RCMP photo

Canada Not Fully Prepared to Respond to Active Shooters, Says Auditor General

Canada’s Auditor General of Canada, Sylvain Ricard, recently presented the spring performance audits. An audit of call centres found that half of 16 million callers could not speak to an agent at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or for Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security. Seven million callers were redirected to an automated system or to a website, or were disconnected. Another million callers hung up. The audit said the situation is unlikely to improve in the near future, given that a 5-year modernization project has resulted in upgrades to only eight of the government’s 221 call centres.

Another audit focusing on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) found that officers did not always have access to the hard-body armor and carbines they need to protect themselves and the public. This audit also showed that a lack of planning around the addition of the carbine to the RCMP’s inventory had impacted the maintenance of these semi-automatic rifles and the annual retraining of officers.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, said he accepts the Auditor General’s recommendations to strengthen the safety of its officers and is working to implement them. In a statement, Goodale said his department has already significantly strengthened its ability to respond to critical incidents and enhance public safety through new and improved policy, equipment, training, supervision and technology, and that these efforts have already demonstrated improved officer safety.

“Training to respond to active threats and using the patrol carbine, a short-barreled semi-automatic rifle, must now be completed by all cadets prior to leaving the RCMP’s training academy, Depot,” said Goodale. “This provides approximately 20 to 25 newly trained members into police operations each week.”

He continued that the RCMP continues to make significant efforts to adapt training practices to the evolving nature of police encounters. For example, new and improved tactical training, specific to active threat response, is now mandatory for all operational RCMP officers.

Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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