A Collaborative Voice for Canadian Public Safety: Organizational Alignment
February 22, 2010

On February 22, 2010, in an unprecedented display of cooperation, the Canadian Association of the Chiefs of Police (CACP), the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada (EMSCC), in cooperation with Canadian industry through the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) sent a formal request to Industry Minister Tony Clement to meet on the issues they have identified as top public safety priorities, and further relate their vision for developing a world-class public safety information and communications technologies (ICT) sector to help address them. The letter is provided below.

++ Action Item: Please contact Kevin Wennekes, CATA's VP of Research at email kwennekes@cata.ca for further information on a recent organizational alignment to strengthen both Canadian public safety and our economic interests. 

Dear Minister Clement,

As we are sure you will agree, our economy and our security are top priorities, and every Canadian can play a part in advancing these issues.

We at the Canadian Association of the Chiefs of Police (CACP), the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada (EMSCC), in cooperation with Canadian industry through the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance), have taken this message to heart and have begun an unprecedented collaboration to further both Canadian public safety and our economic interests. This collaboration is driven by two realities; that information and communications technologies (ICT) are now playing an increasingly essential role in enabling first responders to 'get the job done', and that we estimate that Canadian public safety agencies will be forced to spend in excess of $2 billion dollars upgrading or replacing aging communications infrastructure during the next decade, at a time when local tax supported funding is under increasing pressure.

Canada has long been regarded as a world leader in the provision of law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services (EMS). Our organizations have been routinely called upon internationally to share information, train and help others — we have always done so with great pride. At the same time, the ICT sector has seen some tumultuous times of late, but is at the cusp of a global advanced technology revolution. Consistent with your objectives as the federal Minister of Industry, Canadian companies are creating a culture of innovation in this country — through our people, knowledge and opportunities.

Together, the major public safety Chiefs Associations of Canada and Canadian industry have a vision for a world-class public safety ICT sector. By working together, we can respond more effectively to Canadian domestic demand at lower costs as old systems are updated and new technologies brought into service, while building Canadian expertise to increase international competitiveness in the $100 billion dollar global market for public safety communications equipment. However, we need your support and limited but targeted federal funding to be made available if our partnership with the private sector is to be successful.

Our collective commitment to work together will foster innovation. For instance, momentum is building on creating a Public Safety Interoperability Centre (PSIC) that would promote Canadian innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing methodologies and tools to support and promote concept development, specification, integration, test and evaluation of communications interoperability capabilities to enhance the safety and security of Canadians. The Centre is one of the key recommendations in the Canadian Communications Interoperability Plan (CCIP) — a national priority identified by the Chiefs' Associations and the Federal Government through Public Safety Canada (PSC).

Industry Canada officials have expressed interest in the concept, and Initial discussions have already been held with your departmental officials, including with Industry Canada's Communications Research Centre, on the possibility of your department playing a support role when such a facility is created. As well, we continue to dialogue with PSC officials and our colleagues at the Canadian Police Research Centre (CPRC) on defining the requirements. It is worth noting that CPRC has been an instrumental partner in moving public safety technology, in particular communications interoperability, forward. CPRC is managed by the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) – Centre for Security Science (CSS), a joint endeavour between DRDC and Public Safety Canada to provide science and technology solutions to strengthen Canada’s ability to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from high-consequence public safety and security events.

However, despite all the excellent advice and expressions of interest we’ve received from these departments and organizations, the costs of establishing and operating such a facility are simply beyond the capabilities of our four associations. Our current estimate is that even with significant 'in kind' industry contributions such a facility, including the development of standard operating procedures and training programs that both professional first responders and our many volunteers will need, will cost approximately $15 million to establish over three years, and its continuing operation plus the subsequent training delivery and exercising activities our association members would need to deliver across Canada’s many communities will require an ongoing $5 million annually thereafter.

As mentioned, we have a vision. We need government leadership, and we need your personal support to help make this work a priority for your colleagues leading PSC and Finance, as well as within your own department. The benefits to the communities we serve, as well as to Canada's ICT companies, will be considerable and long lasting. Accordingly, on behalf of the first responder community and Canadian industry as representatives of the CACP, CAFC, EMSCC and CATAAlliance, we respectfully request an early meeting with you to share our vision in more detail, and to explore ways we can better collaborate with your department in making Canada best-in-world in the public safety ICT sector.

Given the range of federal departments that are involved in issues of public safety and security, we have also copied your colleagues the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable James Michael Flaherty, Minister of Finance.

Thank you very much for your attention, and we look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Original signed by

 

_____________________          ______________________      

Chief William Blair
President, CACP

Chief W. (Bruce) Burrell,
President, CAFC

 

582 Somerset St. West
 Ottawa, Ontario K1R 5K2

280 Albert Street, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G8

 

Original signed by

Original signed by

 

_____________________          ______________________      

Chief Bruce Farr
President, EMSCC

John Reid
President and CEO, CATAAlliance

 

3705-35th Street NE
Calgary, Alberta T1Y 6C2

207 Bank St. Suite 416
Ottawa, ON  K2P 2N2

 

 

CC:         The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety
The Honourable Peter McKay, Minister of National Defence
The Honourable James Michael Flaherty, Minister of Finance
Richard Dicerni, Deputy Minister, Industry Canada