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Operational Security Standard - Readiness Levels for Federal Government Facilities

Note: this is a condensed and unclassified version of this Readiness Level Standard. For specific detail, refer to the Official version.

1. Preamble

National or international events may require the implementation of enhanced security readiness levels beyond the baseline levels set out in the Government Security Policy (GSP) and Occupational Health and Safety Policies. This standard sets out the various levels of heightened security that are to be applied within government facilities in Canada in times of increased threat. In accordance with Section 10.13 of the GSP dated February 2002, these provisions are meant to complement, not replace, any existing security measures departments and agencies (hereafter referred to as departments) have implemented to deal with increased threat situations. There will be a separate notification system for cyber alerts.

2. Application

This standard applies across the Government of Canada in whole or to specified departments.

3. Declaration and Application of Security Readiness Levels

Depending on circumstances, security readiness levels 1 and 2 generally apply to an entire department, or the Government of Canada as a whole. When deemed necessary, based on the type and level of threat, the application of additional safeguards identified within Levels 3 and 4 may apply to a particular department, facility, group of facilities, or a geographical area. When it is in the interests of national security, the Privy Council Office (PCO) shall direct departments, through their Departmental Security Officers (DSO's), to implement appropriate security readiness levels, along with appropriate communication strategies and other requirements.

The Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (OCIPEP) has the mechanism in place to disseminate PCO decisions, specifying the requirement for DSOs to implement a higher readiness level. The Treasury Board Secretariat is responsible for co-ordinating security communications and for providing security advice and guidance to departments.

Departments based on a threat assessment may, on their own, activate higher security readiness levels; however, these must be reported to the Director PCO Security Operations without delay (613) 957-5363. Departments must establish a governance structure, identifying roles and responsibilities, levels of authority and reporting requirements for declaring higher security readiness levels. In some cases, depending on their size and location, the application of security measures will vary. Appropriate authorities shall also determine when to return to lower levels of readiness.

4. Readiness Level Sensitivity and Security Classification

Although this standard in its entirety is classified, for the purposes of information exchange, this unclassified version may be made available for widespread distribution. Specific actions and safeguards prescribed within each level will remain Confidential. For additional detail, please contact your respective Departmental Security Officer.

5. Incident Reporting

Suspected acts of terrorism must be reported immediately to the local police. The Departmental Security Officer must advise the RCMP National Operation Centre at 613-993-4460.

6. Security Readiness Level 1

DEFINITION: Security Readiness Level 1 is baseline security and applies to the normal state of vigilance in most government facilities. In this situation, as a minimum, departments must:

  1. ensure the safeguarding of personnel and assets by applying previously accepted baseline security requirements as stipulated within the Government Security Policy (GSP), combined with newly adopted standards, in the following areas:
    • Security Screening
    • Physical Security including:
      • mandatory control of all access points within all federal facilities, including visitor control.
      • Screening for suspicious packages of incoming mail/deliveries.
    • Information Technology Security
    • Business Continuity Planning
    • Security in Contracting
    • Security Awareness
    • Protection of Personnel
  2. identify essential personnel (as defined within their business continuity plans) in the eventuality that there is an immediate requirement to escalate to Readiness Level 3, (refer to Readiness Level 3 for specifics).
  3. ensure that appropriate plans are in place to deal with emergency situations as stipulated by the GSP, Canada Labour Code and Occupational Health and Safety Policies.
  4. departments are to designate a Communication Spokesperson for security matters.
  5. notify employees who travel internationally to consult with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade prior to departure at: www.voyage.gc.ca

7. Security Readiness Level 2

DEFINITION: Security Readiness Level 2 applies when there is an increased threat to Government of Canada personnel, assets and delivery of critical services which warrants enhanced vigilance. Depending on the nature of the threat, the measures in this readiness level could be maintained for extended periods and entail the following activities:

Notify employees of alert status and instruct them to be more vigilant.

In leased or shared accommodation, notify landlords, property management and other tenants about the enhanced security measures.

NOTE: For details contained within this level, contact your applicable Departmental Security Officer.

8. Application of Security Readiness Levels 3 and 4

As specified within the Declaration and Application section above, departments based on a threat assessment may, on their own, activate higher security readiness levels. Depending on the situation however, and based on there being a higher perceived threat, PCO may direct specific departments to implement higher readiness levels to specific location(s).

9. Security Readiness Level 3

DEFINITION: Security Readiness Level 3 applies when there is a higher and more predicable threat which therefore warrants heightened vigilance. The implementation of this level for more than a short period will affect service delivery. Normally, this level will be maintained for a specified period of time and apply to a particular department, facility, group of facilities, or a geographical area. It entails the following measures:

Notify employees of alert status and instruct them to be more vigilant.

In leased or shared accommodation, notify landlords, property management and other tenants about the enhanced security measures.

NOTE: For details contained within this level, contact your applicable Departmental Security Officer.

10. Security Readiness Level 4

DEFINITION:Security Readiness Level 4 is the highest security level and applies in an immediate area where an attack has taken place or when intelligence has been received that action against a specific location or person is likely. This level will be maintained for very limited period of time at a specific location or group of locations. The following measures will be put in place:

Notify employees of alert status and instruct them to be more vigilant.

In leased or shared accommodation, notify landlords, property management and other tenants about the enhanced security measures.

NOTE: For details contained within this level, contact your applicable Departmental Security Officer.

11. Enquiries

For interpretation of this standard, contact:

Security Policy Group, Information and Security Policy Division
Government Operations Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat
8th Floor, East Tower, L'Esplanade Laurier
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R5
 
Telephone: 613-946-5046 or 957-2534
Facsimile: 613-952-7287