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Homeland Security


GC No. 001/05
For release April 22, 2005a

HAMILTON - The Government of Canada today announced details of a $300-million, five-year package of initiatives designed to further enhance the security of Canada's marine transportation system and maritime borders.

Tony Valeri, Government Leader in the House of Commons and MP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, made the announcement at the Canada Marine Discovery Centre in Hamilton, Ontario on behalf of Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre, along with Roy Cullen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

"Today's announcement confirms the importance of securing our Great Lakes and seaway," said Mr. Valeri. "These initiatives will also benefit Hamilton's marine shipping community by ensuring a greater federal security presence and response capacity in the Great Lakes region, and by helping to promote trade and economic growth in the area."

"Canada's marine transportation system is among the safest and most secure in the world," said Mr. Lapierre. "Today's announcement demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to constantly improving the security and efficiency of our marine transportation system."

"This funding for marine security allows us to address a key element of the National Security Policy and helps fulfil our commitment to work with the United States on collective security issues at our borders," said Mr. Cullen, on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Anne McLellan. "Canadians have asked the Government to remain vigilant on security and this announcement proves that we are responding to their concerns and taking action."

These initiatives, which will be carried out by six federal government departments or agencies, focus on enhancing the security of Canada's ports, marine facilities, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and our maritime borders.

"The Government of Canada remains committed to taking any required action to protect Canadians," said Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Geoff Regan. "The initiatives announced today will significantly improve our surveillance and response capability in Canadian waters."

"This announcement further demonstrates how federal government departments and agencies are working together to ensure the safety and security of Canadians," said National Defence Minister, Bill Graham. "The Canadian approach to national security is based on collaboration among departments and agencies at all levels of government."

Today's announcement outlined programs to enhance security across Canada's national marine transportation system. They include:

  • expanding operations and response capabilities of the Canada Border Services Agency related to new radiation detection equipment to screen marine containers entering Canadian ports;
  • furthering Transport Canada's ability to apply and enforce Marine Transportation Security Regulations established in 2004; and 
  • enhancing the coordination of waterside security.

Initiatives focusing on the security of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system were also announced today. They include:

  • creating a multi-agency Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Marine Security Operations Centre including an RCMP/Department of National Defence interim centre beginning in the summer of 2005;
  • adding four new patrol vessels to be jointly crewed by the RCMP and the Canadian Coast Guard;
  • establishing RCMP Emergency Response Capacity in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway region;
  • installing new communications equipment to improve federal inter-agency, on-water response;
  • improving immigration screening of crews and passengers by the Canada Border Services Agency on vessels travelling within the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Seaway system;
  • enhancing automatic identification system equipment for tracking vessels on the Upper Great Lakes; and
  • strengthening and expanding the RCMP's existing National Port Enforcement Team program.

The Government of Canada will also work to further secure Canada's maritime borders by providing funding for the modification of the Canadian Navy's Halifax-class patrol frigates to carry RCMP emergency response boats as well as enhancing coastal radar surveillance.

These new commitments from Budget 2005 build on the $308-million that was announced for the National Security Policy's six-point plan for marine security in April 2004 and the $115-million Marine Security Contribution Program announced in May 2004. Since September 11, 2001, the Government of Canada has committed over $9 billion towards the enhancement of Canada's national security, including over $930 million allocated to marine security initiatives.

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Irene Marcheterre
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Transport, Ottawa
(613) 991-0700

Media Relations 
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness 
Canada, Ottawa
(613) 991-0657

Vanessa Vermette
Transport Canada, Ottawa
(613) 993-0055
Sujata Raisinghani
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
(613) 992-3474

Phil Jenkins
Manager, Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
(613) 990-7537
Media Liaison Office 
Department of National Defence, Ottawa
(613) 996-2353 or (613) 996-2354

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at apps.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport Canada.

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The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening marine security activities across the country. The 2005 Budget provided funding for marine security enhancements on both coasts, and most importantly in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system through a package of initiatives worth $300 million. These funds will be used to address security priorities that have been identified by the Government of Canada, such as regulatory inspections and oversight, installation and operation of radiation detection equipment, intelligence enhancement, new mid-shore patrol teams, improved emergency response and enhanced bi-national coordination in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system.

All of the initiatives announced today build on the work already undertaken by the Government of Canada in the last four years and expand on the National Security Policy announced in April 2004. In addition, these initiatives demonstrate effective inter-agency collaboration and cooperation in developing marine security enhancements that build upon and expand existing capacities.


On April 27, 2004, Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan announced the National Security Policy, which set out a six-point, $308-million program to support marine security.

The National Security Policy proposes to strengthen Canada's marine security by:

  • Clarifying and strengthening accountability for marine security among the various responsible departments and agencies. The Minister of Transport has the lead responsibility for marine security and policy coordination; the Minister of Public Security and Emergency Preparedness has the lead responsibility for enforcement and policing; and the Minister of Defence is responsible for coordination of on-water response to maritime threats.
  • Establishing Marine Security Operations Centres to bring to bear all civil and military resources necessary to detect, assess and respond to marine security threats.
  • Increasing the on-water presence of the Canadian Forces Maritime Command, RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard to intercept and board ships that may pose a threat to Canada and increasing the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' aerial surveillance activities.
  • Investing in secure communications technologies to enhance the ability of our civilian and naval fleets to communicate with each other and with Marine Security Operations Centres.
  • Pursuing greater cooperation with the United States to protect and defend Canadian coasts and territorial waters, enhance Canada's marine security and encourage compatible standards between both countries.
  • Strengthening security at ports and other marine facilities, through the implementation of the Marine Transportation Security Regulations on July 1, 2004, and the Marine Security Contribution Program.

Regulatory Inspection And Oversight
Up to $35 million will be provided to enable Transport Canada to dedicate more resources to the regulatory enforcement of the Marine Transportation Security Regulations, which were developed to implement the International Maritime Organization's International Ship and Port Facility Security Code in Canada.

Canada's regulations meet and expand upon the minimum code requirements and are designed to harmonize with the domestic marine security regime in the United States to ensure common preventative and protective measures that facilitate legitimate cross-border movements while stopping illegal ones.

The enforcement of the code is the cornerstone of international marine security efforts to prevent contamination of secure vessels and facilities by contact with non-secure vessels and facilities.

This funding will provide additional opportunities for the Government of Canada to further support the successful industry-government partnership created in developing the Marine Transportation Security Regulations and ensure a comprehensive oversight and enforcement program. The funding will also enable continued regulatory and operational harmonization with the United States Coast Guard to facilitate cross-border shipping as we continue to strengthen port and marine facility security.

Car-borne and Portal Radiation Detection
This initiative will expand on the marine security research and development program announced in January 2003, which enabled Canada Border Services Agency officers to develop a detection and response system to test for the presence of radioactive materials in shipping containers at major Canadian ports.

Today's announcement includes up to $22 million in funding that will permit the agency to operate portal and car-borne detection systems at ten major marine container terminals in Canada, which will expand screening coverage to virtually all inbound containers.

These systems will enhance operational and response capacity and provide Canada and its trading partners with an increased screening capacity for radioactive materials within containers entering Canada or being transshipped to the United States.

Up to $64 million will be directed towards strengthening RCMP capacity by establishing emergency response capacity for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, initiating waterside security coordination, and enhancing the National Port Enforcement Team program.

Emergency Response capacity for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway
Currently, there is no dedicated marine emergency response capacity in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway area. If a marine security incident occurs, the team from Atlantic Canada must be deployed to respond.

These new tactical personnel will have specialized training in marine intervention and response operations for marine-related infrastructure, such as locks, international bridges, nuclear power plants, and refineries.

Waterside Security Coordination
This initiative will enhance the security of ports and marine facilities by beginning to address some of the complex issues involved in waterside policing.

Today's funding will permit the RCMP to create a small team that provides a specialized point of contact to coordinate with local police agencies dealing with waterside security issues.

This group's first task will be to undertake a comprehensive study, with regional and local police organizations, to identify existing marine assets that could be leveraged to respond to marine security incidents.

The study will also assist the RCMP in developing and coordinating multi-jurisdictional policing arrangements across Canada, which will make waterside security activities more effective and efficient.

National Port Enforcement Teams 
In January 2003, the RCMP received $11.5 million in funding for a small port enforcement team at the Port of Montreal including eight full-time officers and training for marine intervention, previously known as armed ship boarding.

The RCMP saw the enforcement teams as a priority, so resources were temporarily reallocated to establish two additional small teams in Vancouver and Halifax. This program has been increasingly successful in combating criminal activities at these three major ports. The funding announced today would permit the RCMP to dedicate more resources to these three teams and deploy resources to support the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway region.

Recently, an RCMP Ports Risk Assessment concluded that additional ports required immediate enforcement support, as illegal activities are moving away from the better-monitored major ports to secondary ports. These findings, along with increased focus on the security of the Great Lakes, have prioritized the need for additional officers in the Hamilton and Toronto areas.

The Canada Border Services Agency will also be integrated into these teams to coordinate customs-related intelligence gathering and analysis in support of investigations.

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Marine Security Operations Centre

This initiative will create RCMP-led interdepartmental teams that will work towards the creation of a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Marine Security Operations Centre.

The first team will establish an interim centre on the Great Lakes in 2005, providing an initial, analytical capability and integrating federal intelligence and awareness activities. The second interdepartmental team will develop an integrated approach to produce a model for marine security coordination and law enforcement on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

The development of this model will require close collaboration with provincial and local law enforcement agencies, as well as technical, analytical, and platform support from the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Coast Guard. The team will also develop options for bi-national operational coordination on shared inland waters.

Mid-Shore Patrol Vessel Acquisition 
This joint RCMP-Canada Coast Guard initiative will establish a major on-water enforcement presence and response capacity throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.

The program announced today will permit the Coast Guard to acquire four mid-shore patrol class vessels to expand the existing east and west coast cooperative arrangement between the RCMP and the Coast Guard to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system. This initiative, together with the establishment of the emergency response teams, will help deal with localized marine security incidents. In the interim, existing vessels will be deployed to the area in the summer of 2005.

Marine Crew and Passenger Screening 
The funding announced today will permit the Canada Border Services Agency's expansion of the existing east and west coast programs to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system region and help marine security officers prevent the entry of illegal immigrants and potential security threats through the marine transportation system. This initiative will enhance the intelligence capacity in relation to irregular marine immigration in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway region, as well as enhancing information sharing within the marine intelligence community both domestically and overseas.

This initiative will support the enforcement of immigration legislation and put in place measures to address threats to Canada's marine security system by groups smuggling people and goods into Canada or through Canada into the United States.

Automatic Identification System Shore Station 
Up to $5 million is included for a program that will permit the Canadian Coast Guard to extend the automatic identification system currently being implemented on Canada's coasts and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system to the Upper Great Lakes. This system is a ship tracking and information system that employs broadcast technology. Under international protocols, certain ships are regulated and must carry a transponder that broadcasts sufficient data to identify and track the vessel at Canadian Coast Guard shore stations. This will provide coverage for up to 40 nautical miles in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and take in a high percentage of vessel traffic approaching our coasts. System information will be uploaded on a real time basis to the Department of National Defence via the existing marine traffic information systems. The inclusion of the Upper Great Lakes within the system shore station coverage plays an important role in ensuring effective domain awareness in shared Canadian and American waters.

Up to $16 million will be provided for programs that help secure the North American perimeter.

Secure Radios for On-Water Response Teams
This initiative, which began under the National Security Policy in 2004, will obtain and install common, inter-agency radio systems for secure maritime communications.

The support announced today will permit the Department of National Defence to provide compatible and secure portable radio systems to Government of Canada agencies, such as Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Coast Guard, the RCMP and Transport Canada, engaged in marine security duties along the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway and on the coasts.

High Frequency Surface Wave Radar 
The funding for this National Defence initiative will expand the operation of the Canadian Forces' high frequency surface wave radar project and improve Canada's ability to detect and monitor maritime activity in strategic surveillance areas off our coasts.

This long-range radar project, now in development, will permit the construction of up to five sites at strategic locations on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. With this new funding, an additional two sites can be brought up to operational status, further enhancing Canada's surveillance coverage.

Modification of Halifax-class Patrol Frigates to Accommodate Emergency Response Team Boats
The funding announced today will permit the modification of the Canadian Forces Halifax-class frigates to support the carriage, launch and recovery of the RCMP emergency response team boats. In doing so, this measure will further integrate on-water coordination and response operations on Canada's coasts and through collaborative inter-agency arrangements, and provide cost-effective enhancements to Canada's mid-shore response capacity.

This initiative will develop and install modified fast response vessel cradles, capable of storing and launching vessels suitable for both RCMP and Canadian naval operations.

April 2005

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