RCMP Refines Procurement Operations Amid Controversial China Links


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has expressed intent to refine their procurement operations following an internal examination of their interactions with a firm linked to China. While their examination of this association found no significant security threats, it did uncover areas needing enhancement.

Last December, a standing offer for radio-frequency filtration equipment was put on hold with Sinclair Technologies due to coverage concerning national security implications. Since 2017, Norsat International, Sinclair’s parent group, has been possessed by Chinese telecommunications corporation, Hytera. Furthermore, the Chinese administration maintains a 10% interest in Hytera through an investment division.

The divulgence of the RCMP’s contract with Sinclair prompted demands for an account from the government by Conservative MPs. However, it was asserted by technical professionals that the equipment provided through the standing offer held low security risk and didn’t jeopardise protected communications.

The release of a new internal review by the RCMP suggests that the procurement of the standing offer from the Procurement Department adhered to all relevant procedures and policies. Nonetheless, the internal audit section has identified “opportunities for improvement”, leading to an enhanced level of examination on contracts by the RCMP to guarantee suitable controls.

Worth mentioning is that Hytera’s technology was proscribed by the United States Federal Communications Commission in 2021 for its use in public safety, government security, and critical infrastructure surveillance due to national security risk concerns. The RCMP review however contended that the radio-frequency filtration machinery lacks the capability to access RCMP radio communications, thus posing no security threat.

A recent Sinclair radio-frequency filter system went under inspection and technical testing by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with no discovered security breaches, as per the review report. Clearances were accorded to six Sinclair contractors, subject to potential requirement at RCMP premises; although, the standing offer didn’t stipulate a prerequisite for RCMP screening.

The report acknowledges the complexity of policies and procedures in the realms of government procurement and security due to the involvement of several departments. It points to the need for a more comprehensive government engagement to modify existing legislation, policies and tools in anticipation of future procurements posing national security implications.

In response, the RCMP is now liaising with other government departments to augment security in the procurement process, with an increased emphasis on contracts. Temporary measures include developing and implementing additional guidance and controls towards filling existing gaps in the checklist form. Moreover, Commissioner Mike Duheme has authorised the review report and management plan.

The current state of the standing offer with Sinclair Technologies remains yet unclear from the RCMP’s side.


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