Vanguard Magazine

Aug/Sep 2013

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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Page 19 of 47

I INTEROPERABILITY The roadmap for Inspector (Ret.) Lance Valcour retired from the Ottawa Police Service in 2010 after 33 years of service. He now works for the Canadian Associations of Chiefs of Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services as the executive director of the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG). PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS M any emergency responders in Canada, including members of the Canadian Forces, continue to have significant challenges to talk to each other via radio on a daily basis. This fact has been readily apparent in a number of recent disasters ranging from the terrible floods in Alberta to the massive tragedy in Lac Mégantic, Quebec. However, the future looks far brighter with a wide range of regional, national and bi-national public safety interoperability efforts now underway, including a new Public Safety Wireless Broadband Network leveraging 700 MHz LTE, and work on Canada–United States Cross Border Interoperability. Spearheading many of these initiatives is the Canadian Communications Interoperability Communications Interest Group, or CITIG. 20 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 Public safety network On March 14, 2012, the Minister of Industry announced that the government of Canada was allocating 10 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band for public safety use. This was hailed as great news by the Canadian Associations of Chiefs of Fire, Paramedics and Police. However, the 10 MHz allocation fell short of Canadian responders' call for 20 MHz of the valuable spectrum. While a decision is still pending on a second 10 MHz of broadband spectrum, responders and government officials have been toiling away for the past two years on creating governance models, operational use cases and defining technical requirements. The effort is being coordinated by the Interoperability Development Office at Public Safety Canada, the Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management (SOREM) from all provinces and territories, in partnership with the Tri-Service Chiefs, CITIG, Federation of Canadian Municipalities and a wide range of stakeholders working behind the scenes as part of the 700 MHz Project Management Team. Reporting to the SOREM Interoperability Working Group and under the auspices of the Communications Interoperability Strategy for Canada (CISC), many are calling this work the "largest public safety information and communications technology project in Canadian history." While national in nature, delivery will be led, managed and funded at the provincial/territorial and local levels. As a result, these jurisdictions are now working on developing their own governance and business models. Many, if not all, will require strong partnerships with industry and a long-term vision and execution strategy. In terms of identifying and raising awareness about the 700 MHz issue, CITIG has been leading the charge in Canada. Created in 2007 and now led by the CACP, CAFC and EMSCC, CITIG's mission is "to improve Canadian public safety interoperability at home and abroad through collaborative efforts, innovation and leadership." The 1,600-plus volunteer associates from across Canada, the U.S. and the world are primarily from first responder agencies, but also include all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, associations, academia and industry. All share a common interest in enhancing public safety communications interoperability in Canada and internationally.

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