Security Intelligence Review Committee annual report tabled

OTTAWA, June 20, 2018 – Building for Tomorrow: The Future of Security Intelligence Accountability in Canada, the 2017-2018 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).

SIRC conducted 13 reviews last year, as well as a certification of the CSIS Director’s Annual Report to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. In addition to those reviews that SIRC selected according to its usual risk-based planning process, SIRC performed an in-depth review requested by the Minister under section 54 of the CSIS Act. Following the Federal Court ruling that CSIS's retention of non-threat-related metadata collected in bulk under warrant was illegal, this review was intended to evaluate measures taken by CSIS to bring its practices with respect to the retention of non-threat-related information into compliance with the law.

Other highlights include SIRC’s review of CSIS’s use of the Internet in support of operations, the results of which reflect the challenges and risks related to the changing legal landscape and lack of clear jurisprudence around certain Internet activities. SIRC completed its first review of CSIS’s operations in dangerous environments, ultimately recommending that CSIS develop a comprehensive strategic framework for operating within these environments.

SIRC also conducted a review of CSIS’s investigation into right-wing extremism to assess how this investigation has evolved since SIRC last examined it in 2012. As well, several of SIRC’s reviews address aspects of CSIS’s information sharing practices, consistent with our ongoing attention to this important issue.

SIRC sent two reports to the Minister for the section 54 review. SIRC found that CSIS responded rapidly and effectively with respect to the illegally retained metadata and its warranted collection systems; however, SIRC was not satisfied with CSIS’s practices with respect to the retention of other types of bulk data. In particular, SIRC found that a bulk dataset collected under warrant had been retained unlawfully.

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, in addition to the findings of the section 54 report with respect to certain bulk datasets, SIRC was concerned with instances of non-compliance related to information sharing with foreign entities. More broadly, SIRC noted a capacity gap with respect to the development and renewal of operational policies that was evident across several reviews.

Please direct all media inquiries to:

Susan Decker
A/ Director of Research
Security Intelligence Review Committee
613 907-4415

Date modified: