Evaluation of the Beyond the Border Action Plan - Shiprider Program - Summary

About the program

The Beyond the Border Action Plan - Shiprider Program (Shiprider) was established in 2012-13 with the expected result of preventing criminals from leveraging the Canada-U.S. border to commit transnational crime. Shiprider removes the international maritime boundary as a barrier to law enforcement by enabling seamless continuity of enforcement and security operations across the border. It involves vessels crewed by specially trained and designated Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officers who are authorized to enforce the law on both sides of the international boundary line. The RCMP's role is to pursue national security and transnational investigations, and to make it possible to interdict individuals attempting to illegally cross the border by water. The RCMP and United States Coast Guard (USCG) are the Central Authorities for Shiprider.

What we examined

The evaluation assessed the relevance and effectiveness of the Shiprider program between April 2012 and March 2017. Multiple lines of evidence were analyzed to support the findings and recommendations of the report.

What we found

There is a continued need for Shiprider, as it is a unique and specialized program that through a cooperative approach, combats cross-border criminality on Canadian and U.S. shared waterways. The need is dependent upon geographical locations, amount of vessel traffic and known criminal activity. There are no known programs that duplicate Shiprider.

Shiprider is aligned with federal government and RCMP priorities and strategic outcomes as it contributes to the safety and security of Canada and supports Canada's relationship with the U.S.

The partnership between the RCMP and USCG is essential to the delivery of Shiprider, as both parties must be present during patrols in order to combat cross-border criminality.

The RCMP and USCG described their partnership as positive and effective and explained it allowed them to benefit from each other's unique areas of expertise.

The evaluation was unable to determine if Shiprider was being delivered as intended. While Shiprider has a well-defined and understood mandate, documents and interviews indicated that Shiprider's delivery approach is to be intelligence-led. The evaluation did not find sufficient evidence that Shiprider was progressing towards this desired state.

From evidence gathered from document reviews and interviews, the Shiprider roles and responsibilities were varied but defined and generally understood by Shiprider personnel.

A lack of available performance data limited the ability to tell a complete performance story, including whether resources were adequate for the successful delivery of Shiprider. The lack of performance data is consistent with the findings from the Office of the Auditor General's Fall 2016 Report on the Beyond the Border Action Plan. The impact of Shiprider and its contribution to the prevention of cross-border criminality was unclear.

What we recommend

Based on the findings of the evaluation, the following two recommendations were made:

  • Review and revise the Shiprider delivery approach to ensure the program is being delivered as intended and is aligned with current Federal Policing priorities.
  • Collect performance data that adequately measures the overall Shiprider expected results and supports decision-making.
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