The Security Intelligence Review Committee’s 2015-2016 Annual Report is tabled in Parliament

September 29, 2016 – The 2015-2016 annual report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), entitled “Maintaining Momentum,” was tabled today in Parliament.

SIRC is mandated by the CSIS Act to provide an annual assessment of the performance of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) through its three core functions: certifying the CSIS Director’s annual report to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, carrying out in-depth reviews of CSIS’s activities, and conducting investigations into complaints made against CSIS.

The report contains summaries of the nine reviews SIRC conducted for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2016, on issues ranging from CSIS’s investigation into foreign fighters to its data exploitation activities, as well as foreign and domestic partnerships. The report also includes SIRC’s first examination of CSIS’s threat reduction activities, new powers which were given to CSIS under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015. For greater transparency, the report also contains CSIS’s responses to SIRC’s recommendations.

SIRC has substantial knowledge and expertise in reviewing security intelligence activities, which allow us to provide an unbiased assessment to Parliament and to Canadians as to whether CSIS has acted within the law in executing its mandate,” said Pierre Blais, SIRC’s Chairperson. “We take the responsibility that Canadians have bestowed upon us very seriously.”

Overall, SIRC was satisfied that CSIS acted in accordance with the law in carrying out its mandate to investigate threats to the security of Canada but noted some areas for improvement. “Maintaining momentum” speaks to SIRC’s desire to contribute to the ongoing discussion of accountability of Canada’s intelligence and security community, particularly in light of the proposed National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians bill which will be debated in the House in the fall.

SIRC is an independent and external review body that has the absolute authority to examine all information under CSIS’s control, except Cabinet confidences. SIRC is not involved in the daily operations of CSIS, thus allowing it to maintain its complete objectivity and impartiality. It does, however, participate in regular discussions with CSIS, as well as other members of the national security community, academics, security and intelligence experts and other relevant organizations in the fulfillment of its mandate.

Please direct all inquiries to Sabrine Barakat, Communications Advisor, at 613-991-9654.

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