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“At present, all of this funding has either been spent or committed to implement priority security programs and infrastructure projects at several of our highest risk locations,” read the documents, obtained under access to information law.
“Given increasing threats due to terrorism, criminality, civil disorder and ongoing natural disaster risks (particularly in earthquake zones), we can anticipate that the scope and cost of securing Canada’s international footprint and its employees abroad will continue to rise.”
Some of those facilities have been assessed as “high-risk” missions, although the number has been censored from the unclassified documents. Officials at Global Affairs have been prioritizing high-risk missions for more urgent security upgrades, which can include the hardening of buildings to withstand natural disasters or attacks, increasing the number of security staff at missions, and providing specialized training for staff.
The previous Conservative government committed more than $ 640 million to upgrade security measures between 2007 and 2017, and the department notes that a decision needs to be made about resources after that money stops flowing next year.
“Ensuring the security of employees, Canadian missions and assets is a priority for the department, which undertakes regular monitoring and assessments of threats and risks faced, to ensure the appropriate mitigations measures are put in place to protect staff, missions and assets.”
The Star requested an interview with Global Affairs for this article. In a short statement, the department said it does not comment on specific security measures at Canadian missions.
Chantal Gagnon, a spokeswoman for Dion, said in an email the Liberals are committed to protecting foreign staff through “cost-effective measures that allow our international network to deliver services to Canadians and advance Canadian interests around the world.”
The documents note, however, that the department has spent less than they planned in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
On Monday, the federal government announced it was closing its embassy in the South Sudan capital of Juba until further notice, due to an escalating civil war in that country. Canada has no consular presence in several other countries — including Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Niger — due to security concerns and the risk of terrorist attacks.
With files from The Canadian Press