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Vision, Mission & Values

NSIRA Vision, Mission and Values Graphic
NSIRA Vision, Mission and Values Graphic

Vision


An accountable , transparent and effective national security and intelligence community that upholds the rules of law.

Mission


To server as the trusted eyes and ears of Canadians – through independent, expert review and investigation of the Government of Canada’s national security and intelligence activities.

Values


Independence

We are fair and impartial – the trusted eyes and ears of Canadians.

Professionalism

We are a highly trained, skilled and experienced workforce, producing rigorous and impactful work.

Transparency

We shed light on national security accountability and contribute to the public conversation.

Inclusiveness

We are a diverse workforce that values and benefits from a broad range of perspectives.

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Jim Chu

Jim Chu


Jim currently holds the position of Senior Vice President at the Aquilini Group, a privately held company with diverse holdings, including the NHL Vancouver Canucks. Before entering the private sector, he served 36 years as a Vancouver Police officer including as Chief Constable from 2007 to 2015. He was elected as President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police from 2012 to 2014.

Jim earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia, and is a graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute. He has received an honorary doctorate from the Justice Institute of British Columbia, an Outstanding Alumni Award from Simon Fraser University, and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He was invested as a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Services by the Governor General. Throughout his career, Jim has actively participated in various boards and organizations. Notably, he served on the boards of the Streetohome Foundation, the Justice Institute of British Columbia, the Richmond Public Library, and TransLink (the regional transportation authority in Vancouver). Since 2021, he has held the position of Chair of the Board for the British Columbia Emergency Health Services which is one of the largest ambulance services in North America.

Our Current Members


Marie Deschamps

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Craig Forcese

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Matthew Cassar

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Marie-Lucie Morin

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Foluke Laosebikan

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Colleen Swords

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Jim Chu

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Colleen Swords

Colleen Swords


Colleen Swords is a retired career public servant, having  worked for over 35 years in the federal public service. Her final appointment before retirement in 2016 was as Deputy Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, a post she was appointed to in 2014 after serving as Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage and Associated Deputy Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs (2009-2014).

Ms Swords’ career at the then Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada spanned 29 years (1980-2009) during which  she held numerous senior positions including Assistant Deputy Minister, International Security Branch and Political Director from 2006-2009, Ambassador of Canada to The Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and Canadian High Commissioner accredited to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean (1994-1997).  She has also been posted to Washington,  Thailand , and Tanzania.

In Ottawa, Ms Swords was Legal Adviser to the Department of Foreign Affairs from 2002-2005. In this capacity, she was Agent for Canada before the International Court of Justice in the Case on the Legality of the Use of Force. In other headquarters assignments, she has held various positions in the Legal Bureau including Director of the Economic and Trade Law Division, Deputy Legal Adviser and Legal Officer responsible for human rights, humanitarian law, and peace and security issues. She has represented Canada in various dispute settlement proceedings under the NAFTA, the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, the WTO, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Prior to joining the federal government, Ms Swords worked as a lawyer  in a legal aid clinic in Toronto, Ontario.

Ms Swords received a Brock University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010 and the Canadian Council on International Law Public Sector Lawyer award in 2020. A graduate of Brock University, Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Europa Institute of the University of Amsterdam, she is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.

Our Current Members


Marie Deschamps

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Craig Forcese

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Matthew Cassar

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Marie-Lucie Morin

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Foluke Laosebikan

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Colleen Swords

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Jim Chu

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Review of federal institutions’ disclosures of information under the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act in 2022 – Government Responses

Responses

Review of federal institutions’ disclosures of information under the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act in 2022 – Government Responses


Government of Canada Response to the Recommendations of the NSIRA Review of Federal Institutions’ Disclosures of Information under the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act (“SCIDA”) in 2022

NSIRA Recommendation Related Findings(s) Government Response Explanation
1. NSIRA recommends that information sharing arrangements be used to govern regular SCIDA disclosures between GAC and CSIS; IRCC and CSIS; as well as IRCC and CSE. Finding no. 1: CSE, CSIS, GAC, and IRCC regularly use the SCIDA in a manner that warrants information sharing arrangements, as encouraged by subsection 4(c) of the SCIDA. Agree The Government of Canada recognizes the value of using information sharing arrangements to facilitate the effective and responsible sharing of information between federal institutions that frequently disclose information of a similar nature under the SCIDA. In response to this recommendation, and in consultation with the designated recipient institutions under the SCIDA, Public Safety Canada has developed an information sharing agreement template.

The template has been reviewed by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and specifically assessed against the SCIDA, the Privacy Act, the 10 fair information principles of the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information (the Model Code), applicable Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) policies, directives and guidelines, and internationally recognized best practices.

Public Safety Canada has disseminated this template to federal institutions, including those named in NSIRA’s findings and recommendations, so that they may adapt it to their unique operating environments and the types of information that they frequently disclose and receive, while continuing to respect the Charter, the Privacy Act, the SCIDA, as well as other relevant policies, legislation and regulation.

In addition, several departments and agencies have already entered into information sharing agreements to facilitate the disclosure of information under the SCIDA. For example, CSIS and GAC entered into an information sharing agreement in 2016 under the SCISA (the precursor to the SCIDA). The agreement outlines the types of information that GAC may share with CSIS. While it is still in effect, it is currently being reviewed to ensure the scope remains current. CSIS and IRCC are currently holding preliminary discussions to establish an information sharing agreement to address disclosures under SCIDA. IRCC and CSE also recently signed an information sharing agreement, as recommended in the 2020 SCIDA Annual Report.

2. NSIRA recommends that all GC institutions prepare record overviews to clearly address the requirements of subsections 9(1) and 9(2) of the SCIDA; and provide them to NSIRA along with a copy of the disclosure itself and, where relevant, a copy of the request.
Finding no. 2: CBSA, DND/CAF, and IRCC were non-compliant with subsection 9(3) of the SCIDA, as they failed to provide all records created under subsections 9(1) or 9(2) to NSIRA within the legislated timeframe.

Finding no. 3: Improved compliance outcomes in instances where departments prepared record overview spreadsheets under subsections 9(1) and 9(2) of the SCIDA that displayed the following characteristics:

  • a row for each disclosure made or received;
  • columns explicitly tied to each individual paragraph under section 9; and
  • additional columns to capture relevant administrative details, such as whether the disclosure was requested or proactive; the date of the request (if applicable); and any applicable file reference numbers.
Agree The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of keeping records of SCIDA disclosures and receipts, as required under the Act.

Public Safety Canada assists partners in adopting best practices that facilitate ease-of-review and improve compliance. Government of Canada partners implement Public Safety Canada’s guidance in a manner that complies with the SCIDA and works best with their unique mandates and internal procedures.

In March 2023, the Step-by-Step SCIDA Guide 2022 (“SCIDA Guide 2022”) was updated and published on Public Safety Canada’s public-facing webpage. The SCIDA Guide 2022 includes templates that support federal institutions with their record-keeping requirements. Public Safety Canada will continue to review and update existing SCIDA resources, including advice pertaining to record keeping. Public Safety Canada has also circulated a record overview template that NSIRA found particularly effective during the course of its 2022 review.

In addition, CSIS has developed clear policy and subsequent guidelines on how to handle and document information disclosures in line with the SCIDA, including a requirement to maintain a record overview along with an associated template. This template has been adjusted for clarity based on feedback from NSIRA’s 2022 review. The CBSA and IRCC have also reviewed their current operational and reporting practices with regards to SCIDA and are making the necessary functional adjustments to ensure that they remain compliant in future information sharing activities.

3. NSIRA recommends that disclosing institutions explicitly address the requirements of both paragraphs 5(1)(a) and 5(1)(b) in the records that they prepare under paragraph 9(1)(e) of the SCIDA.
Finding no. 5: More than half of the descriptions provided by CBSA and IRCC under paragraph 9(1)(e) of the SCIDA did not explicitly address their satisfaction that the disclosure was authorized under paragraph 5(1)(b), the proportionality test.

Finding no. 6: within the sample of disclosures reviewed, that disclosing institutions demonstrated they had satisfied themselves of both the contribution and proportionality tests, in compliance with subsection 5(1) of the SCIDA.

Agree The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of the SCIDA’s contribution and proportionality tests in 5(1)(a) and 5(1)(b), respectively. It also recognizes the need for disclosing institutions to demonstrate their satisfaction that these two tests are met for each disclosure by providing NSIRA with a description of the information that was relied on to satisfy themselves that the disclosure was authorized under the SCIDA.

Through the publication of the SCIDA Guide 2022 and the delivery of training sessions, Public Safety Canada has provided guidance to federal institutions on ensuring that the contribution and proportionality thresholds are met when disclosing information under the SCIDA.

Recently, IRCC has added a new “Proportionality” section to their SCIDA template to require that the delegated official documents their satisfaction that the disclosure is authorized under paragraph 5(1)(b) before disclosing personal information to a recipient institution.

In addition to disclosing institutions having to satisfy the contribution and proportionality tests, CSIS independently assesses its authority to collect and retain the disclosure under the CSIS Act as a recipient institution. This includes an obligation for CSIS to ensure that the collection and retention of a SCIDA disclosure is compliant with all relevant legislation, including the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act. The SCIDA procedure published in 2022 includes direction on processing disclosures that do not meet CSIS’ threshold for collection, ensuring that the disclosure is appropriately documented and destroyed.

4. NSIRA recommends that GC institutions contemplating the use of proactive disclosures under the SCIDA communicate with the recipient institution, ahead of making the disclosure, to inform their assessments under subsection 5(1). Finding no. 7: GAC satisfied itself under the SCIDA’s paragraph 5(1)(a) contribution test based on an incorrect understanding of the recipient’s national security mandate in two cases. Agree The Government of Canada recognizes the value of general informal discussions ahead of SCIDA disclosures.

The SCIDA Guide 2022 emphasizes the importance of preliminary, high-level consultations between disclosing and recipient institutions prior to a disclosure in a manner that does not itself constitute a disclosure. The guidance specifies that informal communication should only include enough general information to ensure that the SCIDA contribution and proportionality thresholds are met before making a disclosure.

Annex F of the SCIDA Guide 2022 outlines the national security mandates of the designated recipient institutions under SCIDA. Public Safety Canada endeavours to keep the mandates updated to aid disclosing institutions in making their assessment required under subsection 5(1).

5. NSIRA recommends that all disclosing institutions include statements regarding accuracy and reliability within the same document as the disclosed information.
Finding no. 8: Within the sample of disclosures reviewed, that CBSA and GAC (in one and two disclosures, respectively) were non-compliant with the SCIDA’s subsection 5(2) requirement to provide a statement regarding accuracy and reliability.

Finding no. 9: In relation to the remaining disclosures within the sample, that GAC, IRCC, and RCMP included their statements regarding accuracy and reliability within the disclosures themselves, whereas CBSA provided its statement in the disclosures’ cover letters.

Agree The Government of Canada notes that providing statements on the accuracy and reliability of the manner in which information was obtained in a cover letter or in the disclosure itself both satisfy the legislated requirement under subsection 5(2) for disclosing institutions to provide such a statement.

The Government of Canada recognizes the additional value of including the statements in the actual disclosure, especially in the event of onward disclosure. Public Safety Canada will update its guidance to reflect this best practice.

6. NSIRA recommends that GC institutions review their administrative processes for sending and receiving disclosures under the SCIDA, and correct practices that cause delays.
Finding no. 10: DND/CAF destroyed information under the SCIDA subsection 5.1(1), but they were non-compliant with the requirement to do so “as soon as feasible after receiving it.”

Finding no. 11: Delays between when a disclosure was authorized for sending and when it was received by the individual designated by the head of the recipient institution to receive it in at least 20% (n=34) of disclosures.

Agree The Government of Canada recognizes the need to destroy unnecessary information as soon as feasible under the SCIDA, as well as the value of timely disclosures.

Government of Canada institutions each have their own systems, standards and procedures for physically and/or electronically sending and receiving information. Departments and agencies will work to review their own processes to ensure information is handled efficiently and appropriately in compliance with the SCIDA and other legislation.

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Investigations All Frequently Asked Questions

Investigations Frequently Asked Questions


Who can file a complaint, and what does it cost?

Any person can file a complaint with NSIRA. There is no fee associated when you file a complaint.

How long do I have to submit a complaint?

When submitting a complaint relating to the denial or revocation of a security clearance, you must submit your complaint within 30 days after receipt of the notice issued by the department responsible for the denial or revocation of your security clearance. Should you submit your complaint outside the 30-day timeline, you must indicate the reasons for the delay on your complaint form (Form 18). NSIRA has the authority to accept a complaint past the 30-day time limit and will review the reasons for the delay in making that determination.

What should you include in your complaint?

Your complaint is deemed received when you submit all required documents. For example, if you are submitting a complaint against CSIS (rule 5.03), you are required to provide the following:

  • Form 16;
  • A copy of your letter sent to the Director of CSIS;
  • A copy of the Director’s response, if any; and
  • A statement indicating that you are dissatisfied with the Director’s response or a statement that a period of more than sixty (60) days has lapsed since you provided the Director with a written complaint.

If you are submitting a complaint against CSE (rule 5.04), you are required to provide the following:

  • Form 17;
  • A copy of your letter sent to the Chief of CSE;
  • A copy of the Chief’s response, if any; and
  • A statement indicating that you are dissatisfied with the Chief’s response or a statement that a period of more than sixty (60) days has lapsed since you provided the Chief with a written complaint.

If you are submitting a complaint relating to the denial or revocation of your security clearance (rule 5.05), you are required to provide the following:

  • Form 18;
  • A copy of the notice from the department responsible informing you of the decision to deny or revoke your security clearance.

If your complaint against the RCMP was referred to NSIRA by the CRCC, the complaint is deemed received upon receipt of the CRCC’s notice to NSIRA.

Can I file a complaint for another person?

You must provide written authorization for another person to act on their behalf. The authorized representative may be included on the complaint form, or on a separate form should the complaint already be filed.

Once I have sent my complaint in, can I make changes to it?

Yes, you can (rule 16). Should you wish to amend your complaint, you must make a request in writing to the Registrar.

I submitted my complaint. What can I get out of it?

Should NSIRA determine that it has the mandate to investigate your complaint, the assigned Member will conduct an investigation and may make findings and/or recommendations in the final report, if any. The assigned Member cannot make a remedial order, such as compensation, or order a government department to pay damages. The Member cannot order the government to pay for the costs of the complaint.

Can NSIRA refuse to investigate my complaint? What happens should NSIRA determine it does not have jurisdiction to investigate my complaint?

Should the Review Agency determine that your complaint does not fall within its mandate, NSIRA will not investigate your complaint and your complaint file will be closed. A letter of decision is provided to the parties.

Where and how are investigative interviews held?

Should NSIRA schedule an investigative interview, it is generally held by videoconference. Prior to scheduling the interview, NSIRA will canvass your availability and other procedural matters so that you are ready for your interview.

How long will the entire process take?

The time required to conduct an investigation varies depending on the complexity of the matter. During the COVID-19 pandemic, limitations on in-person work affected complaint investigations. Unlike in many other administrative proceedings, in-person presence is often required because of the classified nature of the relevant information. Some investigations were delayed during the pandemic and may require additional time. NSIRA has been working to find innovative approaches to continue to advance its investigations and to find efficiencies to enhance the timeliness of its complaint investigations. NSIRA is committed to addressing every complaint as informally and expeditiously as possible and also in a timely and efficient manner.

When does an Informal Resolution take place?

A party (you or the responding government department) or the assigned member may request an informal resolution meeting at any time throughout the process.

How does it work?

If a party or the assigned member requests an informal resolution meeting, the Registrar may contact the parties to seek their availability and willingness to participate in settlement discussions. A resolution meeting is an informal and confidential meeting between you, the respondent and an independent member of the NSIRA.

The role of the independent Member of the NSIRA during an informal resolution meeting is to provide the parties with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the situation that brought them into conflict and to facilitate discussions surrounding the settlement of some or all of the issues in a complaint. If the complaint is resolved informally, the terms of the informal resolution must be set out in writing and signed by all parties (rule 10).

Is an informal resolution mandatory step in the complaints process?

It is not a mandatory step. For an informal resolution to take place, it requires both parties to agree and participate in settlement discussions on a “without prejudice” basis. This means that the statements made in the course of the settlement discussions cannot be introduced as evidence in the investigation.

What happens if a resolution of my complaint is achieved?

Should your complaint be resolved, you and the other party will agree to and sign a notice of settlement and your complaint will be closed.

What happens if a resolution of my complaint isn’t met?

Should a settlement not be reached at a resolution meeting, a different Member will be assigned to your complaint to conduct a full investigation. That said, the parties may consent to the same Member investigating the complaint.

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Murray Rankin

Murray Rankin


Murray Rankin was first elected as Member of Parliament for Victoria in 2012 and, until recently, served as the New Democratic Party’s Critic for Justice and for the Attorney General. He also served as Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Previously, he was critic for various portfolios, including National Revenue, Pensions, and Health.

In 2015, Mr. Rankin helped bring all parties together for a unanimous vote to compensate survivors of thalidomide poisoning. In December 2016, he was elected Vice-Chair of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, which advised on the government’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision relating to medical assistance in dying. 

Prior to serving in Parliament, Mr. Rankin was a Professor of Law at the University of Victoria, where he taught administrative and environmental law. He helped build legal organizations such as West Coast Environmental Law, the Land Conservancy of British Columbia, the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre, and the Environmental Law Centre. Working with the provincial government, he negotiated treaties with First Nations and shaped British Columbia’s laws for privacy and freedom of information.

In 1990, he co-founded the law firm of Arvay Finlay, where his practice focused on public law matters. In 2006, he joined a national law firm.

Murray Rankin earned a Master of Laws from Harvard University (LL.M.), after graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.). Mr. Rankin’s graduate research at Harvard Law School focused on freedom of information and national security. He later served as legal counsel to the Security Intelligence Review Committee and as a special advocate under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, conducting hearings on issues of national security. 

In 2017, Mr. Rankin was appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister, to the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. 

Mr. Rankin and his spouse, Linda Hannah, reside in Victoria, B.C. and have two sons, Benjamin and Mark. 

Our Current Members


Marie Deschamps

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Craig Forcese

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Matthew Cassar

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Marie-Lucie Morin

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Foluke Laosebikan

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Colleen Swords

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Jim Chu

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Yves Fortier

Yves Fortier


L. Yves Fortier was appointed on August 8, 2013, as a Member of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC). On October 17, 2018, Mr. Fortier was reappointed for two years.

L. Yves Fortier was born in Quebec City in 1935. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montreal in 1955, a Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University in 1958, and a Bachelor of Letters in 1960 from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1960, he was called to the Barreau du Québec. He currently practices law in Montreal as an independent mediator/arbitrator. Mr. Fortier is the past chairman of Norton Rose (formerly Ogilvy Renault).

Throughout his distinguished legal career, Mr. Fortier has pleaded important cases before Canadian and international courts and arbitration panels. From 1984 to 1989, he was a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. He has represented Canada in maritime boundary disputes with the United States (1984) and with France (1991). He has been a Counsel to many Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry in Canada, as well as a negotiator for the Government of Quebec with the Cree Nation.

From July 1988 to January 1992, Mr. Fortier was Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. He was Canada’s Chief Delegate to four sessions of the General Assembly. In 1989 and 1990, he served as Canada’s Representative to the Security Council of the United Nations, and was President of the Council in 1989. Mr. Fortier’s professional accomplishments have been recognized by his appointment as a Queen’s Counsel (1976) and by his election as National President of the Canadian Bar Association (1982). In May 2012, he was appointed chairman of the World Bank’s Sanctions Board.

In addition to having served as a director of many Canadian corporations, including the Royal Bank of Canada and TransCanada PipeLines Limited, Mr. Fortier is the former chairman of Alcan Inc. and the former Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In 1984, Mr. Fortier was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 1991, he was elevated to Companion, the highest rank in the Order. In 2006, he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec. He has also received numerous honorary degrees from major universities in Canada.

Our Current Members


Marie Deschamps

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Craig Forcese

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Matthew Cassar

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Marie-Lucie Morin

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Foluke Laosebikan

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Colleen Swords

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Jim Chu

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