Nova Scotia

Some Canadian Forces entry points unguarded due to budget cuts

Many entry points to Canadian Forces bases are now without guards during the day as part of security changes due to budget cuts hitting the Department of National Defence.

Sources tell CBC News more than 60 commissionaires let go as DND budget trimmed

Many entry points to Canadian Forces bases are now without guards during the day as part of security changes related to budget cuts hitting the Department of National Defence.

Sources told CBC News more than 60 commissionaires, who controlled access to dockyard gates, have been let go, and some of the sites will be looked after by an expanded duty watch of military personnel.

Documents obtained by CBC News through the Access to Information Act revealed eight officers and a civilian made 38 recommendations earlier this year about how to continue guarding the gates to various DND sites.

CFB Shearwater's main gate is now unguarded and the gate remains open during the day. (CBC)

Those recommendations were redacted in the document.

The people who attended the January meeting on reducing the operations and maintenance budget at CFB Halifax were warned to be discreet.

"[The chair] reminded all present that because of the nature of this meeting, the contents of this meeting were not be discussed outside or with anyone other than attendees of this meeting," the documents state.

In Halifax, Stadacona's main gate is unguarded, as is CFB Shearwater.

There is a sign at CFB Shearwater's main gate requiring every person to have an ID or pass and warning they may be subject to a search, but the booth is now unmanned.

Other sites, such as Rainbow Gate and Admiral's Gate at CFB Halifax and HMCS Trinity — an intelligence facility at the naval dockyard in Halifax — have been allowed to keep their commissionaires.

The documents obtained by CBC News do not reveal how much the DND is saving with the security cuts — the commissionaires cost more than $5 million annually to staff 44 individual sites.

"These commissionaires provide services ranging from static security posts, escort duties to evidence custodian and dispatcher services. The turnover rate for our commissionaires at DND is very low," the documents state.

"With respect to manning levels at DND commissionaire sites, a critical look has been taken to determine whether there are further savings which could be accrued through the redeployment of tasks or personnel or through the elimination of services."

The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires declined to comment on the story, saying the DND is still a client.