SIRC releases 2009–2010 Annual Report

Time for Reflection: Taking the measure of security intelligence

October 25, 2010 – The Annual Report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was tabled in Parliament today by the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety. The report presents SIRC’s key analyses, findings and recommendations arising from its reviews and complaints investigations in connection with the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

In recent years Canadians have witnessed significant changes to the security intelligence landscape” noted the Chair of SIRC, the Honourable Dr. Arthur T. Porter. He added, “as SIRC’s annual report demonstrates, CSIS’s operational environment continues to evolve in increasingly complex, demanding and vastly different ways than before 9/11. What is more, the rapid pace of these changes has meant that there has been little opportunity to pause and reflect on what Canadians expect of their intelligence agencies and on the real risks and benefits that such work entails.

As part of SIRC’s ongoing efforts to understand and report on new challenges and responsibilities in security intelligence in Canada, this year’s annual report recommends that the government initiate a public discussion on the future role and direction of security intelligence and, as a corollary, the review function in support of that role. Dr. Porter noted, “the Committee firmly believes that this dialogue is necessary to ensure that CSIS is well positioned to meet the goals of the government of Canada, as well as Canadians’ expectations of how a security intelligence agency should operate and perform in a democratic society.

Among the six reviews—and four complaint decisions—featured in this year’s annual report is an examination of CSIS’s collection and use of foreign intelligence. Of particular concern for SIRC is the increasing melding of CSIS’s collection of foreign intelligence with the collection of information regarding threats to the security of Canada. This report was prepared pursuant to section 54 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, which allows SIRC to provide to the Minister a special report on any matter that relates to the performance of CSIS’s duties and functions.

It is our hope,” concluded Dr. Porter, “that our annual report demonstrates to all Canadians both the thoroughness of our work and the gravity of the task at hand for CSIS in helping to safeguard the security of Canada and its citizens.” Established in 1984, SIRC's role is to reassure Parliament and Canadians that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) investigates and reports on threats to national security effectively, and in a manner that respects the rule of law and the rights of Canadians.

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For further information, please contact SIRC at:
(613) 990-8442

SIRC’s annual report is available on the Committee’s website at

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