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Departmental Plan: 2024-2025

Plans at a glance

A departmental plan describes a department’s priorities, plans and associated costs for the upcoming three fiscal years.

  • Vision, mission, raison d’etre and operating context
  • Minister’s mandate letter

Key priorities

In 2024–25, the NSIRA Secretariat’s top priorities are to

  • support NSIRA Members in undertaking professional, independent reviews of Canada’s national security and intelligence activities;
  • support NSIRA Members in conducting independent investigations of national security and intelligence public complaints;
  • provide transparency about our work; and
  • continue to strengthen our domestic and international partnerships.

Refocusing Government Spending

In Budget 2023, the government committed to reducing spending by $14.1 billion over the next five years, starting in 2023–24, and by $4.1 billion annually after that.

While not officially part of the government spending reduction exercise, the NSIRA Secretariat will respect the spirit of this exercise by

  • critically considering the need for contractors, and
  • identifying work that can be done in-house or deferred, if required.

NSIRA remains committed to managing spending with prudence and probity and that resources are used effectively, and efficiently to achieve organizational objectives. 

Highlights

A Departmental Results Framework consists of an organization’s core responsibilities, the results it plans to achieve, and the performance indicators that measure progress toward these results.

National security and intelligence reviews and complaints investigations

Departmental results:

NSIRA reviews Government of Canada national security and intelligence activities to assess whether they are lawful, reasonable, and necessary. The Agency also investigates complaints from members of the public on the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as certain other national security-related complaints, independently and in a timely manner.

The NSIRA Secretariat supports the Agency in the delivery of its mandate. Independent scrutiny contributes to strengthening the accountability framework for national security and intelligence activities and to enhancing public confidence. Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable, and necessary.

See GC InfoBase for the full framework and program inventory.

Planned spending: $10,852,987

Planned human resources: 69

Support to national security and intelligence reviews and complaints investigations: The NSIRA Secretariat will support the Agency as it ensures institutions’ accountability and enhances public confidence. This will involve conducting transparent and timely investigations into complaints related to national security or intelligence activities and the denial of security clearances.

Throughout 2024–25, the NSIRA Secretariat will support and conduct the Agency’s current reviews and initiate new reviews as per its Forward Review Plan. It will also conduct the Agency’s mandated annual reviews under the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act and annual reviews of CSIS and CSE activities.

For more information on the NSIRA Secretariat’s plans, see the “Plans to deliver” section of this plan.

More information about National security and intelligence reviews and complaints investigations can be found in the full departmental plan.

Date of Publishing:

From the Executive Director

This Departmental Plan describes the priorities and goals for the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) Secretariat in 2024–25. Our work is fundamentally anchored by our role in supporting the Agency’s mandate to undertake independent, expert review and investigation of the Government of Canada’s national security and intelligence activities.

Since the Agency’s inception in 2019, the NSIRA Secretariat has worked to establish a professional workforce and the supporting infrastructure, processes, and policies needed to carry out its mandate. Our approaches have matured as we have taken time for deep internal reflection and to consult with our domestic and international partners. Combined with the growing willingness of the national security community to genuinely accept and adjust to our mandate, we are now well positioned to leverage what we have learned and confidently advance our work as a world-recognized review body. In so doing, we will continue to work towards NSIRA’s vision of an accountable, transparent, and effective national security and intelligence community that upholds the rule of law.

In 2024–25, the Secretariat will continue to improve the quality of our working environment to attract and retain an exceptional workforce. We recognize that prioritizing the physical and mental well-being of our employees, and continuing to advance diversity and inclusion, are important aspects of becoming an employer of choice. We have taken steps to implement meaningful action in the coming year. NSIRA is well positioned to take on new and exciting challenges in the year ahead. I would like to thank both Secretariat staff and NSIRA Members, whose ongoing professionalism and dedication to our important work continues to be the force behind our past and future success.

John Davies
Executive Director
National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Secretariat

Plans to deliver on core responsibilities and internal services

Core responsibilities and internal services:

  • National security and intelligence reviews and complaints investigations
  • Internal services

National security and intelligence reviews and complaints investigations

Description

NSIRA reviews Government of Canada national security and intelligence activities to assess whether they are lawful, reasonable, and necessary. The Agency investigates complaints from members of the public regarding activities of CSIS, CSE, and the national security activities of the RCMP, as well as certain other national security-related complaints.

The NSIRA Secretariat supports the Agency in the delivery of this mandate. The resulting independent scrutiny contributes to the strengthening of the framework of accountability for national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions and enhancing public confidence.

Quality of life impacts

NSIRA’s core responsibility relates most closely to the indicator ‘confidence in institutions’, within the ‘democracy and institutions’ sub domain and under the overarching domain of ‘good governance’.

Results and targets

The following tables show, for each departmental result related to national security and intelligence reviews and complaints investigations, the indicators, the results from the three most recently reported fiscal years, the targets and target dates approved in 2024–25.

Table 1: Indicators, results and targets for departmental result “Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable, and necessary”

Indicator 2020–21 result 2021–22 result 2022–23 result Target Date to achieve
All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis N/A 100% 100% 100% completion of mandatory reviews  December 2022
Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year N/A 100% 100% At least one national security or intelligence activity is reviewed in at least five departments or agencies annually December 2022
All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three- year period N/A 33% 33% 100% completion over three years; at least 33% completed each year December 2022

Table 2: Indicators, results, and targets for departmental result “National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner”

Indicator 2020–21 result 2021–22 result 2022–23 result Target Date to achieve
Note: NSIRA was created on July 12, 2019. Actual results for 2020–21 are not available because the new Departmental Results Framework was being developed during the transition of the Security Intelligence Review Committee into the establishment of NSIRA. The new framework is for measuring and reporting on results achieved starting in 2021–22; in 2022–23, NSIRA finalized service standards on the time required to complete its investigations (effective April 1, 2023). The results will be included in the next Departmental Results Report.
Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards N/A N/A N/A 90% – 100% March 2024

The financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available on GC InfoBase.

Plans to achieve results

Support to NSIRA reviews

The NSIRA Secretariat will continue to support the Agency’s current, ongoing reviews and new reviews from the Forward Review Plan throughout 2024–25. This will include supporting the annual reviews of CSIS and CSE activities, to provide responsible Ministers and the Canadian public with an assessment of these institutions’ activities, including their lawfulness, reasonableness, and necessity.

In 2024–25, the NSIRA Secretariat will continue to be informed and guided by the knowledge acquired through reviews of departments and agencies (reviewees) to date. As it becomes increasingly familiar with reviewees’ organizational structures, networks, policies, and activities, and able to apply such information to subsequent reviews, it will leverage this knowledge to ensure these institutions’ national security and intelligence activities are reviewed from a strongly informed position of independence. The NSIRA Secretariat will also continue to support reviews focused on crosscutting, horizontal issues that span multiple reviewees, with a goal of fully leveraging NSIRA’s authority in this regard.

In addition to conducting its mandated annual reviews in 2024-25, the NSIRA Secretariat will lead the development of a new review plan that is timely, topical, and responsive. The Forward Review Plan involves evaluating proposals for new reviews against an established matrix of criteria. The criteria represent the considerations or aspects that NSIRA deems to be the most important and relevant to the issues and topics it addresses through its discretionary reviews. The outcome will be a prioritized list of new reviews that will be undertaken once the existing reviews are completed. In this way, the NSIRA Secretariat will continue to support NSIRA Members in executing their responsibilities and exercising their authority under the NSIRA Act.

Support to NSIRA complaints investigations

In 2024–25, the NSIRA Secretariat will support the Agency in ensuring institutions’ accountability and enhancing public confidence by conducting transparent and timely investigations into complaints related to national security and the denial of security clearances. NSIRA’s independent investigation of complaints plays a critical role in maintaining public access to justice.

In the coming year, the NSIRA Secretariat will apply its rules of procedure, which were first implemented in 2021, to promote accessibility, timeliness, and efficiency in the Agency’s investigation of complaints. This includes an informal resolution process that has proven successful in resolving complaints that do not need to proceed e to formal investigation process.

The NSIRA Secretariat will further implement the Agency’s new service standards for the investigation of complaints, which were created in 2022–23 and effective as of April 1, 2023.

Transparency

The NSIRA Secretariat will continue to proactively publish unclassified versions of all Agency review reports. It will engage reviewees in a timelier manner on release approvals and aim to publish redacted reports on the NSIRA website shortly after these reports are provided to reviewees and their respective Ministers, leveraging processes developed during the previous year.

Partnerships

Participation

In 2024–25, the NSIRA Secretariat will build on its ongoing partnership efforts from the previous year. It will continue its participation in the Five Eyes Intelligence Oversight and Review Council, which brings together review agency representatives from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Engagement

The NSIRA Secretariat will also continue to support multilateral and bilateral engagement with other like-minded European and international partners. Such participation and engagement will include ongoing working-level visits and exchanges. This work will support NSIRA’s interest in benefiting from, and contributing to, the sharing of best practices with the broader review and oversight community. The NSIRA Secretariat will also continue to build on recent efforts to foster collaborative relationships with other domestic review bodies and civil society groups.

Key risks

The NSIRA Secretariat has made progress on accessing the information required to conduct reviews; however, there continues to be risks associated with reviewees’ ability to respond to, and prioritize, information requests, hindering NSIRA’s ability to deliver its review plan in a timely way. The NSIRA Secretariat will continue to mitigate this risk by providing clear communication related to information requests, tracking their timely completion within communicated timelines, and escalating issues when appropriate.

Snapshot of planned resources in 2024–25
  • Planned spending: $18,575,110
  • Planned full-time resources: 100

In 2024–25, the NSIRA Secretariat will continue to implement its three-year action plan on human rights, accessibility, employment equity, diversity, and inclusion. It first put this plan into effect during fiscal year 2022–23, following a maturity assessment of its policies, programs, and practices, and the Call to Action from the Clerk of the Privy Council. It includes, among many components, incorporating a gender-based analysis plus lens into the design and implementation of the NSIRA Secretariat’s policies and programs.

Employee self-identification data, which was first collected by the NSIRA Secretariat in 2023–2024 (further to the establishment of a special program under the Canadian Human Rights Act), will continue to inform the NSIRA Secretariat’s activities in the year ahead and better position it to:

  • prevent, eliminate, or reduce disadvantages and barriers that are experienced by any group of individuals based on, or related to, prohibited grounds of discrimination;
  • identify gaps in representation, to implement recruitment and retention measures aimed at not only achieving but retaining a diverse workforce and maintaining an inclusive work environment;
  • leverage the value of diverse peoples and perspectives in its work; and
  • identify meaningful opportunities for employee engagement in keeping with its overall commitment to human rights, accessibility, employment equity, diversity, and inclusion.

NSIRA’s Forward Looking Review Plan continues to be informed by considerations related to anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. These considerations apply to the process of selecting reviews to be undertaken, as well as to the analysis that takes place during individual reviews. NSIRA reviews routinely take into account the potential for national security or intelligence activities to result in disparate outcomes for various communities, and will continue to do so in the year ahead.

In 2024–25, in the context of complaint investigations, the NSIRA Secretariat will continue to support the Agency as it works with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) to develop strategies for the collection, analysis, and use of identity-based data. Following the completion of a joint study, it will focus on assessing how some recommendations can be implemented for the collection, analysis, and use of identity-based data in relation to the NSIRA and CRCC mandates.

The NSIRA Secretariat will also continue to implement its Accessibility Plan, which outlines the steps that will be taken to increase accessibility within the organization and for all Canadians over the next two years. In addition, its Diversity, Inclusion, and Employment Equity Advisory Committee will continue to work with management and staff to build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace and workforce. This will include organizing discussions and learning events with all staff and providing advice on policy and program design.

In the year ahead, the NSIRA Secretariat will also develop and implement a pay equity plan, as required by the Pay Equity Act. Closing any identified gender pay gap is essential to advancing gender equality and fostering a workplace driven by inclusivity and fairness.

Program inventory

National security and intelligence reviews and complaints investigations are supported by the following program in the program inventory:

  • National security and intelligence activity reviews and complaints investigations.

Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to NSIRA’s program inventory is available on GC Infobase.

Internal services

Description

Internal services are the services that are provided within a department so that it can meet its corporate obligations and deliver its programs. There are 10 categories of internal services:

  • management and oversight services
  • communications services
  • human resources management services
  • financial management services
  • information management services
  • information technology services
  • real property management services
  • materiel management services
  • acquisition management services

Plans to achieve results

In 2024–25, the NSIRA Secretariat will continue to take steps to ensure resources are deployed in the most effective and efficient manner possible, and its operations and administrative structures, tools, and processes continue to focus on supporting the delivery of its priorities.

The NSIRA Secretariat recognizes the need to be an inclusive, healthy, and flexible employer. Over the coming year, it will continue to encourage flexible working arrangements, such as teleworking, to achieve work–life balance and meet performance expectations.

In the coming year, the NSIRA Secretariat’s office footprint, with modern and flexible workstations in the classified and non-classified realm, is expected to be completed. The project has been pushed back to a summer 2024 delivery date due to its complexity, supply chain challenges, and compliance requirements.

The NSIRA Secretariat also continues to implement security controls and keeps its Security Plan and Business Impact Analysis evergreen, to ensure resiliency over time. In addition, based on the NSIRA Secretariat’s Information Management plans and strategies developed last fiscal year, it has identified the tools and resources required to execute the plans and strategies over the coming years.

Snapshot of planned resources in 2024-25
  • Planned spending: $7,722,123
  • Planned full-time resources: 31
Planning for contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses

The NSIRA Secretariat is among the final wave of departments and agencies that are to achieve the mandatory minimum target of contract awards to Indigenous businesses by 2024–25. Efforts are already well underway in support of the Government of Canada’s commitment which requires that an annual, mandatory minimum target of five percent of the total value of contracts be awarded to Indigenous businesses.

In 2021-22, the NSIRA Secretariat exceeded its plan to reach two percent of total contract values awarded to Indigenous business, and achieved three percent, as shown in Table 3. Measures undertaken by the NSIRA Secretariat to facilitate the achievement of the mandatory minimum target by 2024–25 include a commitment to process an increasing minimum number of contracts in each of the following three fiscal years, as set-asides under the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business.

Table 3: Progress toward target for contracts with Indigenous businesses

5% reporting field description 2021–22 actual % achieved 2022–23 actual % achieved 2023–24 planned % target 2024–25 planned % target
Total percentage of contracts with Indigenous businesses 3% 3% 3% 5%

Planned spending and human resources

This section provides an overview of NSIRA’s planned spending and human resources for the next three fiscal years and compares planned spending for 2024–25 with actual spending from previous years.

Spending

Table 4: Actual spending summary for core responsibilities and internal services ($ dollars)

The following table shows information on spending for each of NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for its internal services for the previous three fiscal years. Amounts for the current fiscal year are forecasted based on spending to date.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020–21 actual expenditures 2021–22 actual expenditures 2022–23 forecast spending
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 7,394,642 7,756,271 9,516,920
Subtotal 7,394,642 7,756,271 9,516,920
Internal Services 9,895,112 10,532,876 10,799,513
Total 17,289,754 18,289,147 20,316,433

Table 5: Budgetary planning summary for core responsibilities and internal services (dollars)

The following table shows information on spending for each of NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for its internal services for the upcoming three fiscal years.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2024–25 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2024–25 planned spending 2025–26 planned spending 2026–27 planned spending
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 10,852,987 10,852,987 10,852,051 10,852,051
Subtotal 10,852,987 10,852,987 10,852,051 10,852,051
Internal Services 7,722,123 7,722,123 7,758,034 7,758,034
Total 18,575,110 18,575,110 18,610,085 18,610,085

Funding

Figure 1: Departmental spending 2021–22 to 2026–27

The following graph presents planned spending (voted and statutory expenditures) over time.

Departmental spending trend graph
  2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25 2025–26 2026–27
Statutory 1,176,321 1,300,166 1,513,580 1,764,845 1,766,593 1,766,593
Voted 16,113,433 16,988,981 18,802,853 16,810,265 16,843,492 16,843,492
Total 17,289,754 18,289,147 20,316,433 18,575,110 18,610,085 18,610,085

Peak spending was reached in 2023–24 with the inclusion of the majority of construction project expenditures. The NSIRA Secretariat will move to steadier state of spending in 2024–25.

Estimates by vote

Information on NSIRA’s organizational appropriations is available in the 2024–25 Main Estimates.

Future-oriented condensed statement of operations

The future-oriented condensed statement of operations provides an overview of NSIRA’s operations for 2023–24 to 2024–25.

The forecast and planned amounts in this statement of operations were prepared on an accrual basis. The forecast and planned amounts presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan were prepared on an expenditure basis. Amounts may therefore differ.

A more detailed future-oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations with the requested authorities, are available at NSIRA’s website.

Table 6: Future-oriented condensed statement of operations for the year ending March 31, 2025 (dollars)

Financial information 2023–24 Forecast results 2024–25 Planned results Difference (2024–25 planned results minus 2023–24 Forecast results)
Total expenses 18,786,869 20,400,691 1,613,823
Total revenues 0 0 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 18,786,869 20,400,691 1,613,823

Human resources

Table 7: Actual human resources for core responsibilities and internal services

The following table shows a summary of human resources, in full-time equivalents (FTEs), for NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for its internal services for the previous three fiscal years. Human resources for the current fiscal year are forecasted based on year to date. 

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2021–22 actual full time equivalents 2022–23 actual full time equivalents 2023–24 forecast full time equivalents
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 52 53 69
Subtotal 52 53 69
Internal Services 22 25 31
Total 74 78 100

Given the NSIRA secretariat continues to be a growing organization, the increase of 4 FTEs is reasonable year over year. The organization plans to continue to grow towards 100 FTEs through various recruitment and retention programs.

Table 8: Human resources planning summary for core responsibilities and internal services

The following table shows information on human resources, in full-time equivalents (FTEs), for each of NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for its internal services planned for 2024–25 and future years.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2024–25 planned full time equivalents 2025–26 planned full time equivalents 2026–27 planned full time equivalents
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 69 69 69
Subtotal 69 69 69
Internal Services 31 31 31
Total 100 100 100

With a tight labour market and the requirement for a significant portion of employees to work primarily from secure office space, recruitment continues to prove challenging. New recruitment and retention programs will help the NSIRA secretariat in its ongoing efforts to be fully staffed.

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Institutional head: John Davies, Executive Director
Ministerial portfolio: Privy Council Office
Enabling instrument: National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act
Year of incorporation / commencement: 2019

Organizational contact information

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
P.O. Box 2430, Station “D” Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

Telephone: The phone number is temporarily disabled
Fax: The fax number is temporarily disabled.
Emailinfo@nsira-ossnr.gc.ca
Websitewww.nsira-ossnr.gc.ca

Supplementary information tables

Information on NSIRA’s departmental sustainable development strategy can be found on NSIRA’s website

Federal tax expenditures

NSIRA’s Departmental Plan does not include information on tax expenditures.

Tax expenditures are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for government wide tax expenditures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures.

This report provides detailed information on tax expenditures, including objectives, historical background and references to related federal spending programs, as well as evaluations, research papers and gender-based analysis plus.

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3‑year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full‑time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2020–21 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

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Departmental Results Report: 2022-23

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Cat. Number: PS106-8E-PDF
ISSN: 2563-5174

© His Majesty the King in Right of Canada, 2023

Date of Publishing:

From the Executive Director

I am pleased to present the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) Secretariat’s Departmental Results Report for 2022-23. Throughout the reporting period, the Secretariat has continued to execute its mission to support NSIRA in its focus on conducting highquality, impactful reviews and fair and efficient complaint investigations. We also worked to expand our capacity and expertise across all business lines, building on the work of previous years.

In 2022-23, NSIRA’s review work continued to expand to new areas within Canada’s national security and intelligence community and NSIRA continued to collaborate and de-conflict with like-minded accountability bodies in Canada with similar mandates. NSIRA’s work on complaint investigations was extensive and included the completion of a significant volume of referrals from the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The NSIRA Secretariat was an integral part of all of these developments which required us to remain agile, diverse and to explore all avenues of our productivity in the support of NSIRA.

Internally, we undertook a number of ambitious initiatives related to training and development, with a focus on attracting and retaining highly professional staff and offering career progression options. We continued to refine our business processes to enhance the quality of our output and strengthened our relationship with our various domestic and international counterparts to exchange on best practices in the field of national security and intelligence accountability.

I would like to thank all NSIRA Secretariat staff for their continued dedication to fulfilling our important mandate, and for ensuring that our work is held to the highest standards.

John Davies
Executive Director
National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

Results at a glance

In 2022-23, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) Secretariat continued to execute its mandate of assisting NSIRA in its Reviews and Investigations with the goal of improving national security and intelligence accountability and transparency in Canada. This related not only to the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), but also other federal departments and agencies engaged in such activities, including:

  • the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF);
  • the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); and,
  • all departments and agencies engaging in national security and intelligence activities in the context of NSIRA’s yearly reviews of the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act and the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act.

The NSIRA Secretariat’s total spending in 2022-23 amounted to $18,289,147 and its total actual full-time equivalents were 78.

Review

NSIRA’s review of national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions ensures that ministers and Canadians are informed about whether these activities were lawful, reasonable and necessary.

During 2022–23, the Secretariat assisted NSIRA in completing 7 reviews, including reviews of activities that were never previously subject to independent scrutiny. We also refined our methodology, emphasizing a stronger role for NSIRA Members in working with staff to shape reviews throughout their lifecycle.

Complaint investigations

In 2022-23 the Secretariat assisted NSIRA in the continuation of maturation and modernization of the processes underpinning the fulfillment of its investigation mandate. The jurisdiction assessment phase was regularized, incorporating a verification protocol for the three agencies for which NSIRA has complaints jurisdiction. The administration and conduct of the investigative process has increased emphasis on investigative interviews in order to enhance the relevance of the process for complainants.

COVID-19 remained a lingering feature of the investigative landscape in the first half of the year which caused continued constraints with respect to the progress of investigations, requiring inperson meetings in compliance with security protocols. The new processes reduced delays in the conduct of investigations. It is anticipated that this will continue on a forward basis as we emerge from the pandemic.

The level of investigation activities last year remained high and included the completion of a significant referral from the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). A number of initiatives were commenced relating to data management and service standards which are expected to enhance file management in the coming year.

For more information, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

Results: what we achieved

Core responsibility

Assisting NSIRA in National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations

Description:

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency reviews Government of Canada national security and intelligence activities to assess whether they are lawful, reasonable and necessary. It investigates complaints from members of the public regarding activities of CSIS, CSE or the national security activities of the RCMP, as well as certain other national security-related complaints. This independent scrutiny contributes to the strengthening of the framework of accountability for national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions and supports public confidence in this regard. The NSIRA Secretariat’s function is to assist NSIRA in the conduct of this important work.

Results:

The NSIRA Secretariat assisted NSIRA in the completion of 7 national security and intelligence reviews over the course of 2022–23. Five reviews focused mainly on an individual department or agency, while two reviews were interdepartmental by design. Organizations whose activities were the subject of specific reviews included:

  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service — one review
  • Communications Security Establishment — two reviews
  • Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces — one review
  • Canada Border Services Agency – one review

The two interdepartmental reviews by design were:

  • The annual review of disclosures under the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act (SCIDA)
  • The annual review of the implementation of directions issued under the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act (ACA)

During the reporting period, the Secretariat continued to refine its processes and methodology to assist the NSIRA review mandate, with the goal of promoting high-quality, impactful reviews.

NSIRA Members worked closely with Secretariat staff in designing and executing individual reviews. The Secretariat supported NSIRA in the development and implementation of a “Considerations Matrix” which uses objective criteria to identify review topics in accordance with NSIRA’s core mandate and mission. In addition, the Secretariat implemented an updated process at the staff level for its Quality Assurance of review work, incorporating peer review at key stages.

NSIRA continued to place emphasis on the review of the use of technology by reviewed entities. The Secretariat’s Technology Directorate supported NSIRA’s ongoing first technology-focused review of the lifecycle of CSIS information collected by technical capabilities pursuant to a Federal Court warrant.

Investigation of national security and intelligence–related complaints

During the past year, the Secretariat continued to assist NSIRA efforts in reforming the investigative process for complaints and developing procedures and practices to ensure that the conduct of investigations is fair, timely and transparent. This included work on a streamlined jurisdictional assessment phase and increased use of investigative interviews as the principal means of fact finding. These developments enabled the Secretariat to successfully assist NSIRA in dealing with a significant volume of complaints over this reporting period.

During 2022-23, under instructions from NSIRA leadership, the Secretariat began developing service standards related to the investigation of complaints. The service standards will set internal time limits for certain investigative steps for each type of complaint, under normal circumstances. The service standards will specify the circumstances under which those time limits do not apply. The Secretariat will finalize and publish its service standards in 2023.

The Secretariat assisted NSIRA in completing sixty-seven complaint investigations during the 2022-23 reporting period, which included 58 referrals from the CHRC and 9 other complaints. Additionally, the Secretariat began the last phase of a study on race-based data and the collection of demographic information jointly commissioned with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (CRCC). The study will assess the viability of the collection of identity-based and demographic data as part of the CRCC’s ongoing anti-racism initiatives. Improved, more precise and more consistent tracking, collection and measurement of data is necessary to support anti-racism efforts in government.

Gender-based analysis plus

In 2022–23, the NSIRA Secretariat’s Diversity, Inclusion and Employment Equity Advisory Committee examined and provided recommendations to senior management on ways it can improve its internal policies, programs and procedures, as well as its external service delivery model to increase inclusion, diversity and equity.

We continue to work closely with partners to develop strategies for the collection, analysis and use of race-based and demographic data in the context of the complaints process. Improving awareness and understanding of NSIRA’s investigation process remains a core objective to ensure justice is accessible to all.

The potential for national security and intelligence activities to result in disparate outcomes for minority groups is taken into account when the Secretariat assists NSIRA to plan and conduct its reviews. Diversity is one of the elements on NSIRA’s Review Considerations Matrix, which uses objective criteria to identify review topics in accordance with NSIRA’s core mandate and mission. While NSIRA’s reviews are focused on the compliance, reasonableness, necessity and efficacy of activities, particular consideration is given to the impacts of these activities on diverse communities.

In 2022-23, the NSIRA Secretariat worked to establish a framework for the collection of employee self-identification data, in order to understand the makeup of its workforce and how it compares with the broader Canadian population. Understanding where there are gaps in representation of equity-deserving groups will help to determine where changes are needed to correct historical disadvantages and achieve equality in the workplace. This initiative will be implemented in 2023-24.

The NSIRA Secretariat also published its first accessibility plan in accordance with the Accessible Canada Act: National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Accessibility Plan 2022 – 2025. The plan was developed further to both internal and external consultations which included individuals whose lived experience as persons with a disability provided invaluable insight into barriers, potential gaps, and important considerations with respect to mitigation strategies. This inaugural plan outlines the steps that will be taken to increase accessibility within the organization and for Canadians more generally over the next three years.

Innovation

Given the Secretariat’s mandate to assist NSIRA’s functions and responsibilities, the Secretariat did not engage in any program-related innovation activities.

Key risks

During the reporting period, the Secretariat assisted NSIRA in its work with the departments and agencies subject to review, to ensure timely and unfettered access to all the information necessary for the conduct of reviews. While work remains to be done on this front, we acknowledge the improvements in cooperation and support to the independent review process demonstrated by some reviewees. Secretariat staff generally increased its level of occupancy within the departments’ offices and its access to information systems.

Physical distancing precautions established by the COVID-19 pandemic were, for the most part, lifted in 2022–23. However, the Secretariat remains ready to implement such measures if they are deemed necessary in the future. We see investments made in virtual meeting technology as beneficial for the organization as they have allowed us to gain flexibility.

Results achieved

The following table shows, for the assistance in completing National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations, the results achieved, the performance indicators, the targets and the target dates for 2022–23, and the actual results for the three most recent fiscal years for which actual results are available.

Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2020-21 actual results 2021-22 actual results 2022-23 actual results
Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis 100% completion of mandatory reviews 2021-22 Not applicable (N/A) 100% 100%
Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year At least one national security or intelligence activity is reviewed in at least five departments or agencies annually 2021-22 N/A 100% 100%
All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three- year period 100% completion over three years; at least 33% completed each year 2021-22 N/A 33% 33%
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards 90% 2022-23 N/A N/A

Note: The NSIRA Secretariat was created on July 12, 2019. Actual results for 2020–21 are not available because the new Departmental Results Framework in the changeover from the Security Intelligence Review Committee to the NSIRA Secretariat was being developed. This new framework is for measuring and reporting on results achieved starting in 2021–22. In 2022–23, the Secretariat will finalize the development of service standards for how long it takes to complete its investigations; the results will be included in the next Departmental Results Report.

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

The following table shows, for internal services, budgetary spending for 2022–23, as well as actual spending for that year.

2022–23 Main Estimates 2022–23 Planned spending 2022–23 Total authorities available for use 2022–23 Actual spending (authorities used) 2022–23 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
$10,756,818 $10,756,818 $11,541,004 $7,756,271 $(3,000,547)

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA Secretariat’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

The following table shows, in full-time equivalents, the human resources the NSIRA Secretariat’s needed to fulfill this core responsibility for 2022–23.

2022–23 Planned full-time equivalents 2022–23 Actual full-time equivalents 2022–23 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
69 53 (16)

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA Secretariat’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Internal Services

Description

Internal services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support program delivery in the organization, regardless of the internal services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are:

  • Acquisition Management Services
  • Communication Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Legal Services
  • Material Management Services
  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Real Property Management Services

Results

During the reporting period, the NSIRA Secretariat continued to take steps to ensure resources were deployed in the most effective and efficient manner possible and its operations and administrative structures, tools and processes continued to focus on supporting the delivery of its priorities.

The Secretariat recognizes the need to be an inclusive, healthy, and flexible employer. Over the past year, we have encouraged flexible working arrangements, such as teleworking, to achieve work–life balance and meet performance expectations.

The Secretariat initiated a project associated with the accreditation of its current space for use of classified material. Various testing, inspections and supported documents were issued to the Lead Security Agency issuing the authority to operate within the required timelines.

Work on increasing the Secretariat’s footprint with modern and flexible workstations within the classified and non-classified realm commenced in the summer of 2022. The project has, due to its complexity, supply chain challenges, and compliancy requirements, seen the delivery date pushed back to summer of 2024.

The Secretariat also completed work on refreshing two of its multifunctional meeting rooms. The Secretariat continues to implement security controls and keeps its Security Plan and the Business Impact Analysis evergreen, in order to ensure resiliency.

The Secretariat has successfully implemented an ergonomic and accessibility program. This program is a joint venture between the human resources and property management teams. In addition to this, based on the Information Management plans and strategies developed last fiscal year, the Secretariat identified the tools and resources required to execute the plans/strategies over the coming years.

Contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses

The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and to improving socio-economic outcomes by increasing opportunities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses through the federal procurement process.

Under the Directive on the Management of Procurement, which came into effect on May 13, 2021, departments must ensure that a minimum of 5% of the total value of the contracts they award are held by Indigenous businesses. This requirement is being phased in over three years, and full implementation is expected by 2024.

Indigenous Services Canada has set the implementation schedule:

  • Phase 1 departments: April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023
  • Phase 2 departments: April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024
  • Phase 3 departments: April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025

The NSIRA Secretariat is a Phase 3 organization and is aiming to achieve the minimum 5% target by the end of 2025.

In order to achieve this target, the Secretariat plans to implement a strategy to create more opportunities for Indigenous businesses. Tools will be added to ensure Indigenous considerations for every contract and consideration will be given to amending internal policies.

In addition, all staff will be required to complete the mandatory course Indigenous Considerations in Procurement (COR409) from the Canada School of Public Service as well as Procurement in the Nunavut Settlement Area (COR410) from the Canada School of Public Service.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

The following table shows, for internal services, budgetary spending for 2021–22, as well as spending for that year.

2022–23 Main Estimates 2022–23 Planned spending 2022–23 Total authorities available for use 2022–23 Actual spending (authorities used) 2022–23 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
$17,493,858 $17,493,858 $17,822,513 $10,532,876 ($6,960,982)

The difference of $6.9 million between planned and actual spending is mostly due to the lingering impacts of the pandemic on the Secretariat’s ability to progress with its facilities fit-up and expansion plans, as well as on its planned spending on internal services infrastructure and systems.

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

The following table shows, in full-time equivalents, the human resources the department needed to carry out its internal services for 2022–23.

2022–23 Planned full-time equivalents 2022–23 Actual full-time equivalents 2022–23 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
31 25 (6)

Spending

Spending 2020–21 to 2025–26

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory spending) over time.

Graph: Departmental spending trend - Text version follows
Departmental spending trend graph
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25 2025-26
Statutory 962,186 1,176,321 1,300,166 1,755,229 1,755,229 1,756,977
Voted 11,289,189 16,113,433 16,988,980 21,253,996 16,753,702 16,786,929
Total 12,251,375 17,289,754 18,289,147 23,009,225 18,508,931 18,543,906

The graph illustrates the Secretariat’s spending trends over a six-year period from 2020-21 to 2025–26. Fiscal years 2020–21 to 2022–23 reflect actual expenditures as reported in the Public Accounts. Fiscal years 2023–24 to 2025–26 represent planned spending.

The increased spending in 2023-24 is due to the expectation that the facilities fit-up and expansion is planned to be completed in this fiscal year.

The levelling of authorities in 2024–25 and 2025-26 is due to the sunsetting of funding earmarked for the completion of facilities fit-up and expansion.

Budgetary performance summary for core responsibilities and internal services (dollars)

The “Budgetary performance summary for core responsibilities and internal services” table presents the budgetary financial resources allocated for the NSIRA Secretariat’s core responsibilities and for internal services.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2022-23 Main Estimates 2022-23 Planned spending 2023-24 Planned spending 2024-25 Planned spending 2022-23 Total authorities available for use 2020-21 Actual spending (authorities used) 2021-22 Actual spending (authorities used) 2022-23 Actual spending (authorities used)
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 10,756,818 10,756,818 10,757,687 10,757,687 11,541,004 3,009,066 7,394,642 7,756,271
Subtotal 10,756,818 10,756,818 10,757,687 10,757,687 11,541,004 3,009,066 7,394,642 7,756,271
Internal Services 17,493,858 17,493,858 7,701,336 7,701,042 17,822,513 6,643,579 9,895,112 10,532,876
Total 28,250,676 28,250,676 18,459,023 18,458,729 29,363,517 9,652,645 17,289,754 18,289,147

Human resources

The “Human resources summary for core responsibilities and internal services” table presents the full-time equivalents (FTEs) allocated to each of the Secretariat’s core responsibilities and to internal services.

Human resources summary for core responsibilities and internal services

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020-21 Actual full-time equivalents 2021-22 Actual full-time equivalents 2022-23 Planned full-time equivalents 2022-23 Actual full-time equivalents 2023-24 Planned full-time equivalents 2024-25 Planned full-time equivalents
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 38 52 69 53 69 69
Subtotal 38 52 69 53 69 69
Internal Services 22 22 31 25 31 31
Total 29 60 100 78 100 100

Expenditures by vote

For information on the Secretariat’s organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada.

Government of Canada spending and activities

Information on the alignment of the Secretariat’s spending with Government of Canada’s spending and activities is available in GC InfoBase.

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Financial statements

NSIRA’s financial statements (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2023, are available on the departmental website.

Financial statement highlights

Condensed Statement of Operations (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2023 (dollars)
Financial information 2022-23 Planned results 2022-23 Actual results 2021-22 Actual results Difference (2022-23 Actual results minus 2022-23 Planned results) Difference (2022-23 Actual results minus 2021-22 Actual results)
Total expenses $28,250,676 $19,585,699 $16,164,825 ($8,664,977) $3,420,874
Total revenues 0 0 0 0 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers $28,250,676 $19,585,699 $16,164,825 ($8,664,977) $3,420,874

The 2022–23 planned results information is provided in the Secretariat’s Future-Oriented Statement of Operations and Notes 2022–23. Future-Oriented Statement of Operations and Notes 2022–23

Condensed Statement of Financial Position (unaudited) as of March 31, 2023 (dollars)
Financial information 2022-23 2021-22 Difference (2022-23 minus 2021-22)
Total net liabilities $2,293,538 $2,050,302 $243,236
Total net financial assets $1,518,277 $1,577,964 ($59,687)
Departmental net debt $775,261 $$472,338 $302,923
Total non-financial assets $4,829,722 $2,240,138 $2,589,584
Departmental net financial position $4,054,461 $1,767,800 $2,286,661

The 2022–23 planned results information is provided in the Secretariat’s Future-Oriented Statement of Operations and Notes 2022–23.

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Institutional head: John Davies, Executive Director
Ministerial portfolio: Privy Council Office
Enabling instrument: National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act
Year of incorporation / commencement: 2019

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

“Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on NSIRA‘s website.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on NSIRA’s website.

Reporting framework

NSIRA’s Departmental Results Framework, with accompanying results and indicators, were under development in 2020–21. Additional information on key performance measures are included in the 2021–22 Departmental Plan.

Core Responsibility: National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations
Departmental Results Framework Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary Indicator: All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis Internal Services
Indicator: Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year
Indicator: All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three-year period
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Indicator: Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards
Program Inventory Program: National security and intelligence activity reviews and complaints investigations

Supporting information on the program inventory

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information table is available on NSIRA’s website:

  • Gender-based analysis plus

Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs. The tax measures presented in this report are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Organizational contact information

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
P.O. Box 2430, Station “D”
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3‑year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full‑time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2022–23 Departmental Results Report, government-wide priorities are the high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the November 23, 2021, Speech from the Throne: building a healthier today and tomorrow; growing a more resilient economy; bolder climate action; fighter harder for safer communities; standing up for diversity and inclusion; moving faster on the path to reconciliation; and fighting for a secure, just and equitable world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

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Departmental Plan: 2023-2024

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Cat. Number: PS106-6E-PDF
ISSN: 2563-0334

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2020

Date of Publishing:

From the Executive Director

It is my pleasure to present the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) 2023–24 Departmental Plan. This report provides an overview of NSIRA’s planned activities, priorities, and targeted outcomes for the 2023–24 fiscal year.

Throughout NSIRA’s first three years of operation, we have grown our staff complement, developed expertise in alignment with our broad mandate, and completed numerous high-quality reviews and complaint investigations. NSIRA has also developed and revised the processes that guide work on both aspects of our mandate, with a view to continuously improving the quality of our final products.

In 2023–24, we will implement NSIRA’s renewed forward review plan, which will build upon and expand our subject matter expertise with respect to both the core security and intelligence agencies, and those which are newer to review. This includes further developing NSIRA’s capacity to review the technological elements of national security and intelligence activities.

Over the year ahead, NSIRA will establish new service standards for the investigation of complaints, while continuing to apply the existing rules of procedure. This will support timely and efficient investigations and promote access to justice for complainants.

Throughout the upcoming fiscal year, we will continue to focus on maintaining a safe and healthy workplace and prioritizing the well-being of our workforce. We will continue work to establish a permanent second site, place heightened emphasis on post-graduate recruitment, and continue to implement a flexible approach to hybrid work. In doing so, we will continue to advance departmental priorities related to diversity and inclusion, and to implement our agency accessibility plan.

My sincere thanks go to the staff and members of NSIRA, whose commitment and dedication to success will drive our organization forward over the coming year.

John Davies
Executive Director

Plans at a glance

Over the coming year, NSIRA will continue its ambitious review agenda. This will include:

  • mandatory reviews related to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act and Governor in Council directions under the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act;
  • reviews prompted by previous reviews that identified high-risk activities or significant issues that require follow-up;
  • reviews of activities undertaken under the new authorities granted to government institutions under the National Security Act, 2017; and
  • reviews of activities where technology and the collection of data are central features.

NSIRA will also continue to expand its knowledge of departments and agencies not previously subject to expert review, including through the conduct of interagency reviews.

After an extensive consultation exercise with key stakeholders and the development of new rules of procedures in 2021, NSIRA will also focus on implementing its new model for investigating complaints. The agency’s goal is to continue enhancing access to justice for complainants and to ensure that NSIRA investigates complaints in a timely manner.

Employee development, health and well-being continue to be key to the agency’s success. NSIRA’s suite of initiatives to protect the physical and mental health of its employees will rely on up-to-date information from surveys and internal discussion groups. NSIRA will also continue to take action on broad federal public service objectives for pay and employment equity, as well as those relating to diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

For more information on NSIRA’s plans, see the “Core responsibilities: planned results and resources, and key risks” section of this plan.

Core responsibilities: planned results and resources, and key risks

This section contains information on the department’s planned results and resources for each of its core responsibilities. It also contains information on key risks related to achieving those results.

National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations

Description

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency reviews Government of Canada national security and intelligence activities to assess whether they are lawful, reasonable and necessary. It investigates complaints from members of the public regarding activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), or the national security activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as certain other national security-related complaints. This independent scrutiny contributes to the strengthening of the framework of accountability for national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions and supports public confidence in this regard.

Planning highlights

Reviews

In support of this outcome, NSIRA will continue to implement an ambitious review agenda in 2023–24. It will review the activities of CSIS and CSE to provide responsible ministers and the Canadian public with an informed assessment of these activities, including their lawfulness, reasonableness and necessity. NSIRA will also build on the knowledge it has acquired of departments and agencies, such as the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces. Using that knowledge, NSIRA will ensure these organizations’ national security or intelligence activities are independently reviewed. NSIRA is committed to transcending the silos that have characterized national security review, and will “follow the thread” of an activity between agencies to ensure its assessments reflect the complex and interwoven approach Canada takes to national security.

NSIRA is committed to ensuring its review agenda remains responsive and topical. In 2023–24 in order to inform the upcoming review of the National Security Act, 2017, NSIRA will focus on the review of activities performed under authorities that were granted by virtue of this legislation. For CSIS, these include the collection and use of datasets, and the implementation of a framework for justifying activities that contravene the law that are carried out by designated employees under specific circumstances in the context of their duties and functions. For CSE, this will include the conduct of active and defensive cyber operations. Other NSIRA reviews that will contribute information in this regard are the annual reviews of the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act, of the Governor in Council directions under the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act, and of the use of measures by CSIS to reduce threats to the security of Canada.

NSIRA will continue to expand its knowledge of national security institutions by undertaking reviews in the areas of terrorist financing, foreign interference and cybersecurity. The agency will fully utilize its authorities to follow the thread of information across multiple organizations by undertaking reviews on CSIS-CSE collaboration, and the use of human sources by various departments and agencies.

Finally, NSIRA will focus on select reviews where the review of technology and data flows are central, including the collection and use of open-source intelligence at the Department of National Defence, the lifecycle of information collected under warrant by CSIS, and the retention practices of signals intelligence by CSE. NSIRA will be leveraging both internal and external technology expertise in conducting these reviews.

Outreach and collaboration

NSIRA will engage with community stakeholders to understand their concerns surrounding national security and intelligence activities. NSIRA will also continue to proactively publish unclassified versions of its reports throughout the year, as well as information on its plans and processes. The annual report will continue to summarize NSIRA’s review findings and recommendations in context, situating these elements within a broader discussion of key trends and challenges NSIRA has observed over the year.

In 2023–24, NSIRA will continue to draw on the close relationships it has established with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The agency will coordinate its activities to ensure review is efficient and comprehensive, and avoids unnecessary duplication of effort.

NSIRA is also developing close ties to its international equivalents. It will continue its participation in the Five Eyes Intelligence Oversight and Review Council (FIORC) that brings together review agency representatives from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, by hosting this annual conference in 2023. In addition, NSIRA will continue its working-level engagement with FIORC review bodies to discuss topics of common interest, such as the impacts of new technology, the investigation of complaints from the public and access to information in the possession of reviewed departments. NSIRA also intends to build on its recent efforts to foster new collaborative relationships with other international review bodies and civil society outside the Five Eyes.

Complaints investigations

In 2023–24, NSIRA will also continue to ensure institutions’ accountability and enhance public confidence by conducting consistent, and timely investigations into complaints related to national security and to denial of security clearances. The independent investigation of complaints plays a critical role in maintaining public confidence in Canada’s national security institutions.

NSIRA will apply its new rules of procedure, which were implemented in 2021, to promote accessibility, timeliness and efficiency in the investigation of complaints. This includes an informal resolution process that has proven successful in resolving complaints that do not need to proceed through the entire investigation process. Finally, NSIRA will establish new service standards for the investigation of complaints.

Gender-based analysis plus

In 2023–24, NSIRA will continue to implement its three-year action plan on human rights, accessibility, employment equity, diversity and inclusion. This plan was put into effect last fiscal year following a maturity assessment of NSIRA’s policies, programs and practices, and following the Call to Action from the Clerk of the Privy Council. It includes, among other things, incorporating a GBA+ lens into the design and implementation of policies and programs.

NSIRA’s renewed forward looking review plan is informed by considerations related to anti-racism, equity and inclusion. These considerations apply to the process of selecting reviews to undertake, as well as to the analysis that takes place within individual reviews. NSIRA reviews routinely take into account the potential for national security or intelligence activities to result in disparate outcomes for various communities and will continue to do so in the year ahead.

In the complaint investigations context, NSIRA will continue to work with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) to develop strategies for the collection, analysis and use of identity-based data. Following the completion of the first phase of a joint project, focus in the year ahead will be on consultations to determine how the public perceives the collection, analysis and use of identity-based data in relation to the NSIRA and CRCC mandate. This information will enable each agency to determine the best approach to developing and implementing an identity-based data strategy.

In 2023-24, NSIRA will begin to implement its inaugural accessibility plan, which outlines the steps that will be taken to increase accessibility, both within the organization and for Canadians more generally, over the next three years. NSIRA’s Diversity, Inclusion and Employment Equity Advisory Committee will also continue to work with management and staff to build a more equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace and workforce. This will include organizing discussions and learning events with all staff, and providing advice on policy and program design

Innovation

Some high impact innovations have enriched NSIRA’s approach to investigations and reviews in the areas of project architecture, quality assurance and the promotion of timeliness in its investigations. Some examples include a horizontal and tiered Quality Assurance Framework. This framework involves a form of ‘red teaming’, in which a panel of experts highlights the weaknesses of a project approach at critical junctures, with the goal of heading off problems before they happen This will ensure the review reflects the agency’s standards for independence, consistency, clarity, objectivity, and rigour. NSIRA is also adopting a matrix management approach to assembling review project teams that will ensure internal mobility and the development of horizontal expertise. NSIRA’s overall commitment is to refrain from a static approach to workflow and project management, and to embrace new methodologies and organizational principles when they best promote the production of review reports of exceptional quality.

Key risks

Some high impact innovations have enriched NSIRA’s approach to investigations and reviews in the areas of project architecture, quality assurance and the promotion of timeliness in its investigations. Some examples include a horizontal and tiered Quality Assurance Framework. This framework involves a form of ‘red teaming’, in which a panel of experts highlights the weaknesses of a project approach at critical junctures, with the goal of heading off problems before they happen This will ensure the review reflects the agency’s standards for independence, consistency, clarity, objectivity, and rigour. NSIRA is also adopting a matrix management approach to assembling review project teams that will ensure internal mobility and the development of horizontal expertise. NSIRA’s overall commitment is to refrain from a static approach to workflow and project management, and to embrace new methodologies and organizational principles when they best promote the production of review reports of exceptional quality.

Planned results for National Security and Intelligence Activity Reviews and Complaints Investigations

The following table shows, for National Security and Intelligence Activity Reviews and Complaints Investigations, the planned results, the result indicators, the targets and the target dates for 2023–24, and the actual results for the three most recent fiscal years for which actual results are available.

Departmental results Departmental result indicator Target Date to achieve target 2019–20 actual result 2020–21 actual result 2021–22 actual result
Note: NSIRA was created on July 12, 2019. Actual results for 2019–20 and 2020–21 are not available because the new Departmental Results Framework in the changeover from the Security Intelligence Review Committee to NSIRA was being developed. This new framework is for measuring and reporting on results achieved starting in 2021–22. In 2022–23, NSIRA will finalize the development of service standards for how long it takes to complete its investigations; the results will be included in the next Departmental Results Report.
Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis 100% completion of mandatory reviews December 2022 Not applicable (N/A) N/A 100%
Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year At least one national security or intelligence activity is reviewed in at least five departments or agencies annually December 2022 N/A N/A 100%
All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three- year period 100% completion over three years; at least 33% completed each year December 2022 N/A N/A 33%
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards Between 90% and 100% March 2024 N/A N/A N/A

The financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available on GC InfoBase.

Planned budgetary spending for National Security and Intelligence Activity Reviews and Complaints Investigations

The following table shows, for National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations, budgetary spending for 2023–24, as well as planned spending for that year and for each of the next two fiscal years.

2023–24 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2023–24 planned spending 2023–24 planned spending 2024–25 planned spending
10,807,324 10,807,324 10,807,324 10,806,338

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned human resources for National Security and Intelligence Activity Reviews and Complaints Investigations

The following table shows, in full‑time equivalents, the human resources the department will need to fulfill this core responsibility for 2023–24 and for each of the next two fiscal years.

2023–24 planned full-time equivalents 2024–25 planned full-time equivalents 2025–26 planned full-time equivalents
69.0 69.0 69.0

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Internal Services: planned results

Description

Internal services are the services that are provided within a department so that it can meet its corporate obligations and deliver its programs. There are 10 categories of internal services:

  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Communications Services
  • Legal Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Real Property Management Services
  • Materiel Management Services
  • Acquisition Management Services

Planning highlights

In 2023–24, NSIRA continue to take steps to ensure resources are deployed in the most effective and efficient manner possible and that its operational and administrative structures, tools and processes continue to enhance its ability to deliver on its priorities.

The tight labour market and the distinctive competencies required for NSIRA’s mandate will continue to shape NSIRA priorities in 2023–24, including employee development through seminars and increased participation in national and international forums, the use of internal centres of expertise, and improved leveraging of existing review and investigation information to accelerate and facilitate the acquisition of knowledge. NSIRA will also be able to benefit from recently released external recruitment and internal development programs undertaken within the organization.

The health and well-being of NSIRA employees is key to its success and to its ability to attract and retain talent and for the development of employees’ full potential. To that end, NSIRA has hired a dedicated resource to work with NSIRA’s Champions to accelerate the implementation of its diversity, inclusion, accessibility, mental health and employee development priorities. Using recent survey information and all staff meeting discussions, NSIRA is confident that it will be able to adapt its wellness initiatives to the need of its employees.

Lastly, the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the ability to source goods and services combined with the complexity of some projects has further delayed the completion of NSIRA’s accommodation, infrastructure and systems projects. These enabling investments are now projected to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2023–24.

Planning for contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses

NSIRA is part of the final wave of departments and agencies that are to achieve the mandatory minimum target of contract awards to Indigenous businesses by 2024–25. Efforts are already well under way in support of the Government of Canada’s commitment that a mandatory minimum target of 5% of the total value of contracts is awarded to Indigenous businesses annually. NSIRA had planned to have 2% of total contract values awarded to Indigenous business in 2021–22 and achieved 3%. Measures undertaken within NSIRA to facilitate the achievement of the mandatory minimum target by 2024–25 include a commitment to process an increasing minimum number of contracts in each of the following three fiscal years as set-asides under the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business.

The following table shows the percentage of actual, forecasted and planned value for the target.

5% reporting field description 2021–22 actual % achieved 2022–23 forecasted % target 2023–24 planned % target 2024–25 planned % target
Total percentage of contracts with Indigenous businesses 3% 2% 3% 5%

Planned budgetary financial resources for Internal Services

The following table shows, for internal services, budgetary spending for 2023–24, as well as planned spending for that year and for each of the next two fiscal years.

2023–24 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2023–24 planned spending 2024–25 planned spending 2025–26 planned spending
12,201,901 12,201,901 7,701,607 7,737,518

Planned human resources for Internal Services

The following table shows, in full‑time equivalents, the human resources the department will need to carry out its internal services for 2023–24 and for each of the next two fiscal years.

2023–24 planned full-time equivalents 2024–25 planned full-time equivalents 2025–26 planned full-time equivalents
31.0 31.0 31.0

Planned spending and human resources

This section provides an overview of the department’s planned spending and human resources for the next three fiscal years and compares planned spending for 2023–24 with actual spending for the current year and the previous year.

Planned spending

Departmental spending 2020–21 to 2025–26

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory) spending over time.

Departmental spending trend graph
  2020–21 2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25 2025–26
Statutory 962,186 1,176,321 1,360,985 1,755,229 1,755,229 1,756,977
Voted 11,289,189 16,113,433 19,348,025 21,253,996 16,753,702 16,786,929
Total 12,251,375 17,289.754 20,709.010 23,009,225 18,508,931 18,543,906

Fiscal years 2020–21 and 2021–22 show actual expenditures as reported in the Public Accounts, while 2022–23 presents the forecast for the current fiscal year. Fiscal years 2023–24 to 2025–26 present planned spending.

The 2021–22 spending of $17.3 million increased by $5.0 million (41%), compared with 2020–21. The increase is mainly explained by the cost of additional resources hired by NSIRA over that period, by an increase in professional services costs, and by the start of facilities fit-up and expansion projects. Forecast spending in 2022–23 is higher than 2021–22 spending by $3.4 million (20%), primarily due to continued growth in personnel and by investments in facilities, infrastructure and systems.

Spending is expected to increase by $2.3 million (11%) in 2023–24 compared with 2022–23. This planned increase is mainly due to a reprofile of funding to align with the timing of the conduct projects for facilities, infrastructure and systems that had been delayed by the pandemic. Spending is expected to decrease by $4.5 million (20%) in 2024–25, mainly due to the expected completion of the office expansion project in 2023–24. Spending in 2024–25 and 2025–26 is expected to remain relatively unchanged.

Budgetary planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)

The following table shows information on spending for each of NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for its internal services for 2023–24 and other relevant fiscal years.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020–21 actual expenditures 2021–22 actual expenditures 2022–23 forecast spending 2023–24 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2023–24 planned spending 2024–25 planned spending 2025–26 planned spending
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 5,607,796 7,394,642 8,472,193 10,807,324 10,807,324 10,807,324 10,806,388
Subtotal 5,607,796 7,394,642 8,472,193 10,807,324 10,807,324 10,807,324 10,806,388
Internal Services 6,643,579 9,895,112 12,236,817 12,201,901 12,201,901 7,701,607 7,737,518
Total 12,251,375 17,289,754 20,709,010 23,009,225 23,009,225 18,508,931 18,543,906

The table illustrates how NSIRA continues to grow its capacity to deliver its mandate through recruitment and the implementation of several facilities, infrastructure and systems projects. Planned accommodation, infrastructure and systems project costs are expected be reduced significantly by 2024–25.

Planned human resources

The following table shows information on human resources, in full-time equivalents, for each of NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for its internal services for 2023–24 and the other relevant years.

Human resources planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020–21 Actual full-time equivalents 2021–22 Actual full-time equivalents 2022–23 Forecast full-time equivalents 2023–24 Planned full-time equivalents 2024–25 Planned full-time equivalents 2025–26 Planned full-time equivalents
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 17.5 37.8 53.3 69.0 69.0 69.0
Subtotal 17.5 37.8 53.3 69.0 69.0 69.0
Internal Services 11.2 21.7 25.9 31.0 31.0 31.0
Total 28.7 59.5 79.2 100.0 100.0 100.0

With a tight labour market and the requirement for a significant portion of employees to work primarily from secure office space, recruitment continues to prove challenging. New recruitment and retention programs will help NSIRA in its ongoing efforts to be fully staffed.

Estimates by vote

Information on NSIRA’s organizational appropriations is available in the 2023–24 Main Estimates.

Future-oriented condensed statement of operations

The future‑oriented condensed statement of operations provides an overview of NSIRA’s operations for 2022–23 to 2023–24.

The forecast and planned amounts in this statement of operations were prepared on an accrual basis. The forecast and planned amounts presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan were prepared on an expenditure basis. Amounts may therefore differ.

A more detailed future‑oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations with the requested authorities, are available on NSIRA’s website.

Future-oriented condensed statement of operations for the year ending March 31, 2024 (dollars)

Financial information 2022–23 Forecast results 2023–24 Planned results Difference (2023–24 planned results minus 2022–23 Forecast results)
Total expenses 18,549,572 23,599,775 5,050,203
Total revenues
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 18,549,572 23,599,775 5,050,203

The difference between the 2023–24 planned results and 2022–23 forecast results is mostly explained by delayed planned accommodation, infrastructure and systems project costs.

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Institutional head: John Davies, Executive Director
Ministerial portfolio: Privy Council Office
Enabling instrument: National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act
Year of incorporation / commencement: 2019

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Information on NSIRA’s raison d’être, mandate and role is available on NSIRA’s website.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on NSIRA’s website.

Reporting framework

NSIRA’s approved departmental results framework and program inventory for 2023–24 are as follows

Core Responsibility: National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations
Departmental Results Framework Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary Indicator: All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis Internal Services
Indicator: Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year
Indicator: All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three-year period
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Indicator: Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards
Program Inventory Program: National security and intelligence activity reviews and complaints investigations

Supporting information on the program inventory

Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources and results related to NSIRA’s program inventory is available on GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on NSIRA‘s website.

  • Gender-based analysis plus

Federal tax expenditures

NSIRA’s Departmental Plan does not include information on tax expenditures.

Tax expenditures are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for government­‑wide tax expenditures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report provides detailed information on tax expenditures, including objectives, historical background and references to related federal spending programs, as well as evaluations, research papers and gender-based analysis plus.

Organizational contact information

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
P.O. Box 2430, Station “D” Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

Telephone: The phone number is temporarily disabled
Fax: The fax number is temporarily disabled.
Email: info@nsira-ossnr.gc.ca
Website: www.nsira-ossnr.gc.ca

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3‑year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full‑time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2020–21 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

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Gender-Based Analysis Plus: 2021-22

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Section 1: Institutional GBA+ Capacity

Building from naming a Champion and establishing a committee to take action against systemic employment equity, diversity and inclusion issues in 2020, NSIRA continued to work hard to create a culture of inclusion. At an individual level, the agency held staff discussions on anti-racism and themes related to diversity. In response to the Call to Action from the Clerk of the Privy Council, NSIRA completed a maturity assessment of its policies, programs and practices related to human rights, accessibility, employment equity, diversity and inclusion, and developed a three-year action plan to guide its efforts.

When reviewing national security and intelligence activities, NSIRA analysts are prompted to examines these activities’ potential for resulting in unequal outcomes for visible minority groups. For instance, among last year’s reviews, the Study of the Government of Canada’s Use of Biometrics in the Border Continuum examined the approach of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and of the Canada Border Services Agency to preventing bias and discrimination against some groups of people in the use of biometrics by these agencies.

In terms of investigations, complainants file with NSIRA pursuant to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act and the Rules of Procedure. Following the practices and procedures systematically in all complaint matters ensures a non-discriminatory process.

Furthermore, NSIRA and another review body are finalizing a study on how to systematically collect, analyze and use race-based and other demographic data in the complaints investigation process. This study draws on academic expertise to provide NSIRA insight into: whether significant racial disparities exist among civilian complainants; whether racial differences exist with respect to the types of complaints made against members of national security organizations based on different groups; the frequency of complaints that include allegations of racial or other forms of bias; and whether complaints investigation outcomes vary by racial group. NSIRA also aims to use the study results to improve public awareness and understanding of its investigation process, as well as to guide the development of NSIRA’s outreach and public engagement priorities.

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Departmental Results Report: 2021-22

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Cat. Number: PS106-8E-PDF
ISSN: 2563-5174

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2021

Date of Publishing:

From the Executive Director

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) marked its second full year of operation in 2021–22, and we continued to build institutional processes and systems throughout the period with the goal of putting the organization on a solid long-term footing.

We refined our review processes, with an emphasis on generating high-quality reviews by establishing interdisciplinary teams that incorporate subject-matter, legal and technological expertise. Throughout the year, we expanded our institutional understanding of the various departments and agencies that make up Canada’s security and intelligence community, and reviewed activities that had not previously been subject to independent scrutiny. We also developed a consistent way to assess the timeliness of departmental responses to support public reporting and transparency.

In 2021–22, we implemented new Rules of Procedure for our complaints investigation process that were based on a major consultation and reform in the year prior. These new rules are aimed at enhancing efficiency in the process, as well as access to justice for complainants. Our work on both reviews and complaints investigations was informed by our network of like-minded review and complaints investigation bodies, as well as our network of Canadian and international academics and civil society organizations.

We continued our practice of proactively redacting and releasing review reports on our website. As stated in the past, we consider this type of transparency vital to the development of an enhanced culture of accountability among departments and agencies involved in national security and intelligence activities.

We achieved much throughout the year despite the ongoing pandemic, thanks to the hard work of our talented and dedicated staff. I would like to thank our employees for their commitment during this period, and for the energy and enthusiasm that they bring to the continued growth of our organization.

John Davies
Executive Director
National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

Results at a glance

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) began operating in 2019 as a new independent accountability mechanism in Canada. Its broad review and investigations mandate covers the national security and intelligence activities of departments and agencies across the federal government. The agency’s total actual spending in 2021–22 amounted to $17,289,754 and its total actual full-time equivalents were 74.

For a significant part of the fiscal year, the pandemic required NSIRA staff to work remotely, limiting its access to classified materials that are critical to NSIRA’s work. To adjust, NSIRA revised its review plans and used innovative approaches to continue to advance its work. This included implementing strict rotating schedules to enable limited office access for classified work to continue safely and using videoconference technology where possible. This allowed NSIRA to fulfill its statutory obligations and uphold its commitments to Canadians. Despite the restrictions, NSIRA was able to enhance its scrutiny of Canada’s national security and intelligence activities.

Below are some of NSIRA’s achievements in 2021–22.

Review

NSIRA’s review of national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions ensures that ministers and Canadians are informed about whether these activities were lawful, reasonable and necessary.

During 2021–22, NSIRA completed and approved 10 reviews, including six dedicated to reviewing the activities of a specific department or agency and four interdepartmental reviews that involved more than a dozen departments and agencies. This helped to extend both the breadth and depth of NSIRA’s knowledge and experience.

NSIRA continued to develop and improve its review framework. With the creation of its Technology Directorate, for example, NSIRA boosted its capacity to do technical review. The review framework now embeds legal and technological experts in the review process at the outset of reviews and outlines a clear process to promote consistency across subject areas.

Complaint investigations

NSIRA independently investigates national security and intelligence–related complaints from members of the public and strives to do so in a timely manner.

In fiscal year 2021–22, NSIRA completed two complaints investigations and issued two final reports. NSIRA also received 58 referrals from the Canadian Human Rights Commission, pursuant to subsection 45(2) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, substantially increasing its inventory of complaint files. This high-volume caseload affected NSIRA’s overall management of its cases.

In 2021, NSIRA also finalized its major reform and modernization of its complaints investigation process, aimed at streamlining the procedural steps and promoting access to justice for self-represented complainants.

Reporting and transparency

During the reporting period, NSIRA remained committed to publishing redacted and depersonalized investigation reports to promote and enhance transparency in its investigations as set out in its January 2021 policy statement. NSIRA also turned its attention to examining appropriate ways to release declassified and depersonalized final complaints investigations reports, and consulted with parties to the complaint investigations.

For more information on NSIRA’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

Results: what we achieved

Core responsibility

National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations

Description:

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency reviews Government of Canada national security and intelligence activities to assess whether they are lawful, reasonable and necessary. It investigates complaints from members of the public regarding activities of CSIS, CSE or the national security activities of the RCMP, as well as certain other national security-related complaints.  This independent scrutiny contributes to the strengthening of the framework of accountability for national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions and supports public confidence in this regard.

Results:

In 2021–22, NSIRA delivered on its mandate by completing reviews on federal departments and agencies involved in a wide array of national security and intelligence activities, and efficiently supported agency members in conducting several complaints investigations using a revised and improved process.

Review of national security and intelligence activities

NSIRA completed 10 national security and intelligence reviews over the course of 2021–22. Six reviews focused on an individual department or agency, while four reviews were interdepartmental by design. Organizations whose activities were the subject of specific reviews included:

  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service — two reviews
  • Communications Security Establishment — two reviews
  • Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces — two reviews

The four interdepartmental reviews were by design were:

  • Rebuilding Trust: Reforming the CSIS Warrant and Justice Legal Advisory Processes
  • Study of the Government of Canada’s Use of Biometrics in the Border Continuum
  • the annual review of disclosures under the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act
  • the annual review of the implementation of directions issued under the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act

Six of NSIRA’s reviews resulted in recommendations to ministers on issues related to compliance and governance. One review did not result in any recommendations but had four findings. The three other reviews helped NSIRA gain a better baseline understanding of certain organizations or activities, which will help guide future reviews. As a result of NSIRA’s unclassified and publicly released reviews, as well as its annual reporting, NSIRA contributes to increased confidence among Canadians in the independent review of national security and intelligence activities carried out by Government of Canada institutions.

During the reporting period, NSIRA continued to refine its review framework to promote high quality and rigour in its work, and to ensure consistency in the way it executes reviews. This framework provides systematic guidance on NSIRA’s process and approach, and embeds legal and technological expertise in reviews from the outset. NSIRA also developed new guidelines to assess the timeliness of reviewee responses to requests for information during the review process, and will comment both privately and publicly on the outcomes. As it improves its processes, NSIRA’s aim continues to be to produce the most consistent, objective and rigorous reviews possible.

In 2021–22, NSIRA established a Technology Directorate to enhance review by incorporating the capability to examine the use and implementation of technology by security and intelligence agencies in Canada. In the coming year, NSIRA will increase the number of employees working in the Technology Directorate as it takes an increasingly active and significant role. The directorate will also lead the first technology-focused reviews of the lifecycle of CSIS information collected by technical capabilities pursuant to a Federal Court warrant.

Investigation of national security and intelligence–related complaints

During the reporting period, NSIRA continued to adapt in conducting its complaints investigations by finding procedural efficiencies and using innovative approaches whenever possible. This included proceeding in writing for certain investigative steps and using videoconference technology for case management conferences, hearings and investigative interviews. Some departments and agencies were slow to respond to requests for information and evidence, in part due to challenges inherent to the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed NSIRA’s investigations. Consequently, in several ongoing matters, NSIRA granted adjournments and extensions of deadlines for procedural steps, including the filing of submissions and evidentiary material. The reasons provided for the adjournments and requests for extensions not only were pandemic related but also included issues surrounding the availability of witnesses and shortage of resources of federal government parties. In addition, NSIRA had to ask for further information in response to incomplete initial disclosures in more than one investigation, also creating delays.

In 2021–22, NSIRA completed two complaints investigations and issued two final reports. Ministers, complainants and the public were informed of the conclusions of investigations of national security and intelligence–related complaints. NSIRA also dealt with a substantial increase in its inventory of complaint files as a result of 58 complaints referred by the Canadian Human Rights Commission to NSIRA in April and June 2021, pursuant to subsection 45(2) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This high-volume caseload impacted NSIRA’s overall management of its cases.

In 2021, NSIRA completed its investigation process reform initiative after extensive consultation with stakeholders in the public and private sectors. In July 2021, NSIRA launched its new investigative process, which included the implementation of new Rules of Procedure to enhance efficiency in NSIRA’s investigation mandate and provide greater access to justice for self-represented complainants.

Lastly, NSIRA will finalize in 2022–23 the service standards for how long it takes to complete its investigations. The results will be included in the next Departmental Results Report.

Gender-based analysis plus

Building from naming a Champion and establishing a committee to take action against systemic employment equity, diversity and inclusion issues in 2020, NSIRA continued to work hard to create a culture of inclusion. At an individual level, the agency held staff discussions on anti-racism and themes related to diversity. In response to the Call to Action from the Clerk of the Privy Council, NSIRA completed a maturity assessment of its policies, programs and practices related to human rights, accessibility, employment equity, diversity and inclusion, and developed a three-year action plan to guide its efforts.

When reviewing national security and intelligence activities, NSIRA analysts are prompted to examines these activities’ potential for resulting in unequal outcomes for visible minority groups. For instance, among last year’s reviews, the Study of the Government of Canada’s Use of Biometrics in the Border Continuum examined the approach of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and of the Canada Border Services Agency to preventing bias and discrimination against some groups of people in the use of biometrics by these agencies.

In terms of investigations, complainants file with NSIRA pursuant to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act and the Rules of Procedure. Following the practices and procedures systematically in all complaint matters ensures a non-discriminatory process.

Furthermore, NSIRA and another review body are finalizing a study on how to systematically collect, analyze and use race-based and other demographic data in the complaints investigation process. This study draws on academic expertise to provide NSIRA insight into: whether significant racial disparities exist among civilian complainants; whether racial differences exist with respect to the types of complaints made against members of national security organizations based on different groups; the frequency of complaints that include allegations of racial or other forms of bias; and whether complaints investigation outcomes vary by racial group. NSIRA also aims to use the study results to improve public awareness and understanding of its investigation process, as well as to guide the development of NSIRA’s outreach and public engagement priorities

Experimentation

Given NSIRA’s functions and responsibilities, the agency did not engage in any program-related experimentation activities.

Key risks

Timely access to information, and the ability to verify that it has been provided with all relevant information, are paramount to the successful execution of NSIRA’s review and complaints investigation mandates. During the reporting period, departments and agencies delayed unnecessarily in providing NSIRA information and, in some reviews, NSIRA had to ask for additional information because of incomplete initial disclosures. NSIRA eventually received all relevant information from responding government departments and agencies for its investigations. NSIRA will continue to seek direct access to systems to ensure a high degree of confidence, reliability and independence in its work. During the reporting period, NSIRA also developed clear guidelines for assessing the timeliness and responsiveness of departments and agencies for its reviews, including remedial steps to be taken to respond to delays.

Physical distancing protocols and lockdowns required by the COVID-19 pandemic limited NSIRA employees’ access to classified physical and electronic documents in 2021–22. Flexible measures that follow current public health conditions mitigate the impact of the pandemic on NSIRA’s ability to deliver on its mandate in a timely way.

The pandemic also complicated the recruitment, onboarding and training of new review staff. NSIRA mitigated these impacts by increasing and adapting its office space, investing in communications technology, and implementing novel approaches to recruitment and onboarding.

Results achieved

The following table shows, for National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations, the results achieved, the performance indicators, the targets and the target dates for 2021–22, and the actual results for the three most recent fiscal years for which actual results are available.

Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2019-20 actual results 2020-21 actual results 2021-22 actual results
Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis 100% completion of mandatory reviews 2021-22 Not applicable (N/A) N/A 100%
Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year At least one national security or intelligence activity is reviewed in at least five departments or agencies annually 2021-22 N/A N/A 100%
All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three- year period 100% completion over three years; at least 33% completed each year 2021-22 N/A N/A 33%
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards 90% 2022-23 N/A N/A N/A

Note: NSIRA was created on July 12, 2019. Actual results for 2019–20 and 2020–21 are not available because the new Departmental Results Framework in the changeover from the Security Intelligence Review Committee to NSIRA was being developed. This new framework is for measuring and reporting on results achieved starting in 2021–22. In 2022–23, NSIRA will finalize the development of service standards for how long it takes to complete its investigations; the results will be included in the next Departmental Results Report.

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

The following table shows, for National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations, budgetary spending for 2021–22, as well as actual spending for that year.

2021–22 Main Estimates 2021–22 Planned spending 2021–22 Total authorities available for use 2021–22 Actual spending (authorities used) 2021–22 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
12,047,835 12,047,835 11,688,292 7,394,642 (4,653,193)

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

The variance between planned and actual spending is mainly due to recruitment challenges.

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

The following table shows, in full‑time equivalents, the human resources the department needed to fulfill this core responsibility for 2021–22.

2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents 2021–22 Actual full-time equivalents 2021–22 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
69 52 (17)

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Internal Services

Description

Internal services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support program delivery in the organization, regardless of the internal services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are:

  • Acquisition Management Services
  • Communication Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Legal Services
  • Material Management Services
  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Real Property Management Services

Results

The pandemic continued to have an impact on NSIRA operations and activities throughout the year. The NSIRA Secretariat’s first priority was the safety of the agency’s employees and, as a result, it responded quickly to lockdowns by communicating COVID-19 working protocols and implementing its own vaccination policy following the Government of Canada call for mandatory vaccination for its public service employees. Furthermore, NSIRA recognized that a modern and flexible approach to work was necessary for the conduct of its mandated activities during the pandemic. As a result, NSIRA developed an evergreen COVID-19 guide where employees and managers could turn for up-to-date references on COVID-19 and on flexible work arrangements.

In light of the current and planned growth in personnel and the pandemic physical distancing requirements, NSIRA’s success depended on increasing its access to secure office space to conduct work of a classified nature. In 2021, NSIRA was able to increase its footprint by opening a temporary office site. At the same time, the plans for a permanent NSIRA site were also completed; construction of additional secure office space began in April 2022.

During the fiscal year, NSIRA focused on assessing gaps in its security and information management practices. The conduct of an agency security governance and controls assessment led to the approval and implementation of the Agency Security Plan recommendations in September 2021. NSIRA also published a policy on information management to ensure that roles, responsibilities and expectations regarding information management were defined, communicated, understood and adhered to throughout the organization. Since information and information management are critical in the conduct of NSIRA’s mandate, the agency developed a new classification plan, established information retention plans and developed strategies for the destruction, storage, digitization, transport and transfer of information.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

The following table shows, for internal services, budgetary spending for 2021–22, as well as spending for that year.

2021–22 Main Estimates 2021–22 Planned spending 2021–22 Total authorities available for use 2021–22 Actual spending (authorities used) 2021–22 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
18,147,084 18,147,084 20,338,994 9,895,112 (8,251,972)

The difference of $8.3 million between planned and actual spending is mainly explained by the impacts of the pandemic on NSIRA’s ability to progress with its facilities fit-up and expansion plans, as well as on its planned spending on internal services infrastructure and systems.

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

The following table shows, in full‑time equivalents, the human resources the department needed to carry out its internal services for 2021–22.

2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents 2021–22 Actual full-time equivalents 2021–22 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
31 22 (9)

Spending

Spending 2019–20 to 2024–25

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory spending) over time.

Departmental spending trend graph
2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25
Statutory 371,057 962,186 1,176,321 1,704,632 1,704,632 1,727,668
Voted 5,254,250 11,289,189 16,113,433 24,423,008 16,731,355 16,731,061
Total 0 5,625,250 12,251,375 30,194,919 26,127,640 18,435,987

The graph illustrates NSIRA’s spending trends over a six-year period from 2019–20 to 2024–25. Fiscal years 2019–20 to 2021–22 reflect actual expenditures as reported in the Public Accounts. Fiscal years 2022–23 to 2024–25 represent planned spending.

The increase in spending from 2019–20 to 2021–22 is mainly explained by the cost of additional resources hired by NSIRA over that period, by an increase in professional services costs, and by the start of facilities fit-up and expansion.

The overall difference between actual spending in 2021–22 and planned spending in 2022–23 is due to lower spending than planned on payroll and on facilities fit-up and expansion in 2021–22 as a result of the pandemic.

The difference between the peaks in spending authorities in 2022–23 and 2023–24 with the levelling of authorities in 2024–25 is due to the sunsetting of funding earmarked for the completion of facilities fit-up and expansion.

Budgetary performance summary for core responsibilities and internal services (dollars)

The “Budgetary performance summary for core responsibilities and internal services” table presents the budgetary financial resources allocated for NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for internal services.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2021-22 Main Estimates 2021-22 Planned spending 2022-23 Planned spending 2023-24 Planned spending 2021-22 Total authorities available for use 2019-20 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020-21 Actual spending (authorities used) 2021-22 Actual spending (authorities used)
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 12,047,935 12,047,835 10,740,923 10,744,262 11,688,292 3,009,066 5,607,796 7,394,642
Subtotal 12,047,835 12,047,835 10,740,923 10,744,262 11,688,292 3,009,066 5,607,796 7,394,642
Internal Services 18,147,084 18,147,084 15,386,717 7,691,725 20,338,994 2,616,241 6,643,579 9,895,112
Total 30,194,919 30,194,919 26,127,640 18,435,987 32,027,286 5,625,307 12,251,375 17,289,754

Human resources

The “Human resources summary for core responsibilities and internal services” table presents the full-time equivalents (FTEs) allocated to each of NSIRA’s core responsibilities and to internal services.

Human resources summary for core responsibilities and internal services

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2019-20 Actual full-time equivalents 2020-21 Actual full-time equivalents 2021-22 Planned full-time equivalents 2021-22 Actual full-time equivalents 2022-23 Planned full-time equivalents 2023-24 Planned full-time equivalents
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 18 38 69 52 69 69
Subtotal 18 38 69 52 69 69
Internal Services 11 22 31 22 31 31
Total 29 60 100 74 100 100

Expenditures by vote

For information on NSIRA’s organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2021.

Government of Canada spending and activities

Information on the alignment of NSIRA’s spending with Government of Canada’s spending and activities is available in GC InfoBase.

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Financial statements

NSIRA’s financial statements (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2022, are available on the departmental website.

Financial statement highlights

Condensed Statement of Operations (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2022 (dollars)
Financial information 2021-22 Planned results 2021-22 Actual results 2020-21 Actual results Difference (2021-22 Actual results minus 2021-22 Planned results) Difference (2021-22 Actual results minus 2020-21 Actual results)
Total expenses 28,235,300 16,164,825 11,662,601 (12,070,475) 4,502,224
Total revenues 0 0 0 0 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 28,235,300 16,164,825 11,662,601 (12,070,475) 4,502,224
Condensed Statement of Financial Position (unaudited) as of March 31, 2022 (dollars)
Financial information 2021-22 2020-21 Difference (2021-22 minus 2020-21)
Total net liabilities 2,004,002 2,050,302 (46,300)
Total net financial assets 1,329,006 1,577,964 (248,958)
Departmental net debt 674,996 472,338 202,658
Total non-financial assets 4,804,002 2,240,138 2,563,864
Departmental net financial position 4,129,006 1,767,800 2,361,206

The 2021–22 planned results information is provided in NSIRA’s Future-Oriented Statement of Operations and Notes 2021–22.

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Institutional head: John Davies, Executive Director
Ministerial portfolio: Privy Council Office
Enabling instrument: National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act
Year of incorporation / commencement: 2019

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

“Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on NSIRA‘s website.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on NSIRA’s website.

Reporting framework

NSIRA’s Departmental Results Framework, with accompanying results and indicators, were under development in 2020–21. Additional information on key performance measures are included in the 2021–22 Departmental Plan.

Core Responsibility: National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations
Departmental Results Framework Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary Indicator: All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis Internal Services
Indicator: Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year
Indicator: All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three-year period
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Indicator: Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards
Program Inventory Program: National security and intelligence activity reviews and complaints investigations

Supporting information on the program inventory

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information table is available on NSIRA’s website:

  • Gender-based analysis plus

Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs. The tax measures presented in this report are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Organizational contact information

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
P.O. Box 2430, Station “D”
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3‑year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full‑time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2020–21 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

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Departmental Plan: 2022-2023

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Cat. Number: PS106-6E-PDF
ISSN: 2563-0334

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2020

Date of Publishing:

From the Executive Director

I am pleased to present the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) 2022–23 Departmental Plan. This report outlines our planned activities, priorities and targeted outcomes for the 2022–23 fiscal year.

Over the past two years, NSIRA has focused on ensuring a successful and efficient transition to a much larger organization with a much broader mandate, while working on standardization and modernizing the processes that underpin our work. The agency has also increased its size and strengthened its technical and subject matter expertise.

In 2022–23, we will be implementing NSIRA’s renewed three-year review plan, which continues to emphasize reviews of increasing scale and complexity as we become familiar with the operations of departments and agencies that have only recently become subject to review. This includes reviewing activities taken under authorities granted by the National Security Act, 2017, and those that are technology- and data-collection–centric.

In the upcoming year, we will continue implementing our new process launched in 2021 for taking in and investigating complaints from members of the public. NSIRA consulted multiple key stakeholders in shaping this new process, which aims to provide greater accessibility and greater timeliness to our complaints investigation function.

As we continue to scale up our operations in 2022–2023, our priority will remain the health and safety of our staff. Some of our planned initiatives include expanding to a second site, recruiting staff across all business lines, and supporting staff and NSIRA members. Moreover, while building on our successes and pursuing ambitious organizational goals, we will maintain our focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including developing an employment equity strategy.

I would like to thank the staff and members of NSIRA. They are dedicated, resilient and committed to excellence. I look forward to continuing to work with them to develop and grow the NSIRA of the future.

John Davies
Executive Director

Plans at a glance

Over the coming year, NSIRA will continue its ambitious review agenda. This will include:

  • mandatory reviews related to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act and Governor in Council directions under the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act;
  • reviews of activities undertaken under the new authorities granted to government institutions under the National Security Act, 2017; and
  • reviews of activities where technology and the collection of data are central features.

NSIRA will also continue to expand its knowledge of departments and agencies not previously subject to expert review, including through the conduct of interagency reviews.

After an extensive consultation exercise with key stakeholders and the development of new rules of procedures in 2021, NSIRA will also focus on implementing its new model for investigating complaints. Our goal is to enhance access to justice for complainants and to ensure that NSIRA investigates complaints in a timely manner.

Employee health and well-being are key to the agency’s success. In that regard, NSIRA will continue to take steps to protect the physical and mental health of its employees and help address stresses caused by the pandemic. NSIRA will focus on the implementation of initiatives aimed at improving workplace and employee well-being as well as meeting federal public service objectives for employment equity, diversity and inclusion.

For more information on NSIRA’s plans, see the “Core responsibilities: planned results and resources, and key risks” section of this plan.

Core responsibilities: planned results and resources, and key risks

This section contains information on the department’s planned results and resources for each of its core responsibilities. It also contains information on key risks related to achieving those results.

National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations

Description

NSIRA reviews Government of Canada national security and intelligence activities to assess whether they are lawful, reasonable and necessary. It investigates complaints from members of the public regarding activities of CSIS, CSE or the national security activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as certain other national security-related complaints. This independent scrutiny contributes to the strengthening of the framework of accountability for national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions and supports public confidence in this regard.

Planning highlights

Reviews

In support of this outcome, NSIRA will continue to implement an ambitious review agenda in 2022–23. It will review the activities of CSIS and CSE to provide responsible ministers and the Canadian public with an informed assessment of these activities, including their lawfulness, reasonableness and necessity. NSIRA will also build on the knowledge it has acquired of departments and agencies, such as the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces. Using that knowledge, NSIRA will ensure these organizations’ national security or intelligence activities are independently reviewed. NSIRA is committed to transcending the silos that have characterized national security review , and will “follow the thread” of an activity between agencies to ensure its assessments reflect the complex and interwoven approach Canada takes to national security.

NSIRA is committed to ensuring its review agenda remains responsive and topical. In 2022–23, in order to inform the upcoming review of the National Security Act, 2017, NSIRA will focus on the review of activities performed under authorities that were granted by virtue of this legislation. For CSIS, these include the collection and use of datasets, and the implementation of a framework for justifying activities that contravene the law that are carried out by designated employees under specific circumstances in the context of their duties and functions. For CSE, this will include the conduct of active and defensive cyber operations. Other NSIRA reviews that will contribute information in this regard are the annual reviews of the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act, of the Governor in Council directions under the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act, and of the use of measures by CSIS to reduce threats to the security of Canada.

NSIRA will continue to expand its knowledge of national security institutions by undertaking reviews in the areas of terrorist financing, foreign interference and cybersecurity. The agency will fully utilize its authorities to follow the thread of information across multiple organizations by undertaking reviews on CSIS-CSE collaboration, the efforts of both CSIS and the RCMP to address threats posed by ideologically motivated violent extremists, and the use of human sources by various departments and agencies.

Finally, NSIRA will focus on select reviews where the review of technology and data flows are central, including the collection and use of open-source intelligence at the Department of National Defence, the lifecycle of information collected under warrant by CSIS, and the retention practices of signals intelligence by CSE. NSIRA will be leveraging both internal and external technology expertise in conducting these reviews.

Outreach and collaboration

NSIRA will continue to engage with community stakeholders to understand their concerns surrounding national security and intelligence activities. NSIRA will also continue to proactively publish unclassified versions of its reports throughout the year, as well as information on its plans and processes. The annual report will continue to summarize NSIRA’s review findings and recommendations in context, situating these elements within a broader discussion of key trends and challenges NSIRA has observed over the year. NSIRA will finish a full update of its review process and procedures, and work with reviewed entities in applying them to all reviews that are starting or in early stages.

In 2022–23, NSIRA will continue to draw on the close relationships it has established with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. The agency will coordinate its activities to ensure review is efficient and comprehensive, and avoids unnecessary duplication of effort.

NSIRA is also developing close ties to its international equivalents. It will continue its participation in the Five Eyes Intelligence Oversight and Review Council (FIORC) that brings together review agency representatives from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. NSIRA will participate in the FIORC annual conference in the fall of 2022. In addition, NSIRA will participate in FIORC working groups, which aim to meet regularly at the working level to discuss topics of common interest, such as the impacts of new technology, the investigation of complaints from the public and access to information in the possession of reviewed departments. NSIRA also intends to renew its efforts to foster new collaborative relationships with other international review bodies.

Complaints investigations

In 2022–23, NSIRA will also strengthen institutions’ accountability and enhance public confidence by ensuring consistency, quality and timeliness in investigating national security–related complaints. The independent investigation of complaints plays a critical role in maintaining public confidence in Canada’s national security institutions. In 2022–23, NSIRA will continue to offer an informal resolution process to complement the investigative process to respond to complaints. NSIRA will apply its new rules of procedure to promote accessibility, timeliness and efficiency in the investigation of complaints. Finally, NSIRA will establish new service standards for the investigation of complaints.

Gender-based analysis plus

In 2022–23, NSIRA’s Diversity, Inclusion and Employment Equity Advisory Committee will examine and provide advice on its internal policies, programs and procedures, as well as its external service delivery model through the lens of inclusion, diversity and equity.

From a program delivery perspective, NSIRA is working closely with its partner, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, to develop strategies for the collection, analysis and use of race-based and demographic data in the context of the complaints process. The objectives of this initiative are to improve access to justice by improving awareness and understanding of the investigation process. The intent is also to document the different racial groups among civilian complainants and determine:

  • whether there are significant racial disparities;
  • whether there are racial differences with respect to the types of complaints made against national security agency members based on different groups;
  • the frequency of complaints that include allegations of racial or other forms of bias;
  • whether complaint investigation outcomes vary by racial group; and
  • whether civilian satisfaction with NSIRA’s investigation process also varies by racial group.

NSIRA’s program of planned and ongoing reviews also takes into account the potential for national security and intelligence activities to result in disparate outcomes for minority groups. Ongoing reviews of the Canada Border Services Agency’s targeting practices, as well as the use of biometrics in a national security and intelligence context, include specific considerations of the impacts of these activities on diverse communities.

From a corporate perspective, the Diversity, Inclusion and Employment Equity Advisory Committee will also continue to engage with NSIRA’s personnel on issues related to systemic discrimination and racism through seminars and learning events. The intent is to continue to create an environment in which all employees feel comfortable and will not shy away from participating in discussions on issues related to anti-racism, diversity and inclusion.

As well, NSIRA is developing a self-identification process for its employees that will allow it to shape its staffing and employment equity strategies to increase representation and to ensure it reflects the diversity of the Canadian public, which it serves.

Experimentation

Given the functions and responsibilities of NSIRA, the organization does not engage in experimentation activities.

Key risks

NSIRA’s ability to access the information it needs to do its work and speak to the relevant stakeholders to understand policies, operations and ongoing issues is closely tied to the capacity of the organizations being reviewed to respond to NSIRA’s demands. The resource constraints of those organizations might continue to be compounded next year by disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This presents a risk of hindering NSIRA’s ability to deliver on its mandate in a timely way. NSIRA is mitigating this risk by ensuring clear communication about information requests and by setting review priorities.

The physical distancing precautions established by the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue to be needed in 2022–23. While NSIRA invested in technology and adapted and expanded its office space to accommodate these requirements, the pandemic may still affect NSIRA’s ability to deliver on its mandate in a timely way and limit the frequency and type of outreach NSIRA can accomplish. The agency will continue to innovate and adapt to conduct its operations and, as necessary, engage virtually with stakeholders, departments and agencies.

Planned results for National Security and Intelligence Activity Reviews and Complaints Investigations

The following table shows, for National Security and Intelligence Activity Reviews and Complaints Investigations, the planned results, the result indicators, the targets and the target dates for 2022–23, and the actual results for the three most recent fiscal years for which actual results are available.

Departmental results Departmental result indicator Target Date to achieve target 2018–19 actual result 2019–20 actual result 2020–21 actual result
Note: Because NSIRA was created on July 12, 2019, there is no comparative information to provide for 2018–19. Actual results for 2019–20 are not available as the new Departmental Results Framework in the changeover from the Security Intelligence Review Committee to NSIRA was being developed. This new framework is for measuring and reporting on results achieved starting in 2021–22, thus no actual results can be reported for 2020–21 either.
Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis 100% completion of mandatory reviews December 2022 Not applicable (N/A) N/A N/A
Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year At least one national security or intelligence activity is reviewed in at least five departments or agencies annually December 2022 N/A N/A N/A
All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three- year period 100% completion over three years; at least 33% completed each year December 2022 N/A N/A N/A
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards 90% March 2023 N/A N/A N/A

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned budgetary financial resources for assisting the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

2022–23 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2022–23 planned spending 2023–24 planned spending 2024–25 planned spending
10,756,818 10,756,818 10,757,687 10,757,687

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned human resources for assisting the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

2022–23 planned full-time equivalents 2023–24 planned full-time equivalents 2024–25 planned full-time equivalents
69.0 69.0 69.0

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Internal Services: planned results

Description

Internal services are the services that are provided within a department so that it can meet its corporate obligations and deliver its programs. There are 10 categories of internal services:

  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Communications Services
  • Legal Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Real Property Management Services
  • Materiel Management Services
  • Acquisition Management Services

Planning highlights

As it enters a third full year of operation, NSIRA will continue to take steps to ensure resources are deployed in the most effective and efficient manner possible and that its operational and administrative structures, tools and processes will continue to focus on supporting the delivery of its priorities.

NSIRA’s employees are the backbone of its operations. Because their health and well-being are key to the agency’s success, several initiatives geared toward improving workplace health and employee well-being will be an ongoing priority.

In an effort to attract and retain talent, NSIRA will further initiatives aimed at articulating NSIRA’s vision, values, culture and brand. The agency will work with employees to establish a hybrid workplace framework and talent/career management programs.

NSIRA has identified and publicly shared an action plan aimed at supporting the federal public service objectives for employment equity, diversity and inclusion. In 2022–23, the agency will accelerate its efforts on this front.

If not further delayed by the pandemic, NSIRA aims to complete its accommodation, infrastructure and systems investments in 2022–23 and initiate self-assessments of its compliance with central agencies’ policies and directives.

Planned budgetary financial resources for Internal Services

2022–23 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2022–23 planned spending 2023–24 planned spending 2024–25 planned spending
17,493,858 17,493,858 7,701,336 7,701,042

Planned human resources for Internal Services

2022–23 planned full-time equivalents 2023–24 planned full-time equivalents 2024–25 planned full-time equivalents
31.0 31.0 31.0

Planned spending and human resources

This section provides an overview of the department’s planned spending and human resources for the next three fiscal years and compares planned spending for 2022–23 with actual spending for the current year and the previous year.

Planned spending

Departmental spending 2019–20 to 2024–24

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory) spending over time.

Departmental spending trend graph
  2019–20 2020–21 2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
Statutory 371,057 962,186 1,295,290 1,727,668 1,727,668 1,727,668
Voted 5,254,250 11,289,189 19,137,337 26,523,008 16,731,355 16,731,061
Total 5,625,250 12,251,375 20,432,627 28,250,676 18,435,987 18,458,729

Fiscal years 2019–20 and 2020–21 show actual expenditures as reported in the Public Accounts, while 2021–2022 presents the forecast for the current fiscal year. Fiscal years 2022–23 to 2024–25 present planned spending.

The 2020–21 spending of $12.2 million increased by $6.6 million (118%), compared to 2019–20. The increase is due to the fact that NSIRA was created in July 2019, which resulted in the actual expenditures for fiscal year 2019–20 reflecting only a partial year of spending. Forecast spending in 2021–22 is higher than 2020–21 spending by $8.2 million (67%), primarily due to growth in personnel and limited investments in accommodation, infrastructure and systems.

Spending is expected to increase by $7.8 million (38%) in 2022–23 compared to 2021–22. This planned increase is mainly due to a re-profile of funding to align to the conduct of projects delayed by the pandemic. Spending is expected to decrease by $9.8 million (35%) in 2023–24, mainly due to the expected completion of the office expansion project in 2022–23. Spending is expected to remain relatively unchanged in 2024–25 from 2023–4.

Budgetary planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)

The following table shows information on spending for each of NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for its internal services for 2022–23 and other relevant fiscal years.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2019–20 actual expenditures 2020–21 actual expenditures 2021–22 forecast spending 2022–23 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2022–23 planned spending 2023–24 planned spending 2024–25 planned spending
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 3,009,066 5,607,796 8,074,229 10,756,818 10,756,818 10,757,687 10,757,687
Subtotal 3,009,066 5,607,796 8,074,229 10,756,818 10,756,818 10,757,687 10,757,687
Internal Services 2,616,241 6,643,579 12,358,398 17,493,858 17,493,858 7,701,336 7,701,042
Total 5,625,307 12,251,375 20,432,627 28,250,676 28,250,676 18,459,023 18,458,729

As NSIRA was created on July 12, 2019, the numbers for 2019–20 are for the reporting period of July 12, 2019, to March 31, 2020.

Planned human resources

The following table shows information on human resources, in full-time equivalents, for each of NSIRA’s core responsibilities and for its internal services for 2022–23 and the other relevant years.

Human resources planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2019–20 Actual full-time equivalents 2020–21 Actual full-time equivalents 2021–22 Forecast full-time equivalents 2022–23 Planned full-time equivalents 2023–24 Planned full-time equivalents 2024–25 Planned full-time equivalents
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations 17.5 37.8 53.3 69.0 69.0 69.0
Subtotal 17.5 37.8 53.3 69.0 69.0 69.0
Internal Services 11.2 21.7 25.9 31.0 31.0 31.0
Total 28.7 59.5 79.2 100.0 100.0 100.0

Over the course of 2019–20, funding for an additional 26 FTEs was received to account for NSIRA’s expanded mandate. It is expected that NSIRA will be at full capacity by the close of 2021–22 to fulfil its new mandate.

Estimates by vote

Information on NSIRA’s organizational appropriations is available in the 2022–23 Main Estimates.

Condensed future-oriented statement of operations

The future-oriented condensed statement of operations provides an overview of NSIRA’s operations for 2021–22 to 2022–23.

The forecast and planned amounts in this statement of operations were prepared on an accrual basis. The forecast and planned amounts presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan were prepared on an expenditure basis. Amounts may therefore differ.

A more detailed future-oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations with the requested authorities, are available on NSIRA’s website.

Future-oriented Condensed statement of operations for the year ending March 31, 2022 (dollars)

Financial information 2021–22 Forecast results 2022–23 Planned results Difference (2022–23 planned results minus 2021–22 Forecast results)
Total expenses 21,850,048 28,625,397 6,775,349
Total revenues
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 21,850,048 28,625,397 6,775,349

The difference between the 2022–23 planned results and 2021–22 forecast results is mostly explained by planned accommodation, infrastructure and systems project costs.

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Institutional head: John Davies, Executive Director
Ministerial portfolio: Privy Council Office
Enabling instrument: National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act
Year of incorporation / commencement: 2019

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

“Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on NSIRA‘s website.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on NSIRA’s website.

Reporting framework

NSIRA’s Departmental Results Framework, with accompanying results and indicators, is under development. Additional information on key performance measures will be included in the 2021- 22 Departmental Plan.

Graph: Reporting Framework - Text version follows
Core Responsibility: National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations
Departmental Results Framework Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary Indicator: All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis Internal Services
Indicator: Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year
Indicator: All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three-year period
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Indicator: Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards
Program Inventory Program: National security and intelligence activity reviews and complaints investigations

The changeover of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) to NSIRA required significant changes to the Departmental Results Framework, expected results and indicators. With NSIRA’s broader mandate, these changes now provide a framework for measuring and reporting on results achieved starting in 2021–22 and beyond.

Changes to the approved reporting framework since 2020-21

Structure 2020-21 2021-22 Change Reason for change
Total expenses Investigations of Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS’s) operational activities National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations New Core responsibility New Departmental Results Framework
Programs Review of CSIS’s operations National security and intelligence activity reviews and complaints investigations New Program New Departmental Results Framework
Investigation of complaints against CSIS

Supporting information on the program inventory

Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on NSIRA‘s website.

  • Gender-based analysis plus

Federal tax expenditures

NSIRA’s Departmental Plan does not include information on tax expenditures.

Tax expenditures are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for government­‑wide tax expenditures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report provides detailed information on tax expenditures, including objectives, historical background and references to related federal spending programs, as well as evaluations, research papers and gender-based analysis plus.

Organizational contact information

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
P.O. Box 2430, Station “D” Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

Telephone: The phone number is temporarily disabled
Fax: The fax number is temporarily disabled.
Email: info@nsira-ossnr.gc.ca
Website: www.nsira-ossnr.gc.ca

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3‑year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full‑time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2020–21 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

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Departmental Results Report: 2020-21

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Cat. Number: PS106-8E-PDF
ISSN: 2563-5174

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2021

Date of Publishing:

From the Executive Director

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) continued to experience significant growth and transformation in the 2020–21 fiscal year, its first full year of operation. Our focus has been to ensure that NSIRA transitioned effectively to a much larger organization with a broader mandate. To do so, we hired talented new staff across all business lines to support our expanded mandate. We also secured new temporary accommodations at a secondary site to support increased staff numbers.

In 2020–21, we re-evaluated the way we implement our mandate and developed innovative practices to fulfil our core responsibilities. Our organization completed a major reform effort aimed at enhancing the timeliness and accessibility of complaints investigations. This was the result of extensive stakeholder consultations and will set the direction for our work in this area for years to come. In addition, we worked to refine our review process and methodology, with a view to promoting greater consistency across reviews. Our work has also been aided by growing networks and partnerships with Canadian and international academics and civil society organizations, as well as other review bodies.

In implementing our review function, we took advantage of our broader mandate to review a wide variety of departments and agencies that make up Canada’s national security and intelligence apparatus, including several cross-departmental reviews. We also overcame the challenges of leading investigations during the pandemic and completed and closed several cases.

We are committed to keeping the public informed about the results of our reviews, investigations and activities while still protecting sensitive information. We consider this to be a major part of building accountability among departments and agencies involved in national security or intelligence activities. To that effect, we have worked with departments and agencies to release unclassified versions of our reports. Additionally, we committed in a new policy statement to declassify and depersonalize all complaints investigation reports going forward. It is our hope that these initiatives will foster open discussion and debate, and help to advance the dialogue on national security and intelligence issues in Canada.

I would like to thank NSIRA staff for their dedication and hard work over the past year, and for their commitment to continuing to build our organization.

John Davies
Executive Director
National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

Results at a glance

NSIRA began operating in 2019 as a new independent accountability mechanism in Canada. Its broad review and investigations mandate covers the national security and intelligence activities of departments and agencies across the federal government. The agency’s total actual spending in 2020–21 amounted to $12,251,375 and its total actual full-time equivalents were 60.

The pandemic required NSIRA staff to work remotely, limiting its access to classified materials that are critical to NSIRA’s work. To adjust, NSIRA revised its review plans, and implemented strict rotating schedules to enable limited office access for classified work to continue safely. This allowed NSIRA to fulfil its statutory obligations and uphold its commitments to Canadians. Despite the restrictions, NSIRA was able to enhance its scrutiny of Canada’s national security and intelligence activities.

Below are some of NSIRA’s achievements in 2020–21.

Review

NSIRA’s review of national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions ensures that ministers and Canadians are informed about whether these activities were lawful, reasonable and necessary.

During fiscal year 2020–21, NSIRA completed and approved nine reviews, including seven dedicated to reviewing the activities of a specific department or agency and two interdepartmental reviews that involved more than a dozen departments and agencies. This helped to advance both the breadth and depth of NSIRA’s knowledge and experience.

NSIRA also developed and elaborated a review framework that embeds legal and technological experts in the review process from the outset of reviews, and outlines a clear process to promote consistency across subject areas.

Complaint investigations

NSIRA investigates national security–related complaints from members of the public independently and strives to do so in a timely manner.

In fiscal year 2020–21, NSIRA completed two investigations and issued two final reports. It also issued formal decisions to close two other files.

NSIRA also undertook a major reform and modernization of its complaints investigations process. Two priorities guided this undertaking, namely, promoting access to justice for self-represented complainants, and putting in place more streamlined and less formal procedural steps.

Reporting and transparency

NSIRA informs ministers and Canadians of the results of its work through the issuance of reports. In addition to annual reporting mandated by law, NSIRA began releasing redacted versions of its reviews online, starting with a Communications Security Establishment review. NSIRA also published dozens of redacted historical reviews from its predecessor, the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

In addition, NSIRA issued a policy statement in 2020–21 that commits to publishing redacted and depersonalized investigation reports to promote and enhance transparency in its investigations.

For more information on NSIRA’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

Results: what we achieved

Core responsibility

Assist the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

Description:

The Secretariat will assist NSIRA members in fulfilling the agency’s mandate. The Secretariat will conduct a range of activities to support the agency, including accessing relevant information and providing strategic and expert advice in the conduct of reviews, quasi-judicial investigation of complaints and the development of reports. It will also provide administrative support in arranging for briefings, hearings and consultations with stakeholders and international counterparts, and support to ensure compliance with security requirements.

Results:

NSIRA will be implementing its new Departmental Results Framework starting in 2021–22.

NSIRA accomplished a great deal in its first full year of operation, having achieved milestones in the review of national security and intelligence activities, as well as in the investigation of national security–related complaints.

Review of national security and intelligence activities

NSIRA completed nine reviews over the course of 2020–21. Seven of these reviews focused primarily on an individual department or agency, while two reviews were interdepartmental by design. Organizations whose activities were the subject of specific reviews included:

  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service — two reviews
  • Communications Security Establishment — three reviews
  • Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces — one review
  • Global Affairs Canada — one review

The two reviews that were interdepartmental by design were the annual review of disclosures under the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act and the annual review of the implementation of directions issued under the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act.

Eight of NSIRA’s reviews resulted in recommendations to ministers on issues related to compliance and governance. One review did not result in any recommendations, but rather established criteria to be used in future assessments. As a result of NSIRA’s unclassified and publicly released reviews, as well as its annual reporting, NSIRA contributes to increased confidence among Canadians in the independent review of national security and intelligence activities carried out by Government of Canada institutions.

During the reporting period, NSIRA developed a review framework to promote high quality and rigour in its work, and to ensure consistency in the way it executes reviews. This framework provides systematic guidance on NSIRA’s process and approach, and embeds legal and technological expertise in reviews from the outset. In the year ahead, NSIRA will continue to refine and improve its review process to produce the most consistent, objective and rigorous reviews possible.

This past year, NSIRA also focused on enhancing staff expertise in the national security operational environment, including the relevant legal and policy instruments, and building knowledge through iterative learning. To this end, NSIRA is developing a structured training program for NSIRA’s review analysts, with a focus on sound and objective methodological principles, and establishing expert networks.

Investigation of national security–related complaints

The pandemic had an adverse impact on the timely conduct of NSIRA’s investigations. Both NSIRA and other federal government parties to investigations were affected by limited access to classified documents. Consequently, in several ongoing matters, NSIRA granted adjournments and extensions of deadlines for procedural steps, including the filing of submissions and evidentiary material. In the challenging circumstances of the pandemic, NSIRA adapted as best as possible and advanced investigative procedures in an innovative manner whenever possible, such as conducting some proceedings in writing and holding case management conferences and meetings virtually.

In fiscal year 2020–21, NSIRA completed two investigations and issued two final reports. It also issued formal decisions to close two other files. Ministers, complainants and the public were informed about the conclusions of investigations of national security–related complaints.

During the year, NSIRA undertook a major reform and modernization of its complaints investigations process. Two priorities guided this process of modernization, namely, promoting access to justice for self-represented complainants, and putting in place more streamlined and less formal procedural steps. As part of this reform, NSIRA created new Rules of Procedure, developed after extensive consultation with stakeholders in the public and private sectors to ensure the most effective and considered final product.

Finally, NSIRA issued a policy statement in 2020–21 that commits to publishing redacted and depersonalized investigation reports to promote and enhance transparency in its investigations.

Gender-based analysis plus

This year NSIRA named a Champion for Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The Champion worked to create a culture of inclusion by holding staff discussions on anti-racism and themes related to diversity.

In complaints investigations, NSIRA followed a well-documented process in all cases to ensure equal access to justice for all complainants. It began efforts to study how to systematically analyze complaints data from previous years to look at demographic trends, including race. In this regard, it is working jointly with another review body to leverage relevant academic expertise to assist NSIRA in collecting the right kind of data in future complaints investigations to assist with this analysis. The aim is to gain insight into communities most impacted by national security activities, which can assist NSIRA in guiding its outreach and engagement priorities.

NSIRA’s program of planned and ongoing reviews also takes into account the potential for national security and intelligence activities to result in unequal outcomes for visible minority groups. Ongoing reviews of the Canada Border Services Agency’s targeting practices, as well as the use of biometrics in the national security and intelligence context, focus specifically on understanding the impacts of these activities on diverse communities.

NSIRA continued to hire a diverse group of employees with a mix of experience and skills to fulfil its unique mandate. NSIRA conducted blind resume screening and testing as part of its hiring practices. NSIRA has only six executive positions, two of which are classified in the Law Manager (LC) group. Since April 1, 2020, five positions were staffed, of which 60% of the appointees self-identified as a member of an employment equity designated group. As well, four management positions (e.g., EC-07, FI-04, etc.) were staffed in 2020–21, all with members of an employment equity designated group.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2020-21 Main Estimates 2020-21 Planned spending 2020-21 Total authorities available for use 2020-21 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020-21 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
11,309,411 11,309,411 10,904,766 5,607,796 (5,701,615)

The difference between planned and actual spending for fiscal year 2020–21 is mostly attributable to the pandemic. Delays in staffing resulted in reduced salary, benefits and other employee support costs such as training. The lower than planned spending is also explained by lower than initially planned professional services activities, travel, translation and other direct support.

Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents 2020–21 Actual full-time equivalents 2020–21 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
48 38 (10)

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are:

  • Acquisition Management Services
  • Communication Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Legal Services
  • Material Management Services
  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Real Property Management Services

Results

In an effort to protect the health and safety of its employees, NSIRA redirected a significant level of resources to the implementation of office safety measures and to the introduction of remote work capabilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its first full year of operations, NSIRA completed the staffing of all its key Internal Services functions, implemented key financial and human resources systems, initiated the repatriation of functions previously performed by other departments, and introduced several policies and practices to enable it to conduct its work.

For example, NSIRA took steps to develop and implement human resources management policies, terms and conditions of employment, and directives and practices aimed at onboarding and developing new talent. NSIRA also took concrete steps to ensure employee well-being in these trying times.

NSIRA launched several initiatives to strengthen its physical and personnel security measures, improve its information management practices, and introduce new technologies aimed at supporting both remote work capabilities and work from the office through secure video teleconferencing.

Finally, NSIRA worked with Public Services and Procurement Canada to identify and initiate the implementation of office space fit-up and expansion projects to accommodate the growth in its personnel. On that front, significant progress was realized with the identification, design and initiation of several construction projects.

While much remains to be done after its first full year of operation, NSIRA is confident it has established a solid Internal Services foundation for helping its employees succeed and thrive.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2020-21 Main Estimates 2020-21 Planned spending 2020-21 Total authorities available for use 2020-21 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020-21 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
12,975,559 12,975,559 12,649,138 6,643,579 (6,331,980)

The difference of $6.3 million between planned and actual spending is mainly explained by the impacts of the pandemic on NSIRA’s ability to progress with its facilities fit-up and expansion plans, as well as on its planned spending on Internal Services infrastructure and systems.

Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents 2020–21 Actual full-time equivalents 2020–21 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
22 22 0

Actual expenditures

Departmental spending trend graph

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory spending) over time.

Graph: Departmental spending trend - Text version follows
Departmental spending trend graph
2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Statutory 0 371,057 962,186 1,704,632 1,704,632 1,704,632
Voted 0 5,254,250 11,289,189 28,490,287 24,423,008 16,731,355
Total 0 5,625,250 12,251,375 30,194,919 26,127,640 18,435,987

Note: NSIRA did not exist in 2018–19. The 2019–20 figures combine the spending for NSIRA and the Security Intelligence Review Committee, since NSIRA took over that organization’s staffing and funding in July of that fiscal year.

The graph illustrates NSIRA’s spending trends over a six-year period from 2018–19 to 2023–24. Fiscal years 2018–19 to 2020–21 reflect actual expenditures as reported in the Public Accounts. Fiscal years 2021–22 to 2023–24 represent planned spending.

The increase in spending from 2019–20 to 2020–21 is mainly explained by the cost of additional resources hired by NSIRA over that period, by an increase in professional services costs, and by the start of facilities fit-up and expansion.

The overall difference between actual spending in 2020–21 and planned spending in 2021–22 is due to lower spending than planned on payroll and on facilities fit-up and expansion in 2020–21 as a result of the pandemic. It is also due to a one-time reprofile of spending authorities into 2021–22 and 2022–23 to account for accommodation fit-up and expansion delays.

The difference between the peaks in spending authorities in 2021–22 and 2022–23 with the leveling of authorities in 2023–24 is due to the anticipated completion of facilities fit-up and expansion in the first two fiscal years.

Budgetary performance summary for Core Responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020-21 Main Estimates 2020-21 Planned spending 2021-22 Planned spending 2022-23 Planned spending 2020-21 Total authorities available for use 2018-19 Actual spending (authorities used) 2019-20 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020-21 Actual spending (authorities used)
Assist the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency 11,309,411 11,309,411 12,047,835 10,740,923 10,904,766 3,009,066 5,607,796
Subtotal 11,309,411 11,309,411 12,047,835 10,740,923 10,904,766 3,009,066 5,607,796
Internal Services 12,975,559 12,975,559 18,147,084 15,386,717 12,649,138 2,616,241 6,643,579
Total 24,284,970 24,284,970 30,194,919 26,127,640 23,553,904 5,625,307 12,251,375

Actual human resources

Human resources summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2018-19 Actual full-time equivalents 2019-20 Actual full-time equivalents 2020-21 Planned full-time equivalents 2020-21 Actual full-time equivalents 2021-22 Planned full-time equivalents 2022-23 Planned full-time equivalents
Assist the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency 0 18 48 38 69 69
Internal Services 0 11 22 22 31 31
Total 0 29 70 60 100 100

Over the course of 2020–21, the overall count for full-time equivalents went from 29 to 60. NSIRA is working to have a full complement of human resources by the end of fiscal year 2021–22.

Expenditures by vote

For information on NSIRA’s organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2020–2021.

Government of Canada spending and activities

Information on the alignment of NSIRA’s spending with the Government of Canada’s spending and activities is available in GC InfoBase.

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Financial statements

SIRC’s and NSIRA’s financial statements (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2019, are available on NSIRA‘s website.

Financial statement highlights

Condensed Statement of Operations (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2020 (dollars)
Financial information 2020-21 Planned results 2020-21 Actual results 2019-20 Actual results Difference (2020-21 Actual results minus 2020-21 Planned results) Difference (2020-21 Actual results minus 2019-20 Actual results)
Total expenses 25,780,059 11,662,601 6,330,487 (14,117,458) 5,332,114
Total revenues 248 0 0 (248) 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 25,779,881 11,662,601 6,330,487 (14,117,458) 5,332,114

Difference between 2019–20 actual results and 2020–21 actual results:

The agency’s actual net cost of operations before government funding and transfer for 2020–21, as compared with 2019–20, increased by $5,332,114 due to fact that the 2019–20 comparable figures presented in the Statement of Operations related to a partial year of operations.

Difference between 2020–21 actual results and 2020–21 planned results:

The agency’s actual net cost of operations from continuing activities was $14,117,210 lower than the planned results for the fiscal year as a result of the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the ability of NSIRA to grow the organization as planned.

État condensé de la situation financière (non audité) au 31 mars 2021 (en dollars)
Financial information 2020-21 2019-20 Difference (2020-21 minus 2019-20)
Total net liabilities 2,050,302 2,029,928 20,374
Total net financial assets 1,577,964 1,627,351 (49,387)
Departmental net debt 472,338 402,577 69,761
Total non-financial assets 2,240,138 1,075,318 1,164,820
Departmental net financial position 1,767,800 672,741 1,095,059

In 2020–21, the department’s net liabilities increased by $20,374. This increase is primarily attributable to an increase in employee future benefits.

Total net financial and non-financial assets were $3,818,102, an increase of $1,115,433 from 2019–20. This increase is attributable to an increase in tangible capital assets and accounts receivable from other governmental departments.

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Institutional head: John Davies, Executive Director
Ministerial portfolio: Privy Council Office
Enabling instrument: National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act
Year of incorporation / commencement: 2019

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

“Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on NSIRA‘s website.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on NSIRA’s website.

Reporting framework

NSIRA’s Departmental Results Framework, with accompanying results and indicators, were under development in 2020–21. Additional information on key performance measures are included in the 2021–22 Departmental Plan.

Supporting information on the program inventory

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on NSIRA‘s website.

  • Gender-based analysis plus

Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs. The tax measures presented in this report are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Organizational contact information

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
P.O. Box 2430, Station “D”
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

The phone number is temporarily disabled
Fax: 613-907-4445

Email: info@nsira-ossnr.gc.ca
Website: www.nsira-ossnr.gc.ca

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3‑year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full‑time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2020–21 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

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Gender-Based Analysis Plus: 2020-21

Date of Publishing:

Section 1: Institutional GBA+ Capacity

This year NSIRA named a Champion for Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The Champion worked to create a culture of inclusion by holding staff discussions on anti-racism and themes related to diversity.

In complaints investigations, NSIRA followed a well-documented process in all cases to ensure equal access to justice for all complainants. It began efforts to study how to systematically analyze complaints data from previous years to look at demographic trends, including race. In this regard, it is working jointly with another review body to leverage relevant academic expertise to assist NSIRA in collecting the right kind of data in future complaints investigations to assist with this analysis. The aim is to gain insight into communities most impacted by national security activities, which can assist NSIRA in guiding its outreach and engagement priorities.

NSIRA’s program of planned and ongoing reviews also takes into account the potential for national security and intelligence activities to result in unequal outcomes for visible minority groups. Ongoing reviews of the Canada Border Services Agency’s targeting practices, as well as the use of biometrics in the national security and intelligence context, focus specifically on understanding the impacts of these activities on diverse communities.

NSIRA continued to hire a diverse group of employees with a mix of experience and skills to fulfil its unique mandate. NSIRA conducted blind resume screening and testing as part of its hiring practices. NSIRA has only six executive positions, two of which are classified in the Law Manager (LC) group. Since April 1, 2020, five positions were staffed, of which 60% of the appointees self-identified as a member of an employment equity designated group. As well, four management positions (e.g., EC-07, FI-04, etc.) were staffed in 2020–21, all with members of an employment equity designated group.

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Departmental Plan: 2021-2022

Meta data information

Cat. Number: PS106-6E-PDF
ISSN: 2563-0334

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2020

Date of Publishing:

From the Executive Director

I am very pleased to present the 2021–22 Departmental Plan for the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA). The year ahead will build on a very successful 2020–21, in which we achieved several key milestones for our new agency, despite the challenges imposed on us and the organizations we review as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021–22, we will be continuing to implement NSIRA’s three-year review plan, which emphasizes reviews of increasing scale and complexity as we become familiar with the operations of departments and agencies that have only recently become subject to review.

In the year ahead, we will also roll out a new process for taking in and investigating complaints from members of the public. Multiple key stakeholders will help to shape this new process, which aims to provide greater accessibility and greater timeliness to our complaints investigation function.

Significant efforts to scale up our operations will continue in 2021–22, including expanding to a second site, recruiting staff across all business lines, and continuing our support to staff working from home. In all aspects, we will continue to prioritize our staff’s health and safety as we build on our successes and pursue ambitious organizational goals. We will also continue to emphasize diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including developing an employment equity strategy.

More details on this and other initiatives are found in this report. I hope that it helps inform Canadians of NSIRA’s priorities for the year ahead.

John Davies
Executive Director

Plans at a glance

Over the coming year, NSIRA will continue its ambitious review agenda, based on the three-year review plan established in 2020–21. This will include mandatory reviews related to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act and Governor in Council directions under the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act. NSIRA will also continue to expand the agency’s knowledge of departments and agencies not previously subject to expert review, including through the conduct of interagency reviews and by “following the thread” of activities from one agency to another. Of note, in 2021–22, NSIRA will continue its comprehensive review, announced in July 2020, to fully identify the systemic, governance and cultural shortcomings and failures that resulted in CSIS engaging in illegal activity and a related breach of candour to the Federal Court.

In 2021–22, NSIRA will also focus on implementing a new model for investigating complaints. This work will be rooted in the development of new rules of procedure, which will be implemented after consultation with key stakeholders in the year ahead. The goals of this process are to enhance access to justice for complainants and to ensure that NSIRA investigates complaints in a timely manner.

An important responsibility over the coming year will be further adapting operations to the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a priority on maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. NSIRA will also emphasize employment equity, diversity and inclusion as a major corporate theme over the year ahead, including training staff on key concepts.

For more information on NSIRA’s plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Core responsibilities: planned results and resources, and key risks” section of this report.

Core responsibilities: planned results and resources, and key risks

This section contains detailed information on the department’s planned results and resources for each of its core responsibilities. It also contains information on key risks related to achieving those results.

National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations

Description

NSIRA reviews Government of Canada national security and intelligence activities to assess whether they are lawful, reasonable and necessary. It investigates complaints from members of the public regarding activities of CSIS, CSE or the national security activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as certain other national security–related complaints. This independent scrutiny contributes to the strengthening of the framework of accountability for national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions and supports public confidence in this regard.

Planning highlights

In support of this outcome, in 2021–22, NSIRA will implement an ambitious review agenda. It will continue to review the activities of CSIS and CSE to provide responsible ministers and the Canadian public with an informed assessment of these activities, including their lawfulness, reasonableness and necessity. NSIRA will also build on the knowledge it has acquired of departments and agencies, such as the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces. Using that knowledge, NSIRA will ensure these organizations’ national security or intelligence activities are independently verified and assessed. NSIRA is committed to transcending the silos that have characterized national security review until now, and will “follow the thread” of an activity between agencies to ensure its assessments reflect the complex and interwoven approach Canada takes to national security.

In 2021–22, NSIRA will complete its review of the systemic, governance and cultural factors that led to CSIS engaging in illegal activity and breaching its duty of candour to the Federal Court. This review is being conducted jointly by two NSIRA members, the Honourable Marie Deschamps, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Craig Forcese, a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. This matter was referred to NSIRA by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Justice. NSIRA is confident its findings and recommendations will play a constructive role in ensuring that future national security activities reflect Canadians’ expectations of these fundamental institutions.

NSIRA is committed to ensuring its review agenda remains responsive and topical. In 2021–22, NSIRA will continue to engage with community stakeholders to understand their concerns surrounding national security and intelligence activities. NSIRA will ensure that matters of equity and non-discrimination are reflected in its review agenda. NSIRA’s work must also be accessible to the public and civil society. In 2021–22, NSIRA will increase its activities on Twitter and ensure that the agency’s processes, methodologies and findings are readily available on its website. NSIRA will proactively publish unclassified versions of its reports throughout the year. The annual report will continue to summarize NSIRA’s review findings and recommendations in context, situating these elements within a broader discussion of the key trends and challenges NSIRA has observed over the year.

In 2021–22, NSIRA will continue to draw on the close relationships it has established with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. The agency will coordinate its activities to ensure review is efficient and comprehensive, and avoids unnecessary duplication of effort. NSIRA is also developing close ties to its international equivalents. It will host a conference in 2021–22 that will bring together review agency representatives from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to discuss artificial intelligence and other topics of common interest. NSIRA will also deploy multidisciplinary review teams in 2021–22, leveraging the integrated expertise of researchers, lawyers and technical experts right from the start. This will ensure NSIRA reviews reflect a sound understanding of many complex issues, and that the agency is equipped to provide clear, precise analysis of the impacts of new technology in an ever-changing national security environment.

In 2021–22, NSIRA will also strengthen institutions’ accountability and enhance public confidence by ensuring consistency, quality and timeliness in investigating national security–related complaints. The independent investigation of complaints plays a critical role in maintaining public confidence in Canada’s national security institutions. In 2021–22, NSIRA will continue to offer an informal resolution process to complement the investigative process to respond to complaints. NSIRA also developed new rules of procedure to ensure timeliness in the investigation of complaints. The ambition is to ensure access to justice. New service standards to be set in January 2021 will enable baseline measurements to be established in 2021–22.

Gender-based analysis plus

In 2021–22, NSIRA will undertake several initiatives related to employment equity, diversity and inclusion. Incorporating baseline data derived from employee self-identification, NSIRA will develop an employment equity strategy to increase representation and to ensure it reflects the diversity of the Canadian public, which it serves.

Training and learning events for staff on issues related to systemic discrimination will continue over the coming year. These activities will ensure a common understanding of key concepts and build a corporate culture that promotes the values of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Work will continue in 2021–22 to incorporate analysis of bias and discrimination into reviews and complaints investigations. NSIRA will also work with centres of excellence within the Government of Canada to enhance its understanding of how gender-based analysis plus concepts can be more formally integrated into its work.

Finally, NSIRA will build on outreach and engagement conducted over the past year to expand its range of stakeholder partnerships and learn more about concerns related to the differential impacts of national security and intelligence activities.

Key risks

NSIRA’s ability to access the information it needs to do its work and speak to the relevant stakeholders to understand policies, operations and ongoing issues is closely tied to the capacity of the organizations being reviewed to respond to NSIRA’s demands. The resource constraints of those organizations might continue to be compounded next year by disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This presents a risk of hindering NSIRA’s ability to deliver on its mandate in a timely way. NSIRA is mitigating this risk by ensuring clear communication about information requests and by setting review priorities.

The physical distancing precautions required by the COVID-19 pandemic might continue to be needed in 2021–22. This would limit employees’ access to NSIRA offices and to classified physical and electronic documents. Such restrictions could slow NSIRA’s ability to deliver on its mandate in a timely way and limit the frequency and type of outreach NSIRA can do in person. The pandemic also complicates the recruitment, on-boarding and training of new review staff. NSIRA is mitigating these risks by adapting its office space and investing in communications technology. It will continue to innovate to enable its operations and engage virtually with stakeholders, departments and agencies.

Departmental results Departmental result indicator Target Date to achieve target 2017-18 actual results* 2018-19 actual results* 2019-20 actual results*
*Because NSIRA was created on July 12, 2019, there is no comparative information to provide for 2017–18 and 2018–19. Actual results for 2019–20 are not available as the new Departmental Results Framework in the changeover from the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) to NSIRA was being developed. This new framework is for measuring and reporting on results achieved starting in 2021–22.
Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis 100% completion of mandatory reviews 2021-22 Not applicable (N/A) N/A N/A
Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year At least one national security or intelligence activity is reviewed in at least five departments or agencies annually 2021-22 N/A N/A N/A
All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three- year period 100% completion over three years; at least 33% completed each year 2021-22 N/A N/A N/A
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards 90% 2021-22 N/A N/A N/A

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned budgetary financial resources for assisting the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

2021–22 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2021–22 planned spending 2022–23 planned spending 2023–24 planned spending
12,047,835 12,047,835 10,740,923 10,744,262

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned human resources for assisting the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

2021–22 planned full-time equivalents 2022–23 planned full-time equivalents 2023–24 planned full-time equivalents
69.0 69.0 69.0

It is expected that NSIRA will be at full capacity by the close of 2021–22 to fulfil its new mandate.

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Internal Services: planned results

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of Programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct services that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. These services are:

  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Communications Services
  • Legal Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Real Property Management Services
  • Materiel Management Services
  • Acquisition Management Services

Planning highlights

A key priority in the coming year will be Internal Services support and leadership with respect to the development and implementation of effective employment equity, diversity and inclusion strategies.

NSIRA will also continue to leverage technologies and proven information management practices to increase the effectiveness of operations as the agency continues to operate under COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

The ability of NSIRA to continue its rapid increase in personnel will be contingent on effective Internal Services functions. As a result, over the coming year, NSIRA will continue to invest in and strengthen its frameworks for human resources management, information technology and security, and continue to implement its accommodation strategy.

Planned budgetary financial resources for Internal Services

2021–22 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2021–22 planned spending 2022–23 planned spending 2023–24 planned spending
18,147,084 18,147,084 15,386,717 7,691,725

Planned human resources for Internal Services

2021–22 planned full-time equivalents 2022–23 planned full-time equivalents 2023–24 planned full-time equivalents
31.0 31.0 31.0

Financial, human resources and performance information for NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Spending and human resources

This section provides an overview of the department’s planned spending and human resources for the next three consecutive fiscal years, and compares planned spending for the upcoming year with the current year’s spending.

Planned spending

Departmental spending 2018–19 to 2023–24

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory) spending over time.

Departmental spending trend graph
2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Statutory 0 371,057 1,056,362 1,704,632 1,704,632 1,704,632
Voted 0 5,254,250 16,662,479 28,490,287 24,423,008 16,731,355
Total 0 5,625,250 17,718,841 30,194,919 26,127,640 18,435,987

Because NSIRA was created in July 2019, the actual expenditures of fiscal year 2019–20 do not reflect a full fiscal year of spending. The increase from 2019–20 to 2020–21 is also explained by growth in personnel and the initiation of accommodation, infrastructure and systems investments that were delayed from the previous fiscal year.

Fiscal years 2021–22 to 2023–24 present planned spending based on approved authorities. The fluctuation in planned spending between fiscal year 2020–21 to 2023–24 is mainly explained by funds earmarked for the completion of accommodation, infrastructure and systems projects.

When compared with the Departmental Plan from the previous year, the change in planned spending for 2021–22 and 2022–23 is largely resulting from a reprofile of funding from 2019–20 to 2021–22 and 2022–23 to align funding with the delayed projects noted.

Planned spending for 2023–24 shows the ongoing financial authorities after completion of the office expansion project.

Budgetary planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)

The following table shows actual, forecast and planned spending for NSIRA’s core responsibility and for Internal Services for the years relevant to the current planning year.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2017–18 expenditures 2018–19 expenditures 2019–20 forecast spending 2020–21 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2020–21 planned spending 2021–22 planned spending 2022–23 planned spending
* Because NSIRA was created on July 12, 2019, there is no comparative information to provide for prior years. Numbers for 2019–20 are for the reporting period of July 12, 2019 – March 31, 2020.
National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations N/A 3,009,066 6,716,166 12,047,835 12,047,835 10,740,923 10,744,262
Subtotal N/A 3,009,066 6,716,166 12,047,835 12,047,835 10,740,923 10,744,262
Internal Services N/A 2,616,241 11,002,675 18,147,084 18,147,084 15,386,717 7,691,725
Total N/A 5,625,307 17,718,841 30,194,919 30,194,919 26,127,640 18,435,987

Planned human resources

The following table shows actual, forecast and planned full-time equivalents (FTEs) for the core responsibility in NSIRA’s departmental results framework and for Internal Services for the years relevant to the current planning year.

Human resources planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2018-19 Actual full-time equivalents 2019-20 Actual full-time equivalents 2020-21 Forecast full-time equivalents 2021-22 Planned full-time equivalents 2022-23 Planned full-time equivalents 2023-24 Planned full-time equivalents
* Because NSIRA was created on July 12, 2019, there is no comparative information to provide for prior years. Numbers for 2019–20 are for the reporting period of July 12, 2019 – March 31, 2020.
Assist the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency N/A 17.5 44.1 69.0 69.0 69.0
Subtotal N/A 17.5 44.1 69.0 69.0 69.0
Internal Services N/A 11.2 23.6 31.0 31.0 31.0
Total N/A 28.7 67.7 100.0 100.0 100.0

Over the course of 2019–20, funding for an additional 26 FTEs was received to account for NSIRA’s expanded mandate. It is expected that NSIRA will be at full capacity by the close of 2021–22 to fulfil its new mandate.

Estimates by vote

Information on NSIRA’s organizational appropriations is available in the 2021–22 Main Estimates.

Condensed future-oriented statement of operations

The future-oriented condensed statement of operations provides an overview of NSIRA’s operations for 2020–21 to 2021–22.

The amounts for forecast and planned results in this statement of operations were prepared on an accrual basis. The amounts for forecast and planned spending presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan were prepared on an expenditure basis. Amounts may therefore differ.

A more detailed future-oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations to the requested authorities, are available on NSIRA’s website.

Future-oriented Condensed statement of operations for the year ending March 31, 2022 (dollars)

Financial information 2020-21 Forecast results 2021-22 Planned results Difference (2021-22 planned results minus 2020-21 Forecast results)
Total expenses 17,695,822 28,235,300 10,539,478
Total revenues
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 17,695,822 28,235,300 10,539,478

The difference between the 2021–22 planned results and 2020–21 forecast results is mostly explained by $8.5M of planned accommodation, infrastructure and systems project costs. It is also explained by the increase in personnel to reach NSIRA’s full capacity of 100 FTE’s by the close of 2021–22.

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Institutional head: John Davies, Executive Director
Ministerial portfolio: Privy Council Office
Enabling instrument: National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act
Year of incorporation / commencement: 2019

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

“Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on NSIRA‘s website.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on NSIRA’s website.

Reporting framework

NSIRA’s Departmental Results Framework, with accompanying results and indicators, is under development. Additional information on key performance measures will be included in the 2021- 22 Departmental Plan.

Core Responsibility: National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations
Departmental Results Framework Ministers and Canadians are informed whether national security and intelligence activities undertaken by Government of Canada institutions are lawful, reasonable and necessary Indicator: All mandatory reviews are completed on an annual basis Internal Services
Indicator: Reviews of national security or intelligence activities of at least five departments or agencies are conducted each year
Indicator: All Member-approved high priority national security or intelligence activities are reviewed over a three-year period
National security-related complaints are independently investigated in a timely manner Indicator: Percentage of investigations completed within NSIRA service standards
Program Inventory Program: National security and intelligence activity reviews and complaints investigations

The changeover of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) to NSIRA required significant changes to the Departmental Results Framework, expected results and indicators. With NSIRA’s broader mandate, these changes now provide a framework for measuring and reporting on results achieved starting in 2021–22 and beyond.

Changes to the approved reporting framework since 2020-21

Structure 2020-21 2021-22 Change Reason for change
Total expenses Investigations of Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS’s) operational activities National Security and Intelligence Reviews and Complaints Investigations New Core responsibility New Departmental Results Framework
Programs Review of CSIS’s operations National security and intelligence activity reviews and complaints investigations New Program New Departmental Results Framework
Investigation of complaints against CSIS

Supporting information on the program inventory

Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to NSIRA’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on NSIRA‘s website.

  • Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy
  • Gender-based analysis plus

Federal tax expenditures

NSIRA’s Departmental Plan does not include information on tax expenditures that relate to its planned results for 2021–22.

Tax expenditures are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance, and the Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for government-wide tax expenditures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures.[xi] This report provides detailed information on tax expenditures, including objectives, historical background and references to related federal spending programs, as well as evaluations, research papers and gender-based analysis. The tax measures presented in this report are solely the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Organizational contact information

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
P.O. Box 2430, Station “D” Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

Telephone: The phone number is temporarily disabled
Fax: 613-907-4445
Email: info@nsira-ossnr.gc.ca
Website: www.nsira-ossnr.gc.ca

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3‑year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full‑time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2020–21 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

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Institutional GBA+ Capacity

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Section 1: Institutional GBA+ Capacity

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency will continue initiatives to raise awareness among staff on how to incorporate GBA+ analytical processes into our work and decision-making, including initiatives led by the Champion for Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

In the year ahead, NSIRA will develop an employment equity strategy to increase representation and to ensure it reflects the diversity of the Canadian public. This will incorporate baseline data derived from employee self-identification.

NSIRA will analyze trends in complaints to identify potential biases and discrimination and to collect demographic data about complainants to assess whether certain population groups are more frequently involved in grievances with the security agencies.

NSIRA will continue to engage with diverse stakeholder groups to better understand concerns regarding the differential impacts of national security and intelligence activities.

NSIRA will promote training tools for staff to ensure that considerations related to GBA+ are incorporated into our work.

Highlights of GBA+ Results Reporting Capacity by Program

National security and intelligence reviews and complaints investigations

For each program in the department’s Program Inventory, answer the following questions:

  1. Does this program have impacts that support the pillars and goals of the Gender Results Framework? Yes. Access to justice.
  2. Does this program collect sufficient data to enable it to monitor and/or report program impacts by gender and diversity (GBA+)? No. NSIRA will analyze trends in complaints to identify potential biases and discrimination and to collect demographic data about complainants to assess whether certain population groups are more frequently involved in grievances with the security agencies.
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