CSIS Threat Reductions Activities (NSIRA)

NSIRA Recommendation: CSIS create an accountability framework for information related to TRMs, and that this information be documented and retained in a central, easily retrievable location.

CSIS Response: CSIS’s robust governance framework for its TRM authorities has been the subject of review by both SIRC and NSIRA. As a result of these reviews, considerable adjustments have been made to the governance of TRMs.

CSIS is developing an improved organisational case management tool. While that work occurs, CSIS is implementing interim measures to respond to NSIRA’s recommendations. Finally, CSIS is leveraging additional communication methods to ensure awareness of the TRM specific requirements.

NSIRA Recommendation: CSIS create a formalized and documented process that ensures pertinent facts regarding TRM subjects are provided to the National Security Litigation and Advisory Group (NSLAG) to ensure that it has the information necessary to provide considered legal advice on the identification and selection of interviewees for inclusion in TRMs.

CSIS Response: CSIS and the Department of Justice have a collaborative relationship that fosters discussion and allows for continuous engagement. When parliament established CSIS’s threat reduction mandate, CSIS worked closely with the Department of Justice to develop an appropriate and robust governance framework. This framework includes a formal and documented process to seek a legal risk assessment as well as practical guidance regarding relevant information and level of detail required for TRM submissions.

CSIS engages the Department of Justice to ensure all requirements of the CSIS Act are met including consideration that measures are reasonable and proportional to the threat and warrants are obtained if required. CSIS ensures this guidance is applied so that TRMs remain lawful and respect all Canadian laws, including Charter rights and freedoms.

NSIRA Recommendation: CSIS develop an accountability framework for compliance with legal advice on TRMs, including documenting when and why legal advice was not followed.

CSIS Response: CSIS’s compliance framework provides an opportunity to report instances of potential non-compliance with Ministerial Direction, internal policies or procedures, and the law. In instances where this may occur, CSIS’s Compliance program remains well situated to complete requisite fact finding and engage with the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice provides advice to ensure TRMs remain lawful and respect the right of Canadians. CSIS diligently applies these principles and guidance from the Department of Justice in the execution of all TRMs. While advice from the Department of Justice does not provide explicit and tactical directions on the execution of TRMs, CSIS considers all Justice advice during its operational deliberations.

NSIRA Recommendation: When considering whether a Charter right is limited by a proposed TRM, NSLAG should undertake a case-by-case analysis that assesses factors identified in our report.

CSIS Response: The Department of Justice will further consider this recommendation and factor it into its work related to TRM under the CSIS Act. CSIS and the Department of Justice will continue to build their long-established and collaborative relationship in order to improve and refine the governance of TRMs.

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