Improving Safety for CAF Personnel

KEN POLE  –  Apr 7, 2017

07 Apr 2017

The federal government should continue to strengthen its plans and processes for improving the safety of Canadian Armed Forces personnel at all facilities, the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence said April 6.

Its recommendation, in what was essentially a single-page report to Parliament, is prompted by three high-profile attacks in recent years.

In October 2014, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run down by a vehicle outside a support centre for ill and injured serving and retired CAF personnel in St-Jean- sur-Richelieu, and Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot from behind while standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

“These two murders, perpetrated by radicalized individuals, reinforced the vulnerability of Canada and of Canadian women and men in uniform to terrorist attacks,” the committee said. 

Then, in March 2016, two other uniformed personnel were attacked by a knife-wielding assailant at a recruitment facility in Toronto.

There was no supporting testimony for the report, which is based on an in camera meeting last November with Major-General William F. Seymour, Chief of Staff (Operations) at the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC), and Brigadier-General Robert Delaney, CAF Provost Marshal and Commander of the Canadian Forces Military Police Group.

The report does note that they discussed “the complex and dynamic” threat environment, the roles and responsibilities of CAF individuals, units and commanders, risk mitigation and force protection measures, CAF cooperation with other government departments and police services.

“Though the study initially focussed on the domestic front, the discussion evolved to include threat perspectives and force protection measures abroad,” the committee said, adding that it intends “to stay apprised of this critical issue and to continue its dialogue with the government […] on how best to ensure the security and safety of CAF personnel, infrastructure, and assets both at home and abroad.”

-Ken Pole