CATSA is a federal Crown Corporation and is regulated by a separate entity - Transport Canada - and is the only national security organization in Canada responsible for most areas of air transport security.
We should be under no illusions; terrorism is evolving. We are witnessing the emergence of a new kind of terrorism where the ultimate goal is not to achieve a political solution to a grievance but to strike fear through killing innocent people and destroying financial/economic infrastructures and thus putting in doubt the safety of transportation systems such as air travel. There is little doubt therefore that air transportation will be a target of future attacks.
These threats affect every country's civil aviation system. The threat of terrorists using the air transportation system could cause carnage in any number of places on the planet. This is a global danger and one that can leave no one indifferent or passive.
These shared dangers demand a shared international response. Countries around the world have a common interest in taking immediate action to reduce vulnerabilities within our systems. And time is not on our side. The need to do more -- faster and better-- has never been so urgent.
Countries are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new technology for pre-board screening, for hold baggage screening, for non-passenger screening, for perimeter screening, for cargo screening and whatever is needed to avoid the threat. This equipment is the best, most advanced and costly machinery ever deployed in airport screening.
However, as often happens with new technology, the human resource management system needs time to adapt to change.
New screening methods call for specific skills to use the new and enhanced technologies, as well as preparing screening officers for more sophisticated interpersonal interaction with individual travellers.
Given the importance of this development - and its impact on security - questions are emerging about which methods are best for the training of screening officers.
In Canada, CATSA has taken the approach of integrating people and technology in its training and certification program in what we believe is an innovative system.
Approximately a year ago, CATSA set up a National Training & Certification Program that combines Blended Learning and Evidence Based Training to ensure that our security screening sites in Canada are staffed by screening officers who not only have received a top-notch educational base but who are also given continuing, interactive education on the latest detection techniques. (I would like to acknowledge Constantine Karmokolias; Robin Taber and Sarah Abdi from Galaxy Canada who were our contractors for this initiative).
Blended Learning is a relatively new form of training that attempts to incorporate the most advantageous elements of a number of different training models. Various instructional methods and technologies are used to deliver effective training with flexibility and efficiency. CATSA's program includes traditional components of live, stand and deliver training but has added computer and web-based training to its curriculum.
Evidence-Based Training involves integrating the findings of research into the design and implementation of training programs. This applies specifically to on-the-job training where officers are placed in a simulated environment and interact with each other.
Every Canadian pre-board screening officer today must undergo a minimum of 3 levels of training, totalling over 180 hours of training. They are tested and certified at every level in the program, not just at the end.
What makes us unique in our approach is - whether it is the selection process, the training process, the certification process or the continuous personal development - data is collected at every step in the process so that we can monitor strengths and weaknesses and adapt and customize our training program to reflect individual needs.
Screening officers are also supervised and tested on an ongoing basis using the same data collection techniques. Further training is constantly provided to make sure screening officers' skills are kept up-to-date and current. Our training program also emphasizes the need for good customer service.
To complement this, we are also developing a "smart card" for all screening officers that will include relevant personal data, security clearance information, training and certification credentials and officer qualifications, all of which will be available through a swipe of the Smart Card. I should tell you that unlike many other countries, Canada's screening officers come to CATSA from the private sector. CATSA funds security providers who in turn pay screening officers at rates that are higher than those that were in place before CATSA came on the scene.
Many of our existing contracts will expire in the next few months. As such, we have embarked in a selection process for screening providers that will include a service provider accreditation program and a performance payment program.
The accreditation component will focus on five areas: organizational structure; human resources management; information management; financial management and service delivery management. Our service providers must be compliant in all five areas in order to be considered for a contractual agreement.
By providing accreditation, we will ensure that our contractors have the abilities and capabilities of carrying out the important responsibility of security screening.
We will also monitor our service providers on an on-going basis and provide performance reviews of our contractors on an annual basis. The performance payment program will be based on operational reporting, customer service, screening consistency and cost effectiveness. Our screening providers must meet or exceed our established benchmarks in these areas to receive this performance payment.
We have implemented a rigorous screening program because we must always remember that as sophisticated as our detection equipment gets --- and it is getting better every year --- there will never be a time when machines alone will be able to handle airport security. No technological cocoon can guarantee our airport or airline safety and security.
Our screening officers are critical to airline security and are one of the most important components in our line of defense.
In Canada, they are part of what has become known in the industry as the "layers of the onion" approach.
At the centre of the onion of course, are the plane and the travelling public. Each layer works to protect that core, starting with:
Intelligence - Intelligence information is gathered and shared by a number of agencies worldwide. In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service receive and analyze the risks and information in an effort to prevent terrorist acts and enhance security. CATSA's procedures are driven and influenced by intelligence data.
The Airport perimeter is guarded by a combination of public and private security services including local and federal police and by airport employees. These security agents are not trained to do security screening.
Airlines are the first point of contact with passengers at check-in.
Airline employees check flight documents, government-issued photo ID such as passports or driver's license.
Airlines issue boarding passes that permit entry at screening points. CATSA is responsible for screening passengers and carry-on baggage. CATSA also handles the screening of checked baggage while the airlines are responsible for cargo.
Airports, airlines and CATSA work together to prevent unauthorized access to restricted areas. CATSA is responsible for screening non-passengers and for the development of an enhanced restricted area identification card that will incorporate biometrics.
Air carriers handle the enplaning process and ensure passenger/baggage matching.
Airports are responsible for preventing unauthorized access to the apron, runways and taxiways. Again, CATSA will be developing a special pass for all personnel having access to restricted areas.
Since 9/11, Canada, through its federal police force, the RCMP, has placed Air Protective Officers (APOs) - what Americans call air marshals - on select flights. CATSA is responsible for administering and auditing this program.
As you can see, CATSA has a unique role within the integrated system because we are a specialized security agency, with specific training programs. This approach is not common around the world. As the way in which terrorists might attack us changes, we in the security business must be imaginative, and try to stay one, if not many, steps ahead.
This means a constant reassessment of the proper balance between people and machines, keeping abreast of the best technologies for detecting terrorists and their works, and keeping in constant touch with our counterparts around the world to make sure we profit from each other's unique experiences.
We are all part of a huge, global, interconnected network of people dedicated to ensuring that flying remains a safe, predictable and efficient way to cover the longest distances in the shortest time.
But we also know that the best chance we have of meeting future threats and preventing the deaths of innocent people is by continuing to expand our partnerships with airlines, airports, police and security forces in all parts of the globe.
To achieve that end, I announced recently at the ACI-NA conference in Tampa that CATSA's President and CEO, Jacques Duchesneau will be convening an international conference of national air transport security authorities in the near future to share our experience, our training methodologies, to study and discuss emerging technologies and the many things we all will have learned in our respective countries about fighting the terrorist threat in the air.
We at CATSA know that there is no global "one-size fits all" solution and that each of us will pursue our security objectives on somewhat different paths.
But our shared international goal will always remain the same - the creati – less–ZoomInfo