Review of the CSIS-RCMP relationship in a region of Canada through the lens of an ongoing investigation

Backgrounder

On February 10, 2021, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) presented the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness with a classified report on its review of the CSIS-RCMP relationship in a region of Canada through the lens of an ongoing investigation.

NSIRA’s review found that in the specific region, the agencies have developed a strong relationship that has fostered effective tactical de-confliction of operational activities. Nonetheless, technological constraints are making CSIS-RCMP de-confliction excessively burdensome and time-consuming. Furthermore, NSIRA observed a general reluctance on the part of both agencies to connect CSIS information to an RCMP investigation.

NSIRA found that the current framework guiding the CSIS-RCMP relationship sets out principals and guidelines to manage the risks of interaction and information sharing between the two agencies; however, it left fundamental issues related to the “intelligence-to-evidence” problem unresolved.

On the whole, NSIRA found that CSIS and the RCMP have made little progress in addressing the threat under investigation. Moreover, CSIS and the RCMP do not have a shared vision or complementary strategy to address the threat.

Publishing this summary aligns with NSIRA’s efforts at increasing transparency and being more accessible to Canadians through its work. Going forward, NSIRA will review CSIS and the RCMP’s implementation of the Operational Improvement Review which set out ambitious recommendations to improve the way in which CSIS and the RCMP jointly manage threats.

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