SIRC Releases 2004-2005 Annual Report

October 31, 2005 - The Annual Report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was tabled today in Parliament 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 2004-2005.

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 Gary Filmon, said that “in the twenty years since SIRC and CSIS came into being, both have evolved to meet the challenges of security intelligence in Canada, while building a legacy of commitment to rights and the rule of law.” Mr. Filmon expressed satisfaction that SIRC had successfully completed 11 major reviews in 2004-2005, a significant increase over previous years, and had also finalized its inquiry into the case of Maher Arar. He added “I am honoured to serve as Chair and I look forward to SIRC maintaining a productive, professional and transparent working relationship with the new Director of the Service and his staff, which is in the best interests of Canada and Canadians.

The 11 reviews undertaken by SIRC covered a range of CSIS activities. They included the first review of CSIS's role in the terrorist entity listing process, counter proliferation, counter intelligence, terrorist financing in Canada, a Security Liaison Post abroad, a CSIS regional office, and CSIS's exchanges of information with close allies. SIRC made several recommendations to CSIS designed to correct or improve its policies and procedures.

SIRC's Annual Report also notes that 28 complaints were dealt with, resulting in one report concerning the denial of a security clearance, one report resulting from a referral by the Canadian Human Rights Commission and one report relating to an act or thing done by the Service. 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 21 requests for information under the Access to Information Act and three requests 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.

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  1. Summary of Reviews, 2004-2005
  2. SIRC's Role and Responsibilities

For further information about SIRC, please contact:
Suzanne Beaubien
Senior Researcher
(613) 990-8445
or consult

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