For your benefit, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Michael Duheme is the Chief Superintendent and Director of the Parliamentary Protective Service.
Before continuing, I will give everyone time to access the simultaneous interpretation. As usual, the interpreters do an excellent job.
At times I will use the acronym, PPS, to refer to the Parliamentary Protective Service.
The supplementary (C)s for the PPS total just over $17 million. I'll provide you with an overview of the items as follows: first, Parliament Hill security model enhancements; second, parliamentary protective service transition and establishment initiatives; and third, employee benefit plans.
Before I start, I must stress that for security purposes, of course, I'll be a bit limited in the level of operational detail that I can provide, or that we can provide, and I thank you in advance for your understanding.
As you know, the PPS is quite new, having been established by statute on June 23, 2015. The service is responsible for all matters relating to physical security throughout our parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill.
The Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons are responsible for administrative oversight and providing general policy direction to the service, which is under the operational control and management of its director, Mr. Duheme, a member of the RCMP. The governance was designed in this manner so that both Speakers could ensure that the powers, privileges, rights, and immunities of the Senate and House and their respective members remain paramount in the delivery of enhanced protective services.
The need for greater operational coordination among the security partners has long been identified as a priority. In fact, Mr. Chairman, in 2007, the Senate, the House of Commons, and RCMP created the master security planning office to achieve just that. Recommendations from the Auditor General and various parliamentary committees further reinforced the need for integration. Prompted by the events of October 22, 2014, members of the House of Commons adopted a motion calling upon the Speakers of both chambers to invite the RCMP to lead operational security throughout the precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, while respecting the privileges, immunities, and powers of the respective Houses and ensuring the continued employment of our existing and highly respected parliamentary security staff.
This culminated in the creation of the PPS seven months ago. With that, the RCMP's Parliament Hill security unit and the protective services of the Senate and House were formally integrated.
The establishment of the PPS was a significant step forward in removing silos among the three security partners. Each of course brings unique expertise to the partnership, and as the organization works to fully complete its transition to a single and fully unified entity, our ability to protect senators, members, staff, and visitors, who are all vitally important to all of us, is enhanced.
As of today, PPS is well prepared operationally to deliver on its protective mandate proactively, efficiently and effectively.
Since its inception, PPS has implemented a number of initiatives that are focused on enhancing and improving interoperability, security and integration within the Parliamentary Precinct and on the grounds of Parliament Hill.
The PPS focus is on deploying resources in a manner that effectively uses the range of expertise that already exists within the current complement of employees. This integration is further strengthened by the implementation of a single command oversight mechanism, the formalization of an intelligence unit and general improvements to information-sharing in threat detection and coordination.
As well, Defence Research and Development Canada is currently completing a review to inform the physical security infrastructure within the precinct. Their objective is to provide research-based advice for the PPS to consider as it moves forward.
At the same time, the PPS, along with the Senate corporate security directorate and the House of Commons corporate security office, is establishing security awareness initiatives aimed at ensuring parliamentarians, our employees, administrative staff, and all others who provide us support here on Parliament Hill know exactly what to do during an emergency, something we can all see the benefit of.
Finally, the PPS is currently establishing specific policies and procedures that will effectively support the service's work. While the former Senate and House of Commons protection services and the RCMP are now an integrated unit, the PPS is still very much an organization in transition, which brings me to the content of the supplementary (C)s.
As the transition continues, the PPS remains committed to enhancing security awareness and exercising stewardship over all of its resources through operational efficiencies, capacity development, and enhancing interoperability. As noted earlier, the total amount in these estimates is just over $17 million for security model enhancements, transition and establishment initiatives, and employee benefit plans.
I'll first discuss the Parliament Hill security model enhancements.
The amount required is $14.4 million for the PPS to maintain an enhanced posture on Parliament Hill that is reflective of the current and evolving threat environment. As I understand it, essentially these funds are being transferred from the response money of the RCMP over to the House.
As of June 23, 2015, the responsibility for the RCMP Parliament Hill detachment was effectively transferred to the PPS. The $14.4 million will stabilize the RCMP's human and financial resources dedicated to supporting the enhanced security model on Parliament Hill and throughout our parliamentary precinct.
Second is an amount of $2.5 million for the Parliamentary Protective Service transition and establishment initiatives. This funding supports establishment initiatives required for PPS to become an independent Parliamentary entity. As well, the funding is used to manage the transition to a unified service and develop an organization structure that is aligned with the PPS mandate. This includes telecommunications, computers, software licences, project management fees as well as new full time equivalents to support operations and corporate functions such as information technology management, corporate finance and human resources.
The third item is an amount of $275,532 needed for employee benefit plans, a statutory cost currently borne by the PPS.
In conclusion, I'd like to thank every member of the PPS for their service. I must say that this morning when I arrived at the back door of Centre Block, at about seven minutes to seven—normally the door is open at 7 o'clock—I was really pleased that there was actually someone there to open it a few minutes early. I really appreciated that, just as I always appreciate the work of our service.
I would also like to thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to provide you with an overview of the Parliamentary Protective Service supplementary estimates (C). Chief Superintendent Duheme will be happy to answer any questions you may have.