Canada’s Liberal government will be training its civil servants with active shooter drills. The National Post has learned that the first drill is scheduled for April 18 next week and will bring together 1,000 government employees — the bulk of which work at the Department of National Defense.
As the training program proceeds, almost 260,000 workers will learn how to react if a gunman invades their office space. Before the practical drill, the civil servants have been herded into classrooms for some instruction periods.
Most of the pre-drill training has urged employees to run away and not confront the attacker. A packaged presentation tells students that “there is no right or wrong decision when facing a crisis incident,” while reminding them to turn off their mobile phones.
The drill scenario involves several active shooters roaming the halls of a federal government building in Gatineau, Quebec, a community that is nearby to the Canadian capital of Ottawa and also the work address of thousands of civil servants.
Ottawa was the scene of an actual active shooter in October 2014 when a terrorist shot Canadian Army Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the national cenotaph, before proceeding across the street and opening fire inside the Parliament buildings. Miraculously, no one else was killed or injured before the shooter was shot and killed by House of Commons security.
That incident is at the forefront of the government’s new commitment to enhance security at government offices.
“Active shooter incidents are becoming more common around the world and Canada is not immune. In response to recent events, Treasury Board is requiring that all departments develop an employee information program for an active shooter incident and conduct annual active shooter drills,” an email sent to senior civil servants in March reads.