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Canada – U.S. experiment tests resilience during emergencies

December 5, 2014         Ottawa, Ontario         Public Safety Canada and Department of National Defence

The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, today recognized the work of participants on both sides of the border in the third Canada - U.S. Enhanced Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE III).

This cross-border initiative consisted of experiments held over the course of November 2014. These experiments were based on two disaster scenarios – the first a Northeastern hurricane, and the second a wildfire in the Western Plains, affecting Alberta, Saskatchewan and Montana.

The hurricane portion of CAUSE III tested the capacity of officials to leverage the potential of social media volunteers to help coordinate disaster recovery efforts. It also examined how existing tools like the Canadian Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System (MASAS), the American Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and Virtual USA could be used to improve the efficiency of requests for mutual aid and contribute to enhanced situational awareness across borders.

The wildfire scenario focused on the operational ability to interconnect Alberta and Saskatchewan’s provincial radio systems with the Montana statewide radio system. During the scenario a land mobile radio network that covered all three jurisdictions and crossed provincial and international borders was successfully created. The operational efficiency of using deployable Public Safety Broadband Networks in a simulated disaster-response to provide interoperable communications between emergency responders on both sides of the border was also tested. CAUSE III provided the opportunity to test equipment to ensure vital communications can be made across borders during an emergency situation.

Quick Facts

  • This is the third installment of CAUSE since 2011. CAUSE provides participants with opportunities to use communications technology in a simulated setting to learn how the technology performs under different emergency management circumstances. This information can then be used to confirm the functionality and value of the technology, determine what changes need to be made to improve the technology for operational use, and what procedures and training may be needed.
  • CAUSE III is a collaborative effort between Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS), Public Safety Canada and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, in partnership with various provincial, municipal and non-governmental organizations
  • Canadian efforts for CAUSE III were primarily funded by Public Safety Canada through the Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border Initiative, as this project supports both nations’ key deliverables of interoperability and co-operation in emergency management.
  • The Canadian Safety and Security Program, which is a federal program led by DRDC CSS in partnership with Public Safety Canada, also provided funding, and in-kind contributions were provided by all participating organizations


“The CAUSE III experiment is essential in strengthening Canada’s capacity to work with our American counterparts at all stages of emergency response – from early identifications and warnings to using new communications technology to help facilitate a faster and more coordinated response.”

- The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“The CAUSE III experiment gives us valuable insight on how North American communications technology can best be used in disaster response. It is imperative Canada has the ability to work with our American allies to respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations.”

- The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Defence

 “The radio component of the CAUSE III wildfire experiment was a watershed moment for public safety in Alberta. This experiment proved the capabilities and strengths that can be achieved when first responders can communicate directly with each other in a time of need regardless of their jurisdiction or country.”

- Jonathan Denis, Minister of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General

“Disasters such as wildfires and floods do not simply follow the borders on a map, which is why experiments like this are so valuable.  It is important that jurisdictional neighbours work together through initiatives like CAUSE to increase awareness and provide our communities and residents with the best possible information and response when faced with an emergency.”  

- Duane McKay – Fire Commissioner for the province of Saskatchewan



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Jason Tamming
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
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