Evidence of meeting #40 for Public Safety and National Security in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was device.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

4:10 p.m.

Vice-President, Track and Trace Solutions, 3M Company

Steve Chapin

That's correct.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

As far as additional personnel, really, what you'd be dealing with in Canada is people being released on a probation order or recognizance. I think it's the same in the United States; you may use different terminologies. So the probation officers, if they did not have a GPS or a monitoring device, would have no idea other than the word of a witness saying that the accused or the person charged is not in his or her residence. Tell me if I'm correct or not.

4:10 p.m.

Vice-President, Track and Trace Solutions, 3M Company

Steve Chapin

That's correct.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

This device is an assist to the probation officer or the police department or the correctional facility in monitoring prisoners within a facility. I think you said you do that in the United States. I don't believe we do that in Canada, but we might.

Really, it isn't doing—

[Technical difficulty--Editor]

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

All right. We'll call this meeting back to order. We're listening to 3M's testimony on electronic monitoring. Mr. Norlock, you have two minutes left for your questions.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

My reference to time saving would be investigative time saving. Since 3M doesn't do the investigation, it saves the agency time to investigate, whereas you would provide accuracy. The accuracy is the time-saving device and assists the probation officer or police service or whoever in making sure that all the conditions are met, and the accuracy helps them determine how well the accused or the person attached to the device is behaving in accordance with the regulatory regime. That's what I was referring to.

4:15 p.m.

Vice-President, Track and Trace Solutions, 3M Company

Steve Chapin

I apologize. I misunderstood you. Yes, in that context.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

There's absolutely no need for an apology, but investigations do take time. They all have a dollar value because you're paying people.

One of the concerns this committee had was to do with an urban setting, and the fact that the accused might be going into a subway or into an area where cellphones and GPS...in particular GPS, because cellphones now tend to work better in those confines because there are repeaters. Our concern was the dead zones. In other words, the areas that may pose a problem.

We were told by one of the tracking companies—one of your competitors, I suspect—that some of these issues are becoming less and less of a concern because of the addition of technology.

Do you see anything coming down the pipe? In other words, if an agency contracted 3M, is part of the contract that the technology can be worked into the product as it becomes more sophisticated? Could you précis the evolution?

4:20 p.m.

Vice-President, Track and Trace Solutions, 3M Company

Steve Chapin

The reason we prefer a lease model is that we can continually upgrade and improve our product. As an agency receives new units or replacement units, if the units wear out or if the offender has taken off—and we constantly ship the units—we always ship the latest technology unit.

To go back to your question about an offender entering a subway, GPS absolutely will not work in a subway. In fact, we expect the GPS won't work inside most buildings. Sometimes we get lucky, depending upon the structure of the building, and it does work. But with the technology we're using, we have supplemental terrestrial technology whereby we use cell towers. We don't triangulate, but we know the location of cell towers and we know the location of the nearest cell tower, or perhaps the cellphone repeater, which might be down in a subway. It is not as accurate as GPS, but it is supplemental information.

There are customers or other competitors who tout other tracking technologies, but most technologies are not as accurate as GPS.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you, Mr. Norlock.

I will now move back to the opposition.

Mr. Rousseau, you have five minutes.

May 15th, 2012 / 4:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau Compton—Stanstead, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My first question is for Ms. Maheu, who hasn't spoken much.

You work in Government Affairs. I think I heard that there isn't a contract yet or that you do not yet do business with the Canadian government. Is the type of technology you promote ready-to-use technology? In other words, you claim to have the solution, you show people how it works, how it can be used to make room in overcrowded prisons. Basically, you show people how to manage offenders.

Could you, Ms. Maheu or Mr. Chapin, tell us more about this?

4:20 p.m.

Elise Maheu Director, Government Affairs, 3M Company Canada

I am not an expert in technology, since I am responsible for Government Affairs. 3M Company Canada has 55,000 products. Usually, I ask people like Mr. Chapin to answer technical questions.

I will let him answer you, but I don't think we try to answer that type of question. It is more focused on the technical side. We try to find technical solutions for the requests we receive from government agencies.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau Compton—Stanstead, QC

Have you received requests from the Canadian government?

4:20 p.m.

Director, Government Affairs, 3M Company Canada

4:20 p.m.

Vice-President, Track and Trace Solutions, 3M Company

Steve Chapin

I would like to add that every technology I've talked about today and every capability I have talked about today is available immediately. It's currently in use.