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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 gps.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Steve Chapin  Vice-President, Track and Trace Solutions, 3M Company
Elise Maheu  Director, Government Affairs, 3M Company Canada
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Andrew Bartholomew Chaplin

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP 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?

May 15th, 2012 / 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 NDP 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.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Okay.

4:20 p.m.

Director, Government Affairs, 3M Company Canada

Elise Maheu

That was to provide a solution with all services included and everything, if we come into a correctional agency, for example.

4:20 p.m.

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

Steve Chapin

Yes, if an agency requested that we provide a full-service solution that included monitoring, perhaps installations, and tracking the equipment, as well as all of the technology I talked about, we currently do that for a number of agencies and would be fully prepared to do it here.

The only thing we would require—and we're very firm about this—is the protocols from the agency. We're not corrections people. We don't want to set protocols; we would have to have a list of those.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

That concerns me a bit. When you install a technology for clients, you adapt to their requests.

4:20 p.m.

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

Steve Chapin

Yes, that's correct.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

I would like to know the history of this technology. I can't help but think of an old Schwarzenegger movie. The bracelet wasn't around the wrist or the foot, but around the neck. When the prisoner strayed or the neckpiece activated, it wasn't pretty.

I would like to know the history of this technology and where it is going. Is it heading toward implants?

4:20 p.m.

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

Steve Chapin

Is it going to implants? I will tell you that the current trend of smaller, cheaper, lighter will continue. We've gone from four pounds to an intermediate device that I didn't bring, which is two pounds, to the one I have here, which weighs around 12 ounces. These will continue to get smaller and smaller until we reach the point—just as we have with cellphones—where it doesn't make any sense to make them smaller.

The problem with an implant device is.... There was a company in south Florida that was selling an implant device, but it was really a device that was an RF tag and required an RF sensor to be very close to it. The problem is that you can't change physics. We have a signal in space that we have to be able to receive. We have an issue with the battery. I'm not particularly anxious to have a lithium ion battery implanted inside of me. Then there is the propagation required for communication.

So while we're not there yet, could it get to implants? Time will tell.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Are there geographic or atmospheric environments in which your system is less effective or less appropriate? For example, in Quebec, there are still regions where cell phones and GPS are much less effective. Are there areas where this system would be much less effective?

4:25 p.m.

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

Steve Chapin

The GPS is very consistent, except in examples that I've already cited—urban canyons and things like that.

Poor cellular coverage is just a fact of life in our business. We see it all the time in every country we operate in. But the operation of the cellular device and the operation of the GPS device are completely separate. If we're not able to communicate, we still continue to record a GPS point as normal and inform the offender of any violations as normal. We can store up to 30 days of points on this device, and whenever the device is able to communicate, it downloads all of that data and picks up any updates.

We also have the ability to equip—it's becoming less and less common—a unit in the house that has a regular, wired phone connection.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Has one of your clients ever had their surveillance system hacked? If so, how long does it take to alert the authorities, in such a case?

4:25 p.m.

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

Steve Chapin

We've never been hacked.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

All right. Tell the Pentagon about that.

4:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Kevin Sorenson

Thank you very much, Mr. Rousseau.

Madam Young, do you have a question?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Wai Young Conservative Vancouver South, BC

I do indeed.

Thank you so much for coming. It's very interesting and great to see that the technology is up to this level.

I was particularly interested when you mentioned the study done in Florida in 2011. Could you tell us a bit more about that and expand on it a bit? It talks about recidivism.

4:25 p.m.

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

Steve Chapin

The study was conducted by a gentleman by the name of Bill Bales. I have access to a copy of that study and would be happy to send it, Mr. Chairman, to the committee, if you desire.

The study looked at 2,700 offenders in Florida who were being tracked by GPS, and there were about 1,000 offenders being tracked by RF, and then there was a population of offenders who were not being tracked with any electronic monitoring at all. The data that was made available was several years' worth of data—I'm sorry I don't remember how many years it was—which Dr. Bales went through to come up with his results.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Kevin Sorenson

Thank you, Mr. Chapin. Certainly, we would like to invite you to send that report to our committee, if you would.

Ms. Young, did you have any other questions?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Wai Young Conservative Vancouver South, BC

Do I have more time?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Kevin Sorenson

You have a little more time.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Wai Young Conservative Vancouver South, BC

Might you expand on what the results of his study were, then, and how you think it can apply to Canada?