Author Topic: Cormorant problems  (Read 68512 times)

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aesop081

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2008, 15:02:48 »
I remember years ago discussing the purchase of these aircraft to replace the chinooks. At first I thought great about bloody time. But after some discussion with an AVN friend of mine I changed my mind. It would have been a good purchase if the government would have bought this airframe for both search and rescue and a maritime version for the ships.  That way we could have increased our SAR capabilities and replaced the Sea Kings, in addition having a common platform decreases the amount of time spent on training repair crews.  As it stands now we have techs for Sea Kings, Griffins, and Comorants and coming on line shortly the new Chinooks and Cyclones. We have a limited number of techs as it is, by having so many different airframes you make that pool of specialized personnel even smaller.



CH-149 technicians are civilians and is done by contract with IMP so it really doesnt affect the CF in terms of training.

Offline Ditch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2008, 23:40:40 »
I It would have been a good purchase if the government would have bought this airframe for both search and rescue and a maritime version for the ships.  That way we could have increased our SAR capabilities and replaced the Sea Kings,

This is exactly what the Mulroney Conservative government signed with EHI (now AWIL).  It was the idiot Cretin and his bumbling fools that canceled that contract and eventually got us our version of the LSVW.

Having civi maintainers wasn't always a part of the plan either - it just worked out this way - for better or for worse.

Bemoan the airframe if we like - it is still far superior to the chopper it replaced.  It has done SAR missions that would have turned the Lab back at the outset.  Maintenance issues aside, the operators love this machine and we are slowly fixing each issue one by one.
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Offline SteveB

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2008, 11:51:07 »
I have a question about the user interface issue.  As a pilot, I understand the difficulty different switch locations, system architectures and display systems pose.  That said, in civilian flying they are a part of life.  Recently Cargo Jet purchased 767s with the new -400 cockpit and the Pegasus FMC system.  All training and checking for the new type was conducted in Miami on simulators with the old -200/300 cockpit.  No further training was conducted and the first experience the pilots had with the new cockpit was on line.  Now, that was done with TC's full knowledge and approval.  Frequently, pilots of older fleets, such as 727s, have many different cockpits and systems to contend with as the aircraft were originally built at different times and for different airlines before being converted to cargo and purchased by the current user. 

I'm not using this as an example of a perfect world, far from it, ;) just pointing out that with some additional training one crew can operate the same basic craft with substantially differing interfaces.  Now, I know that spares and maintenance would be another kettle of fish but, with IMP  ??? doing the maintenance, that should be doable.

Offline AVS Randy

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2008, 12:38:22 »
Cutting back on inspections to meet the flying objectives is a poor choice of words. A review of the inspection manual is possibly required to fine tune the number and frequency of inspections which could reduce the number of maintenance man-hours per flying hour.

Corrosion was also detected near the fuel tanks last year. Perhaps it should have stated 'Corrosion was found near the fuel tanks last year as
expected, considering the Cormorant was working in a salt water environment and the design of the floors did not prevent water from accumulating or draining from the fuel tank area.
 
Expecting each aircraft would be on the flight line 75 per cent of the time was realistic if the inspection manual was not so labour intensive and the the tail rotor problems were easily rectified by the OEM .

The Cormorant has many good points which all pilots and maintainers could attest too. Fix the tail rotor problems and adjust the maintenance schedule then possibly the 75 percent could be a reality.

Offline kj_gully

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2008, 11:27:51 »
I have a question about the user interface issue.  As a pilot, I understand the difficulty different switch locations, system architectures and display systems pose.  That said, in civilian flying they are a part of life.  Recently Cargo Jet purchased 767s with the new -400 cockpit and the Pegasus FMC system.  All training and checking for the new type was conducted in Miami on simulators with the old -200/300 cockpit.  No further training was conducted and the first experience the pilots had with the new cockpit was on line.  Now, that was done with TC's full knowledge and approval.  Frequently, pilots of older fleets, such as 727s, have many different cockpits and systems to contend with as the aircraft were originally built at different times and for different airlines before being converted to cargo and purchased by the current user. 

I'm not using this as an example of a perfect world, far from it, ;) just pointing out that with some additional training one crew can operate the same basic craft with substantially differing interfaces.  Now, I know that spares and maintenance would be another kettle of fish but, with IMP  ??? doing the maintenance, that should be doable.

Without "dissing" pilots of cargo jets, the skill set required to fly SAR helicopter (low level, night vision ops, poor weather)  is markedly different from flying airways. It is a task saturated environment, and there really is no place for a crewmember to have to remember which airplane he's in during critical phases of flight, of which there are many more than flying cargo.

Offline oldtech

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2008, 11:49:03 »

My prediction is that the CH148 will have its share of problems during its introduction to service.
I am afraid that it will probably be worse. The only part of the 148 that is non developmental is the green airframe and that does not even include the folding tail, which is new design for that airframe. There is nothing on the 148 that has been tested. The back end will really be a challenge.
The Cormorant problems, which have been discussed to death really boil down to a flawed program, not just the procurement. There was not enough money allotted to begin with and when the decisions were made to divert spares and support money to other things with the thought that normal operations and maintenance at HQ would procure more and replenish often, the hammer came down on "traditional" ways of doing business. More parts could be ordered, maintenance could be altered and with Military folks at the pointed end, you could get things done but no, alternative service delivery was the ointment of the day and IMP was smeared on the unsuspecting butts. They could do things better right?  Well, the fact is that they could not and can not. IMHO when you pull the Military folks out of the loop, you lose the flexibility to do ops, in any theater. When the union or overtime avoidance contractor has control, it is difficult to operate a SAR unit.?

Offline AVS Randy

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2008, 16:52:46 »
The Cormorant is not a lost cause. It far exceeds the aircraft it replaced. Growing pains are a fact of life. Military techs or civilian techs was a question of economics and political will. This aircraft was designed for SAR operations and not military operations . A variant of this aircraft has been purchased for the US president. It has 3 engines and the ability to fily with two. Safety of the aircrew was a key factor in the selection of the aircraft. This aircraft will be inservice for 30 plus years. The project office knew their were compromises and the objective was to get the best basic airframe for the dollars provided.  A common thread in discussions about the Cormornant since it was purchased was the lack of good information and too much speculation.

Offline Spencer100

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2008, 10:46:23 »

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2008, 11:01:43 »
Maybe we do need to get a few more. What's the alternative, given the "emotion" of the Canadian public (and the fear it evokes in politicians)?  From the full CP story (usual copyright disclaimer):
http://www.680news.com/news/national/more.jsp?content=n121565A

Quote
Canada's air force is considering whether to buy or lease more Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters because the existing fleet is too often sidelined with mechanical difficulties and inspections.

Adding to the current stable of 14 choppers at three air bases is among the proposals to resolve availability problems that have plagued the military since the aircraft was acquired five years ago, said Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt, chief of air staff.

"What we are trying to do is analyze this based on facts, because when you get into search and rescue you get into a lot of emotion," Watt told The Canadian Press in a recent interview.

"This is something that is near and dear to Canadians' hearts and when we lose a citizen as a result of a search-and-rescue incident we all take it personally."

Defence sources have suggested a plan to buy or lease as many as five more Cormorants or CH-149s is getting serious consideration at National Defence. Watt said no final decision has been made.

The federal cabinet has yet to consider such a proposal, he said.

An internal air force review last winter recommended that four more helicopters be added.

In addition to that study, Watt ordered his air staff and the department's operational research branch to conduct a thorough analysis of search-and-rescue incidents - where they happened, the time of day, what kind of rescue occurred and the type of aircraft used.

The research will help air force planners in deciding how many aircraft are needed and where...

Frequent inspections for tail-rotor cracks and other mechanical problems have meant the CH-149s have been available for missions only 50 per cent of the time, rather than the 75 per cent that manufacturer AgustaWestland promised.

Watt said flight engineers are working with the company to boost availability.

"It is not satisfactory at 50 per cent. It is not what they promised. And it's not good enough," Watt said.

Originally stationed at four air fields across the country, the Cormorants were pulled out of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., and their search-and-rescue duties handed to CH-146 Griffon utility helicopters, which are designed to transport troops and army supplies.

Although he described it as "a work-around solution," Watt acknowledged that continuing with the Griffons, but perhaps modifying them, is something else that can be considered.

"We're looking at all the options to bring the SAR (search-and-rescue) system to a level of maturity for the long term, in order to make the situation better."

Canada initially purchased 15 Cormorants, a variant of the EH-101, from AgustaWestland but one was lost in a 2006 crash off Nova Scotia. The air force had recommended purchasing more, but 15 was the most the former Liberal government was prepared to buy.

Two bases have had trouble keeping their Cormorants airborne. Comox, B.C., was reduced to just one chopper last December and Gander, N.L., went without any helicopters last summer.

Lt.-Gen. Watt (who knows helicopters) seems to be putting on a bit of public pressure himself.

Mark
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2008, 11:16:42 »
Question:

As the CF doesn't do CSAR - if we did, SAR techs wouldn't dress in bright orange - should we leave the business altogether?  Pass the airframes and the responsibility to the Coast Guard.  Close the Airborne School (as we promised to do) and buy any training we need from allies (mostly for the SOF types).

Or is that heresy?
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Offline pipstah

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2008, 11:13:50 »
Good day dapaterson,
                              correct me if I'm wrong but you are asking if it's heresy that the CF close the Airborne School and leave the SAR support (I guess all of it, FWSAR and RWSAR) to the coast guard because we don't do CSAR? Why should we leave the SAR world because we don't do CSAR? I'm wondering as well, what is the end result you're looking for by doing so? Saving money?
Fangs of death
RESCUE!

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2008, 12:32:17 »
Question:

As the CF doesn't do CSAR - if we did, SAR techs wouldn't dress in bright orange - should we leave the business altogether?  Pass the airframes and the responsibility to the Coast Guard.  Close the Airborne School (as we promised to do) and buy any training we need from allies (mostly for the SOF types).

Or is that heresy?

I'll echo this question - at least the first part.  The SAR types around here can feel free to interject, but this seems to be almost a purely civil function; why is it the CF that does this in the first place?

As for the CFSALW (I think thats right) I believe there is still enough of a critical mass within CANSOFCOM to justify the need for a jump school - as well, the school has other functions which we still need outside of jumping.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Ditch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2008, 17:41:05 »
In Canada - SAR is the domain of DFO (Coast Guard), RCMP and the Canadian Forces.  Federal responsibility covers all aviation incidents, any salt-water body of water and MedEvacs that the province can't handle.

Why the CF and not DFO?  I attribute the reasoning behind that to our training system, our pool of aviation personnel and the fact that we don't have over-time (unlike RCMP and DFO).

Our SAR RW and FW aircrew are trained beyond that of a civilian pilot - also beyond what they can legally do in the civilian world.  The CF has its own flying regulations - DFO and RCMP aircrew must abide by Transport Canada regulations.  DFO and RCMP do not train their aircrew - they do not possess the ability or facilities to do this - the CF does.

A nation's military is not just a war machine - take DART for instance, floods, ice storms, snow storms, etc...
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2008, 18:36:33 »
I'll buy that for $200 Zoomie - makes sense to me.

Cheers
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2008, 16:04:08 »
Latest on Cormorants from Aerospace Daily & Defense Report:
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/CHHEL12238.xml&headline=AgustaWestland%20Tackles%20CH-149%20Issues

Quote
The availability of Canada’s CH-149 Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters is improving after manufacturer AgustaWestland took action to improve spares provisioning, and inspection requirements were changed.

Earlier this year, an official report revealed availability of the 14 helicopters was less than 50 percent, well below the 75 percent expected when Canada purchased the EH101-based Cormorants in 1998.

The study said minimum operational requirements could only be met by buying more aircraft or reducing maintenance inspections. Canada purchased 15 Cormorants, but lost one, and the helicopters equip only three of the originally planned four operating bases.

The Department of National Defence (DND) denies Canadian media reports it is considering buying or leasing up to five more Cormorants [emphasis added], but says it is still evaluating the effectiveness of AgustaWestland’s recovery plan.

An operational availability improvement program instituted with Canada has made “genuine inroads” into overcoming the issues, says Jeremy Tracy, AgustaWestland’s head of region for Canada.

The program involves more attention to spares provisioning and the return of repaired and overhauled items, he says. Suppliers are being held to the provisioning times offered, and inspection intervals have also been adjusted to reduce maintenance downtime.

“As the aircraft matures we are able to reduce the maintenance burden,” Tracy says. Canada has now begun inspecting tail-rotor hubs for cracks every 200 flight hours, in common with other EH101 operators, instead of every 100 hours.

Working with the DND and maintenance prime contractor IMP, AgustaWestland has been able to get a better understanding of spares provisioning requirements, he says. “We have provided as many as we can against the target threshold.”..

Tracy says the program already has improved the availability of the Cormorants, citing recent statistics showing nine aircraft out of 14 available. This is an improvement over the 50 percent rate, but still short of the 75 percent target.

Availability varies day to day, the DND says, adding that “while the trend appears to be improving, the availability rate for the Cormorant has recently averaged six to seven aircraft available out of the total of 14 [emphasis added]."..

Mark
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #40 on: December 24, 2008, 17:51:22 »
dapaterson, CFLAWC is active enough in ensuring that suitable parachute and load/rigging training is provided to CF elements that need it, that it's doors will definitely be open for a long time to come.  SAR Tech training support is only a small part of its overall activity levels.

On the SAR issue, Zoomie has noted some legislative and institutional limitations/constraints that exist today.  Even in civil/governmental (non-CF) aviation, however, there are special operating waivers that can be requested of TC to accomplish required tasks.  NVG use has been a long time coming in the civilian world, currently only starting in Canada for MEDEVAC helicopters, but I am certain their use will expand.  The main issue remains the 'whole of Government' position that DND is the lead agency for SAR activities.  Until the government decides that TC through DFO/CCG does SAR, DND will remain the main provider.

Cheers
G2G

Offline gwp

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #41 on: December 24, 2008, 18:16:47 »
The main issue remains the 'whole of Government' position that DND is the lead agency for SAR activities.  Until the government decides that TC through DFO/CCG does SAR, DND will remain the main provider.
Cheers
G2G
The National SAR response is the responsibility of the Interdeparmental Committee on Search and Rescue that reports to the Search and Rescue Secretariat that reports to the MND who happens to be the lead Minister for Search and Rescue. 

Because it can ... DND provides Joint Coordination.  Air Command is but one participant in Air Search and Rescue.  While the MND reports to Government, DND is not the lead agency.

http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/index_e.asp

http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/reports/nsp/2006plan/programplan_e.asp

The particular role of DND is found here:

http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/reports/nsp/2006plan/annexA3_e.asp
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 19:20:36 by gwp »

Offline gwp

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #42 on: December 24, 2008, 18:19:11 »
delete
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 18:25:09 by gwp »

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #43 on: December 24, 2008, 18:49:35 »
The National SAR response is the responsibility of the Interdeparmental Committee on Search and Rescue that reports to the Search and Rescue Secretariat that reports to the MND who happens to be the lead Minister for Search and Rescue.  Because it can ... DND provides Command and Control and Air Command is but one participant in Air Search and Rescue.  DND is not however the lead agency.

http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/index_e.asp

The particular role of DND is found here:
http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/reports/nsp/2006plan/programplan_e.asp

Your point was?  That a committee is doing all the work? That it's not the Department but rather Minister Mackay who sits in his corner office controlling search and rescue activities?  I believe you knew what I meant regarding DND provision of SAR services.  Perhaps I should have been more clear and said Canadian Aviation SAR response.

If you are able to point folks to all the appropriate NSS web pages, then you could have also taken the time to note that Federal jurisdiction Aviation and Maritime SAR is coordinated by primarily* through the joint efforts of DND and the CCG at the three national Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCCs) across Canada.

*Note: Acknowledgment that while DND/CF and DFO/CCG provides the material majority of SAR operational response, there is contribution from six Federal Departments/Agencies in the provision of National SAR Program services; Canadian Forces, Canadian Coast Guard, Environment Canada's Meteorological Service of Canada, Parks Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Transport Canada.

G2G

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2008, 21:19:56 »
Good2Golf: Quite.  An unless and until the government decides to give the CCG a real aviation component, staffed by CCG personnel, things cannot change.  Or one could get the federal government out of the primary aerial SAR role, at least inland.

CCG helicopters' role here,
http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Careers_Helicopters

pilots actually from Transport Canada:
http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Fisheries-And-Oceans-Canada-783111.html

Quote
...All Coast Guard helicopters are flown and serviced by Transport Canada employees assigned to the agency...

Mark
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Offline Bograt

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #45 on: December 28, 2008, 16:46:15 »
Wondering out loud if it wouldn't be more cost effective to buy/lease another 2-3 and purchase a CAT D sim for here in Canada.

How many a/c hours could be shifted to SAR if more work was done in the box?
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Offline Ditch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2008, 16:52:21 »
The school has their students spending quite some time in a Level D simulator right now.  It is quite the departure from the original syllabus.  The students aren't complaining - the sim is in England.
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #47 on: November 01, 2010, 12:04:51 »
Post at Unambiguously Ambidextrous:

Talk about high-level sole sourcing!/Khadr Update
http://unambig.com/talk-about-high-level-sole-sourcing/

Quote
But it just might make sense:

    Canadian Forces eye Obama’s chopper cast-offs
    Cancelled presidential helicopters could supply spare parts for Cormorants...

Mark
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2011, 14:48:48 »
The RCAF was solely responsible for SAR up till 1964, except for a few Department of Marine Transport lifeboats stations. In the 1964, RCAF stations such as Kitsolano Were turned over lock stock and barrel (crews, boats included, don’t ask me how that worked) Coast Guard had to scramble to purchase hulls to meet this new requirement, hence the R class boats. If fact they did 2 week patrols for the first couple of years around Vancouver island in the 40’ crashboats, with the crew sleeping aboard!!!! (I like those boats bu not that much)

There is no technical reason that SAR response could not be turned over to a private agency, although I doubt they would turn over the RCC’s as they have access to much sensitive information. But I can see the helicopters being privatized and with the current attitude of the CG to avoid working with other department (at least on this coast) I can also see a cash strapped government looking at a “Trinity House  model” Perhaps at least for the buoy tenders. I can see a political fight forming if they try to privatize the helicopters and the rescue cutters, similar to the lighthouse issue, but it’s still quite possible.   

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2011, 15:16:43 »
Colin P.: One of those logical approaches that I just don't think will, er, fly in Canada.  The Air Force likes the kudos and TV exposure it gets from warm and fuzzy SAR work and I think would fight hard--in public too--to keep it.  Moreover I don't think any government is willing to take the political risk of a non-governmental screw-up in a SAR effort which would no doubt happen at some point.  No gov't has even dared to abolish the National Search & Rescue Secretariat,
http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/whoWeAre/index_e.asp
set up (as you know) as a result of the Ocean Ranger:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Ranger

Whereas the much more important to have as an autonomous agency Emergency Preparedness Canada (eventually Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness) was abolished in 2004 by the Martin government and folded into what was first Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and is now just Public Safety Canada:
http://computer.yourdictionary.com/office-of-critical-infrastructure-protection-and-emergency-preparedness

Somehow I doubt emergency planning and response now gets the serious and undivided attention it once did now that the functions are just performed as part of a regular bureaucracy with rather higher priorities in many other areas (RCMP, CSIS. CBSA. CSC) that have a much higher public and political profile.

Note where the function now is and guess which has priority:

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND NATIONAL SECURITY BRANCH
http://sage-geds.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/cgi-bin/direct500/eng/XEou%3dEMNSB-SGUSN%2cou%3dPS-SP%2co%3dGC%2cc%3dCA

Yet for some reason SAR too continues to have a very high profile.

Mark
Ottawa
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 16:54:53 by MarkOttawa »
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.