RCMP Brush Aside Their Own Safety Warnings
In 2004, the RCMP commissioned an Expert Panel to determine the best location for their 911 Emergency Call and Dispatch Center (OCC) in Nova Scotia. The resulting comprehensive 91 page RCMP Expert Panel report chose Truro as the best location.
This same RCMP Expert Panel ruled out only one community in Nova Scotia as “too risky” to be considered as a location for the OCC….Halifax Regional Municipality. This safety warning about HRM was repeated three times in the RCMP report. The main reason for the warning was the close proximity to the other Nova Scotia OCC.
Contrary to these warnings, the RCMP now want to solve an empty office space problem in their Dartmouth HQ building by moving the OCC to the Dartmouth.
In order to justify contravening these repeated safety warnings, the RCMP performed another in-house study in 2017 which has only one mention about safety. The 2017 RCMP study says
“Security risks outlined in the 2004 Report have since been assessed by RCMP Departmental Security, and are no longer a risk to relocating to the Halifax Region”.
In June 2019, I applied through Access To Information for a copy of the “assessment by the RCMP Departmental Security” referred to in the 2017 study, as well as research and data to support this statement.
The RCMP response to my ATIP came last week on June 11, 2020 and is attached. The ATIP response says:
“ The RCMP is not in possession of a Departmental Security Report that analyses the risks outlined in the 2004 study that explains why these risks are no longer applicable”.
The RCMP has no record of the analysis of how these risks have become “no longer applicable”. The RCMP has brushed aside a 91 page RCMP Expert Panel Report with one sentence for which they have no supporting documentation, research or data.
Although the 2017 RCMP report says that the Halifax risks identified in the 2004 RCMP report have now evaporated, events have proven them wrong.
In the last six months, Dartmouth has experienced it’s first earthquakes; Nova Scotia is in lock down for the first time ever due to a Global pandemic; months ago coastal communities including Halifax suffered terrific damage from Hurricane Dorian; and Nova Scotia has just experienced the worst shooting in Canada’s history. To say that the risks in the Halifax Region have all vanished is just not true.
Other federal, provincial and municipal governments do not agree that the risks to Halifax Regional Municipality “are no longer applicable”.
Halifax Regional Council recently declared a “climate emergency” as “a serious and urgent threat”. “HRM staff report identifies risks to Halifax and other coastal communities that include threats to physical infrastructure like buildings, roads, bridges and railways, energy supplies, water and wastewater infrastructure, damage from flooding, high winds, saltwater intrusion and coastal erosion. “
Why is the RCMP moving all of our safety eggs to one basket?
The Government of Nova Scotia Department of Environment says the risk is higher for coastal communities. “We can expect warmer average temperatures, rising sea levels, and more-frequent extreme storms. Nova Scotia is particularly susceptible to these changes because most of our population lives along the coastline, and much of our infrastructure is located in vulnerable areas. ”
Why move the OCC to a “coastal community” resulting on both of Nova Scotia’s OCCs being in that same coastal community? This is the reason that the 2004 RCMP Expert Panel issued the warnings about co-locating in HRM. Nothing has changed.
says “The Atlantic region is subject winter cyclonic storms, tropical cyclones and other severe weather events. There is evidence of recent trends toward greater extremes and higher frequencies of such events. “ Weather threats are getting worse and more often.
Even the latest report of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) says emergency communications systems “face more risks and threats than ever before”.
What the RCMP are not making pubic is that Public Works Canada has threatened the RCMP with substantial fines ($164,100 per year, from an ATIP) if they continue to refuse to allow Public Works Canada to rent vacant the space to other government departments. This space has been vacant for seven years already.
The selection process for a new OCC should be done over again with only safety of Nova Scotians, RCMP officers, and first responders as the main priority……….. not preferred office space. The safety of emergency communications was not the first priority in this RCMP decision and it should be.
I have shared this ATIP response and my concerns with Commissioner Brenda Lucki, Commissioner of the RCMP, and the federal Minister of Public Safety, Hon Bill Blair. Please feel free to ask them how the risks originally identified by the RCMP have suddenly evaporated.
If you need more information, I have a considerable file. I still have two outstanding ATIP requests in the system and I expect those answers soon. RCMP ATIPs are supposed to take 60 days but the RCMP do not always comply with the Access to Information laws. Some RCMP ATIPs have taken over two years to get a response, and then are heavily redacted.
Former Member of Parliament
Mobile 902 397 1305
The ATIP response below says that the RCMP does have a copy of the Report on Feasibility Study of RCMP H Division Operational Communication Centre dated August 31st, 2017. This is the 2017 report that says security risks “are no longer a risk” and brushes aside the three warnings in the 2004 report.
Constance Carlotti – Access to Information Act request A-2019-04092 / F124 Clarification Required
From: Constance Carlotti
Date: 2019-11-07 2:12 PM
Subject: Access to Information Act request A-2019-04092 / F124 Clarification Required
Page 1 of 2
Dear Mr. CASEY:
This is in response to your request under the Access to Information Act, which was received by this office on June 7, 2019, for:
Re: Report on Feasibility Study of RCMP H Division Operational Communications Centre.
I respectfully request a copy of the RCMP Departmental Security Report that analyses the risks outlined in the 2004 study and explains why these risks are no longer applicable. I am also requesting any research and data that resulted in the conclusion that eco-disasters and terrorism are no longer a threat, and why it is now acceptable to eliminate the geographic separation between the two 9-1-1 Communications Centres in Nova Scotia..
I am the analyst responsible for your file.
Please note that after a thorough search for the requested information, the RCMP is not in possession of a Departmental Security Report that analyses the risks outlined in the 2004 study that explains why these risks are no longer applicable.
I did locate a Report on Feasibility Study of RCMP H Division Operational Communication Centre dated August 31st, 2017. This report reviews the H Division Occupational Communication Centre (OCC) H Division to examine and make recommendations on the sustainability of the OCC H Division facility beyond the next ten years.
Please let me know if you would like a copy of this report. Additional documents retrieved that are relevant to this request is a Briefing Note as well an Additional Information Technology Report and RCMP Physical Security Stands.
Your file will remain open in our office for the next 30 days. If we have not received a response by December 9, 2019, this file will be closed. Note, that we will not close a file if we are able to process it. For example, if you are unable to provide consent of other individuals for the release of their personal information; we may still be able to review the file; however, information released to you will be limited.
Please be advised that you are entitled to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner concerning the processing of your request within 60 days after the day that you become aware that grounds for a complaint exist. In the event you decide to avail yourself of this right, your notice of complaint should be addressed to:
Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada 30 Victoria Street, 7th Floor Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3
Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact the undersigned at 1-855-629-5877 or ATIPB@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. Please quote the file number appearing on this letter.
Ms. Constance Carlotti
Access to Information and Privacy Branch
Mailstop #61 73
Leikin Drive Ottawa,
Ontario K1A 0R2 firstname.lastname@example.org