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2005 April Report of the Auditor General of Canada

April 2005 Report—Chapter 2

Exhibit 2.1—Federal response to September 11, 2001

Excerpts from March 2004 Report of the Auditor General, Chapter 3—National Security in Canada—The 2001 Anti-Terrorism Initiative

3.8 On September 11, 2001 the United States suffered an unprecedented terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, destroyed four civilian airliners, and killed thousands of citizens. The immediate effects on Canada were the need to deal with the shutdown of civil air transport and look after passengers on grounded airliners; heightened border security; and a sudden sense of personal and economic insecurity.

3.9 The crisis period lasted several months, during which the federal government had to sustain internal and border security operations at a high level. Defence, intelligence, police, and border control agencies worked to full capacity. Ministers and senior managers sought to deal with policy and budget issues on an urgent basis, while at the same time drafting emergency legislation and guiding it through Parliament.

3.10 In the longer term, the federal government has had to develop policies and programs to deal with the threat of terrorism not only to Canada directly but also to the United States and the rest of the world.

3.11 Management of national security. On 12 December 2003, the Prime Minister announced significant changes to the structure of parliamentary committees, departments, and agencies. The principal changes involving national security were the following:

  • A new department, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, was created from the former Solicitor General Canada. The new department includes the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, transferred from National Defence.
  • The Canada Border Services Agency, reporting to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, comprises the Customs Branch from the former Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the intelligence and enforcement sections from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the border inspection function of food, plant, and animal health from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • The new position of National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister in the Privy Council Office co-ordinates integrated threat assessments, helps strengthen interagency co-operation, and assists in the development of an integrated policy framework for national security and emergencies.
  • The Minister of Transport is now responsible for security in all transportation sectors.
  • A new Cabinet Committee on Security, Public Health and Emergencies manages national security and intelligence issues and activities and government-wide responses to public health, national disasters, and security emergencies. It replaces the Ad Hoc Committee on Public Security and Anti-Terrorism.


3.14 Until December 2003, no single minister below the Prime Minister was responsible for Canada's security. The organizations involved in security reported to their respective ministers, who were accountable for their activities. Ultimately the Prime Minister was, and remains, accountable for the security of the country and therefore provides broad guidance.


3.19 New funding. During October 2001, the government approved several major new allocations of funds, including:

  • $30 million annually to provide immediate, permanent staff increases to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the RCMP, and Transport Canada;
  • $250 million for immediate security initiatives—largely capital and equipment—to 15 departments and agencies;
  • $71.5 million in urgent funding to offset unforeseen costs such as overtime for Customs and the RCMP; and
  • $160 million to compensate Canadian air carriers and specialty operators for losses resulting from the closure of Canadian air space following the September 11 attacks.

3.20 Except for the funds to compensate air carriers, these amounts were part of the $7.7 billion announced in the December 2001 Budget as new spending over 2001–02 and the following five years for enhanced security, emergency preparedness, and improving border infrastructure. The Budget was designed to keep Canada safe, keep terrorists out, and keep Canada's border open. It announced $6.5 billion for security, including the creation of a new air security authority, additional funding for intelligence and policing, and funding for Canada's military; and more than $1.2 billion for initiatives designed to make Canada's border more secure, open, and efficient.

3.21 The Budget included major investments to

  • equip and deploy more intelligence and front-line investigative personnel, improve co-ordination among agencies, and boost marine security ($1.6 billion);
  • improve screening of immigrants, refugee claimants, and visitors (including detention and removal), speed up the determination of refugee claims, and introduce new fraud-resistant Permanent Resident Cards ($1 billion);
  • improve the protection of critical infrastructure and emergency preparedness and response; and expand the military's anti-terrorism capacity ($1.6 billion);
  • create a new air security organization, place armed plainclothes police officers on Canadian aircraft, purchase explosive-detection equipment, and enhance air transportation policing ($2.2 billion); and
  • enhance border security and improve the infrastructure that supports major border crossings to ensure the legitimate flow of goods and people ($1.2 billion).