SIRC Releases 2003-2004 Annual Report

October 21, 2004 –The Annual Report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was tabled in Parliament today by the Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The report provides a public summary of reviews undertaken by SIRC, as well as inquiries into complaints, during the period 2003-2004.

SIRC was established in 1984 to provide assurance to Parliament that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is complying with the law in the performance of its duties and functions. In doing so, SIRC safeguards Canadians' fundamental rights and freedoms. SIRC is the only independent, external body with the legal mandate and expertise to review CSIS activities, so it is a cornerstone for ensuring the accountability of one of the Government's most powerful organizations.

The Chair of SIRC, the Honourable Paule Gauthier, said that “Canadians live in an essentially safe, tolerant and open society – one that is committed to the rule of law and which respects individual rights and freedoms. SIRC sees itself as a defender of those rights and our work helps to preserve Canada's democratic values.” Madame Gauthier expressed satisfaction that SIRC had successfully completed six major reviews in 2003-2004 in addition to its s. 54 inquiry into the case of Maher Arar. Although the latter was not finalized during the period under review, it occupied much of the Committee's time and attention.

The six reviews undertaken by SIRC covered a range of CSIS activities. They included the front end screening of refugee claimants, counter proliferation, counter intelligence, an internal security breach, a Security Liaison Post abroad, and an examination of s. 12 investigative activities outside Canada, authorized under the CSIS Act. SIRC made a total of five recommendations to CSIS designed to correct or improve its policies and procedures.

SIRC's Annual Report also notes that 47 complaints were dealt with, resulting in one written report concerning the denial of a security clearance. Not all complaints result in a formal hearing or a written decision. In some cases, the complaint was addressed by administrative action, determined to be outside SIRC's jurisdiction, or the complainant decided to withdraw his/her complaint. SIRC also responded to 31 requests for information under the Access to Information Act and one request under the Privacy Act during the year under review.

By examining past CSIS operations and investigating complaints, SIRC makes findings and recommendations designed to improve the Service's performance. The results of this work, which must be vetted to protect national security and privacy, are summarized in SIRC's Annual Report. To the best of its ability and within these legal constraints, every review undertaken and every complaint acted upon, is reflected in SIRC's public report to Parliament.


  1. Summary of Reviews, 2003-2004
  2. SIRC's Role and Responsibilities

For further information about SIRC, please contact:

Suzanne Beaubien
Research Manager
(613) 990-8445
or consult

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