywhere from 6 to 10 hours for SAR aircraft to make their way North from airbases in Southern Canada, specifically Winnipeg (Manitoba), Trenton (Ontario) and Greenwood (Nova Scotia). Canada’s dedicated SAR aircraft are fixed wing C-130H transport aircraft and CH­149 Cormorant helicopters. Helicopters are slower to arrive, have a limited carrying capacity and must refuel on route due to limited capacity, therefore, a complete response for a marine mass casualty incident would require the use of all SAR assets including Coast Guard and commercial ­vessels, plus secondary assets including all government of Canada aircraft and vessels within reasonable proximity.

SAR aircraft are operated from specialized Transport and Rescue Squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force, flown by experienced pilots used to operating in extreme conditions and manned by highly skilled SAR technicians who are trained paramedics and skilled in all forms of entry whether through helicopter, winching, or parachuting into any conditions including open ocean at night.

The 2012 International Maritime Organization’s Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea was recently awarded to three SAR technicians from 424 Sqn, Transport and Rescue Squadron based at Trenton, Ontario for an October 2011 rescue of stranded Inuit hunters in a boat near Igloolik, Nunavut. Sgt Janick Gilbert, the team leader, deployed by parachute from a C-130 along with to two other rescue personnel into deteriorating conditions in 2-3 metre waves in ice covered seas. The tether to his personal life raft severed and he drowned attempting the rescue. Aided by the two other technicians, the Inuit hunters survived and were hoisted on board a Cormorant helicopter which arrived on scene at first light. There is clearly no lack of professionalism in the Canadian Forces when it comes to search and rescue in the Arctic. They need new equipment to do the job.

In Canada, the federal SAR responsibility is shared, the Canadian Forces have primary responsibility for air SAR services whereas the Canadian Coast Guard is responsible for maritime SAR. The country is divided into individual SAR regions with overall command held by the ranking Canadian Forces flag officer. Canada Joint Operations Command is the responsible arm for ensuring that all Canadian Forces assets respond to a SAR incident if requested. Joint Rescue Coordination Centers (JRCC) are organized in three sectors for the coordination of SAR activities (East, West and Central), with five Primary SAR Squadrons (Comox, Winnipeg, Trenton, Halifax, and Gander). This coordination is an often overlooked but a critically important element of Canada’s SAR capability. It is composed of key expert SAR controllers in dealing with Arctic and Marine mass casualty incidents. For the Arctic, the two main JRCCs are located at Trenton, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Prime Minister Harper has been emphasizing the need to have military assets in the North for sovereignty requirement, and this will be the perfect opportunity to station dedicated Arctic SAR capabilities.

Due to its vast size and range of environments, Canada relies on a diverse group of government, military, and volunteers to provide overall SAR services. Canada has developed a comprehensive national search and rescue program. The National SAR Secretariat, reporting to the Minister of National Defense, is tasked with the development of a SAR policy and has been working on an Arctic SAR strategy for some time.

In the United States, the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Admiral Papp, in candid testimony before the U.S. Senate made it clear that the USCG has limited Arctic SAR capability. Canada and the United States have long-standing signed joint SAR agreements with one another. There is a close SAR working relationship between the two countries. The ISAR agreement is seen as a step forward for SAR coordination and cooperation in the Arctic region, and the sharing of information and best practices between all Arctic nations. After signing in 2011, a tabletop exercise was held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory and followed up with an actual exercise hosted by Denmark in Greenland this past September. However, these exercises do not create capability, especially as it relates to cruise ships. These remain the responsibility of the individual coastal state.

USCG has done a lot of work on Mass Rescue Operations (MRO). It has been said that mass rescue operational planning is more critical than ever, but often remains “undervalued by SAR organizations who are responders, not planners”. When it comes to the Arctic, we need a much more comprehensive plan which must include the vessel owners and operators. The MRO planning guide states: “the success of an MRO is contingent upon seamless efforts of search and rescue agencies, the company, mutual assistance assets and good Samaritans. Success is also contingent upon effective plans and exercising those plans”. USCG plans to conduct a full-scale exercise called Black Swan involving a cruise ship in April 2013 off the coast of Florida.


(Also see: http://www.calgarysun.com/2011/12/21/sar-tech-who-died-in-nunavut-lost-r...)

In Canada, Annex 7B of the Canadian National SAR manual deals with major maritime disaster SAR contingency plans. It states: “there is no fundamental distinction between a major maritime disaster and other maritime distress incidents except in scale, and in the scope of the response required.” While Canada continues to host Operation Nanook in the Arctic each August, there has been no large-scale mass rescue exercise. Until the inevitable happens, we do not know whether we are ready to handle a major incident like the Costa Concordia.

All of the recent incidents in the Arctic involving cruise ships have involved groundings, and were not caused by ice contact. As the sea-ice diminishes, cruise ships will venture into new waters, as their owners sell more exciting cruise products. Canadian Arctic waters lack hydrographic charting, with only 10 percent charted to a modern standard. Unlike on Canada’s West and East coasts there is also no requirement for compulsory pilotage. Marine incidents can and will happen even in Southern waters that have modern navigation aids and accurate charting, if only due to human factors. It is not a matter of if, but rather when a major marine incident will happen in the Arctic.

Canadian Arctic SAR capability requires us to have a comprehensive and critical analysis and review of our ability to respond to potential cruise ship incidents. This needs to include officials of local governments and Inuit communities, as well as ship operators, owners and marine insurers. A mechanism for ongoing dialogue needs to be developed to integrate the knowledge and expertise of all interested parties. This can be a component of the ongoing development of the Polar Code for the Arctic Council if it involves all Arctic nations and flag states. Hopefully this will lead to the necessary greater resiliency in the Arctic SAR system.
We also need to examine the depth of potential private SAR assets that may be available at any given time. For example, there are often private helicopters in the Arctic, useful in an incident, but there is no active database for these potentially available assets.

In the Arctic, communications are always a problem. There is a potential role for space-based AIS to ascertain location of potential SAR assets. The Canadian Rangers must be called upon and enabled to play a much more active role in SAR response, as they live in the region. There is much to be learned from the USCG’s comprehensive approach to Marine Mass Rescue operations, perhaps adopting this for the Arctic through the work of the Arctic Council. The IASAR Agreement is a good start, but the world is coming to the Arctic.

CALL TO ACTION
Canada and other Arctic nations need to be ready. The grounding incidents in Canadian Arctic waters in 2010 are a wake-up call for action. SAR capacity and capability building, combined with the development of the Polar Code, will lead to the harmonization of a risk-based approach to Arctic shipping and minimize SAR requirements.

The Arctic is on the cusp of tremendous economic development, and a report recently published by the Centre for International Governance Innovation calls for the development of smart and strategic transportation infrastructure in the Arctic – SAR is part of this infrastructure. We can develop a truly comprehensive Polar Code and learn from the Antarctic experience, which has proved helpful in dealing with cruise ship incidents, as demonstrated by the M/S Explorer SAR response in those remote waters. The time to start building SAR capability by governments and vessel owners and operators is long before incidents occur. We in Canada, as an Arctic nation, need to move forward on Arctic SAR as fast as the sea-ice is receding, so “others may live”.

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Joe Spears, Maritime Counsel at Straith Litigation Chambers and principal of the Horseshoe Bay Marine Group, has been involved in Arctic SAR for many years and has undertaken work for the National Search and Rescue Secretariat, worked as Rescue Coxswain with the CCG, and instructed the Canadian Rangers of 2CRPG of Nunavik on Arctic SAR. He can be reached at kjs@oceanlawcanada.com.
Michael K.P. Dorey retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Air Force. He is a military helicopter pilot with 5,600 hours, including flying with 442 SAR Squadron, flight instructor and chief check pilot. He was OIC of Halifax RCC, Commanding Officer of both 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron (Greenwood) and 103 Rescue Unit (Gander), and an Air Attaché in Washington, DC, among other postings in a 38-year career.
© Frontline Security 2012

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A Close Look at CBRNE Danger
RICHARD BRAY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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Situational awareness is crucial in a CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and/or Explosive) incident. 


Instrument View displays live images and data, and replays data stored from a database.

First responders must quickly identify the type, location and extent of a threat before they can deal with it. Small security robots equipped with detectors can provide pieces of the incident puzzle but human operators have struggled to make sense of the data they receive for rapid assessments, they need pictures, not numbers. A new Canadian system, the CBRN Crime Scene Modeller (C2SM) goes one better.

Along with the video, images and data streamed from the robot 'platform', it provides computer-generated, three-dimensional images of a remote scene, along with 'tagged' data that allows operators to drill down into what they are 'seeing' on their computer screens.

Development of the C2SM has been a team effort, including RCMP Ottawa, the CBRNE Research and Technology Initiative led by the Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Security Science, the Hamilton, Toronto and Vancouver police services, the Canadian Police Research Centre, York University's Department of Computer Science and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA).

Piotr Jasiobedzki, an MDA scientist explains: "Our system creates a planar map in real time, a floor map of the building, and shows the locations of the threats. In addition to the planar representation of the scene, with attached information, we have special cameras that we use to collect stereo images that allow us to build up photorealistic three-dimensional models."


2D View - visualization of traversed paths and locations of measurements.

Inside the 3D model, the operator can see all the objects and take measurements to design subsequent operations. "For example, the operator can measure the distance between a suspicious package and different access points to the room, to decide the best way to position an extractor, or additional measuring equipment." The photorealism of the scene provides an almost immersive experience, so they can look into a specific location and gather additional information and all the measurements from the CBRNE detectors that are placed in the same 3D environment.

Until now, operating robots inside a building tested the operators' intuition and memory because GPS signals can be lost. "Inside the building, it is the task of the operator to figure out where he or she is at any given time, because of the robot's lack of a location system, and they rely on the images that are streaming live to their workstations and on the measurements of the detectors," Jasiobedzki says. That system forces operators to remember what was measured and where - which can be a complicated and confusing task. Even when data is captured and stored to media, access is difficult if the operator has to rewind images and search data. "C2SM allows the security robot to geolocate inside buildings, without reliance on GPS, and send the source of the information that is captured by the CBRNE detectors and all the images from all cameras to a database. All that information is time-stamped and geolocated." Information is transmitted in near real time to the operator's station and displayed on screen. "Once it is in the database, operators can see the images they captured five minutes ago or look at sensor measurements that were performed at specific locations inside the building."


3D View visualization of a photorealistic model of scene of interest with local CBRN measurements

The main focus of the C2SM project was the creation of 3D representations of the unknown, investigated environments and the graphic representation of information to the end user. Along the way, they realized that the large amounts of time and processing power were required to build up the 3D models, so they redefined the concept of operations to allow operators to decide whether to focus in a location to collect and process more information, or to travel quickly through an uninteresting scene where nothing of importance is happening.

From its inception, the C2SM project was designed to deliver that kind of operational value to First Responders. "We actually started the project with a field trial, which sort of sounds counter-intuitive, because you don't always start a project without anything to test, but we realized that we didn't know enough about the First Responders procedures and operations," Jasiobedzki explains.

The project started with training exercises organized by Toronto Police Services' CBRNE group. Participants observed the response. "At the same time we brought two prototypes of our early systems to this trial and we demonstrated them to police. After the first trial we had a long discussion where we talked about the direction of the whole project."

The C2SM team kept the same approach during the whole project, holding regular field tests and trails of different prototypes every four to six months. The team was able to demonstrate progress to the first responders, and observe them using the system. "The challenges they had with early prototypes gave us insights into what we should do. After each trial, we had debriefing sessions where we spent half a day or a day discussing the limitations of the current prototype and possibilities for future development. They told us what they needed and we told them what could be done," Jasiobedzki said.

In the latest stage of the project, scientists and engineers built multiple rugged prototypes suitable for deployment and delivered them to First Responder partners in the project. "Those systems are now being used in internal training, so what we hope is that the end users will send us enough information that we can enter the commercial marketplace with a substantial product."

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Richard Bray is the Senior Writer at FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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UAVs and Policing
RICHARD BRAY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

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Canadian Cops Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) give public agencies new ‘eyes in the sky’ and Canadian law enforcement is leading the way.

In 2007, Constable Marc Sharpe of the Ontario Provincial Police in Kenora launched a whole new way to investigate accidents when he attached a digital camera to a home-built UAV to capture high quality images at major accident and case scenes. The intent was to save money by using a UAV instead of chartering helicopters or light aircraft… and it worked. His FIU-301 became the first civilian UAV in North America to win government approval for regular operations, and the RCMP Gazette recently reported that Sharpe’s cost-effective ways saved taxpayers more than $90,000 in just a few years.

The UAV is now fast becoming a standard investigative tool. “Almost all of our homicide cases in the last three or four years have had that aerial photo component from these systems,” Sharpe notes. “One or two simple aerial images let us tell a story much more easily. In a nutshell, that is what we do in forensics: we tell the story of any particular scene, be it a homicide or a major accident on a highway or an air crash.”

With a similar goal of saving money, RCMP Sergeant Dave Domoney began a one-year pilot program in December 2010, for collision reconstruction programs in Saskatchewan. However, the results have been so useful that his unit is now using UAVs well beyond accident investigation to include major crimes, search and rescue, and forensic identification.

From the very first day, using the UAVs for operational files, the officers ­recognized the value of this new tool. “On every single file, we come back to brief the investigators, and they are just dumbfounded with the quality of the pictures and what the pictures actually show,” Domoney says.

Pictures can help a judge and/or jury to accurately visualize a crime scene. “To be able to bring that photograph into court and have multiple witnesses explain what they saw and what they heard, what they tasted and what they smelled at that particular time is just amazing.”

The Halton Region Police Service (southwest of Toronto) started using UAVs for collision reconstruction but, as Detective Dave Banks of Halton’s Forensic Services now explains, they are finding many other uses for the versatile device. “We have used it for six search and rescue missions with the thermal camera at night. We are also looking at an Explosive Disposal Unit and marine operations, and at getting information about a place before our tactical team does an entry.” Tactical team operators are eager to work with the new technology even though aerial photography is not new. Photos from Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS) are infinitely less expensive and do not require the delays of filing flight plans.

A small, manœuverable UAS can see around corners and higher levels without putting an officer in harm’s way. They can provide an important aerial perspective for first responders, and are cheaper and less disruptive than other options.

Unlike fixed-wing aircraft, the helicopter-type, Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft are particularly easy to launch and recover, they can operate in ­confined environments, and can ­provide fixed-hover observation.

Marc Sharpe has seen advantages in tactical situations, such as with barricaded or cordoned off areas, “where you have a dangerous situation, where you can’t have your guys going in without some information, or you can’t have the public going in. So there is an advantage to putting up a nice, quiet little machine that gives you that immediate tactical view. Is there anybody in that backyard behind the fence? Is there a big dog? Is there a point of cover? Is there an old truck you can belly up to without being worried about somebody taking a crack at you from the structure?”

It seems like an ideal tool for law enforcement, but the fact that UAV’s are easy to operate doesn’t mean they can immediately support operations. In Halton Region, Dave Banks’s colleague, Detective Andy Olesen of the Explosives Disposal Unit tells FrontLine about a night exercise with the tactical team that “revealed some gaps to be filled before it becomes routine.” This is particularly true about the existing aversion to change, meaning that sometimes introducing new technologies isn’t quite as readily accepted, but Olesen believes the new tool will prevail. “It’ll happen,” he predicts, “it is just a matter of making people aware of what the technology can and can’t do.”

Beyond training, weather can become a limiting factor to UAV technology. “If it is pouring rain, like it or not, we are not going to get these things to function,” Olesen admits. “If there is a 50 km wind, well…”

However, the real barriers to UAV use in law enforcement or any other official application are regulatory. Transport Canada is extremely serious about air safety. “It’s been a long haul to get here. We’ve had to break down a lot of barriers,” Olesen says of the use of UAVs for policing. “We really didn’t have a template to look at from any other service, so we kind of developed a training program and a radio operators’ license and a full training program, and we had to work very hard to get a Special Flight Operations Certificate from Transport Canada. They are very protective of issuing those, so we had to go a long way.”

Marc Sharpe agrees, noting that the Kenora OPP detachment’s remoteness gave Transport Canada some confidence that the force would be able to operate safely and professionally without putting anybody at risk. “The odds of something going wrong and causing damage or injury to somebody in the locations we were working was pretty remote, so it gave them that window of opportunity to kind of feel us out to see how we were going to respond and how we were going to play by the rules.”

Each year, the OPP asked for a little more airspace for its operations. “In the last couple of years we have had authority throughout the province of Ontario, both in controlled and uncontrolled airspace, with different restrictions… and, that said, the rules essentially didn’t change from those for isolated areas in the middle of nowhere to those for a downtown or an urban environment, because we still have to work within visual range, and within a secured police environment.”

Today’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology is lightweight, portable and easy to use. “More departments are going to use it,” says Olesen “because it is just so easy to get it out of the trunk of your car and put it up somewhere.”

Ease of use is a big selling feature for overworked police officers – as Constable Sharpe puts it, “I am a big proponent of small, lightweight, ‘out-of-the-trunk’ technology to get some work done.”

Some systems are small and light enough to fit into a backpack, and can be snapped together and launched within minutes of arrival at a scene. The latest UAV control technology takes the work out of flying. The units can handle most of the ‘flying’ automatically – so the operator simply directs the UAV using a touchscreen tablet with point-and-click navigation and camera control. “Fly-safe” controls bring ­aircraft home or land them automatically if there is a warning or error, and some machines claim to be able to fly in gusting wind because the system makes adjustments to the controls hundreds of times per second.

As one company states, “with true hands free operation, aerial photography becomes as easy as point and click” – this frees up the officer to pay more attention to the required evidence gathering rather than making sure the UAV doesn’t crash.

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Richard Bray is FrontLine’s Senior Writer.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Intelligence: Getting it Right!
BY RAY BOISVERT
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

He was an award-winning horticulturalist successfully growing the rarest of orchids. He was an expert fly fisher and a documenter of river systems. He was a poet and ­publisher, as well as a long time correspondent of T.S. Eliot. He was schooled in the art of New Criticism while attending Yale, and later studied law at Harvard. But more than anything, he was the unrelenting hunter of “moles” within the CIA and, by extension, many governments and agencies of the Western world during the height of the Cold War.

James Angleton was the counter-intelligence chief to no less than six CIA Directors. A complex man, he was the first to raise the flag of suspicion regarding Soviet KGB mole Kim Philby (a senior British intelligence official and member of the infamous Cambridge Spy Ring). Angleton was also the chief interrogator of Yuri Nosenko and Anatoliy Golitsyn – both believed to be KGB officers, and one likely a plant to misinform and misdirect Western intelligence. Sadly for Nosenko, who was not believed by Angleton and his intimates, he spent several years in a solitary CIA interrogation cell. Golitsyn, however, became the source who fuelled Angleton’s single minded obsession with uncovering treachery within. Over two decades, he led the most invasive mole hunt at the CIA and which impacted all Western agencies. Unfortunately, however, it resulted mainly in shattered careers, strained alliances, and organizations beset with internecine warfare.

To this day, the Angleton legacy stands as a tale of caution for those considering the revival of enhanced counter-intelligence in the aftermath of the treacherous activities of Canadian Naval Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle.

(Also see: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/10/jeffrey-paul-delisle-pleads-guil...)

It is clear that the depth of extremist violence in the decade following the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11 re-focused our attention on the threat of terrorism. So much so, that it propelled both the general public and those charged with protecting national security or the proprietary information of private companies, to reduce priorities relative to “spying” in favour of anti-terrorism concerns. Critical life threatening cases or the need by the private sector to “harden” corporate assets from the threat of terror, demanded no less. Despite the legitimacy of emphasizing the prevention of terrorism or improving the physical protection of corporate activities abroad, it is now important for us to face a simple truth: spies are indeed among us.

While some now postulate that spies returned to the scene to commit new crimes, the reality is: they never left.

Others believe the shift in the perceptual lens is the result of the growing list of cyber attacks and, more recently, the number of prosecutions of those effectively ­pursuing the art of human intelligence (HUMINT) – or in the vernacular: “spying”.

The 2010 arrest by U.S. officials of 11 Russian “illegals” who had assumed the identities of dead Americans and were ­living “normal” middle class lives in the homeland, was a stark reminder that classic ­espionage was alive and well. Lt. Delisle’s guilty plea makes it “local” or relevant for Canadians and, of course, shocking in terms of how he did it.

So what motivates the continuance of an activity that is often characterized as unseemly, yet has been with us since biblical times? Is it ideology, money, sex, revenge? The short answer is: yes. All of these drivers fit the pathology of spy cases through the ages. However, and in my experience, revenge has been a core motivation, with money or profit in immediate tow. Whether in a “spy versus spy” case snaring agents of the state, or one of corporate spying where intellectual property has been the prize, ego and greed have ­featured prominently.


(Also see: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/10/jeffrey-paul-delisle-pleads-guil...)

Motivation notwithstanding, objectives have remained consistent: to gain political, military, security or intellectual and commercial advantage. However, the prioritization of those objectives, the methods applied and the targets being pursued have transformed to fit 21st century reality.

Market Advantage
Classic HUMINT efforts against traditional targets (such as government-held secrets) remain a clear and present danger. However, there has been a sharp convergence of state and non-state interests and activities – all focused on economic or commercial insights and advantage. In other words, the intelligence capabilities of many countries, as well as corporate outliers using contracted means, are aggressively stealing intellectual property to gain market advantage, establish a dominant global position, or deliver assurance of access to strategic industries or resources. Equally troubling is that the “human spy” method is being supplemented by anonymous, cost effective, and increasingly successful Internet-based cyber attacks.

A High Price to Pay
What then is the effect or cost of all this alleged loss of proprietary information, be it government or corporate? It is both incalculable and growing. In the extreme, and as witnessed throughout history, intelligence collection assets have been arrested and ­executed; years of military, security or economic planning have been lost; and decades of research and development have been wasted. Overall, economic and societal advantages (in the form of products, services, policies or initiatives) have been stolen, countered, copied or thwarted. Reputations of persons and entities have been damaged through the loss of public trust or through shareholder revolt (Ministers of the Crown resigning, corporate executives removed). Given current trends, it is predictable that such outcomes will intensify, particularly due to the potency of this new form of combined espionage threat, which has ­benefitted from an unfortunate measure of complacency, innocence or neglect.

If true, the response to the challenge must be simple:

  • Turn up the security volume by enhanced vetting of those within or aspiring to join the inner circles of knowledge;
  • Restrict information system access to only those who truly need to know; and
  • Closely watch the suspicious.

Though not an unreasonable response, what happens if you get it wrong? What are the consequences of acting on erroneous information? Who pays the price if, or when, aggrieved parties pursue justifiable recourse or redress?

The 2011 case of three Renault SA executives unjustly dismissed over a corporate espionage caper involving product development secrets for an electric car will likely cost the company significant coin. Similar issues and events have also plagued public policy areas, where persons who were denied a security clearance have sought justification for their dismissal or the limits placed on their ability to increase their scope of responsibility and remuneration. Most of those Canadian public service cases become long, costly affairs with outcomes that tend to leave both sides bitter and exhausted.

In the most practical of ways, the pilfering of knowledge or secret information cannot be so easily arrested. Reducing the risk of loss is a very tricky business in an increasingly complex world. This is the new reality in a world where data flow, social networking, collaborative tools, and open source intelligence (OSINT) exploitation, to name just a few, have been the very key to the success of our open societies and free market prosperity.

Equally, the rights of employees, ­particularly those governing privacy, as well as employer/employee relations, are increasingly clear. A number of tribunals and court decisions have placed limits on the measures an organization can invoke to stem the negative effects of inappropriate access and misuse of proprietary information and systems.

Information and Threat
Diminishing access to information will have an immediate, and likely painful, negative effect, irrespective of the organization’s mission. In stark terms, profits will be lost, companies will cease to be competitive, governments will be hampered in achieving targeted service rates for citizens – and ­terrorists will be successful.

It is not impossible to imagine that, in a reduced-information-flow environment, Canada would experience a significant ­terrorist event – up to and including loss of life – a price too high for most.

Finally, we have now constructed concentric circles of open and closed information ecosystems. Information is reliant on information. Analysts require broad and varied sources of useable data to provide relevant and prescient assessments that inform decision making.

Limiting one system can have extended effects on other sources and processes – sometimes several layers removed. Also of considerable importance to this calculation is the human factor. Those trained minds under the age of 40 will not likely remain engaged, nor will they be meeting expectations on results, if they find their access to both open and closed data and networks being limited for reasons that will seem at best remote, and at worse esoteric or irrelevant.

Getting it Right
So what does an institution or corporation do in a “wilderness of mirrors”? How does that entity navigate the delicate balance between delivering a high level of security for its people and facilities, while ensuring that the lights – that is, the intelligence behind the decisions that create progress or profits – are not turned off? Or, how does the organization ensure that adjustments do not negatively impact labour regulations, staff morale or public confidence?

A measured approach, based on a clear understanding of what is at risk, is a reasonable formula. Fundamental to this is a clear initial assessment: who are the potential threat actors; what assets are likely to be targeted; when are opportunities to compromise at their best or worst; where will organizational assets be subject to compromise; and, why would this threat manifest itself in the first place?

Engaging in global business ventures or pursuing statecraft can be accomplished with measurable levels of security assurance, irrespective of the growing complexity and reach of the threats being faced.

As most experienced organizational leads will attest, no outcome or threat impact can be predicted with absolute certainty. Having said that, threats and risks can be identified, and most can be mitigated with considerable effect. The remaining threats may just be the cost of doing business, be it public or private. However, not knowing what might “bite” an organization is simply not tolerable, from the ­perspective of public trust and accountability, to corporate governance matters involving shareholders.

Getting it right involves paying attention, understanding the nature of what might ail, as well as being thoughtful in regards to remedies. In other words, ensuring that the actions of management are ­tailored to organizational circumstances. If the construct is appropriately weighted, effective security will be achieved.

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Ray Boisvert is President & CEO of I-Sec Integrated Strategies and is the former Assistant Director, Intelligence at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
© Frontline Security 2012

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Mexico in Focus
RICHARD BRAY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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Canadians see Mexico on a split screen. On one side, they see a tourist paradise that attracts 1.5 million Canadians every year. On the other: a drug war that has claimed 50,000 lives in five years...


Canadian Military meets with Mexican Army

Conflicting images of drug wars and tourist resorts show a country that is out of control, living on low-wage earnings of tourism and the proceeds of crime - and therefore a perfect candidate for Canadian aid. The picture is false.

As an academic and as executive director of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas, Carlo Dade has watched relations between Canada and Mexico for years. Far from seeing Mexico as potentially dependent on Canadian largesse, he says that it is swiftly becoming an advanced industrial economy. Pointing to the impact that high-quality, low-wage Mexican factories have had on North America's automobile industry, Dade says "we would not be competitive globally without Mexico."

The value of two-way trade between Mexico and Canada was $27 billion in 2010, and Mexico ranks 5th as a market for Canadian products. A PWC report called The World in 2050 projects that by mid-century, Mexico's Gross Domestic Product will be 7th in the world. By contrast, the study projects Canada's GDP will be 16th. Dade concedes that drug related violence has hit Mexico hard but has not been a knock-out punch. The violence in Mexico has been "a shock to the psychological system. Obviously, you have got to get people to stop shooting," says Dade.

That's easier said than done. Between $14 billion and $50 billion in drug revenue pours into Mexico every year, and this is what the gangs - or Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) - are fighting over. Last year, NORAD and US NORTHCOM Commander Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr. described TCOs as "vicious in the extreme, better-armed than our police forces, very well-financed, diversified, and increasingly sophisticated in their methods. In fact, we now see TCOs using military equipment and tactics, including machine guns, sniper rifles, grenades, and even submarines to move illegal drugs."

Walter McKay is a Canadian security consultant living in Mexico City. With 12 years experience as a police officer, he now assesses Mexico's security challenges for private and corporate clients. "Historically Mexicans don't like outside interference ... basically they don't want the United States. They lost a couple of wars, they lost a lot of land, and a lot of dignity to the United States, which is a belligerent neighbour."

If that provides an opportunity for Canada to offer assistance, McKay believes training would be most welcome. "Police officers in Mexico need to be trained as investigators. They don't really need to be trained in weapons use or how to drive around in vehicles," he says. "So the whole idea of reequipping and militarizing the police force is really just a waste of money and a wasted strategy. It is futile."

Carleton University professor Jean Daudelin, a Latin America specialist, agrees. "I think the most relevant resources would be expertise, particularly in two areas: police, technical, administrative and vetting systems, and the justice system, which is a mess," he says. "The depth of incompetence and corruption of the justice system is astonishing."

Both Daudelin and McKay believe that Canadian military and law enforcement personnel will probably never see field work with their Mexican counterparts. As McKay explains, "the Mexican government would not allow it. It's impossible. They do not want any hint of a concession of their sovereignty. Mexico does not want to appear as if they have failed. They don't think they have. They have almost 450,000 police officers, and it would be egg on their face to say they need more, especially from Canada."

At the street level, however, Daudelin notes, "if you get close in any way to operations, you will get splashed with blood. A large proportion of police and marine operations involve executions of suspects followed by no investigations."

In the end, it is debatable whether Mexico even wants a great deal of outside assistance. The Mexican government has adequate financial resources and this year it will spend $12 billion on all aspects of security, up 10 percent from 2011.

In reality, the drugs problem is not just Mexican, but regional. Success in one area of drug traffic suppression simply drives the criminals somewhere else. The annual air-sea Operation Caribe has, with Canadian involvement, succeeded in making aviation and marine transport very expensive for the traffickers. That moved the action to land corridors through northern Mexico and into the United States. When President Felipe Calderon launched the December 2006 campaign against the big cartels, two things happened. From a relatively stable situation with low levels of violence, smaller drug gangs now battle ferociously between themselves and against the government to maintain control of the trade routes. At the same time, they are moving out of Mexico, with relatively strong law enforcement capabilities, to weaker countries in the region, like Guatemala. The drug gangs do not want to take over political control anywhere; they just don't want governments to interfere with their business. That's not a problem in Guatemala, where the United States government estimates that almost three quarters of the country is under the control of criminal organizations.

If Mexico does not need assistance from Canada, why should Canada try to become more involved? Brian Lee Crowley, the managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, thinks the answer is one border closer than Mexico. "Ottawa is always looking for ways to get American interest for Canada's issues. And we all know what a difficult challenge that is," he said. "So America is very worried about violence and instability in Mexico. They are worried about the growing purchase the drug trade has on society and government there, not least because it pushes people to try to get into the United State." If Canada can show that it has made a difference in the Mexican situation, it might not make a big difference for Canada directly with Mexico but it would give Canada some political capital to spend with the Americans, Crowley believes.

If Canada is looking for places to make a difference, there are plenty of countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America where it would be much safer to operate, where the Spanish language does not pose a barrier and where Canadian help is actually needed. "In one sense with Canada's limited resources, why not focus on Belize or Jamaica or some other English-speaking island state?" Walter McKay asked. "The United States is already dumping far more money, talent and training into Mexico than Canada ever will. We're not going to match that."

On the other hand, Carlo Dade makes a strategic case for engagement with Mexico. "The hemisphere is Hispanic and eventually we are going to have to deal with that. Do it now," he said. "This is where the strategic use of the few human resources we have could have a huge impact." 

In support of the Government of Canada's Strategy for the Americas, the CF has begun to increase its level of emphasis on the Americas. Part of that increased engagement is Mexico, and one of Canada Command's top four priorities is to develop stronger defence ties with Mexico. FrontLine asked the Commander, Lieutenant-General Walt Semianiw, for an overview of progress in this regard:

Q: What is Canada Command's current engagement with Mexico?

The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF) have historically been involved throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. These have included: United Nations Peacekeeping missions in countries such as Guatemala and Haiti; various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) activities; and providing individual training through the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP). Mexico has been a member of the MTCP since 2004.

Canada Command is [responsible] for overall CF engagement in the Americas and in this regard is an active player and coordinator for CF activities with Mexico. Recent events have included Mexico's participation in Exercise Quinte Dipper, a parachute training event at CFB Trenton, and a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief 'lessons learned' seminar that was held in Ottawa in November 2011.

Canada and Mexico also participate in yearly policy-military staff talks and military to military staff talks where avenues of further cooperation are discussed.

One of Canada COM's significant activities was the signing of the NAMSI (North American Maritime Security Initiative) Letter of Intent in August 2011. This initiative between Canada COM, the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), the United States Coast Guard (USCG), and the Mexican Secretaria de Marina (SEMAR) is intended to establish and share operating procedures for the prevention of and response to incidents and illicit acts that could threaten maritime safety and security of the respective countries.

Q: What is Canada's Future engagement with Mexico?

Canada will not conduct operations within Mexican territory since there is no anticipated need or request to do so. Canada is, however, looking to increase the number of training activities it conducts with Mexico.

The upcoming military-military staff talks will, in part, work towards that aim. SEMAR has already agreed to participate in Exercise Maple Flag this year, and there are upcoming visits to Canada by members from two of Mexico's Defence Colleges.

Q: Mexico is increasingly using marine infantry in its drug enforcement operations is this a learning opportunity for Canada?

No. It must be remembered that in Canada, drug law enforcement operations are the responsibility of the civilian law enforcement agencies. These agencies may, at times, request CF assistance and, if approved, CF assistance will be in support of [that agency]. When the CF does provide assistance to law enforcement agencies, the supported agencies remain responsible for all aspects of law enforcement - including arrest, detention, search and seizure.

Q: Some analysts believe the government of Mexico is winning against drug traffickers and that it has the resources to do so. Given this, what is Canada Command's possible engagement with Mexico? Are additional resources required?

Even with their current successes, criminal violence continues to challenge Mexico, due in great part to the activities of Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs). This is especially so in Mexico's southern region that borders on Belize and Guatemala. Starting in 2011, Canada COM has participated in the U.S.-sponsored Mexico/Guatemala/ Belize Cross Border Workshops. Canada and the U.S. act as facilitators and look for potential cooperative engagement opportunities in that region. Canada, however, will not conduct operations within Mexican territory since there is no anticipated need or request to do so.

Canada COM is now developing multi-year plans that look at means of regional engagement activities that the CDS has directed be focused, modest, enduring and reciprocal. The aim is to build military-to-military relationships with those countries for the long term that will generally increase regional security. Canada COM is also examining various training, equipment and relationship building initiatives with both Guatemala and Belize that are to be implemented in the upcoming fiscal year.

Our initial engagements will be achieved through current means and a refocusing of resources and efforts towards the Americas region.
We intend on increasing the capacity of our staff and the knowledge they have on the region, including their ability to work in the local languages. It is also key that the management of these personnel ensures they are employed in jobs where they can use their talents. As always, the most important resource are our people.

We also need an ability to track and evaluate the success of our activities in the region. Canada COM is helping to build the mechanisms and tools for this so our limited resources will always be used efficiently. However, it is important to remember that Canada will not conduct operations within Mexican territory since there is no anticipated need or request to do so.

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Richard Bray is the Senior Writer for FrontLine Magazines.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Future Flooding, EMAs Prepare
BLAIR WATSON
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

PREPARE & RESPOND
The worst floods in recorded history occurred in central China between July and November 1931, where as many as four million people died from drowning or related diseases such as cholera and typhus. Of the five deadliest floods on record, all have occurred in China. Most recently, in July 2012, torrential rains hit the central part of the country, causing in devastating floods and mudslides. At least 77 victims perished and millions were forced to evacuate their communities.

Simultaneously, heavy rains in southwestern Japan triggered landslides, cutting off thousands in mountainous districts and killing 26. “Some 250,000 people have been ordered to leave their homes in the prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Kumamoto and Oita,” said a BBC News report. Japan’s Self-Defence Forces responded quickly by flying in supplies and participating in search and rescue operations.
Seven thousand kilometres to the south, floods across eastern Australia forced more than 13,000 people to abandon their homes after record-high summer rains drenched three states, swelling rivers and causing dams to overflow. According to one news report, as flood waters raced by the town of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, strangely, millions of spiders blanketed fields with “snow” – cobwebs – then clambered up trees and bushes.

In North America, the memory of massive flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005 lingers. Inadequately designed and built levees and flood walls in Greater New Orleans were overwhelmed by the storm surge; tens of billions of gallons of water flooded 80 percent of the port city and all of St. Bernard Parish in southeast Louisiana. More than 100,000 homes and businesses were flooded and 1,800 people were killed. Criticism from many quarters over the dismal response by municipal, state, and federal emergency management agencies to the Category-5 tropical cyclone and resulting flooding, eventually led to ­significant changes.

Flood Planning & Mitigation
Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) prepare for floods in various ways, including ascertaining how much area will be inundated if certain water levels are reached. Flood maps showing vulnerable sectors are created and distributed to officials tasked with overseeing emergency planning and response.

Manitoba is one jurisdiction that takes the threat of floods and the need for preparation and mitigation very seriously. The Red River Flood of 1950 swamped in excess of 95,000 structures and 1,600 square kilometres (395,350 acres) of farmland. The disaster prompted the construction of the 47-kilometre-long Red River Floodway during the 1960s, which has saved an estimated $10 billion in damages in subsequent flood events, the worst to date occurring in 1997 (dubbed the “Flood of the Century”).

In February of each year, the Manitoba Flood Forecast Centre publishes its Spring Flood Outlook report online. The document includes maps of soil moisture readings taken around the province the previous autumn, and flood threat estimates for four major rivers (Red, Assiniboine, Pembina, and Souris) as well as the Interlake and other regions. Flood updates are issued as spring approaches and progresses.

Wendy Brogdon, executive assistant to director Kevin Davis of the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency ­Preparedness explained to FrontLine that each of the state’s 64 parishes, 15 local ­communities, 4 universities, 3 special districts and 1 Native American tribe “have a FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency]-approved, Disaster Mitigation Act-compliant hazard mitigation plan.”

Brogdon notes that “Louisiana has devoted extensive effort and resources to mitigate the effects of flooding. The state has committed in excess of $21 million in funding toward the development and updating of mitigation plans which allow the jurisdictions to be eligible for federal mitigation grants. Flooding has been identified as one of the top hazards in the State Hazard ­Mitigation Plan.”

Since Katrina, Louisiana’s government has improved its emergency planning, including “a comprehensive flood flight and search and rescue plan,” Brogdon indicated. “The planning effort included the Department of Transportation and Development, Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration, Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Health and Hospitals, National Weather Service-River Forecast Offices, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).”

The planning effort included identifying potential threat areas using forecasting and modeling provided by USACE and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The state planning team worked with local governments to develop evacuee estimates, transportation requirements, and available shelter locations. “A second planning scenario was based on an immediate breach of the Mississippi River requiring the immediate evacuation and activation of water borne search and rescue missions,” said Brogdon.

Louisiana’s neighbour to the east, Mississippi, has not only experienced hurricane storm surges, but has the largest river system in North America running through it. Since the 1930s, USACE has created and maintained spillways and floodways to divert water surges into backwater channels and lakes, and route part of the Mississippi River’s flow to the Gulf of Mexico via the Atchafalaya Basin, circumventing Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

When asked by FrontLine about flood planning, Robert Latham, Mississippi’s EMA executive director, said: “All emergencies and disasters are local events. This is why we are pushing more communities to create plans at the local level which address their specific needs for evacuations and mass care, in order to take care of their own citizens. With well thought out local plans, the state will be better prepared to support these local governments during a disaster like a catastrophic flood.”

Flood emergency response
Flooding in parts of British Columbia in June of this year prompted B.C. officials to issue evacuation notices and standby warnings. “Emergency officials around B.C. and even Alberta are on alert as the mighty Fraser River, swollen by a melting snowpack and deluge of rain, threatens to breach dikes and damage homes, property and livestock near Vancouver,” reported the CBC News on 23 June. The day before, the B.C. Ministry of ­Justice announced that 1,000 provincial forestry firefighters along with Canadian Forces personnel from Edmonton, Esquimalt, and Vancouver were on standby to assist stricken communities. Two million sandbags were said to be available in case of major flooding across the province. ­Officials told reporters that the provincial emergency coordination centre and its three regional facilities in Prince George, Kamloops and Surrey, as well as 19 municipal operations centres, were involved in responding to the crisis. Hundreds of people were evacuated and, sadly, one man died.

Flooding in Manitoba in May 2011 prompted the provincial government to request help from Canada’s military; more than 100 soldiers were deployed. At the time, Paul Kentziger, planning officer with the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization, told reporters: “We are so happy to get the military. This isn’t one of their prime functions but they’re a very concentrated force and they work hard.”

At the time, Lieutenant-Colonel William Fletcher, commander of the 1st battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Corps, stationed in Edmonton, commented that they were “filling sandbags about as fast as we can.” Reportedly, the soldiers’ filling rate was 2,500 sandbags per hour. “In terms of our approach, it’s not unlike any military operation,” Fletcher remarked. “It’s all about sourcing the information, coming up with a plan and then trying to execute it. The one thing we can always rely on is the hard work of our soldiers.”

More water, more floods
It appears that global flooding incidents will only increase in the coming years. A ScienceDaily.com report on 24 June 2012 commented that “Sea levels around the world can be expected to rise by several metres in coming centuries if global warming carries on. Even if global warming is limited to 2° Celsius, global-mean sea level could continue to rise, reaching between 1.5 and 4 metres above present-day levels by the year 2300, with the best estimate being at 2.7 metres, according to a study just published in [the scientific journal] Nature Climate Change.”

Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, co-author of the study, said the risks are significant. “As an example, for New York City it has been shown that one metre of sea level rise could raise the frequency of severe flooding from once per century to once every three years,” he told Science Daily. “Also, low lying deltaic countries like Bangladesh and many small island states are likely to be severely affected.”

Few nations are immune to such disasters. This summer, an online Canadian Underwriter report included the following information: “Global warming could almost double the number of properties at significant risk of flooding in the United Kingdom by 2035 unless loss reduction plans are put in place, argues a committee appointed by the U.K. government to study climate change.” In the fall of 2000 alone, parts of England and Wales experienced the heaviest rains in 230 years and flooding caused $1.7 billion in insured damages.

This year, April to June was the wettest quarter on record in Britain, and further heavy rain in July resulted in extensive flooding. Surprisingly, however, The Guardian reported in July that “300 flood defence schemes have been left unbuilt because of government cuts.”

Warnings from scientists about anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming resulting from burning fossil fuels and pumping heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere have largely gone unheeded (until recently). Climate change due to global warming has been one of the predicted results. A February 2011 Nature Science article, entitled Increased flood risk linked to global warming, noted that “Rises in global average temperature are remote from most people’s experience, but two studies in this week’s Nature conclude that climate warming is already causing extreme weather events that affect the lives of millions.” Since GHGs and temperatures worldwide are forecast to rise, EMA ­officials and response personnel in many countries will likely be dealing with more flooding in the future.

====
Blair Watson is a FrontLine correspondent based in British Columbia.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Beyond the Canada/U.S. Border
BY JIM PHILLIPS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

The Canadian/U.S. relationship in the 21st century demands the facilitation and growth of trade, tourism, and job creation for continued economic strength while protecting the citizens of both countries. Canada and the U.S. must act to make both of our countries safe, secure, and economically viable in a global economy. A trade ­efficient Canada/U.S. border, under whatever levels of necessary security, must become a reality.

True, the U.S. and Canada are distinctly separate ­sovereign nations, however, their security and economic interests coincide and are therefore realistically interconnected. In today’s global economy, our two countries are experiencing a deepening reality of economic integration.

Confidence and trust in each other are key elements in the U.S./Canada relationship. Common sense and economic reality dictate “we are in this together.” Managing our shared border effectively and beneficially to satisfy the needs of both countries continues to be crucial, and a measurable ­segment in defining the state of affairs. Thus, it is essential to ensure that the management of our shared border achieves these goals.

Canada and the U.S. must avoid and prevent our shared border from becoming a trade barrier causing excess costs that will be detrimental to our joint and separate global competitiveness.

Current events and very real threats dictate that Canada and the U.S. each have to act to protect and preserve their individual quality of life, and success would be best-served by strengthening cooperation and understanding while respecting each as separate sovereign nations.

Make no mistake, there will be major changes in the way Canada and the U.S. do business at the border, therefore, it is important to note that the end game is to construct a secure and trade-efficient Canada/U.S. border.

THE NEED TO ACT
Economics will determine border management. Constrained budget levels at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will impact heavily. Security efforts are not likely to be reduced. Common sense and reality are needed to effectively, with less cost to government and trade stakeholders, expedite known low-risk trusted-trader shipments and trusted-traveler crossings.  

To achieve this, the Beyond the Border Perimeter Vision Declaration was issued by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper on 4 February 2011, followed by the agreed upon specific Action Plan on 5 December 2011.

Canada and the U.S. officials must factually determine our common threats, and locate where they originate while continuing to implement a joint plan using our combined strategic resources.

THE REALITY OF MANAGING OUR SHARED BORDER
Currently the border crossing process is morphing from separate/different to parallel to harmonized to joint and, one hopes, on to integrated. There is a long standing, very successful model in the U.S./Canada Military Defense relationship from which to learn, i.e., NORAD.

Risk management and substantially improved targeting of shipments are core essentials that have become an effective reality. It is not necessary or realistic to physically inspect every container, just 100% of the shipments determined to be unknown or high risk. The economic and public security solution is to identify all of the low-risk shipments (approximately 95%) and only technologically and physically further inspect the remaining 5% that is determined to be unknown or high risk.

The key to achieving public security along with economic security, while substantially reducing congestion and delay, is participation in known low-risk Trusted Trader and Trusted Traveler enrollment processes and pre-arrival information. Access to the primary inspection booths without having to queue using processes such as Traffic Streaming is essential.

Physical reality and infrastructure constraints at the border crossings must be effectively utilized. The current reality is that the least prepared truck in each line dictates the waiting and delay time for all pre-cleared carriers in line behind it. Translation: 45-minute delay wait time just to get to the primary inspection booth to be processed in seconds is ridiculous. Free and Secure Trade (FAST), other Trusted Trader programs Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism/Partners in Protection (C-TPAT/PIP) and “empties” are currently impeded by the physical inability to reach the primary inspection booths to be processed.

The delays are extremely costly to both the shippers and the carriers while also disrupting Just In Time fast-cycle logistics. Delays also waste fuel. Idling exhaust negatively impacts the environment. This is unnecessary. Trucks need to be streamed in. The trucks that are prepared and are participants in the various levels of Trusted Trader compliance and/or pre-cleared should be processed in tandem without waiting needlessly behind those trucks that are not prepared or members of Trusted Trader programs and, therefore, require additional time to be processed at the primary inspection booth.

The solution to prevent unnecessary delays involves traffic management on the approach roads and Commercial Vehicle Processing streaming “upstream” to divert non-Trusted Trader trucks to be metered into the traffic flow to the Plazas before such trucks are allowed to randomly queue in the approach lanes to primary processing booths.

BEYOND THE BORDER GAME CHANGER
The pre-clearance agreement for the land, marine, and rail modes which provides the legal framework and reciprocal authorities necessary for the CBSA and CBP to effectively carry out their missions in the other country contained in the Beyond The Border Action Plan is a “game changer”.

This paradigm shifting agreement provides high value direct beneficial impacts:

  • Cornwall solution for CBSA to inspect on the U.S. side
  • Peace Bridge commercial processing by CBP in Canada
  • Small Ports inspection (joint 2 officer teams)
  • Rail passenger efficiency: Quebec-NY (eliminate stop at actual Border) and Vancouver-Seattle
  • Secure Transit Corridor (plant to customer, i.e., same drivers, same products, same port)
  • Port specific solutions to maximize utilization, effectiveness and minimize new investment
  • Lead to development of bridge and tunnel crossing processing zones

There is a need for the Canadian government to allow U.S. officials to work on Canadian soil, and vice versa, in the clearance process of people and goods in any mode (land, marine, and rail). This is the basis for implementing the Accord Processing Zones at land border crossings (essentially a very small geographical area within the processing area at each individual border crossing). Such Accord Processing Zones will allow simultaneous enforcement according to both countries’ laws by officers of each country’s agencies regardless whether physically located in the zone on the Canadian or U.S. side as space dictates at each individual location.

Thus the Accord Processing Zone implementation at the shared land border will result in true Joint Facility operations becoming a reality including maximizing the investment for physical infrastructure at Land Border Ports of Entry. This would void the current physical limitation requiring the actual border to run through the building, and sometimes locating the buildings in the wrong place.

EXPEDITING LOW-RISK TRAVELERS
Deal with immigration at the source country, in an offshore peri­meter approach. This way, only admissible individuals with ­appropriate documentation can physically land on either Canadian or U.S. soil. This will ensure that high-risk or unknown individuals will receive no-board decisions.

EXPEDITING LOW-RISK CARGO
A seamless border is needed between Canada and the U.S. for known legal/low-risk activity. We need a technologically “smart” border and the intelligence input to handle other unknown activity.

Economic vitality is the basis for the power a country commands in the global context. Canada and the U.S. need to insure a trade efficient border under whatever security requirements are needed. It is imperative to look at what doesn’t need to be done at the 49th Parallel as well as what could be done more efficiently offshore at the origin or at the perimeter first point of arrival.

Envisioned end state is 3 for 1: checked once prior to off shore loading and accepted at loading, arrival Canada or U.S. seaport and shared land border.

Expedited cargo clearance requires a completed Beyond The Border Initiative that achieves:

  • Enhanced and effective intelligence
  • Advance accurate data
  • Effective targeting
  • Interchangeable shared data
  • Interoperable technology and equipment
  • Harmonized regulations
  • CBSA one face at the border for all other government agencies

BEYOND THE BORDER “MUST HAVES”
Clearly, Beyond the Border must deliver:

  • Work on each other’s soil at Land Port sites
  • Small/rural Port inspection new paradigm
  • End shared 49th land border duplicate inspections
  • Issue Canada vicinity RFID Passport Companion Card
  • Entry/Exit for people and Import/Export of goods
  • Cross designation 24/7 service when CBP on duty.

(Cross Designation between U.S. government departments: specifically CBP should perform regular FDA inspections to provide this service 24/7 since it is currently not available after 5 p.m. or on weekends.)

  • Streamed access to primary inspection booths
  • Consistent best practices

Bottom line, we need to get the Beyond the Border perimeter strategy done and done right. This includes all of the must haves as listed above, because the global competitiveness and quality of life in both countries depends on it.

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Jim Phillips is the President & CEO of the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance (CANAMBTA)
© Frontline Security 2012

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Broadband Spectrum
PASCAL RODIER
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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When my generation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel thinks of data sharing in the field, we have visions of Squad 51 using their Biophone; a combination voice and telemetry radio communications system. Paramedics could call the base hospital and not only talk to the doctor but could also send live cardiac data by way of electrocardiogram rhythms.

Many of us still remember the days of VHF radios in our ambulances. However, many lacked the use of portable radios. As for calling anyone, we would often find the one land-line telephone in the patient's residence, and were excited when it was a push-button style. We in EMS also had the future shown to us when Dr. McCoy used his tricorder to asses and diagnose a patient... often the poor security guy in the red shirt. Every science fiction story had some hand-held device designed to assess and treat patients. Then came the 1990s and the cellular telephone. This brick allowed us to call "anyone" we wanted from the field... as long as there was coverage, and the battery didn't die.

Well the future is now. This generation knows these types of devices. On any given day the average 10 year old is carrying a device with more voice and data sharing capabilities in his pocket than we provide our frontline responders.

Today, our staff has options when it comes to voice communications. We provide them with high end portable radios with VHF and digital capabilities, and even encrypted channels. They often carry a portable radio worth thousands of dollars... yet still use them as glorified walkie-talkies.

Many agencies have provided their staff with cellular telephones, however many have locked out most of the applications and even the ability to call freely, due to cost and security concerns. Rarely are these voice devices used to their full potential.

Back in the day, we in EMS had the future shown to us when Dr. McCoy used his tricorder to asses and diagnose a patient... often the poor security guy in the red shirt. Every science fiction story had some hand-held device designed to asses and to treat patients. Well the future is now. This generation knows these types of devices; on any given day the average 10 year old is carrying a device with more voice and data sharing capabilities in their pocket then we provide our frontline responders.

Even as I write this article, I browse through the App Store on my phone and find apps for stethoscopes and heart scans.

Much work has been done on other Smartphone applications such as one to reproduce the techniques ophthalmologists and optometrists use to determine the prescription that a patient needs and, another, a lens-free microscope weighing less than two ounces and designed to attach to most camera-based cell phones. The microscope allows on-site samples, such as blood and saliva smears, to be loaded onto single-use chips that slide into the microscope; and, because of the large aperture of the sensor array, no special alignment or cleaning techniques are necessary. This makes it ideal technology for field use. While paramedics currently take blood glucose tests in the field, can one imagine the support, especially in rural parts of our country, where more expansive testing would come in handy?

While there exist thousands of medical apps in the App Store, and more being developed each day, the Smartphone technology is only one device in our future medical jump kit. Telemedicine expands the care patients can receive both in the field and also in remote areas of our country. Live video feeds and data sharing bring immediate consultations from tertiary care centres to remote clinics and hospitals.

Live data can also greatly assist EMS providers in their scene response and deployment. Imagine if an ambulance that is responding to a motor vehicle incident at an intersection could tap its on-board computer into the intersection camera; allowing the paramedics to actually see the incident prior to arrival on scene. Or earlier than that, the Emergency Medical Dispatcher could look at the camera and determine first-hand the resources that might actually be required - after the cell-phone rescue ranger called in "Armageddon."

Data sharing with our partners will allow paramedics to communicate directly with health care providers as well as other first responders, such as fire and police services. Having joint access to such tools as in building 3D and building cameras would allow EMS commanders to monitor their staff work in dangerous situations. Using this technology ensures providing the best care for our patients as well as also looking after our staff.

But all of these great devices, and those not invented as yet, come with limitations. The biggest one currently is securing the necessary bandwidth to operate these devices in the field. Much like our original brick cellular telephones not having coverage, our data devices will only work as well as the system that supports them. This is why the 700 Mhz Broadband for Mission Critical Public Safety Data is needed.

The 700 Mhz Broadband - A North American Need for BETTER Public Safety?
On 14 March 2012, Industry Canada announced that it was setting aside 10 MHz of 700 MHz broadband spectrum for public safety use in Canada and along the Canada/U.S. Border. On May 3, 2012 the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, reaffirmed the commitment of our government to public safety with the allocation of 10 MHz of the 700 MHz bandwidth for the use of emergency responders. The decision to assign only 10 MHz of this spectrum, and not the full 20 MHz that the U.S. has provided their responders, will ultimately affect public safety agencies' ability to deploy mission critical data well into the future. While the Government's decision to assign 10 MHz is applauded as a first step, it has been stated, proven and scientifically supported that there is a requirement for the full 20 MHz of spectrum that our U.S. responder partners received. Canada's first responders need ubiquitous access to 20 MHz of spectrum.

Not assigning the second 10 MHz of spectrum, known as the "D" Block in the US, to Canadian public safety will directly impact Police, Fire, EMS, Emergency Management and other responder agencies' ability to fulfil their most important mission over the coming decades. Public safety's voice must be heard. We need the right tools to protect and save lives.

Public Safety in the United States of America has been working for years on a similar initiative. On February 17, 2012, US Congress agreed to allocate the "D Block" to public safety and support the development of a mission-critical, nationwide public safety broadband network. In a live webcast press conference four key Democratic Senators invoked stories about police, fire, and EMS personnel killed on 9/11 as they announced an historic deal to give America's first responders a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network. On February 22, 2012, President Barack Obama signed into law the payroll-tax-cut extension legislation, which reallocates the 700 MHz D Block spectrum to public safety and provides $7 billion in federal funding to help pay for the build out of the nationwide LTE network for first responders.

The US decision is good news for Canada as we in public safety must continue to raise awareness about securing the corresponding block of spectrum for Canadian responders. It is vitally important our public safety and security requirements that we acquire the full 20 MHz allocation, just as the US has decided to do. This is the amount of bandwidth that is need to make effective use of modern communications tools during emergencies. The case for the full 20 MHz of spectrum in response to realistic and frequent occurrences is proven and scientifically supported. The faster our responders get all of the information they need on a call for service the better they will serve our citizens in every community.

Once Canadian public safety efforts secure the full spectrum and start to build this North American-wide capability, the issue of radio and IT convergence becomes most important. Public safety leaders and politicians must be reminded that this spectrum is not designed for traditional responders' radios but for broadband data. These data include video, situational awareness, in-building 3-D location and tracking, wireless sensors for hazardous materials, and so on. These systems require large amounts of data and a network with sufficient dedicated capacity for public safety requirements. Canadian police, fire, EMS and other emergency professionals need access to modern and reliable communications capabilities, including high speed data and video, to communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions during emergencies and during day-to-day operations. Public safety requirements must take precedence the right tools protect and save lives.

There are those, mostly in industry, who suggest that responders would be best supported by commercial networks. While we all currently use commercial networks for our voice applications, a number of serious unresolved issues have arisen, including the lack of pre-emption for our devices. One need not look too far to find frequent examples of non-robust commercial systems failing, due to systems that crashed due to disasters or simply being overloaded by too many users on the networks. We cannot afford to make this same mistake with broadband. We no longer want to be in line in the lobby waiting for our turn to use the spectrum. The responders voice must be heard in the boardroom where the allocation decisions on 700 Mhz spectrum are made.

To ensure public safety retains the top priority it deserves, EMS professionals must have access to modern, reliable, and robust communications capabilities, including high speed data and video, to coordinate with each other and across agencies and jurisdictions during emergencies and day-to-day operations. Paramedics cannot continue to wait for service when bad things happen. The EMS community needs to "own" and control access to this spectrum. For instance, paramedics should not have to compete for bandwidth with the teenager who is sending live video to all of his friends of the very emergency those paramedics are handling. Not surprisingly, there is a public expectation that, when things go wrong, a responder can communicate within their agencies as well as with their partners in the community.

The Need
EMS agencies should be able to communicate, using voice and data, from coast to coast and North and South. Ideally a paramedic from British Columbia or California should be able to step off a plane in Halifax and immediately have his or her equipment recognized by the system.

EMS leaders must join together and take action now to acquire the full bandwidth in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that ties directly to community and responder safety, innovation and public health. Do your part:

  • Get informed and put this issue on your organization's radar;
  • Inform your boards, municipalities, provincial/territorial governments and other governing bodies of the a significant impact on public safety in Canada that spectrum allocations will have;
  • Work with your tri-services colleagues and others to advocate a strong voice for public safety in advance of spectrum allocations;
  • Act on mobilization information as it is sent by EMSCC and others;
  • Join the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG), (www.citig.ca)

EMS Leaders can help move interoperability forward in Canada by joining and supporting CITIG. Since 2007, CITIG has been incredibly valuable to the emergency responder tri-services (police, fire, and Emergency Medical Services), as well as to their national and international partners (Industry, all levels of government, and NGOs). CITIG is "the unified voice" for first responders on all interoperability issues. It has demonstrated its abilities by its collective approach and a strong track record of measurable delivery and timely achievements. Responder interoperability remains key, and the future of CITIG must be secured. Membership is free, and the return is priceless.

It is incumbent on each of our agencies to provide our staff the best and most up-to-date equipment available. EMS organizations must not only keep up with current technologies, but must also work with industry and governments to make these technologies available to everyone and they must be cost effective. This is about providing our EMS staff the required equipment to take care of our patients as well as themselves in the field. We have come a long way from calling Rampart on our Biophone, but we need to be the generation that sees our way to tricorder medicine...

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Pascal Rodier has over 24 years of emergency response, interoperability, and public safety experience. He took part in writing the Communications Interoperability Strategy for Canada and the Communications Interoperability Action Plan for Canada. He can be reached by email at: pdrodier@gmail.com
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Situational Awareness for Emergency Management
BY PIERRE BILODEAU
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

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Enhancing Situational Awareness for Intelligent Emergency Management 
Awareness for Intelligent ­Emergency ManagementWhen a flood, tornado, chemical spill or other disaster occurs, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive view of where the incident happens and how it unfolds in order to deliver effective emergency services.

In Ontario, the City of Kingston has turned to modern Web mapping technology to enable real-time situational awareness and improve their ability to respond to emergencies. Kingston’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is based at the city’s fire and rescue headquarters. Since the ­centre was established 10 years ago, they have used paper maps, updated twice yearly, to assess incidents and plan emergency response. Compiling data quickly to make decisions was a challenge as they needed to gather information from numerous people and agencies by phone, email and online research.

To increase efficiency, the EOC turned to the city’s Information Technology (IT) department to create a solution for improving their ability to access and share data. The IT department manages all municipal location-based data using a geographic information system (GIS) and produces maps to support planning, engineering, ­utility management and community ­services. The GIS serves as the city’s core information system, capable of supplying large amounts of relevant and timely geospatial data.

“We wanted an efficient solution that would enable us to leverage the data and analytical tools in the GIS,” explains John Cross, Manager at the Office of Emergency Management.

In response, the GIS team developed a prototype of an Emergency Management Common Operational Picture (EM COP) application – a dynamic Web-based mapping application that allows users to ­visualize, analyze and query relevant information. The EM COP application pulls data from the city’s GIS, including fire and police services, roads, buildings, utility network and population demographics.

“Using Web mapping made sense as we already had a shared GIS environment,” remarked Philip Healey, Kingston’s GIS supervisor. “The EM COP application was easy to configure, deploy and put in front of our stakeholders.”

Providing Role-Based Access to Data
During emergencies, the Kingston EOC is managed by a municipal control group that includes the mayor, chief administrative ­officer, fire chief, police chief, other senior officials and subject matter experts. The GIS team is deployed to provide round-the-clock mapping and analysis support. Each member of this core group needs specific data to make intelligent decisions about their respective area of responsibility.

In the event of a chemical spill, for example, police may need information on transportation routes to block off affected areas. City engineers may need to locate underground infrastructure to shut off valves or pipes to ensure the safety of the water network.

“What’s great about this application is that it allows us to access the data we need to make strategic decisions based on our roles. It also gives us a clearer view of the incidents happening in our community – providing rich context so we can make ­better informed decisions to improve public safety,” says Cross.

A Collaboration Platform
In addition to pulling information from the city’s GIS, the EM COP application can integrate data feeds from other agencies, including the national Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System (MASAS). This allows for increased collaboration with other emergency management organizations and a more coordinated response ­during large-scale emergencies. As well, it can be incorporated into mobile command units to support rapid decision-making in the field.  

The application has significantly improved the EOC’s ability to create situational awareness and enable decisions based on accurate, consistent and up-to-date information. It has also increased the return on the city’s GIS investment by expanding the system’s use to support emergency operations.

“Working with the EOC on this project gave us a better understanding of how they use geographic data to manage emergencies. This helps us enhance the application by integrating more data and tools that will help them carry out their mission more effectively,” notes Healey.

Kingston plans to add other operational information to the application including fire inspection plans, crime incidents and emergency dispatch data. The system’s interoperability opens up opportunities to integrate other solutions including incident management software to capture and track decisions made by EOC staff.

While the EM COP application is a prototype for now, it can be activated at anytime to support a real emergency.
Through Web mapping technology, the City of Kingston now has a powerful emergency management planning and decision support system that enables it to become more disaster resilient and better prepared for future emergencies.

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Pierre Bilodeau is the Defence & Public Safety Industry Manager for Esri Canada, a provider of enterprise GIS solutions. He retired from the Canadian Forces in 2008, after 32 years of service as a Military Engineer Officer, including 18 years with the defence geospatial community. He can be reached at pbilodeau@esri.ca.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Illicit Trade: Tobacco
EDWARD R. MYERS
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

The first of this three-part series provided a global perspective, and this second article examines ­environmental factors of the illicit tobacco market, looking at illicit trade along Canada’s tobacco roads. Our focus is almost exclusively on illicit cigarettes manufactured in Ontario and Quebec and the factors driving this specific and lucrative trade. Watch for the final installment of FrontLine’s tobacco series, (to appear in the next edition), which will examine possible courses of action to reduce the scope and impact of the illicit trade.

Today, the illegal trade of tobacco in Canada is mainly linked to unlawfully manufacturing cigarettes. This is quite a transition from the 1980s and 1990s when the primary problem was the diversion of legally manufactured products. The RCMP reported in 2008 that the major illicit manufacturing operations were located at Six Nations, Tyendinaga, Akwesasne (U.S. side) and Kahnawake. One year later, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists determined that manufacturing operations had shifted from the U.S. side of the Akwesasne reserve to Canadian reserves in Quebec and Ontario. Different law enforcement agencies also report an expansion of the contraband tobacco distribution networks from central Canada to the east and west coasts. This change over the last few years is indicative of how much more organized and progressively structured illicit tobacco activity has become in Canada. And yet, the government and other sources continue to highlight “great progress” on its tobacco control strategies, claiming that illicit trade has declined due to law enforcement success in tackling the problem along the borders. The smoke and mirrors ­surrounding the state of illicit tobacco provided the impetus for Frontline Security to examine the issue more closely.

THE ILLICIT TOBACCO TRADE IS PRIMARILY COMPRISED OF:
  • Cigarettes/tobacco products manufactured in the U.S. and smuggled into Canada.
  • Illicitly produced cigarettes/tobacco products manufactured in Canada.
  • Counterfeit tobacco products involving domestic and foreign brands making their way into the country via sea container (mostly from China).
  • Diverted products that are destined for sale on reserves and end up being sold ­elsewhere in Canada. These products are legally manufactured but provincial taxes have not been collected. This scheme also allows the seller to discount the product, which makes it appealing to consumers.
  • Illicit sales via the internet (including illegally manufactured/counterfeited tobacco ­products and products on which duties or taxes are not paid).

Source: RCMP Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy Progress Report for the period May 2009 (April 2010).

During interviews with farmers and others involved in the trade, it became clear that a major source of the problem resides with the regulatory oversight of the tobacco supply chain. Since October 1, 2012, oversight of flue-cured tobacco moved from barely tolerable conditions to a total state of abandon. This criminal market is said to cost the provincial and federal governments tens of millions of dollars each year in lost excise revenue, and yet the ­requisite data and resources to tackle the problem do not appear proportionate to such loss.

This report looks at the prevalence and volume of contraband, the illicit gain potential, the state of regulatory safeguards on the tobacco supply chain, and other areas. We present only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but feel it is important to contextualize, for FrontLine readers, this very complex and multi-layered criminal activity.

PREVALENCE & VOLUME
What do we really know about the prevalence and volume of illicit tobacco in 2011, 2012 or what to expect in 2013? Not much. In absence of Canada’s criminals disclosing the extent of their unlawful transactions, other means and equations have to be relied on. The result is a wanton use of flawed statistics and posturing that dominate the headlines and possibly decision making processes.

With no apparent government studies on this topic, the question is examined by research teams that are often employed by different interest groups. Distinctive methodologies are used and tweaked, and data is inconsistent or unavailable from year to year, making it difficult to formulate a sound assessment. The only certainty is that excise tax revenue is being lost.

The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) are frequently cited by government agencies, however, their approach appears overly abstract. A 2010 report by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada cautions against using either CCHS or CTUMS regional data, which resulted in some provinces having a “negative” illicit trade. The question then becomes how and why regional realities are of a lesser consideration than a theoretically flawed national average. The same report by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, states “the drop in reported tobacco sales has been relatively three times greater than the drop in the number of smokers.” But where are these smokers getting their cigarettes? The approach used by CCHS and CTUMS fails to address these inconsistencies. More alarming is not knowing to what extent their data is used by government to guide tobacco control strategies.

In its 2008 Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy report, the RCMP cites findings by a third-party research company contracted by the Canadian tobacco industry. GfK research examined the issue in a less-abstract manner by conducting a series of annual studies over a three year period that analysed the cigarette pack and product of over 2,000 survey respondents. The results provide a snapshot that shows 17% of smokers consumed illegal tobacco products in 2006, 22% in 2007, and 33% in 2008.

TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN EVADED DUTIES AND TAX IN ONE BUST, ONTARIO

Police seized millions of dollars worth of contraband cigarette packaging in August, and say smuggling in Canada is getting worse. These materials could have been used to make around two million cartons of contraband cigarettes, which would equal tens of millions of dollars in evaded duties and taxes. “This investigation has shown that the contraband producers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to confuse tobacco consumers as well as law enforcement,” said Insp. Steve Martin of the Hamilton/Niagara regional RCMP detachment.
 
Source: CBC News, “Millions in contraband cigarette packaging seized by Hamilton RCMP” (Sept.01 2012), http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/09/01/hamilton-contraband-cig...

In an effort to gain some insight on the prevalence of contraband tobacco among youth, the Arcus Group Inc. was hired by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) to conduct a series of annual studies. Researchers collected cigarette butts from the grounds of high schools in Ontario and Quebec to determine the extent to which teens are smoking contraband cigarettes. The 2009 findings show that an estimated 45% of the cigarette butts from 75 sites in Quebec were found to be illegal. In Ontario, an estimated 30% of the butts collected from 110 sites were illegal. The Arcus studies also found that prevalence of illegal tobacco products is not restricted to large urban areas and that the presence of contraband is relatively high in lower income areas.

It is unfortunate that both the Gfk and Arcus studies were abandoned as a number of changes were then taking place in the tobacco industry. For instance, the federal government launched its Tobacco Transition Program in 2009. Intended to assist growers transition to other crops, these one-time buyouts “lacked key safeguards to prevent abuse of the system.” Also, criminal market dynamics were shifting towards the illicit manufacturing of cigarettes, particularly in Ontario where flue-cure tobacco is grown.

FOLLOW THE MONEY
High profits, low risk and a willing market attract all sorts of criminals at various levels of innovation, sophistication and capacity. Opportunists at every stage of the tobacco market will scrutinize processes and potentials for loopholes to illicit gain.


(Also see: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/22/federal-tobacco-transition-progr...)

CIGARETTE RATES
A consumer looking to purchase 200 cigarettes will most likely be aware of the significant price gap between the cost of tobacco products on and off reserve. A baggie can cost as little as $12 and a carton can range from $20 to $40 compared to an average retail price of $80 off reserve.

Under Canadian law it is technically illegal for non-Aboriginals to purchase these low cost cigarettes that are sold on reserve, however the system is not strictly monitored and is vulnerable to abuse. Given a choice between paying $12 dollars or even $40 for 200 cigarettes, some Canadian smokers will turn a blind eye to the law and subsequently sustain the market for low-cost Aboriginal cigarettes. Similarly, while tobacco commerce on reserve is entirely legal, some will be inclined to manufacture and sell outside established Aboriginal quotas. The scope and extent of this unlawful activity can vary from casual purchases at smoke shops on reserves or it can manifest itself in large scale and organized illicit enterprises that generate ­significant profit.

HIGH PROFIT, LOW RISK
Each scheme and method used in the illicit tobacco trade can potentially yield a different profit margin. For example, Aboriginal tobacco manufacturers pay the federal excise duty for their tobacco products, however, as the RCMP states, some of these products are illegally diverted for sale off reserve. In this way, some illicit product can contain the appropriate federal excise stamp and yet still be destined for the black market. Other product, sold in baggies for instance, may not have any type of tax paid on it. There are so many different schemes used by criminals it becomes quite a task to get a good ­estimate on profit margins.

In an effort to provide a very general idea of the potential profit from cigarettes illegally manufactured in Canada, certain assumptions were made. It has been determined that the cost to produce 200 illicit cigarettes averages approximately $5 and that total government taxes average about $65 per carton (including the federal excise duty). Assuming that an illegal carton of cigarettes is sold at $40 per carton, it is possible to arrive at a national average of total tax loss and potential profit. The base figure of $5 may be higher depending on a number of factors, including packaging (the higher the base cost, the lower the profit margin). While these numbers are over-simplified and should invite a more rigorous methodology, it is intended to provide the necessary context to understand the extent of the problem.

UP TO 3 MILLION CIGARETTES A MONTH IN ONE REGION, QUEBEC

A major police operation targeting cigarette smugglers took place in Joliette and ­surrounding municipalities. “We're talking about an organization that brings in between 150 and 300 cases of cigarettes into the region every month, up to 3 million cigarettes,” said a spokesman for the Sûreté du Québec. “This is a complex investigation that began in September 2009, which addresses the phenomenon in its three areas: supply, distribution and resale neighborhoods,” said Paré. Revenu du Québec participated in the operation. The cigarettes originate from outside the country.
 
Source: La Presse, “Importante opération policière contre des trafiquants de cigarettes” (Nov.30, 2012), http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/quebec-canada/justice/201211/30/01-459...
contenuinterne=cyberpresse_BO2_quebec_canada_178_accueil_POS1

Considering the potential profit generated from the illicit trade in tobacco, the penalties are not proportionately severe. Anyone found in possession of between 1,001 and 10,000 illegal cigarettes in Ontario could be fined $500 plus three times the tax that would be imposed if these cigarettes were obtained legally. In some cases there is a prison sentence but this largely depends on the nature of the criminal activity.

ORGANIZED CRIME
An RCMP report states that, from May 2009 to April 2010, a total of 18 organized crime groups of various levels of sophistication involved in contraband tobacco were disrupted across the country. Investigations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that outlaw bikers are involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and retailing of the illicit tobacco products. According to the Consortium, the capital to buy equipment and set up operations was, in some cases, fronted by organized crime.

Douglas George-Kanentiio, a journalist from Akwesasne, is quoted in a 2010 National Post article saying that it would be “simply impossible for Indian people to have the means to market tobacco off the reservation” and that organized crime assists in making those types of connections.

The political and geographical situation of illicit trade on reserves presents enforcement challenges for Canadian, American and First Nations authorities. The reluctance that Canadian law enforcement has in entering on reserve might encourage organized criminals to use the reserves as a safe haven and trans-border conduit for committing offences.

In 2009, the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative U.S.-based news organization, published an exposé on Canada’s “boom in smuggled cigarettes”. It asserts that the 12-mile stretch of the Canada/U.S. border that runs through Akwesasne is a major security soft spot. “In one February case, U.S. authorities arrested 10 people, alleging they were part of a ring that smuggled 50,000 pounds of marijuana through Akwesasne and into the United States from 2003 to January [2009]. One of the ringleaders has a tobacco manufacturing license from the ­Canadian government.”

WHO’S WATCHING THE WATCHMEN?
This year, farmers sold about 53 million pounds legally, the highest yield since 2006 and over double what was produced three years ago. This year also represents what is predicted to be the most vulnerable year to contraband production and sale due in large part to the transition of authority and lack of regulatory oversight.

REGULATORY OVERSIGHT
In June 2011, the Ontario government made much ado about legislation it introduced to meet its obligations to the Supporting Smoke-Free Ontario by Reducing Contraband Tobacco Act. Among other things, the new legislation transferred the responsibility for licensing raw leaf tobacco from the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board to the Ontario Ministry of Revenue.

MANITOBA’s BLACK MARKET FOR ILLEGAL CIGARETTES
According to officials with Manitoba’s criminal property forfeiture unit, the black-market business appears to be booming. “A single [case] of [50 bags] can provide a profit of $1300 to $2350,” documents filed in court by the unit state. Officials believe the illegal smokes are manufactured on reserves in southern Ontario and in areas along the U.S. border, then smuggled up to Manitoba for resale on the black market.
 
Source: Winnipeg Sun, “Illegal cigarette biz booming in Manitoba” (Oct.17, 2012),
http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/10/17/illegal-cigarette-biz-booming-in-m...

As of October 1, 2012, the Ministry of Revenue is responsible for licensing tobacco growers, controlling the production, distribution, sale and purchase of raw leaf tobacco to help ensure the supply of raw leaf tobacco stays in the legal market.

Just days after this transfer took effect, the Ministry of Finance issued a news release announcing a temporary grace period that would allow participants the time to learn of their obligations and apply for the appropriate registration certificates for the 2013 growing season. This means that anyone who grows, processes, sells, buys, imports, exports or inter-jurisdictionally transports any varieties of raw leaf tobacco prior to March 31, 2013 will not be required to hold a registration certificate with the Ministry of Finance. It remains unclear if the grace period was meant to benefit the participants or to give the Ontario Ministry of Finance more time in fully grasping its mandate and the resources it would need to fulfil its obligation to farmers and to Canadians.

The result is the same. The regulatory vacuum provides a savoury opportunity for unlawful conduct and in many ways weakens law enforcement efforts to contain the illicit trade of tobacco.

TOBACCO SUPPLY CHAIN
The sand belt in southwestern Ontario is the primary region in Canada where flue-cured tobacco is produced. Today, about 241 tobacco farmers located near towns like Delhi, Aylmer and Tillsonburg are licensed to grow and sell their harvest to registered and permitted wholesalers.  

Just prior to the growing season, wholesalers acting on behalf of manufacturers establish contracts with tobacco farmers and tally up projected totals of pounds per acre. This estimate is submitted to the Ministry of Finance who is mandated to ensure that growers are not producing more tobacco than their contracts allow. In the spring, growers are also required to provide detailed maps of their proposed acreage and its precise location. Ideally, investigators at the Ministry of Finance should inspect these plans and projected pounds per acre to ensure and enforce compliance.

Frontline Security learned, for example, that one wholesaler had submitted an estimate of about 2,400 pounds per acre to the Ministry of Finance while another reported about 2,700 pounds per acre. Neither of the two wholesalers can predict if the harvest will be a good or bad one and so there is nothing too irregular in providing higher or lower estimates. As it turned out, 2012 was an amazing year. The wholesaler that had reported 2,700 actually produced 2,950 pounds per acre. In contrast, the wholesaler that had projected 2,400 pounds per acre did not report experiencing a higher yield. While there may be a logical explanation, it is paradoxical for some farmers’ crops to yield more per acre while other farmers in the same region (but who are signed on with a different wholesaler) experience incongruous results.

One industry source cites as much as 4 million pounds have not been reported to the Ministry of Finance. A loosely structured reporting mechanism is just one of many existing loopholes that are ­scrutinized by criminals, and represents one more method to divert raw leaf to illicit manufacturing facilities.

Referring to an internal RCMP briefing note outlining the state of the illicit-tobacco problem, the National Post examined this issue in a recent article. The RCMP memo stated that farmers are allowed to seed as much as 10% above reported crop yield in the event of some crop being damaged due to poor weather conditions or other unforeseen ­circumstances. This reporting loophole means a farmer can easily sell 10% of their yield to illicit manufacturers. Farmers might be tempted or coerced to sell their overage at $8 dollars a pound instead of the $2 dollars that contractual agreements with legitimate industry normally yield.

TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR IN LOST EXCISE REVENUE

Cross-border trade of tobacco and cigarettes largely distributed through Indian reservations costs the provincial and federal government tens of millions of dollars each year in lost excise revenue. About 2.2 million cigarettes and 750 pounds of loose tobacco were confiscated by Mounties and other agencies. The Akwesasne Indian reservation near Cornwall straddles both Ontario and New York state.
 
Source: United Press International, “Mounties make major tobacco interventions “ (Oct.02 2012), http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2012/10/02/Mounties-make-major-to... tions/UPI-52931349211596/

Other “schemes” involve farmers claiming their bales are stolen when they have in fact been diverted to the illicit manufacturing trade. Poor quality tobacco is another scheme in the illicit trade. In one instance this year, a wholesaler refused over 80,000 pounds of raw leaf from one of its farmers. Reasons for rejecting a grower’s produce may be due to poor quality or other entirely legitimate reasons, although some industry experts say that they have never witnessed such a large amount being refused before. If the bales are rejected due to poor quality, it is reasonable to assume that the grower destroys the produce, however, it is not clear if this is being done or who oversees the process.

The RCMP memo stated that more focus was needed on the manufacturing process – “from the suppliers of raw materials to the illicit manufacturers to the large volume distribution networks.” Instead, during one of the highest crop yields since 2006, regulatory bodies are granting “participants” a reprieve until March 2013.  

Without a physical presence of investigators on the ground in Ontario, where flue-cure tobacco is predominantly cultivated, it is unlikely to claim any successes in provincial or federal tobacco control programs. The absence of government inspectors has resulted in production overages that are simply not being captured.

CLIMATE OF FEAR, WILD WILD WEST
During the course of our interviews with farmers this year, some expressed concern for their safety and for the growing regularity of farmers being approached by unlicensed buyers for their raw leaf tobacco. One of them referenced a fire that took place in July that destroyed a cigarette manufacturing building filled with product. In a separate incident, it was reported that a Cornwall-area man fired multiple gunshots at a security guard station at a Six Nations cigarette factory in February 2012. These random and unrelated acts build a climate of fear and growing reticence to openly discuss the problem much less volunteer unlawful activity to the Ministry of Finance or to law enforcement.

LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY
Police pressure is a necessary component in tackling the illicit trade, however, such efforts are unlikely to significantly reduce these crimes by themselves. In many respects, the conditions that created and sustain the current illicit tobacco problem in Canada have nothing to do with law enforcement efforts and everything to do with politics.

Entering on native reserves is highly charged and political in nature. Past confrontations like the 1990 Oka crisis near Kahnawake and the Six Nations land-claims dispute near Caledonia are reminders to both government and law enforcement not to approach Aboriginal issues with force. Until sustained dialogue and consultation take place, police will continue investigations off reserve and seize tobacco smuggled from the U.S.

Another interesting development relates to the potential re-location of the cross-border checkpoint from Canadian law enforcement control to the U.S.-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force at Massena, New York. It is not clear if the move off the island over to the American side will assist Canada’s smuggling problem or allow for undetected movement of contraband tobacco.

A WORD ON HEALTH CANADA
Canadian consumers of cigarettes might be interested to learn more about the content and quality of cheaper cigarettes. Unfortunately, no rigorous data is available. In 2006, Health Canada embarked on a smoke analysis study and published the results on its website. While the information has been recently removed, the report stated that the same chemical substances are present in the smoke of both contraband and legal cigarettes with “no notable difference in the quantity of most of these chemicals found in the smoke of either contraband or legal cigarettes.”

Ontario's First Nations Cigarette Quota: Each year, the Ministry of Finance calculates the total quantity of allocation cigarettes for each reserve. Working within this quota, ministry-authorized tobacco wholesalers are permitted to deliver cigarettes to ministry-authorized reserve retailers for the allocation year. Under the allocation system, First Nations individuals may buy allocation cigarettes on a reserve, for their exclusive use, that are exempt from Ontario tobacco tax.

Section 87 of the Indian Act stipulates that the personal property of a status Indian or a status Indian Band situated on a reserve is not subject to tax. This does not apply to the excise duty. Aboriginal manufacturers, whether licensed or unlicensed, are required to pay the excise tax prior to moving merchandise to other reserves or duty free areas. It is the subsequent sales taxes, whether a federal tax, such as the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax, or a provincial tobacco/ sales tax, that is subject to the Section 87 exemption.

The analysis was apparently conducted on contraband provided by CBSA, however, it is unclear if this represents an accurate sampling of all types of illicitly traded tobacco, including those unlawfully manufactured in Canada. Also, one has to question the need to finance and impose regulatory quality control on legitimate industry especially if illegally traded tobacco yields the same type of product, as Health Canada claims it does.

The spokesperson for the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) has stated that “people buying illegal smokes might be inhaling more than the usual toxic brew of chemicals found in cigarettes because officials say insects and feces are more likely to be found in unregulated, illegal cigarettes. Health Canada or another governmental agency with less conflict of interest may need to examine this issue with more due rigour in order to provide lawful consumers with information that might impact their health.

ABORIGINAL TOBACCO TRADE & COMMERCE
The First Nation reserves in Ontario and Quebec have successful and thriving industries that generate greatly needed revenue for Aboriginal communities. The tobacco manufacturing centres have worked diligently to become the predominant facilities for manufacturing and distributing tobacco products to other reserves across Canada. As long as the federal excise duty is paid, Aboriginal manufacturers, whether licensed or unlicensed, have the legal right to produce cigarettes within Aboriginal population quantity quotas.

Some, however, do not recognize cigarette quotas because they are established by a provincial body. Aboriginals claim their reserves are on federal land and that the provincial government does not have jurisdiction to enforce any controls.

A Manitoba First Nations leader began selling discounted cigarettes at his smoke shop without paying provincial sales taxes. Since that time, law enforcement has raided the shop five times. The confiscated cigarettes originate from Mohawk distributors from Quebec and are federally stamped under the Excise Act 2001 but are not marked or stamped for sale in Manitoba.

It is clear that the issue of tobacco is a pretext for larger issues that need to be resolved by the federal government. The Belleville Intelligencer published an article on Shawn Brant, who is depicted as an activist fighting two causes: one, dealing with contraband tobacco and the other regarding land treaty rights. However, for Brant, and possibly for many Aboriginals, the two are synonymous.

To bridge the disparity of prices of cigarettes in Canada, it is important to include First Nations communities in the decision making process and allow them to benefit from business opportunities. These might include revenue sharing agreements or for ­Aboriginal communities to develop and enforce their own taxation system on tobacco that is on par with the Canadian provincial and federal tax rate.

TOBACCO FARMERS’ LAWSUIT AGAINST GOVERNMENTS DISMISSED
An unusual $500-million class-action lawsuit by tobacco farmers that accuses the federal and Ontario governments of turning a blind eye to contraband tobacco was dismissed. The farmers allege tax authorities chose to let the trade in unlicensed, untaxed tobacco flourish to avoid angering First Nations’ communities where the cigarettes are made and sold. But Justice Duncan Grace has ruled even if the government did act to appease First Nations, it was a decision made for economic, social and political reasons, and cannot be challenged legally. One of the tobacco farmers' lawyers stressed the lack of enforcement action by federal and provincial officials has had dramatic effects, pointing to a 32-kilometre stretch of highway near the Six Nations’ community in southern Ontario that is lined with makeshift stores selling unlicensed tobacco.  
 
Source: National Post, “Judge dismisses tobacco farmers’ $500M lawsuit against governments over illegal cigarettes” (Aug.15, 2012), http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/08/15/court-dismisses-tobacco-farmers-...

LAST STOP
Illegal cigarettes target youth and lower income smokers, with disproportionally higher incidence in Aboriginal communities. While we did not cover all the byways, two issues dominated our expedition. The lack of provincial regulatory oversight has allowed and continues to allow central Canada to deepen its roots in promoting the illicit tobacco trade to other provinces and territories across Canada. Also, it is clear that the illicit trade in tobacco is a consequence of a much larger and unresolved political issue at the federal level. Without addressing these fundamental concerns, it is disingenuous to report optimistically about Canada’s tobacco control program.

Targeting youth promotes yet another generation of smokers. An increase in the price of cigarettes to either curb smoking or generate higher tax revenues is quickly neutered with low cost cigarettes infiltrating the market. Other innovative strategies need to be devised but will largely depend on a more serious effort by both the provincial and federal governments to regulate and enforce.

The conclusion of this three-part series will focus on courses of action to mitigate the negative impact of illicit trade.

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© FrontLine Security 2012

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Cyber Threats and Security
BLAIR WATSON
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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In April 2009, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that computer hackers thought to be Chinese or Russian had breached a key computer network of U.K. defence giant BAE Systems in 2007 and 2008 and stolen several terabytes of data related to the United States' F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). BAE has been a major industrial partner on the $382-billion aerospace program during the past eight years. Not surprisingly, U.S. officials downplayed the story.

On March 11, 2012, The Sunday Times, a British newspaper, reported: "Details of the [cyber] attack on BAE have been a closely guarded secret within Britain's intelligence community since it was first uncovered nearly three years ago. But they were disclosed by a senior BAE executive during a private dinner in London for cyber security experts late last year." According to the report, the executive confirmed that the Chinese had electronically penetrated BAE's network and stolen plans for the F-35's stealthy design, electronics, and other systems.

In late 2010, China unveiled its Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter-attack jet. Photographs reveal JSF-like housings for electro-optical sensors and all-moving tailfins. With the WSJ report and photographic evidence, military aviation experts think the J-20 is probably equipped with Chinese versions of the American fighter jet's electro-optical distributed aperture system, digital fly-by-wire interface, sophisticated AESA radar, colour liquid crystal cockpit monitors and holographic head-up display, and other 21st-century war-fighting innovations.

Cyber attacks against diverse organizations
Hardly a week goes by without a news report of a prominent organization being cyber-assaulted. "Hackers attack Vatican website 2nd time in days" was the FOX News headline in mid-March. Authorities believe the notorious Internet hacker group Anonymous was behind the onslaught. Four weeks earlier, Information Week (IW) reported that Anonymous had taken down a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency website via a distributed denial of service (DDoS) blitz. "Anonymous and other hacktivists also left their marks on the U.S. Census Bureau, Interpol, and Mexico, as well as law enforcement websites in Alabama and Texas," wrote IW in February.

The following month, the U.S. Office of the Inspector General released a report confirming that Chinese hackers had gained control over NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in November, which gave them the ability to delete sensitive files, add user accounts to mission-critical systems, upload hacking tools, and more.

Paul Martin, NASA's inspector general, told U.S. lawmakers: "The attackers had full functional control over these [computer] networks." His report said that in 2010 and 2011, "NASA reported 5,408 computer security incidents that resulted in the installation of malicious software on or unauthorized access to its systems. These incidents spanned a wide continuum from individuals testing their skill to break into NASA systems, to well-organized criminal enterprises hacking for profit." Some of the incidents "may have been sponsored by foreign intelligence services seeking to further their countries objectives."


The Chengdu J-20 on a test flight

Using the code name OpPiggyBank, a hacking collective called CabinCr3w attacked the Los Angeles Police Department website in February and obtained email addresses, passwords, names, and physical addresses of more than 1,000 officers. They also copied 15,000 police warrants; hundreds of thousands of court summons; more than 40,000 Social Security numbers; and thousands of police reports.

Threat sources
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there are five main sources of threats to computer networks or other types of linked electronic control systems: governments, terrorists, industrial spies and organized crime groups, hacktivists, and hackers.

Governments: Various state players have developed cyber resources that pose a significant threat to systems and programs deemed important to national security and economic stability. For example, in 2010 a new computer "worm" dubbed Stuxnet infiltrated Iranian computer networks and accessed control systems of the country's nuclear program. Reportedly, about 1,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium were secretly ordered to spin so fast that they destroyed themselves, setting the program back by months.

The Stuxnet malware (malicious software) also fed erroneous indications to technicians in the control facility, making it appear that the centrifuges were running normally. The U.S. and Israeli governments are widely believed to have been behind the operation. In a September 2010 statement, computer security firm Kaspersky Labs described the worm as a "fearsome prototype of a cyber-weapon that will lead to the creation of a new arms race in the world." The company is convinced that the malware could only have been created with "nation-state support."

Terrorists: In early March, FBI Director Robert Mueller warned a House appropriations subcommittee that violent extremists may try to carry out cyber attacks on the U.S., and advised government to be prepared. "To date, terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyber attack, but we cannot underestimate their intent," he warned. "They may seek to train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward pursuing cyber attacks. As our nation's national security and criminal adversaries constantly adapt and evolve, so must the FBI be able to respond with new or revised strategies and operations to counter these threats."

Industrial Spies and Organized Crime Groups: These individuals and collectives pose a medium-level threat because of their ability to conduct industrial espionage as well as large-scale monetary theft. They typically have the resources to hire or develop hacking expertise. Their motivation is money and their methods include attacks on infrastructure for profit, stealing trade secrets, and acquiring potentially embarrassing information that can be used to blackmail key officials.


F-35 Lightning II

Hacktivists: Nuisance hackers, like those in Anonymous, target organizations in furtherance of a political agenda. Their isolated-yet-damaging assaults, pose a medium-level threat to organizations, says the DHS. Most hacktivist groups have focused on carrying out irritating attacks rather than damaging important infrastructure. Achieving notoriety for their cause is part of their motivation.

Hackers: The large majority of hackers do not have the requisite knowledge or experience to threaten difficult targets such as critical computer networks or systems directed by programmable logic controllers (nuclear enrichment centrifuges for example). However, the electronic penetration of BAE Systems, NASA, and other high-tech and sensitive organizations (including government departments, banks and law firms) proves that some hackers are very good at their craft.

Emerging threats
According to cyber security experts, threats are constantly evolving. Georgia Tech's Emerging Cyber Threats Report 2012 warns about the Mobile Threat Vector and Botnets. The latter is a collection of compromised computers, each known as a 'bot', which are set up to forward transmissions such as spam or viruses via the Internet. Often, when a computer is penetrated by a hacker, code within the introduced malware commands the device to become part of a botnet. The "botmaster" or "bot-herder" controls compromised computers via standards-based network protocols such as IRC and http. The following are highlights of Georgia Tech's report:

Mobile Threat Vector
Mobile applications, such as those on smartphones, increasingly rely on a browser, presenting unique challenges to security in terms of usability and scale.

Expect compound threats targeting mobile devices that use SMS, e-mail and the mobile Web browsers, then silently recording and stealing data.

USB flash drives have long been recognized for their ability to spread malware, but mobile phones are becoming a new vector that could introduce attacks on otherwise-protected systems.

The good news is: encapsulation and encryption of sensitive portions on a mobile device can strengthen security.

Botnets
Botnet controllers build massive information profiles on their compromised users and sell the data to the highest bidder.

Adversaries query botnet operators in search of already compromised machines belonging to their attack targets.

Criminals will borrow techniques from Black Hat SEO (search engine optimization) to deceive current botnet defences like dynamic reputation systems that compute "reputation" scores of domain names.

What CAN be done?
Robert Freeman of IBM recommends the following steps to better secure a network:

  • Perform regular third party external and internal security audits.
  • Control your endpoints.
  • Segment sensitive systems and information.
  • Protect your network.
  • Audit your web applications.
  • Train end users about phishing and spear phishing.
  • Search for bad passwords.
  • Integrate security into every
  • project plan.
  • Examine business partners' policies.
  • Have a solid incident response plan.

"Keep malicious activity out of an enterprise network by keeping up with vulnerability patches and detecting attacks at the perimeter can be a significant challenge," says Robert Freeman, a manager at IBM's X-Force Research, "and the threat landscape appears to be getting only more complicated." 

====
Blair Watson is a contributing editor at FrontLine Magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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One Last Thing
Technology for First Responders
SCOTT NEWARK
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

It's More Than Gadgets and Gizmos
In the ‘non lab coat’ world of law enforcement, security and first responders, “technology” is a means to an end and not an end unto itself. That ‘end’, of course, is the successful performance of operational duties, which have enormous public safety ramifications as well as real risk to the men and women who perform them on our behalf.

Developing, or being aware of a technology that will address an operational issue, is not the same thing as seeing it deployed. This is so because first responders and law enforcement personnel function in an hyper-regulated and inter-jurisdictional world of bureaucracy, where change is frequently viewed with hostility as being an admission that things were not done perfectly previously. And we all know that can’t be the case.

This resistance to change in technology deployment is not an academic debate – it has real, and often tragic, consequences. It’s guys who make bail because we haven’t taken their DNA on a B&E (like we would with fingerprints), and they take off because they’re also responsible for a bunch of unsolved rapes where we have trace evidence that could have been matched. Under the current system, until they’re convicted of something and the court orders DNA, they’ll likely be on the street. Not using modern GPS-supported electronic monitoring on long term sex offenders (like Daniel Gratton, the sexual predator caught in Edmonton) means Correctional Services of Canada can lose track of them and only discover their whereabouts after they are charged with abducting and raping more innocent children.

Not deploying face-recognition biometrics at Canada’s borders (as promised back in 2006), means that police continue to have to re-arrest non-citizens who had previously been deported from Canada for past crimes when they commit new ones – and then try and ‘explain’ the justice ­system to victims who should never have been victimized.

Put it this way: when the system is so weak that returning drug dealer gangsters like Esrong Laing and David Wilson get dubbed the ‘Yo-Yo Bandits’ because they keep coming back (six times and counting), it’s time to deploy the technology that will prevent that from happening again.

Less high profile, but equally critical, is the need for sufficient public safety dedicated bandwith in the newly available 700 MHz spectrum and ensuring actual communications interoperability among all agencies. Thanks to the efforts of groups like the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG), the Government of Canada has confirmed that 10 MHz will be allocated and is considering allocating an additional 10MHz – which is universally recommended.

In today’s reality of inter-agency operations, ensuring that everyone can actually talk to each other on a single radio system is no less critical – and that too is less a ­technology issue than one of political will and funding.

Time to upgrade interoperability beyond multiple radios? Rather than seeking new funding allocations to modernize communications systems for responders across Canada, why not collect the debts owing from people who have simply ignored the fines or cash forfeitures ordered by courts following convictions or breach of bail. The Ontario Association of Police Service Boards estimated the amount owing – in Ontario fines alone – to be approximately $1B. Add in the other provinces and fines owing to the feds, and by deploying existing and proven data base integration technologies, and a substantial “non tax” pool of funds becomes possible.

To be clear, I’d recommend these funds be restricted to statutorily-defined public safety purposes other than increased Legal Aid funding, but what’s wrong with using technology to collect debts owed by people who break the laws instead of raising taxes on people who obey them?

Defining success by addressing operational needs rather than academic theory is an approach to technology research, development and deployment that has been a long time coming, but now appears to have taken hold in Canada. Thanks to the efforts of groups like Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC), the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP, formerly the Centre for Security Science), the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG), and the Canadian Association of Defense and Security Industries (CADSI), operationally defined outcomes are more relevant than ever.

CSSP recently partnered directly with law enforcement to fieldtest automated analytical marine radar surveillance technology including during the G-20 Summit. The need for such force-multiplying technology is clear to anyone that looks at a map of Canada, especially the Canada-U.S. border. Lessons learned here also apply to other scenarios like coastal applications and the Arctic, where the vast spaces involved create unique challenges. Using actual operationally defined requirements for these missions should also reduce the ‘toys for the boys’ syndrome which has been known to creep into technology acquisition practices from time to time.

There is room for real optimism that this concept of deploying technology to achieve public safety identified operational goals is taking hold. Recently passed Bill C-31, which reforms immigration screening, actually specifically authorizes taking biometrics, and Minister Kenney has made it clear that this will also mean properly matching them against a “bad guy lookout” database – to keep the “Yo-Yos” out of Canada.

Another significant development is the increased role taken by the safety and security industry in Canada to ensure they have an awareness of operational needs and that first responders and government have an informed awareness of exactly what’s available and ready for deployment. CADSI is leading this industry initiative, and its SecureTech Conference and technology trade show in Ottawa October 30-31 includes participation from key government decision makers responsible for this sector.

Equally encouraging is the proactive approach taken by organizations like CITIG which is serving as both a forum for front line first responder organizations and an advocate for targeted action. Their Annual Meeting is being held in Toronto, December 2-5 this year, and is sure to be a barometer of how interoperability issues are progressing.

Both of these events signal substantial progress which can’t come too soon given the public safety stakes involved. No technology required for that conclusion.

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Former Crown Prosecutor in Alberta, Scott Newark is an Associate Editor at FrontLine Security.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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BLG: Intellectual Property
BY HAFEEZ RUPANI
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

Obtaining contracts with the Canadian federal government is often a crucial ingredient for companies who have developed, or are seeking to develop, innovative technologies for use in the defence and security sectors. However, the bargain of contracting with the Government of Canada is often one whose risks are not fully appreciated until it is too late. Companies therefore need to stop entering into contracts with the federal government with their eyes wide shut. Take the time to understand the intellectual property (“IP”) risks during the tendering process. Otherwise, you may find yourself not owning the IP you developed while having onerous and ongoing obligations owed to the federal government that can be difficult to dislodge once agreed to.

The default position typically taken by the federal government in funding agreements is that in exchange for providing a “contractor” with funding, that contractor must give up its claim for ownership of the underlying IP. The contractor may get a limited license to use the IP that it creates but the contractor will not own the IP, and therefore, may have limitations placed upon its ability to unilaterally exploit the IP commercially.

The very best case scenario that a contractor can hope for in contracting with the federal government is to be able to own the IP without having to provide the federal government any form of license or ongoing obligations. If you find yourself in this position, you likely have strong political winds at your back or your product is extremely unique and in high demand. However, chances are you will not find yourself in this situation. The next best thing is to own the IP and ensure that the federal government only has a limited license to use the IP and technology, without onerous ongoing obligations.

Generally, the default position taken by the federal government is that it owns all “Intellectual Property” rights in the “Foreground Information” as soon as it comes into existence, and that the contractor has no rights except as granted by the federal government.

These terms are important since they do not have meaning in every day language. For example, while intellectual property is a term often used to refer to patents, trade-marks, copyright and a host of other forms of property defined by federal legislation, the term “Intellectual Property” in most government contracts includes the traditional terms plus “any information or knowledge” relating to the “Work” as well as “know how”, a term that refers to knowledge of how to commence and carry on a particular operation based on individual skill and experience.

Please visit blg.com/defence-article3 to read the full story.

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Hafeez Rupani is a member of Borden Ladner Gervais’ Defence and Security Industry Group and primarily practices in the areas of intellectual property and commercial litigation. He can be reached at hrupani@blg.com.
© Frontline Security 2012

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Remote Response
RICHARD BRAY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

Across the vast expanse of the Arctic coast, on Great Slave Lake and in the Mackenzie Delta, boaters in distress look to members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) for assistance. In the Northwest Territories, the all-volunteer CCGA has units in Aklavik, Inuvik, Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Resolution, Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray. In Nunavut, the eastern Arctic, CCGA units are in Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Pangnirtung. Jack Kruger has been Director of the CCGA Arctic District since 1994, and he coordinates the activities and training of more than 100 volunteers.


A SAR partnership in the North that works.

"The rescue work covers a wide range of activity, from the Arctic Ocean to the big fresh water lakes further south," Kruger notes. The organization responds to everything from natural disasters to human crises. He gives an example from Hay River when, a few years ago, "two meteorological lows met in a perfect storm and put 15-foot waves on Great Slave Lake. A fisherman's rudder had broken while he was bringing a load of fish across, so we had to have him bail out of a 45 foot boat into our Zodiacs and abandon his boat." In contrast to that, the CCGA "recently responded to a stabbing incident in the Mackenzie Delta and gave first aid in the middle of the night when nobody else could find the place."

One of the newest CCGA groups in the eastern Arctic, Unit 523, serves the Pangnirtung and Cumberland Sound Area of Baffin Island. As leader Peter Kilabuk reports, the unit's four members operate two 27-foot aluminum welded vessels, both powered by twin outboard motors. It should be noted that some boats in the Coast Guard Auxiliary fleet belong to the RCMP, others are community-owned and still others are privately owned - all have the necessary equipment and communications gear and all are registered as search and rescue assets with the Coast Guard.

Kilabuk says Unit 523 carried out four taskings last summer. Twice, members towed disabled boats back to Pangnirtung and the most recent tasking was in November, when a boat called for assistance after losing the lower gear by hitting a rock about 70 kilometres northwest of Pangnirtung. "The vessel in distress was occupied by the owner, hunting partner and his 12 year old son. So our unit was called to attend to the vessel in distress during the night dark hours but safely returned them to Pangnirtung at late night."


June 2011 Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary SAR Training on Great Slave Lake.

Kilabuk and his team members formed the group because there is no other Marine Search and Rescue provider in the community. "We know that there is no other SAR provider we can fall back on to offer and handle these critical services. I do know that the local authorities depend on our unit as the only SAR service providers in the Pangnirtung and Cumberland Sound Area. People are becoming a lot more reliant on our unit." He says the unit has built a respected reputation by completing all of their taskings "with due diligence and care" for the people they work with.

In the western Arctic community of Aklavik, CCGA Unit leader Steve Johnson, an RCMP member, logged 11 marine searches last year, some of which lasted several hours and others several days. "Fortunately all the SARs resulted with in a positive outcome, locating the missing person or missing group in good health, but without the CCGA volunteers the outcome could have been fatal for some of these people," Johnson reveals.

The river systems of the Mackenzie Delta attracts bootleggers bringing alcohol into isolated communities, Johnson's police role has sometimes overlapped with general marine patrols of his fellow CCGA volunteers and led to the seizure of large amounts of alcohol being transported for illegal resale within the community.

Each community is different and Jack Kruger says the membership of the auxiliary units is representative of the communities they serve. "Pretty much all the members in the eastern Arctic are Inuit. In Pangnirtung and in Clyde River, where we are looking at opening a unit, that would be all Inuit. Cambridge Bay, is primarily Inuit. Kugluktuk where we hope to open a Unit is again primarily Inuit. Then, in the Northwest Territories, when we look at Aklavik, I am going to say it is 80 percent Inuvialuit, and Inuvik would be about fifty-fifty. As you come south, Yellowknife would be primarily non-aboriginal. The Hay River Unit is primarily non-aboriginal."

"It's the members of these communities that make the CCGA work" Johnson explains. "In these small Arctic communities everyone knows everyone, there is a cohesiveness - and they are the most eager set of volunteers that I have ever come across ready to do what is needed, drop what they are doing, leave their jobs, get up in the middle of the night and go at a moment's notice anytime of the day, without question."

Like other Coast Guard Auxiliary units in Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard formally recognizes and sanctions northern CCGA units. Like their colleagues in the south, they are reimbursed only for costs incurred when they are actually performing searches and rescue missions. The national program is officially "community supported." Only about a third of CCGA funding comes from government, under a Treasury Board Contribution Agreement, which specifically outlines what units can utilize the funding for. The Canadian Coast Guard administers these funds, which does not cover the purchase of SAR equipment but will pay for computers. CCG does not purchase equipment for the CCGA although they have transfered surplus assets to the CCGA, such as used Zodiacs. Many Units have to raise funds themselves (through hosting bingos and other events) for Personal Flotation Devices, GPSs, Radios, and other essential safety items.

The Yellowknife Unit, for example, managed to raise enough funds locally to purchase new outboard motors and sponsons for their Zodiac. Occasionally, CCGA units are successful in obtaining grant funding, such as from the International Polar Year Program which helped purchase GPS devices, SAT phones, and PFDs.


Catching bottleggers.

The CCGA provides members in northern communities with some marine and SAR training, and Johnson notes that often a local unit will pay to bring a trainer into the community or send a few CCGA volunteers out of the community to a central location for training that will benefit the home unit. While the CCGA does provide members with some equipment, many use their own money or undertake fundraising activities to buy marine radios, floater suits, GPS units, Personal Flotation Devices and other equipment. Some of that equipment is loaned out, along with the appropriate training, to travelers from local communities, and unit members teach hunters and trappers to make trip plans safer and travel with basic survival gear.

The CCGA takes certifications of its members very seriously. "The training is great for unit cohesion, and it really builds self confidence. It is also important for liability insurance. In fact, I would move that up to the top of the heap," Kruger says. When working with other SAR groups, communications skills are critical. "Everybody who signs up with us has a year to get the Transport Canada Restricted Radio Operator certification and that allows them to speak the same language and use the right words when a Hercules from Trenton or Winnipeg arrives on the scene and we are talking to a marine asset. Those are the things we put the emphasis on."

Throughout the year, in both the NWT and Nunavut, training programs provide members with training in vessel operation, navigation, SAR, Marine Radio Certification and First Aid.

Growing numbers of visitors to the Arctic mean more work for CCGA units. These days, adventurers in sailboats and even kayaks are becoming more prevalent. "The eastern Arctic seems to get more of them, but they are showing up in the west as well," says Kruger. "Some people seem to think that just because some scientists believe the Arctic ice is melting, that it is safe to take pleasure craft there. They say it is melting, so it attracts the European and Asian crowd that want to kayak through, but no, it's not quite that way."

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Richard Bray is FrontLine's Senior Writer.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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What is an X3 Helicopter?
RICHARD BRAY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

Engineers at Eurocopter set out to prove that it was possible to create a ‘low cost’ helicopter that could attain high speeds. This summer the company brought its new ‘proof of concept’ X3 helicopter to tour the United States. One year previously, the X3 had flown at 232 knots in level flight at 80% of available power – substantially faster than a conventional helicopter’s 150-160 knots. Speaking in Grand Prairie, Texas at the X3’s U.S. debut in June, Dr. Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter’s president and CEO explained, “the idea was to combine the fast cruising speeds of an airplane with the hover flight capabilities of a helicopter, to create a revolutionary new aircraft.”

Eurocopter expects the new helicopter type will find uses in long-distance search and rescue, coast guard, border patrol, ­passenger transportation, off-shore airlift and inter-city shuttle services. Designed to be “affordably fast”, the company believes the X3 proves that a new generation of hybrid helicopters can deliver a 50% increase in cruising speed with only a 25% increase in total cost of ownership, making the hybrid configuration well-suited for operations with long transit times.

Eurocopter says the X3  has the same handling as a conventional helicopter. Dr. Bertling noted, “out of personal experience, transition from flight to hover is as easy as conventional rotary-wing aircraft.”

Hervé Jammayrac, a Eurocopter test pilot said other pilots would have little difficulty adapting to the new aircraft type. “It’s very intuitive,” he commented.

The aircraft itself is based on proven technology, combining the airframe of a Eurocopter Dauphin with NH90 turbines, EC175 gearbox central module, and trim actuator motors from the EC145 and the EC155’s five-bladed rotor. The use of existing components in the X3 design suggests that Eurocopter may be able to market both high-speed and conventional versions of some machines, bringing down the costs of training, maintenance and spares inventory. “There could be a hybrid option for several of our aircraft,” Dr. Bertling said.

The top speed of conventional helicopters has been limited by the difference between the relative speeds of the advancing and retreating blades, as one builds up drag and the other stalls. The side-mounted propellers on the X3 ‘unload’ the main rotor so it can run at reduced RPM. That lower rotor speed also reduces lift, so at cruising speed, the wings provide about 40% lift.

“Can we get it tomorrow?” is often the first question, according to Dr. Bertling, but the answer is no. It could take 10 years for a commercial version to reach the market.

However, the American Helicopter Society is very intrigued with this new proto­type and this year awarded its coveted Howard Hughes Award for Helicopter Technology Improvement to Eurocopter for its innovative machine. With the X3 demonstrator exceeding all company expectations during flight tests performed since 2010, the company is now pursuing hybrid applications, these range from long-distance search and rescue (SAR), coast guard, border patrol and special forces operations, to inter-city passenger shuttle services, and offshore oil and gas transportation.

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Richard Bray is FrontLine’s Senior Writer.
© Frontline Security 2012

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Editor's Corner
The Changing Face of Security
CLIVE ADDY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 3)

We are on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the creation of a single Canadian federal department focused on “Public Safety.” After 9-11, an obvious need to form a more robust coordination of our National Security. Thus, from the Solicitor General Branch and the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (OCIPEP) in the 90’s, the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada was created in 2003, headed by Minister Anne McLellan. This later became the Department of Public Safety under Minister Stockwell Day

More important was the First National Security Policy where the Minister of Public Safety was given the legal coordinating responsibility with other departments and levels of government as well as critical public and private infrastructure in matters of the Safety and Security of Canadians. 

Much has been done since then, and achievements continue to meet the evolving challenges that justify this structure. However, like all government structures, it must continue to be effective and accountable to retain its pertinence.  

At this time, we are honoured to have the contribution of Jim Phillips, the long-serving, well-respected President & CEO of the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance (CANAMBTA). He heralds what many consider the most comprehensive Canada/U.S. agreement since NORAD and NAFTA, the Beyond the Border Agreement and its exemplary Action Plan. Much of this reflects Jim’s prominent imprint of common sense, influence and hard work. 

An article from Ray Boisvert, recent Assistant Director, Intelligence, at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, addresses the challenges of modern intelligence gathering and the ever-present, but much evolving, role of spying. 

I suspect the second in our three-part series on illicit trade and cigarette smuggling by our own Edward R. Myers will be an eyeopener for many.

Tim Lynch examines the Navy’s challenge of balancing domestic shoreline and global obligations, and a separate article looks at the interesting work and evolution of the Toronto Police Marine Unit from the perspective of its dedicated members. On the maritime theme, Joseph Spears and Michael Dorey tackle SAR needs for the increasing cruise ship traffic in Northern waters. Interestingly, on 25 November the BBC announced that gas tanker, Ob River, had just left Norway, carrying liquefied natural gas, and has sailed north of Russia on its way to Japan through the Arctic passage. It is set to become the first ship of its type to sail across the Arctic. A new trend!!!

André Fecteau examines clever Emergency Preparedness changes in Saguenay, Québec and we thank Arthur Hsieh for his insider perspective on Emergency Medical Services in the U.S., where the challenges seem quite familiar indeed. 

Peter Pigott looks at the contenders to supply the Coast Guard with their new helicopter requirements.

This last decade has witnessed many security accomplishments, but we still see some dragging of feet in some domains, particularly critical ones, as pointed out in Scott Newark’s regular One Last Thing, as well as in the recent Auditor General of Canada Report (Chapter 3) on Cyber Security for Critical Infrastructure. Clearly there is still work to do, and Frontline Security proudly continues to serve an important part in sharing key information among these related sectors. Ring in the New Year, roll up your sleeves, and be safe! 

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Clive Addy, Executive Editor

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Editor's Corner
Wisdom in a Wired World
CLIVE ADDY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 2)

Frontline Security continues its thrust to influence national security policies – to enable citizens, first responders and government officials to protect Canadians as we would expect in today’s world. One of the major determinants of this world is the rise in overall influence, for good and bad, of the cyber presence. This edition includes many articles on technology and the sharing of information to elicit better responses to safety and security challenges. These are but another call to action in this continuing and evolving major concern – this efficient yet vulnerable cyber-world. 

As Arnav Marchanda and David Gewirtz point out at the strategic level, the cyber dimension traverses all ­levels of government, business, personal and international operations – legal or not. Thus, cyber warfare challenges all hierarchical and bureaucratic processes and we must adjust and adapt in order to ensure continued security for all. 

Some solutions include intelligently applying modern technology at the local level, as shown in FrontLine articles on the use of UAVs in Police work and the City of Kingston’s modern Web mapping technology for its Emergency Operations Centre. 

The security of information itself becomes a key safety concern as we, as individuals and groups, rely ever more on electronic communications and the internet for everything. Banks, governments and military forces are more vulnerable than ever to aggressive states, criminal organizations and even individual trouble-makers. Though privacy is indeed a concern here, as pointed out by Barbara McIsaac, our security is seriously at risk from increasing cyber threats and should be addressed clearly in our legislation.

Some interesting initiatives are being taken at the tactical, regional and national levels to respond efficiently and economically to these challenges by grouping parties with common challenges and seeking like solutions to respond more effectively than the old independent and hierarchical silos. 

I draw to your attention the Partnerships Toward Safer Communities – Online, sponsored by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC), and its recent initiative in support of what is called a Canadian Virtual Operations Support Team. There is also the need for closer public-private cooperation to cater to the rapid changes in the cyber domain and to minimize costs, as proposed by Kevin Wennekes of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance.

On other fronts, we will be watching the evolution of the recent Canada /U.S. border agreements and immigration legislation. Edward R. Myers, in the first of three articles, addresses the ironic, weird and profitable world of cigarette smuggling; and Blair Watson voices the call to preparedness for inevitable future floods. 

In closing, I suggest that our readers heed the lessons from, and follow closely the fallout from events such as Chinese officials hosting key members of CBSA at a social, the rise of HUAWEI in Canada, and the discussions on the ownership of NEXEN. Where, when, how, and to what degree is our security at risk from foreign control? 

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See you at SecureTech 2012
Clive Addy, Executive Editor

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Manitoba's Red River Flood
BY PIERRE BILODEAU
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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During a disaster, decisions need to be made quickly - using complete, accurate and up-to-date information. This was the challenge faced by  Manitoba Health's Office of Disaster Management (ODM)during the spring of 2009, when the province experienced its second worst flood in over 100 years.

To ensure the continuity of health and emergency services for residents - particularly patients in hospitals and long-term care homes - ODM worked with Esri Canada to develop a Web-based Common Operational Picture (COP) application that provided rich visualization and real-time situational awareness of events during the flood. The solution was implemented within five days and provided ODM with an effective system for managing ensuing emergencies.

The flood COP application enabled the agency to communicate its response plan to stakeholders, mitigate risk by planning alternate care locations and act quickly during the subsequent evacuations.

Esri's geographic information system (GIS) solution was used to develop the Web-based mapping application, which provides a single display of critical information shared by many levels of command. The COP integrates critical data feeds from various systems and displays the information on a dynamic Web map, producing actionable intelligence.

"Our group had limited knowledge of GIS and there was no time to secure additional resources," recalls Gerry Delorme, director for the Office of Disaster Management. "However, the COP was so intuitive and easy to use that it allowed us to align all of our goals into a single platform and be fully operational quicker than I ever imagined possible."

During the flood, the application automatically pulled information from over 100 data sources, including satellite imagery, topographic basemaps, demographic data and dynamic feeds of weather, road conditions and most recent flood activity. The COP displayed numerous data layers representing hospitals, helicopter landing zones, road closures and others, thereby helping users to quickly identify problem areas for more effective analysis, planning and response.

In addition to increasing efficiency by automating information gathering, mapping and dissemination, Delorme notes that the single most significant benefit of the solution is its ability to accelerate decision-making: "We would have been able to make the same decisions without the system, but the one enemy you have in emergency management is time. It's the one luxury you never have. The application allowed us to reduce the time it took to make decisions - from two hours to less than 10 minutes."

The COP has enhanced the clarity of communication and collaboration among emergency management agencies in Manitoba and enabled more informed, confident decision-making. During the flood operations, it was used to make 20-30 critical decisions daily, optimizing risk mitigation and resource allocation. It was also used during Ministerial Briefs to explain and justify emergency planning scenarios to the Deputy Minister. The ability to communicate effectively meant that operational response times were greatly reduced and ODM could focus on taking action to ensure the safety of Manitobans.

To further enhance the application, ODM will connect a public alert communication system and use the COP to monitor ambulances and hospital bed counts across Manitoba. The application has revolutionized emergency management in the province and enabled them to take a more proactive approach to emergency management.

"Using GIS has changed the way we do things. We save lives by making sound, timely decisions, and anything that facilitates that is invaluable," says Delorme.

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Pierre Bilodeau is the Defence & Public Safety Industry Manager for Esri Canada, which provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions. Pierre retired from the Canadian Forces in 2008 after 32 years of service as a Military Engineer Officer, including 18 years with the Defence geospatial community. He can be reached at pbilodeau@esri.ca.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Electric Vehicles
SEAN A. TRACEY
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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The Canadian government expects 500,000 highway capable plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) on Canadian roads by 2018.

If EV incentives are successful, it will present a whole new set of challenges to first responders. The lack of training of Canadian first responders in this domain is a speed bump that needs to be addressed. Unlike the U.S., where over 10,000 first responders have received training and can access web resources to support them, no training appears forthcoming in Canada. A way forward is needed, but we lack a champion to fund the training.

Community risks are usually mitigated effectively when subjected to a detailed risk analysis. This is not the case with EVs. Though these vehicles are already present on the streets, the first responder community has neither training nor experience in how to respond to collisions where EVs are involved. We need a training program in place as quickly as possible. Firefighters and other first responders who put their lives on the line every day deserve to have all of the specific information they need about EVs when dealing with such hazardous situations.

Risks with Electric Vehicles
What are the risks that these vehicles pose? Though they have all been tested under rigorous safety systems, they have unique characteristics that will change how emergency service personnel respond. The first concern is identification of the vehicles and their unique systems. Proper identification leads the responder to begin a knowledgeable evaluation of the incident and thus determine the appropriate response. For instance, how to power down the vehicle and ensure it is de-energized before commencing the response? Also, some safety features, such as boron-infused steel, may exceed the capability of some departments cutting equipment. Identification of the vehicles would also help structural firefighters in identifying fixed charging systems on domestic properties.

In 2010 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the U.S. was awarded a grant from DHS and FEMA to identify and help facilitate best practices and guidelines for first responders related to hybrid-electric vehicles and EVs. The report highlighted the risks of electric shock, vehicle movement, and fire extinguishment as key areas of concern for emergency responders.

Electric shock is an area of particular concern. Today's popular hybrids include batteries that surge with 500 volts of electricity - enough to cause serious injury or death. Not all the marking systems for hazards are followed by all manufacturers. The location of batteries, typically in the trunk, may also be unknown to responders. The focus must be on being prepared for such an emergency and, right now, Canadian responders are not!

To identify the risks and teaching points in the U.S., the NFPA conducted 17 open consultation sessions with emergency responders. To develop the training materials, they received a $5.4 million grant from the Department of Energy. The NFPA also added funds and resources to the project. They brought in responders as well as industry representatives such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NFPA also co-hosted two annual Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summits with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

A Peek at the U.S. Program
The training resources are now complete and were rolled out across the U.S. this past year. The training program has been customized somewhat for all emergency response personnel, including firefighters, police, EMS, 911 telecommunication personnel, and tow truck operators in some cases. Training varies, depending on the role the responder is expected to play in a vehicle response. It covers the following topics:

  • Overview of the EV electrical and safety systems;
  • Identification of electric and hybrid vehicles;
  • Immobilization process;
  • Electrical power-down procedures;
  • EV extrication awareness, including high strength steel;
  • Vehicle fire recommended practices;
  • Emergency operations (battery fires, submersion); and
  • New challenges presented by vehicle charging stations and infrastructure.

To support the training, a web portal has been developed (www.evsafetytraining.org) as a collection point for EV response resources. The web site provides emergency response guides for every vehicle on North American roads. Where these guides were not developed by the manufacturer, NFPA worked with them to produce one.

As of December 2011, the NFPA has delivered classroom training to first responders across the U.S. through state agencies. It also introduced online training developed with OnStar and General Motors for the Chevy Volt that has been delivered to over 10,000 responders in the US.

EV Response Training in Canada
All of this training and data has been developed under a U.S. federal government grant, which means it is not available to Canadian response personnel. To solve this, a separate proposal for Canadian training has been developed. The problem we face in Canada is that this is an "orphan policy" issue - it does not fall clearly within the mandate of any one government department nor is it clearly a provincial or municipal solution. NFPA has therefore proposed a partnership with Red River College, Canada's electrical vehicle centre of expertise, whereby Red River College would act as the national project manager. The lion's share of the work has already been done by NFPA but the content must be reviewed for Canadian-specific input. As well, all materials would need to be available in English and French and available through a separate web portal including all emergency response guides. NFPA also supports such a model with other countries.

The funding needed to develop and introduce such a program is approximately $5 for every electrical vehicle that is proposed to be licensed. This covers the project management, the licensing rights, and the translation. It also covers the initial development of the web portal, the training of instructors and a national rollout of a train-the-trainer program in each province and territory. The portal and its resources would then be sustained by training revenues after the initial one year launch period.

While vehicle safety standards for the manufacture of vehicles are under a federal purview and highway safety is a provincial responsibility, the training of first responders falls to the municipalities. This crucial training must be applied consistently across Canada, which would entail federal funding and national standards. If left to the provinces to fund and implement, we would endure duplication of effort and inconsistent application for identical training needs across Canada. Translating materials into French (the greatest portion of the costs) and maintaining the database are also an efficiency concern, however, a federally-funded model would achieve economies of scale and result in a better national level program.


Detroit First Responders get electric vehicle safety training.

The introduction of electric vehicles into the market will accelerate in the next few years. Unfortunately we do not have the training and resources for emergency personnel to safely respond to incidents involving these vehicles. We can, however, benefit from all the efforts completed by NFPA in the US and catch up if we look at the funding of a Canadian specific program through the partnership of NFPA and Red River College. We have a solid model based on the U.S. experience now. What we need is the commitment of governments to enable our first responders to do their best job safely and effectively.

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Sean Tracey is the Canadian Regional Director for the National Fire Prevention Association and an active voice in the provision of resources for the firefighting community in Canada.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Mallard Fire
BY ANDRE FECTEAU
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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It has been 12 years, and the land in the small Saskatchewan town of La Ronge is still scarred. Beyond the few residential and industrial buildings on the west side of Poirier Street is a sapling-dotted field between two large expanses of boreal forest. Fire Chief Ron Pratt points to seven 80,000-litre fuel tanks on sitting on the east side of the street that survived the 1999 Mallard fire. "If one had exploded, it would have jeopardized the integrity of the others and the community would be gone," he says, referring to the residential neighbourhood that lies less than one kilometre from the fuel storage centre.

Along the same street, Pratt points out two houses that were encircled by flames at one point. Despite the evacuation notice, their owners had stayed behind to water them and keep the fire at bay. Brave or foolish is arguable, but their aims mirrored Pratt's own: to protect La Ronge's buildings and infrastructure.

Over half of Saskatchewan is covered by boreal forest and lakes, and in the midst of it, about 300 kilometres north of Saskatoon, is La Ronge, the most populous settled area in the province's Northern Administration District. Its roughly 6,000 residents are from the communities of La Ronge proper and Air Ronge, as well as five Indian reserves administered by the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

On 26 May 1999, a lightning storm generated two strikes that met and touched ground together about 2.5 kilometres west of town, creating a smoulder. The next day, the fire surfaced, and within less than two hours, the flames had reached the northern edge of La Ronge.

More than 230 firefighters, some coming from as far as the Prince Albert area, joined Pratt's 25-strong volunteer force. In addition, the Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM) northern base in La Ronge deployed its 14 water bombers to combat the blaze.

From the very beginning, Pratt regarded the wildfire as impossible to control. "We weren't prepared for a fire that size, that speed, and that close [to town]," he recalls. Dealing with such a vast disaster cannot be handled by one force; an event of this magnitude requires more manpower than one community can field. In order to put down such a fire, "the amount of resources a community would need is too vast," he notes, acknowledging the futility of battling a blaze of that size with a small team.

In these conditions, the plan was to limit damage as much as possible. Working during the day, the firefighters attempted to predict the fire's next move and hosed down anything that would be in its path. At times, the wall of flames was 90 feet high.

Larry Fremont is with the Ministry of Environment in Prince Albert. His first thought about the wildfire is shared by many who fought it. "It was a relatively easy fire for our team," says the SERM representative who acted as incident commander during the fire.

Still, he acknowledges that not everything ran as smoothly as it could have. At the top of his list are challenges inherent to working with volunteer firefighters. "It is very difficult to ensure volunteers are wearing the proper equipment and have the proper training," he says.

To raise awareness of the appropriate safety measures and dangers of fighting wildfire in settled areas, Saskatchewan's volunteer firefighters now graduate from the Fire Operations in the Wildland/Urban Interface course provided by the National Wildland Fire Training.

They are also introduced to the incident command system, defined by the United States Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance as "a set of personnel, policies, procedures, facilities, and equipment, integrated into a common organizational structure designed to improve emergency response operations of all types and complexes."

According to Fremont, one of the main benefits of being acquainted with this system is the usage of a common language during emergency situations. It introduces volunteer firefighters to complex command structures since they often have little or no experience in large emergency operations and may lack advanced training to respond at top efficiency, he says.

La Ronge's officials were taken by surprise when the fire broke out. As a result, they operated in state of "organized chaos", according to La Ronge's administrator Dave Zarazun, who was recreational director and a volunteer firefighter at the time.

Resource lists were not up to date, the town was lacking a contingency and evacuation plan, and the emergency coordinator that should have been on top of these had just been hired.

Zarazun says his deep involvement in the community allowed him to connect quickly with the necessary people, but credit for the smooth operation goes to La Ronge's residents for their resiliency and cohesion.

When 200 residents were ordered to evacuate, Zarazun opened up the town's recreation centre to the evacuees. While he was busy fighting the fire, community volunteers took care of logistics for the victims. "People around here really stepped up to the plate," he says.

The fire eventually burned down a narrow strip of the boreal forest, about eight kilometres long and two kilometres wide. Ten families lost their houses and some commercial buildings were also destroyed. Thankfully, there were no casualties.

As Fire Chief Pratt and his team of volunteer firefighters battled the fire, Mother Nature finally took care of it. Winds steadily pushed the flames toward Lac La Ronge. At close to 1,500 square kilometres and 40 metres deep, it was a natural barrier that the fire could not cross. La Ronge was safe.

Lessons Learned
Saskatchewan has since integrated some new technologies and systems into its firefighting resources. In 2002, the province acquired what it calls its "values protection unit." This is a modified manure drag hose deployed on the frontline. With a capacity of up to 1,500 gallons of water, this seven-kilometre-long hose is punctured with sprinklers every 30 metres and can be used within four hours of being dipped into a large water source such as a lake.

It is unwound by a farm tractor in the fire's likely path. The spraying water creates a wet break and, with the fire crew control-burning vegetation across from the wet wall, fire fuel capacity is reduced.

SERM used the unit to successfully protect the community of Deschambault Lake, Saskatchewan, from the 2009 Hopper fire, and during the same season, it was deployed twice to British Columbia to help with wildfire outbreaks.

A 2010 study by the University of Lethbridge in Alberta found that information La Ronge residents received from both officials and non-officials during the fire was sometimes inaccurate. Fremont agrees. "We were so busy working on the fire, we missed the general public."

SERM has developed a website that is now central to its communications' strategy and has made it easier to provide information to Saskatchewan residents. In addition to reports on current wildfires, the site also includes a section dedicated to wildfire education and prevention.

At times of extreme fire activity, when a fire nears a community or when a community is evacuated, SERM now activates a public call centre that provides residents with information about where to find missing relatives and the latest evacuation developments.

While it is impossible to prevent fires that start from lightning strikes, such as in La Ronge, Saskatchewan continues to monitor and take steps to improve its integrated fire response. In order to prevent some potential complications related to such emergencies, SERM officials now meet with community leaders in northern Saskatchewan each spring to discuss upcoming fire risks. Plans for new subdivisions are also assessed, with the aim of reducing the chances of a community being entrapped by a wildfire. 

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Andre Fecteau is based in Ottawa.
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Case for a National Security Coordinator
SCOTT NEWARK
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

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As this issue of FrontLine Security forcefully demonstrates, when it comes to security related matters, co-ordination of activities is an essential element of success. This is so because the subject matter frequently involves both the private and public sector, all three levels of government and multiple inter-connected infrastructures or activities.

Put differently, notwithstanding the wishes of some for a single, all powerful, government entity that is in charge of everything, that's not reality and nor, thankfully, is it ever going to be. That does, however, create challenges.

The desire for a conscious co-ordination role has been expressed repeatedly since 9-11 by critical infrastructure operators and emergency responders whose responsibilities epitomize the multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional Canadian environment. While the federal government publicly endorses the concept of co-ordination, its tangible results are less impressive. It has been noted on more than one occasion that having the federal Department of Public Safety proclaim its 'leadership' on critical infrastructure protection and EM issues is not the same as actually assuming the responsibility for the co-ordination and the institutional accountability should such co-ordination not occur.

The broader issue of enhancing co-ordination of national security activities was a part of the current Government's 2006 security and criminal justice election platform when it proposed creating a National Security Commissioner to provide recommendations to Government on how to accomplish defined inter agency co-ordination. Despite impressive progress in completing other action items from this agenda, this important national security co-ordination issue remains unaddressed.

The subject was also addressed vigorously and at great length in June 2010 in the Air India Report from Justice Major, wherein the creation of an enhanced National Security Advisor was recommended. Not surprisingly, in light of the origin of the Review, it recommended a fully funded, Privy Council Office based National Security Advisor with operational responsibilities including resolving and reconciling intelligence with criminal evidence gathering. This was bluntly rejected by the Government in December 2010 as an inappropriate creation of yet another bureaucracy.

Less noticed, but potentially more significant, was a recommendation from Justice Major that the proposed National Security Advisor could also serve as both an experience based security policy generator and an accountability mechanism for Agencies and Departments tasked with national security responsibilities. Although less grandiose than what has been described as a national security "czar", this concept merits close examination because effective accountability enhances performance and targeted reforms can have immense systemic ramifications.

A National Security Coordinator of this nature would benefit from a clear mandate to ensure assigned Agency and Departmental responsibilities are carried out and that interagency co-ordination is accomplished as intended. The mandate should also include identifying problems to coordination of efforts, like claimed legal restrictions on information sharing, and reporting of non performance by Agencies or Departments assigned national security related responsibilities, such that senior officials can be required to explain their inaction.

It is interesting to contemplate how this approach might assist in our ongoing deficiencies in relation to an effective government wide and industry cyber security strategy or creating clear requirements, including who does what, for operators of critical infrastructure protection and providers of emergency management services. An entity with a clear 'report back' role might have already resolved why Canada still has no modern 'bad guy' lookout system deployed at our ports of entry despite a 2006 Government commitment to do so, and despite three years of 'study' by CBSA and the RCMP. With a substantively qualified and informed body that has an obligation to report deficiencies, foot dragging, risk aversion decision making and outright non performance will be reduced. Such a body would also go a long way to delivering fully resourced border related services like the Shiprider program and an intelligence led, joint force, mobile border patrol.

A National Security Coordinator so empowered and supported by representatives from defined Agencies and Departments would also be a natural forum for identification and potential resolution of inter Agency 'difficulties', especially when the failure to do so results in reporting to superiors rather than the quiet inappropriate toleration of the status quo.

Though less than what was contemplated by Justice Major, making coordination a measurable deliverable rather than a note on a power point presentation, this solution may, in fact, produce more tangible results. Such a National Security Coordinator would not have a direct operational role other than by making sure others discharged theirs and to identify when and why, should that not occur. Accordingly, the National Security Coordinator's office would have a dual responsibility to ensure national security directions from Government are carried out or reported back and to serve as an "auditing" mechanism on problems that need to be addressed, including entirely new or arising issues.

Canada has a long and relatively successful history of joint force operations in law enforcement related matters. This approach has quite properly been adopted in several national security related areas, albeit on an operational level. In light of our experiences, positive and negative, it's time to enhance that capacity through a National Security Coordinator with a defined follow up and reporting mandate.

Accountability is, after all, an incentive to performance and productivity. 

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Scott Newark is a member of the FrontLine Security Editorial Board. This article reproduced with permission of iPolitics.ca
© FrontLine Security 2012

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Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
TIM LYNCH
© 2012 FrontLine Security (Vol 7, No 1)

At the January 2012 Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Sea Power Conference in Sydney, Admiral Maritime Datuk Mohd Amdan bin Kurish, Director General Malaysian ­Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), gave a presentation on Maritime Cooperation in the Malacca Strait. Describing the relationship between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, Admiral Kurish stressed the need for: trust, information sharing and interoperability among the countries. Captain Maritime Hj Mamu Bin Said Alee, Director of Strategic Planning, Maritime Policy & International Relations at the MMEA, followed up in an exclusive interview with Tim Lynch of FrontLine Defence.


Director General of the MMEA, Admiral Datuk Mohd Amdan Bin Kurish, performs inspection

Captain Mamu described the mission as the enforcement of all Malaysian maritime laws and the saving of life at sea. The Malaysian Marine Department is responsible for managing the flow of vessel traffic and safety through the Malacca Strait, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) focuses on matters of defence, protecting the country from foreign forces, while the MMEA enforces laws at sea (as the police enforce law on land) and is the lead agency for Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR).

Legal Structure
The MMEA Act 2004 provides authority to enforce all maritime laws in such areas as fishing, customs, piracy, armed robbery at sea, marine pollution, or international merchant ships not abiding by the regulations governing passage through the Strait. “We have the same jurisdictions and powers as the police on the land to apprehend law breakers, collect evidence and prosecute them in the courts.” Other Coastguard organizations may apprehend maritime criminals but a related agency will often prosecute them in court. “The MMEA arrests and prosecutes all maritime law breakers,” he stresses.

Established in 2005, the MMEA was initially the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport. It was later transferred to Prime Minister’s Department. The current Prime Minister, the most Honourable Dato Seri Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, was the Minister tasked to initiate the formation of Malaysian Coast Guard.

Before 2005, many agencies (such as the Royal Malaysian Police, Customs, Fisheries) performed maritime law enforcement duties and there was much duplication. Astoundingly, the MMEA successfully adopted strategies to take over all functions related to Maritime Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue within 5 years, finally emerging as the sole agency in 2011.

“It was not an easy task,” recalls Captain Mamu. “We had to learn about the procedures and standard operating procedures of each agency. We had to recruit and train more people. We had to get assets operational.” Now that the administration is fully in place, MMEA will soon assume the title of Coast Guard – a name commonly recognized throughout the world.

MMEA assistance may be called upon during international conflicts where it ­follows the leadership of the Malaysian Armed Forces. “We have developed strong cooperation with the Malaysian Navy,” he tells FrontLine. “We share information, conduct periodic trainings, and coordinate other programmes related to maritime activities.”

Federal and State Police
The MMEA interacts with both federal and state-level police forces, depending on the particulars of each incident. “We have regular meetings with Malaysian Police forces,” confirms Capt Mamu. Malaysian law requires a police report for court ­proceedings, but when criminal activities initially committed at sea continue to the land, “we are allowed to do hot pursuit on land until we apprehend them. If we face difficulties, we request the assistance of the police on the land.”

MMEA is proud of its cooperation with similar agencies, “especially our neighbouring partners in the fight against crime at sea: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines. We have developed very close maritime and land border cooperation. We do yearly meetings and we all work in support of law enforcement and Search and Rescue at sea.”

MMEA officials share information on suspect vessels or individuals among members of this network and conducts activities and training on counter terrorism. Malaysia believes that terrorism and transnational organized crime are serious global concerns that have the potential to endanger the stability and security of nations as well as threaten international peace.”

Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), which serves as a regional counter-terrorism centre focusing primarily on training, capacity-building, research and public awareness programmes in collaboration with other Governments and international organizations.

“We cannot stop ships transiting,” notes Capt Mamu. “We consider the right of transit passage under UNCLOS through the Straits of Malacca is clear in its preservation of a balance between the usage of territorial waters of a country by foreign vessels, with the sovereign right of the coastal states to manage the affairs of security and safety in their waters. Ships in transit are not allowed to stop or do anything other than transit through the straits.”

Canada faces a similar situation with respect to the passage of shipping along the North West Passage. The Malaysian model might be relevant for international ship movement across the Arctic. “I think it is an excellent model you can use,” agrees Capt Mamu. “The details of our arrangements are on the Internet, including the Cooperative Mechanism involving outside organizations and countries that contribute to the funding and  provide corporate oversight. The TTEG group identifies the technical needs around vessel movement along the Straits and introduces the issues to the Cooperative Mechanism members. We currently have seven projects, in terms of capacity building, money, technical expertise, that are funded by countries independent of the tripartite countries.” With very high traffic flow (90,000 ships per year), and considering the narrowness of some sections of the Straits, an accident could have significant repercussions in the flow of global maritime traffic. “Accidents are prevented by controlling the flow of ships through the Straits and recognizing that we have to accomplish this as efficiently as possible. Ships approaching the Straits must report to respective littoral countries when entering this region.”


MMEA members on training exercise

Captain Mamu explains that MMEA has been involved in recent discussions with Canadian counter parts on human trafficking. “We are establishing a liaison with the Embassy of Canada here on this matter. Canada officials had indicated their willingness in capacity building for MMEA. MMEA [reciprocated] through the Canadian Embassy. The Canadian government will initiate Government to Government talks on this matter.”

The MMEA is somewhat unique, and perhaps most modern, in the area of coastal water policing. Captain Mamu was asked about the Canadian model. “I was informed the Canadian Coast Guards don’t carry guns, how do you stop and arrest if you don’t carry guns? The bad boys won’t stop if you don’t have a gun. How can you arrest them?”

Canadians tend not to see themselves as a maritime nation; such preoccupations are considered more as federal government concerns. However, there are many similarities between Malaysian and Canadian Institutions as a consequence of their British Empire affiliations, but adoption of British laws and traditions have differed. For example the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) service has evolved into an internationally respected Search and Rescue (SAR) service in collaboration with the Canadian military. However, for any “guarding” function of the Canadian coastline the agency has retained the British yeoman tradition of signalling, tactical communications and Petty Officer administrative duties.


Crewmembers of U.S. Coast Guard cutter Boutwell work with members of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to understand each others law enforcement tactics.

Canada’s RCMP retained a monopoly in law enforcement at the federal level, especially with respect to the right to bear arms. Consequently, it is the primary source of maritime law enforcement around Canada’s coastline. While some detachments are equipped with vessels suitable for engaging in maritime police activities, often the RCMP must acquire a vessel to enforce Canadian maritime law. CCG vessels are used for transporting RCMP officers on such occasions but under strict conditions since CCG personnel are not trained in law enforcement and are forbidden to place themselves in harm’s way by their union.

The Government of Canada prides itself in being able to achieve consensus among its departments. This is achieved through integrated joint task force operations such as: the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group (IMSWG), Marine Security Operation Centres (MSOC) and the National Port Enforcement Teams (NPETs). NPETs are examples of federal, provincial and municipal police collaboration in protecting communities from organized crime at Canada’s seaports.

Given changes in the kinds of threats Canada is experiencing from transnational criminal organizations, the RCMP collaborates with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) on such criminal investigations. However, even though press releases stress the camaraderie that evolves when RCMP officers board naval vessels, there is no denying both cultures are different; making the chain no stronger than the weakest link. These fault lines in the Canadian maritime security system were recently documented in June 2011 paper by retired Vice-Admiral J.Y. Forcier, entitled The Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard: Cooperating Sea Services or Co-existing Federal Fleets.


Royal Malaysian Navy multi-role support ships manœuver during an at-sea exercise for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

Arguing that coast guard units are more suitable than warships for employment in sensitive areas, Dr Sam Bateman, an internationally recognized authority in maritime security, in a paper entitled Regional Navies and Coast Guards: Striking a Balance between “Lawships” and Warships, points out that the arrest of a foreign vessel by a warship may provoke tension, whereas arrest by a coast guard vessel may be accepted as legitimate law enforcement signalling that the arresting party views the incident as non-political. Bateman concludes that a basic clash exists between the military ethos of applying maximum force and that of civil law enforcement, which usually involves a minimum show of force.

In Canada, Senatorial Comities and the Auditor General have recommended change in the way Canada’s coastline is guarded, as well as independent analysis such as that by Forcier. And none of these recommendations seem to impact the status quo. Substantial change in the structure of Canadian security will likely only happen if Canada directly experiences a devastating incident.

As Capt Mamu stresses, the merging of government departments takes a while to sort out in establishing a unified maritime security law enforcement agency. Even with a more centralized system of government and the backing of the Prime ­Minister, Malaysia took seven years to merge its maritime laws under one agency – only now are land based police forces are giving up their vessels and marine bases to the MMEA. The management/leadership benchmark to take away from the Malaysian experience is that it took seven years, how soon could other governments achieve similar organizational change?

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Tim Lynch is a Freelance writer for FrontLine Security
© FrontLine Defence 2012

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