Evaluation of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Capability

About the program

In an effort to coordinate Canada's response to a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) threat or incident, the Government of Canada introduced the Public Safety and Anti-Terrorism (PSAT) initiative as a component of the 2001 federal budget. As part of this initiative, the RCMP was one of five departments assigned CBRN-related funding and responsibilities. Specifically, the RCMP was allocated approximately $32 million over five years to enable the organization to build a CBRN response capability that included identifying, training, and equipping Regular Members (RMs) as well as establishing a regional presence in order to rapidly diffuse potential national security threats and to collect evidence.

Responsibilities were divided between the RCMP's Contract and Aboriginal Policing (CAP) and Specialized Policing Services (SPS). CAP manages the CBRN First Responder Program. Within SPS, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE)Footnote 1 Operations group established an operational CBRN capability across Canada. The Forensic Sciences and Identification Services (FS&IS) branch within SPS provides the forensic identification component of the CBRNE National Response Team.

What we examined

The evaluation covered the period from April 2011 to March 2014. Evaluators examined relevant documents and literature; conducted a review of performance and financial data; and administered interviews to senior management, program management, and front line RMs.

What we found

Following sunsetting of PSAT funds, the RCMP worked to maintain its enhanced capability by continuing to fund the various service lines at the divisional, regional, and national levels. However, the enhancements to the CBRN response capability included a number of business lines that operated independently and would benefit from strengthened governance.

What we recommend

All relevant internal stakeholders should come together to strengthen governance. This would include:

  • a clear organizational lead be identified;
  • options to improve service delivery be explored;
  • roles and responsibilities be clarified, documented, and communicated;
  • stakeholders share and leverage existing best practices across business lines;
  • key metrics and tracking procedures to assess and support decision making moving forward be identified and implemented.


Date modified: