Report 4—Physical Security at Canada’s Missions Abroad—Global Affairs Canada

At a Glance Report 4—Physical Security at Canada’s Missions Abroad—Global Affairs Canada

What we examined (see Focus of the audit)

Global Affairs Canada operates 175 diplomatic and consular missions in 110 countries. Security events, such as terrorist attacks in Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as ongoing instability and armed conflict in the Middle East, mean that the security environment in which these missions operate is evolving and dynamic.

This audit focused on whether Global Affairs Canada met its physical security needs at missions abroad to protect its staff and assets.

Why we did this audit

This audit is important because missions are exposed to a range of security threats. The safety and security of those working in and visiting missions abroad depends on accurate and timely assessments of threats and risks, the physical and operational measures in place to mitigate risks, and the awareness and proper training of staff members.

Overall message

Overall, Global Affairs Canada had not taken all measures needed to keep pace with evolving security threats at its missions abroad. The Department had identified security deficiencies that needed immediate attention at many of its missions. Many of these deficiencies were significant. Several had been identified years ago, yet not all of the recommended measures to address them were in place. These measures included improved video surveillance, alarms, and installation of vehicle barriers at entrances.

We found that most of the Department’s capital projects to upgrade security were at least three years behind schedule, usually because of weaknesses in the Department’s project management and oversight.

Because security assessments were missing or incomplete for many missions, Global Affairs Canada did not have the information it needed to prioritize investments on the basis of where they were most needed. Setbacks in resolving physical security vulnerabilities at Canadian missions delay the effective protection of staff members and assets abroad.

What we found about …

Adequacy of physical security at missions

Physical security upgrades at missions

Security awareness training for mission staff

Entity Responses to Recommendations

The entity agrees with our recommendations and has responded (see List of Recommendations).

Related information

Report of the Auditor General of Canada
Type of product Performance audit
Completion date 31 August 2018
Tabling date 20 November 2018
Related audits

For more information

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Illustration with a quote from the report