Canada Ramps Up Public Transport Security
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to constantly improving safety and security in all modes of our transportation system,” said Minister Lapierre. “Over the last few months, we have met with provincial colleagues and major transit and rail operators across the country to discuss security issues. As a result, we are now taking concrete action to address the priority security needs of our passenger rail, mass transit and domestic ferry systems.” The Immediate Action Plan will provide financial assistance, based on a targeted, risk-management approach, to high-volume commuter rail and public transit operators in six urban areas – Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal – to enhance security. Operators in other communities will be eligible for assistance to carry out security assessments and develop plans. It will also allow Transport Canada and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada to provide national leadership and technical expertise on security issues, including developing best practices, assessing new technologies, carrying out exercises, and facilitating a partnership to enhance the security of these systems. “The security of passenger rail and public transit systems requires a partnership involving the federal government, the provinces, municipalities, operators, law enforcement agencies and the public,” said Minister McLellan. “We remain committed to working with our partners, particularly through exercises aimed at improving Canada’s emergency readiness and response capacity.” The action plan includes five complementary components: – Creating a new passenger rail and public transit security contribution program, called RideSecure, focused on commuter rail, subway and major transit systems; – Enhancing Transport Canada’s ability to provide security expertise and specialized technology assessments and to coordinate development and sharing of best practices with its partners in rail and public transit security; – Allowing domestic ferry security enhancements to be eligible for funding under Transport Canada’s Marine Security Contribution Program; – Conducting mass transit emergency preparedness exercises to be led by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada in collaboration with key jurisdictions and stakeholders; and – Creating a new Mass Transit Task Force on intelligence, policing and response. “These initiatives target key areas of the transportation system that have been identified with our partners,” added Minister Lapierre. “We will continue our collaborative efforts to identify and address surface transportation security needs in the future.” “The Immediate Action Plan will contribute towards the enhanced safety and security of the many Canadians who rely on public transit,” added Minister McLellan. “It also delivers further on the Government of Canada’s commitment under the National Security Policy, designed to address current and future threats.” Today’s announcement builds on the more than $9 billion that has been committed to enhancing Canada’s national security by the Government of Canada since 2001, including more than $3 billion allocated to transportation security initiatives.