Border Security Contracts (Nuctech)
Date: February 9, 2021
- The safety and security of Canada is a top priority for the CBSA.
- The CBSA has fulfilled its contractual obligations with Nuctech.
- We can confirm that these devices are not connected to the CBSA networks as they are stand-alone systems and isolated from Government of Canada networks.
- Any new procurements will be conducted under new contract security guidelines which will ensure that detection equipment at the port of entry are subject to higher security considerations.
- Decisions to award contracts undergo a thorough review and are made in accordance with established GC guidelines.
- Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is the contracting authority for the Government of Canada.
- The CBSA works closely with PSPC on large contracts and relies on their expertise to address any security risks related to those contracting activities. These security assessments are undertaken by PSPC’s Industrial Security Program.
- A standard security Requirements Checklist is completed for contracts, outlining any specific security requirements.
- Supplier’s staff, who undertake the installation or maintenance activities required in the contracts, are security-cleared by the Agency prior to being allowed access to CBSA facilities and they are escorted.
If pressed on the supply chain integrity assessment by Communications Security Establishment (CSE):
- While this equipment is not connected to any internal networking systems, to ensure the integrity of the equipment, the CBSA did request an assessment by CSE be completed when it became aware of possible concerns.
- The assessment was only one aspect of CBSA’s overall review, which helped to inform CBSA of any associated risks and apply appropriate mitigations with regards to the supply chain integrity.
On July 17, 2020, Global News published an article, noting that Nuctech had been awarded four border security and customs warehouse contracts to provide scanners and lab equipment to the CBSA. On November 18, 2020, Global News published another article, referencing the same four contracts.
The CBSA currently has four fulfilled procurement contracts for the acquisition of detection technology with Nuctech - the earliest of which commenced in the fall of 2017, and the latest fulfilled in fall of 2020. Five Pallet Large Scale Imaging (LSI) systems were also scheduled to be purchased under the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV), and installed at major air cargo centers across the country.
The latest contract for the Mobile LSI was fulfilled in November 2020. After conducting performance and usability tests, the unit was planned to be deployed to a land border. If successful, this product was to replace the current fleet of aging Mobile LSIs; however, the CBSA has not deployed this equipment.
All of these devices are standalone devices, not directly connected to the CBSA or Government of Canada (GoC) networks. Images and information are stored directly on the devices themselves, with an over-writing function once the hard-drive fills up. It is suggested that this is about every 30 days. The devices had previously been serviced between one to two times per year (which would include any maintenance and updates) by an employee/engineer from the Nuctech, who requires escort while on CBSA premises. Each contract would have a two year warranty covering preventative maintenance (1-2 times per year) as well as servicing for any issues. After this, there would be options within the contract to extend the maintenance/servicing.
The typical lifecycle for these devices is approximately eight years; however, given the sensitive role that detection technology plays at the border and for the security of Canada, as well as PSPC’s recent classification of detection technology at the border as a sensitive sector, the CBSA is currently reviewing all of its detection technology and future procurements.
The CBSA works with PSPC’s specialist Industrial Security Program to address any security risks related to the contracting activities. The work involved in clearing Nuctech Co. Ltd, as well as any particular supplier, is done by PSPC’s Industrial Security Program. The CBSA, as a client of PSPC, provides the requirements for the contract, as it would for any other contract, in the Statement of Work. Once the vendor has been cleared and the contract is awarded by PSPC, the CBSA is responsible for security screening of any contractors who require unrestricted access to CBSA’s premises or information.
The details of the CBSA’s four fulfilled contracts with Nuctech are as follows:
- Contract A (value $2.54m CAD) commenced on October, 30, 2017, for the purchase of a Pallet / Large Scale Imaging System – this has been installed and is used to X-ray palletized goods.
- Contract B (value $1.01m CAD) commenced on November, 7, 2017, for the purchase of 19 Warehouse X-Ray Systems – these have been installed in a number of facilities across Canada and are used to X-ray commercial goods.
- Contract C (value $0.48m CAD) commenced on January, 2, 2019, for the purchase of 11 Low Conveyor X-Ray Systems – these have been installed in a number of facilities across Canada and are used to X-ray passenger baggage in secondary operations.
- Contract D (value $4.00m CAD) commenced on November, 12, 2019, for the purchase of a Mobile Large Scale Imaging System
Approved by: Scott Harris, Vice-President, Intelligence and Enforcement Branch
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