Security Intelligence Review Committee annual report tabled

OTTAWA, October 5, 2017—Accelerating Accountability, the 2016–2017 annual report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), was tabled today in Parliament.

SIRC is the independent review body that reports to Parliament on the operations of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

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. However, SIRC noted potential issues related to Charter rights when CSIS, without a warrant, obtains information for security screening investigations that could be used for other purposes. SIRC also recommended some policy and procedural changes, including for warrant executions.

SIRC conducted 12 reviews last year, more than in any previous year, thanks in part to an increase in resources. Review topics included CSIS investigations into terrorist financing, cyber security and foreign fighters (also known as extremist travellers), CSIS’s foreign arrangements and activities abroad, and a comprehensive review of CSIS’s threat reduction measures.

SIRC remains at the core of security intelligence accountability in Canada,” said SIRC Chair Pierre Blais. “Even as the government is reshaping the accountability framework for Canada’s security intelligence agencies, we are striving to be as transparent as possible while staying on top of emerging issues.”

Findings in SIRC’s 2015–2016 annual report prompted the Federal Court to call on CSIS to explain its metadata practices. After the Court ruled that CSIS’s retention of certain metadata was illegal, the Minister of Public Safety asked SIRC if it could report on CSIS’s response to the ruling. In taking on this request, SIRC has been reviewing CSIS’s treatment of metadata and how its new compliance system for warrants is being developed. SIRC will report its findings at the earliest opportunity.

Please direct all media inquiries to:
Susan Decker
Assistant Director of Research
Security Intelligence Review Committee
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