19, 2009, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts submitted
its Report to Parliament. The focus of the Committee’s report was Chapter
Security: Intelligence and Information Sharing of the 2009 Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada. Pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, the Government must
provide a comprehensive response within 120 days.
Government welcomes the opportunity to respond to this report. The Government
has carefully reviewed and considered the Committee’s recommendations and is
pleased to inform the Committee of the progress achieved and the actions still
underway with respect to its recommendations.
Public Safety Canada report to the Public Accounts Committee by 31 December
2009 on progress in strengthening the RCMP’s review and complaints body.
the RCMP review and complaints body continues to be a priority of the
Government of Canada. In response to reports by Parliamentary Committees, key
stakeholders, Justice O’Connor’s report as well as the Brown Task Force on
Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP, the Government of Canada is
developing a proposal to strengthen and modernize the RCMP’s review and
complaints body. The Government has and will continue to consult with key
stakeholders, in particular the contracting provinces and territories, to
finalize the proposal.
Public Safety Canada report to the Public Accounts Committee by
31 December 2009 on progress in enhancing the national security
recent years, the national security landscape has changed, with more
departments and agencies working together to address emerging challenges and
threats. The Government is committed to ensuring that Canada’s national security review structure reflects the changing nature of national
security investigations, responds to the shifting security and threat
environment, and respects the principles of independence and accountability.
Government took immediate action to accept and implement the recommendations
put forward in the Report of the Events relating to Maher Arar, and this
process is largely complete.
the work accomplished to date, the Government recognizes the need to
continually assess existing policy and practice against the ever-changing
environment in which we operate. External review is an essential component of
this process, enhancing the system by fostering an ongoing process of
adjustment and refinement over time.
public trust in Canada’s national security architecture, as outlined in Justice
O’Connor’s second report, A New Review Mechanism for the RCMP’s National
Security Activities, is a priority for the Government of Canada.
Government of Canada has made its intentions clear with respect to the
recommendations put forward by the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of
Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar by accepting and implementing
the recommendations put forward in the Report of the Events relating to
Maher Arar, and through its commitment to modernizing and strengthening
Canada’s national security review framework. In achieving these objectives,
the Government will continue to take into consideration the advice and
recommendations of key stakeholders and advisors, including Justice Major’s
forthcoming report in the context of the Commission of Inquiry into the
Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182.
Government’s aim is to strengthen the review structures that are already in
place to achieve the desired balance between maintaining operational effectiveness
and achieving a modernized review process. Much work has also been
accomplished in advancing policy analysis with respect to Canada’s national
security review framework, particularly with regard to enhancing the RCMP’s
complaints and review process, including review of its national security
activities, and providing a mechanism to facilitate inter-agency review.
Progress made in assessing the options for enhanced external review and
reporting to Parliament were acknowledged in the 2009 Status Report of the
Auditor General of Canada.
this is a significant undertaking, and the Government is working diligently to
develop proposals that will provide for effective, efficient and integrated
national security review.
That the Department of Justice
Canada report to the Public Accounts Committee by 31 December 2009 on the
results of its review of the legal challenges that arise in the sharing of
information for national security purposes.
the Privy Council Office and Public Safety Canada indicate what increased
efforts they will take to examine and provide guidance on the sharing of
information among government departments and agencies while balancing privacy
concerns with national security concerns.
is making serious efforts to ensure intelligence and information are shared
appropriately by security and intelligence agencies while respecting the
individual rights of Canadians.
it is essential that information be effectively shared between departments and
agencies in support of public safety and security, it must be done in a manner
that respects Canadian privacy legislation and the Charter of Rights and
this effect, the Government has undertaken a review of the legal challenges
that arise in the sharing of information for national security purposes. This review,
which is supported by an advisory group comprised of Justice counsel and
representatives of key departments and agencies including the Privy Council
Office, aims to articulate meaningful principles and guidelines to inform the Government’s
approach in this area. Specifically, the objective of the review is the
production of a report that will include:
review of the current legal and policy framework;
comparative analysis of the Canadian legal and policy framework with that of
international partners (United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union);
of obstacles within the current legal and policy framework that might inhibit
the sharing of national security information;
development of guiding principles aimed at informing the Government's approach
to information sharing domestically and internationally; and
proposal for consideration by decision makers, on administrative and
legislative options to achieve information sharing objectives while respecting
the guiding principles.
is addressing complex issues that pose challenges not only for Canada but for governments around the globe. Considerable research and consultation are
required in order that the conclusions reached are fully informed. The report
being developed will then be used for discussions regarding guidance on
information sharing made by those federal departments and agencies with national
The work of this review is well advanced, with a report expected to be finalized in late
fall of 2009.
addition to the Justice Canada review, the Government is taking numerous proactive
steps to address information sharing challenges. It is examining the
information-sharing issues raised by recent commissions of inquiry and studying
policy options to increase accountability in the sharing of information among
federal departments and agencies. For instance, enhanced guidelines have been
issued to increase information sharing between the RCMP and the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and to improve interdepartmental
cooperation on national security files.
the RCMP has made changes to its policies and procedures in order to provide
improved direction on the handling and sharing of information. This includes
the creation of a Sensitive Information Handling Unit at RCMP headquarters which
is responsible for the receipt, review and dissemination of information
received from foreign security intelligence agencies. The RCMP has also
collaborated with Canadian law enforcement agencies to develop a Common
Framework for National Security, which has been adopted by the Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police. In addition, the RCMP has implemented a
National Security Criminal Investigations training course that deals with an
array of important issues, including the mandates of the RCMP and CSIS
information sharing practices, the role and operations of liaison officers, the
appropriate use and management of border lookouts, and the wide-ranging
importance of human rights issues, social contexts and cultural sensitivity
also pursued a number of important reviews to strengthen its information
handling practices, including: amending operational policy governing
information-sharing and cooperation to restate the need to take the human
rights record of a country into account before sending or using information from
that country; conducting assessments of the human rights records of the
countries and agencies with which it exchanges information; and introducing a
new caveat to information it shares with foreign agencies that seeks assurances
that any Canadian citizen detained by a foreign government will be treated in
accordance with the norms of relevant international conventions.
September 2006, the RCMP and CSIS revised an existing Memorandum of
Understanding to provide greater clarity about, among other things, the
principles and mechanisms for sharing information and intelligence between the
two agencies, as well as the type of information and intelligence to be shared.
2009, Transport Canada and the RCMP signed a Memorandum of Understanding on information
sharing aimed at improving the screening of applicants for security clearance
to access restricted areas at Canadian airports.
November 2008, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) updated its lookout
procedures to enhance the accuracy and validity of lookouts by addressing the
review and maintenance of all lookouts, regardless of the systems in which they
are placed. Requesting agencies must now include all information pertaining to
the lookout in their request to ensure the CBSA has the relevant information to
properly input the lookout on their behalf. Lookouts are subject to regular
and unscheduled reviews for accuracy and validity and the interception of a
subject with a lookout will trigger a full review of the information contained in
has also conducted internal consultations with respect to the accuracy and
validity of lookouts received from external partners and has conducted external
consultations on this subject with the RCMP, CSIS, and Passport Canada. No instances of inaccuracies in lookouts were reported by partners.
has updated its Information Sharing Policy for the Intelligence
Program to enhance its ability to determine the circumstances in which
information can be shared, what information can be shared and with whom, the
restrictions on disclosure, the proper use of caveats, and the obligation for
written documentation when information is shared.
Transport Canada work with other federal organizations to ensure that
individuals with a high risk of conducting criminal activity do not receive
clearance to work in restricted areas of Canada’s airports, and that Transport
Canada report to the Public Accounts Committee by 31 December 2009.
the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and supporting implementation
plan on April 8, 2009, both agencies proceeded to initiate the requirements of
the arrangement. Transport Canada is providing funding of up to $1.2 million
in fiscal year 2009-10 and $2.0 million in fiscal year 2010-11 to the RCMP.
These funds are being used to hire staff and equipment to begin conducting
enhanced verifications of applicants.
agencies meet regularly to develop and fine-tune procedures for sharing data
and resulting intelligence.
Canada has chaired, with the participation of the RCMP, a working group that
has established and defined criteria and strengthened guidelines against which
applicants for a clearance are now being assessed. Transport Canada has developed Terms of Reference for an Advisory Body that reviews contentious
files. The strengthened Advisory Body has procedures for conducting
deliberations and works with subject matter experts to review files and provide
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities with more substantive
recommendations to refuse, grant or cancel a Transportation Security
working group chaired by Transport Canada is looking at identifying key
positions at airports for which individuals will require priority processing
when undergoing a complete law enforcement records check. This group will also
study the feasibility of creating different levels of background checks for
categories of positions, dependent on the risk entailed with the type of position.
Public Safety Canada report to the Public Accounts Committee by 31 December 2009
on progress in completing the government-wide communications system at the
the successful completion of the pilot Secret Communications Interoperability
Project in August 31 2008, Public Safety Canada has internally reallocated
funding to maintain the system and pay for a core team to continue the work
necessary so that the system can be ready for deployment.
As funding associated with the development
and implementation of the pilot project ended in 2008-09, Public Safety Canada
is developing a proposal to obtain long-term funding.