Evidence of meeting #30 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was protocol.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Tony Pollard  President, Hotel Association of Canada
  • Scott MacLeod  President, Funeral Service Association of Canada
  • Brian McGarry  Funeral Service Association of Canada
  • Allan Cole  Mortuary Affairs Contractor for Deployed Department of National Defence and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, As an Individual
  • Don Head  Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada
  • Richard Haycock  General Manager, International Association of Venue Managers
  • Sue Lasher  Vice-President, Funeral Service Association of Canada

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Commissioner.

Finally, Mr. Haycock.

May 10th, 2012 / 11:30 a.m.

Richard Haycock General Manager, International Association of Venue Managers

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am proud to be here today representing the International Association of Venue Managers, an organization that is headquartered in Coppell, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

I've been a member of IAVM for 24 years. I have previously served on the board of directors as a district vice-president, as chair of the professional education council, and as chair of the board of education. I currently serve as chair of the membership committee. For the next 30 days or so, I'll continue to be the general manager of Lansdowne Park here in Ottawa.

The mission statement for IAVM states: to educate, advocate for, and inspire public assembly venue professionals worldwide.

The International Association of Venue Managers is an organization committed to the professional operation of amphitheatres, arenas, auditoriums, convention centres, exhibit halls, performing arts venues, racetracks, stadiums, and university complexes. The IAVM provides leadership development, education and research, life safety and security training, and networking resources for the industry.

The association currently serves over 3,800 members worldwide, with approximately 3,000 of those being in North America. We have approximately 150 active members in Canada.

For the purposes of this committee's review of national protocol procedures, it is expected that other contributors to this review will delve into the ceremonial components of such events. Accordingly, the IAVM will provide its comments from the broader perspective of the venue as the event host.

From the outset, it is critically important for all parties involved with the event to have a shared understanding of the environment in which the event is being staged. This would include such things as: cultural influences, whether they be local or regional customs or those having more national or international scope; religion; current events, those being the circumstances leading to the occasion; and the background or history of the key figures involved. This shared understanding puts the venue in the best possible position to contribute to the group's common vision of success.

Whereas some ceremonial components may lend themselves well to a more standardized official protocol manual, it is not practical to think in terms of a standard official manual for event planning. Event planning is a fluid process; it's not an end state. You work toward establishing a planning framework or a guideline, representing your best practices for planning and organizing all applicable venue services.

There are certain fundamentals, of course, that you would want to address, including such things as admissions, parking and traffic, communication, catering, and furniture and equipment.

From the venue perspective, the objective is to honour the ceremonial program and support it by providing a comfortable, safe, and secure environment. Regardless of the venue, the overarching key consideration at all times must be the safety and security of all participants and attendees.

IAVM is an acknowledged international leader in the world of venue management, perhaps most notably through its Academy for Venue Safety and Security, AVSS.

The academy is an intense five-day training school in security planning and life safety management for the public assembly venue management industry. Using classroom sessions and tabletop exercises, AVSS takes students through an in-depth approach to all types of emergencies that can occur at public facilities.

The program encompasses a clearly defined four-stage safety and security planning process: risk and threat assessment; emergency preparedness; security operations plans, procedures, and protocols; and training plans and activities for venue event and security staff.

Another example of the expertise IAVM has developed over the years is that following the events of 9/11, IAVM responded aggressively by developing three best practices planning guides: one for arenas, stadiums, and amphitheatres; one for convention centres and exhibit halls; and one for theatres and performing arts centres. These best practices form the principles for the Academy for Venue Safety and Security's emergency preparedness and planning for venues, teams, leagues, events, and activities.

IAVM readily acknowledges that Canada has successfully hosted numerous world-class sport and entertainment events. There is a wealth of experience across the country at the federal, provincial, and local levels.

IAVM has a strong, ongoing working relationship with national bodies in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross, and would embrace any opportunity to work with Canadian officials in the development of a national event planning and security template that could support all types of official functions or events under the auspices of the Department of Canadian Heritage, as well as Public Safety Canada.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you.

Now we will move to our question and answer time. The first round is seven minutes for the question and the answer. Members often ask questions right up to that seventh minute and then turn it over to the witness who has no time to answer.

Members, you're responsible for your time. If you want the witnesses to answer, make sure you leave them time to answer and everything will go fine.

This is a seven-minute round, and we will begin with Mr. Armstrong.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Now I feel pressured.

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I want to thank all of our guests for being here. The study we're doing is tremendously interesting, and the different suggestions and backgrounds you're bringing here today are going to be very useful for the study.

Mr. Haycock, you mentioned a couple of times that your organization of venue managers has developed a strong relationship with the Government of the United States for security, event planning, and structures, but that currently doesn't exist with the federal Government of Canada. Are you saying there's a better, stronger, and closer relationship between your international organization and the Government of the United States?

11:35 a.m.

General Manager, International Association of Venue Managers

Richard Haycock

I'm reluctant to admit that we do not have a strong relationship with the federal government or the provincial governments. We have a relatively modest number of Canadian members within the association, but that should not undermine or understate the interests of the association in serving the membership worldwide. I know for a fact that there is a very specific interest in developing stronger relationships here in Canada.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

I shouldn't say a strong relationship, because that has a negative connotation. I mean more of a structured relationship, where you're working with them on security issues for different types of venues.

You said your organization has developed three separate planning guides. Convention halls is one, and you have another one for theatres and performing arts centres. When you developed those guides, did you work with government officials in the United States and Canada, or was it something your organization just did in trying to work within existing frameworks you have with officials?

11:35 a.m.

General Manager, International Association of Venue Managers

Richard Haycock

A task force was developed within the association, drawing upon the expertise of members across the board. I can't recall with certainty whether there were any Canadian venue managers as part of that particular task force. There was certainly involvement from American emergency officials. Those guidelines or best practices documents are available to all of our membership, including those of us here in Canada, as a member-only download.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

My background is in school administration; I was a school principal. I know that after 9/11 there was a huge emphasis on emergency preparedness for anyone managing a facility, no matter what the facility was. There were different code-coloured scales for different types of things that could take place.

Is that the same as what you have experienced as a venue manager? Has a lot more emphasis been put on emergency preparedness in the last decade, decade and a half?

11:40 a.m.

General Manager, International Association of Venue Managers

Richard Haycock

That is true, without question. The more rudimentary elements of event planning are things we tend to take for granted, and some of the examples I gave in my presentation.... Life safety and security have taken on an entirely different dimension since the events of 9/11. It's unfortunate that events such as that need to serve as a catalyst sometimes for things to become more proactive.

Certainly within the association a number of programs are ongoing. We've developed protocols for mass sheltering. If you recall, following the incidents in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina, our public assembly venues were called into action for temporary housing.

When you have a large number of displaced people in any community, we represent the physical infrastructure that is most readily available to make that accommodation. So it was a natural extension for which we were not initially well prepared as an organization or as individual venue managers. That has been addressed.

We have the protocol for mass sheltering. We have an arrangement with the American Red Cross, for example, for addressing the registration of displaced persons using a ticketing platform, of all things—as simple as that. Work is continuing on many fronts.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Thank you.

One of the things you mentioned, Mr. Cole, is that there are a lot of different guides and protocols out there for many different organizations, but there's no one source. You mentioned the term “the Canadian way”, particularly in the area of funerals of fallen officials. I would take from what you say that there's a need for that; that is a role for the federal government.

11:40 a.m.

Mortuary Affairs Contractor for Deployed Department of National Defence and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, As an Individual

Allan Cole

I know other people have appeared before the committee. I work very closely with Stewart Kellock, the sergeant for the Toronto Police Service, who came to you and said the same thing, that during a variety of events that we have been involved in, we sought direction from any source in terms of where we could refer to come up with the right way to do things in keeping with Canadian standards and protocols. We found there wasn't a comprehensive document.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

With the remaining time I have left—there's probably not too much of it—could you all agree or disagree, maybe in a couple of quick comments, if we were to make a recommendation that we should try to have the Canadian way—some sort of central program or framework. One of the other things people brought to us is that you have to keep that flexibility. Would you agree that if we made that a recommendation, we would also have to recommend that this is a framework, and you have to maintain flexibility for things like funerals, for example, contacting the family and meeting the family's wishes? Is it safe to say you would all agree with that?

11:40 a.m.

Mortuary Affairs Contractor for Deployed Department of National Defence and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, As an Individual

Allan Cole

Yes. In particular, the multicultural fabric of our nation dictates that we have to have that flexibility to address the variety of needs identified in the Canadian population today.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

You all would agree there is a need for some sort of central document, but not something that binds people too tightly? Is that fair to say?

11:40 a.m.

Mortuary Affairs Contractor for Deployed Department of National Defence and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, As an Individual

Allan Cole

Absolutely.