SIRC Releases 2014-2015 Annual Report: “Broader Horizons: Preparing the Groundwork for Change in Security Intelligence Review”

January 28, 2016 – The annual report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) for the fiscal year 2014–2015 was tabled today in Parliament. This report provides an annual assessment of the performance of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) through SIRC’s three core functions: certifying the CSIS Director’s annual report to the Minister of Public Safety; carrying out in-depth reviews of CSIS’s activities and conducting investigations into complaints.

Overall, SIRC was satisfied with the manner in which CSIS carried out its mandate to investigate threats to the security of Canada; however, SIRC raised concerns in two special reports that were sent directly to the Minister of Public Safety.

The first report with concerns was an examination of CSIS’s efforts at countering the “insider threat.” SIRC’s in-depth look at CSIS’s internal investigations revealed a number of deficiencies, and in one situation in particular, SIRC found that CSIS had failed to give a case the appropriate level of attention and to take follow-up action. As a result, SIRC made a number of recommendations, several of which CSIS disagreed with.

The second report focussed on SIRC’s review of CSIS’s relationship with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. SIRC raised a potential legal concern with respect to CSIS’s activities as they relate to Canadian regulations related to international agreements. SIRC decided to invoke a rarely-used clause in the CSIS Act to direct CSIS to conduct a review to gather information required for SIRC to take any follow-up action deemed necessary.

The Chair of SIRC, the Honourable Pierre Blais, noted SIRC plays a vital role in ensuring accountability for CSIS; through its certification, reviews and investigations, SIRC aims to provide assurance that security intelligence activities in Canada are conducted lawfully and appropriately. In light of recent legislative developments, it is therefore imperative that SIRC maintains the ability and capacity to meet rising expectations.”

SIRC’s mandate is to ensure that CSIS investigates and reports on threats to national security in a manner that respects the rule of law and the rights of Canadians. SIRC’s annual report offers a declassified summary of its examination of CSIS’s activities.

Please direct all media inquiries to Lindsay Jackson, SIRC’s Assistant Director of Research, at 613-990-4448.

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