CACP, CAFC, EMSCC among many others hail the progress made on public safety provider interoperability in Canada at the close of a two-day workshop and call on others to take action



    OTTAWA, March 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The more than 180 participants that
attended The Canadian Voice Interoperability Workshop: A CITIG National Forum
helped identify priorities and set the future direction of a collaborative
effort to help improve public safety provider interoperability in Canada. The
first workshop of its kind in Canada, the event was hosted by the Canadian
Police Research Centre (CPRC) in cooperation with representatives from the
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), the Canadian Association of
Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada
(EMSCC), and took place in Ottawa Ontario on March 27 and 28, 2008.
    "Hosting the workshop is one of the ways that the Canadian Police
Research Centre is helping to address perhaps one of the most important issues
facing first responders today," remarked Steve Palmer, Executive Director of
the CRPC and one of the conference co-chairs. "Interoperability, or that lack
of it among public safety providers on the frontline, is a major concern.
Despite the many technological advances, Canada is clearly behind our
colleagues to the south. Getting all the right partners together is a positive
step toward ensuring sharing real-world insights, practical knowledge, and
determining a common approach to moving forward."
    The workshop brought together representatives from first-responder
agencies (law enforcement, fire, paramedics, emergency managers), other public
safety providers, the military and Coast Guard, government agencies and
utilities, non-governmental organizations in the emergency response and
humanitarian aid sphere, academic and research institutions and industry to
gain insight from leaders in the field, including some speakers from the
United States and one as far away as Australia. The Workshop also featured
hands-on sessions designed to help gain an understanding of, or work toward
making progress on, key issues, including interoperability and the challenge
of governance, trends in interoperability technology, the 700 MHz and other
radio spectrum issues and cross-border interoperability planning.
    "From a Fire Services perspective, the importance of interoperability
can't be underestimated," stated Deputy Chief Mike Dubé, Port Moody Fire
Service and member of the CACF and one of the conference co-chairs. "We have
long known that we can do a better job on interoperability in this country.
Luckily, there exists pockets of excellence, and this week's workshop helped
bring some of that great work to light. It's also a way to develop a mutual
understanding of the key voice interoperability issues facing today's public
safety sector."
    "Overall, the National Workshop solidified the 'business case' for moving
forward with a cooperative approach to improved public safety provider
interoperability," added Ken Luciak, Director, Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region
Emergency Medical Services and member of the EMSCC and one of the conference
co-chairs. "Not only was the interest and response strong and significant, we
have been able to identify the next steps 'interoperability road map' as we
continue to put a focus on this important issue. We also recognize that our
work is far from done, and that all those involved in delivering public safety
services at levels of government and beyond need to work together toward
common solutions."
    The more organized approach to public safety interoperability (and the
workshop) was spawned in part by the creation of the Canadian Interoperability
Technology Interest Group (CITIG) which brings together representatives from
public safety, industry, academia, government and non-governmental
organizations to collectively shape the future of Canadian public safety
interoperability. Launched in April 2007, by the CPRC in conjunction with the
CACP, the EMSCC, CAFC and others quickly supported the initiative.
    "When it comes to communications interoperability, there's a definite
need for a united voice and standardized solutions for all emergency service
providers," said Superintendent Richard Finn of York Regional Police and
Co-Chair of the CACP's Interoperability Sub-Committee one of the conference
chairs. "While some of the barriers include incompatible or aging
communications equipment, limited or fragmented funding, jurisdictional or
chain-of-command conflicts, availability of radio spectrum, etc., the single
biggest cause appears to be a lack of coordination and cooperation among
public safety agencies. The Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest
Group and events like the National Interoperability Workshop will go a long
way toward changing this unfortunate situation."
    For more information on the CITIG and the state of Canadian public safety
provider interoperability, visit www.cprc.org/citig or send an e-mail to
citig@cprc.org.




For further information:

For further information: media representatives may contact: Insp. Lance
Valcour, Program Manager, Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group,
Canadian Police Research Centre, (613) 993-2842, lance.valcour@cprc.org

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Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police

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