Mr. Speaker, to better protect the safety and security of our institutions, the Correctional Service of Canada, CSC, continues to explore new, innovative means of preventing and seizing contraband.
The following are instances over the past five years where CSC has sought external advice relating to drone mitigation and signal jamming.
As to signal jamming, on August 3, 2021, CSC met with representatives from Corrective Services New South Wales, CSNSW, to discuss its experiences with the cellphone jamming of contraband cellphones. Following these discussions, CSC began looking into how it may introduce cell jamming technology. CSC has also held consultations with appropriate government departments, including Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Justice Canada.
On February 1, 2023, CSC met with representatives of the Canadian Telecommunications Association, CTA, which represents Canadian telecommunication carriers that provide services and products across the wireless sector. The meeting with the CTA was to discuss mitigation measures involving contraband cellular communication devices.
On June 15, 2023, CSC co-hosted a discussion with the CTA and representatives from all major telecommunications carriers from across Canada. CSC is engaging with this group as part of its efforts to seek a regulatory exemption to deploy jamming technology.
As to body scanners, in September 2020, under contract, CSC worked with the former manager who oversaw the implementation of body scanners in the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
From September 2020 through to June 2021, this individual worked closely with CSC staff and provided first-hand knowledge of infrastructure requirements, operating procedures and training considerations. The contract consisted of the development of a statement of technical requirements and statement of work for the procurement of two body scanners for a pilot trial of body scanner technology at two CSC institutions. Following a successful bidding process, the two devices were procured and deployed at the two institutions. CSC is now working to implement body scanners at other sites across the country.
On May 17, 2023, representatives of CSC attended the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre, a part of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, in Brockville, Ontario, to view a demonstration of its body scanner in operation. This demonstration had been organized by CSC through reaching out to the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
As to uncrewed aerial systems, or drones, on February 7, 2020, CSC sought the assistance of the vice-president of policy and legal affairs at DJI concerning the addition of geofencing to all facilities under CSC responsibility. This was the result of having procured six DJI AeroScope devices, which are radio frequency detection devices to counter drone incursions into CSC airspace.
On October 7, 2021, CSC held a meeting with representatives of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, SPPS, to discuss issues related to drone incursions into prison airspace.
On June 6, 2023, a request for information was posted on CanadaBuys for the Correctional Service of Canada to receive industry feedback regarding counter uncrewed aerial system technology. Specifically, feedback was solicited about technological options and capabilities that would enhance CSC’s ability to counter the risks posed by drones, as well as contractual terms. CSC is currently in the process of reviewing all feedback received.
Through its networks and ongoing partnerships with various international and domestic correctional authorities, CSC has had discussions with other jurisdictions on various matters of shared interest, including their experiences with the use of drones to introduce contraband into prisons and penitentiaries. Examples of correctional authorities that CSC has discussed this subject with include provincial public safety partners such as Quebec’s Minister of Public Safety, and international correctional authorities such as the Government of Australia and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons.
As to cellular devices detection, in an effort to address operational risks related to the unauthorized introduction and use of cellular devices by inmates in federal custody, and to help disrupt criminal activity targeting federal institutions, CSC initiated discussions with the Connecticut state police in the summer of 2022 to learn more about their deployment of detector dog teams specializing in the detection of electronic storage devices.
CSC sent two experienced dog handlers to participate in the 234th Connecticut state police canine team training cohort, which occurred in the winter of 2023. This international consultation and partnership initiative helped CSC obtain specific information about canine training techniques related to the detection of electronic storage devices. CSC is one of the first organizations in Canada to acquire this canine expertise, and the two new detector dog teams have successfully seized several electronic devices.
As to infrastructure and design, on February 9, 2023, CSC sought to receive information from other correctional jurisdictions within Canada about the strategies they use to mitigate the introduction of contraband via drone. As CSC facilities are larger than those of provincial and territorial counterparts, some of the methods used are not operationally feasible for CSC. However, CSC continues to consult with our partners to determine the best approaches for keeping our institutions safe.