Message from the Chair

It is an honour to be appointed Chair of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA).

As Chair, my priorities are to support NSIRA’s objectivity and independence in its review mandate, with a focus on the “trust but verify” principle, and, for its investigative mandate, to enhance access to justice, particularly through the new process put in place in July 2021. (see new process here)

In addition, I will continue to build the trust that Canadians have towards their system of national security and intelligence review and to strengthen NSIRA’s relationships with the departments and agencies that fall under its review mandate. At the same time, I will underscore NSIRA’s commitment to collaborate with other review bodies, its engagement with community stakeholders, and will work to increase transparency and accountability for national security and intelligence activities in Canada.

I am grateful for the support that I receive from NSIRA’s specialized and diversified team and I look forward to continuing to work with my NSIRA colleagues to build on NSIRA’s accomplishments in the years ahead.

The Honorable Marie Deschamps, C.C.

Chair, National Security and Intelligence Review Agency

The creation of NSIRA addresses longstanding gaps in Canada’s framework for national security accountability and significantly strengthens independent scrutiny of national security and intelligence activities in Canada.

NSIRA is composed of Members and a Secretariat. NSIRA Members are eminent Canadians who have been appointed by the Governor-in-Council on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Members are appointed for terms of five years, with the possibility of renewal for a second term. NSIRA Members approve NSIRA’s overarching review plan. They also examine and approve all NSIRA reviews, and serve as adjudicators for the quasi-judicial complaints process.

There can be up to seven NSIRA Members who are supported by a Secretariat with expertise in national security, policy, technology, law, civil liberties, and human rights. The Secretariat is led by an Executive Director who is appointed by the Governor-in-Council. It assists NSIRA Members in fulfilling the Agency’s mandate including the conduct of reviews as well as the quasi-judicial investigation of complaints.

Our History

On July 12, 2019 Canada’s framework for national security accountability underwent a major transformation with the creation of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) and the coming into force of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA Act) alongside other parts of the recently passed Bill C-59.

Press Release

NSIRA replaces the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), which was limited to only the review of activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and complaints against them. NSIRA also replaces the former Office of the CSE Commissioner (OCSEC), which only reviewed the activities of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and complaints against them.

Members

Current Review Agency Members

Marie-Deschamps

The Honourable Marie Deschamps received a Licentiate in Laws from the Université de Montréal in 1974 and an LL.M. from McGill University in 1983. She has been an adjunct professor at the law schools of University of Sherbrooke since 2006 and of McGill University since 2012.

The Université de Montréal, the Université de Sherbrooke and the Royal Military College of Canada each awarded her an honorary doctorate, respectively in 2008, 2014 and 2021; she received from the Law School of McGill University the F. R. Scott award for distinguished service in 2013. She was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada in 2013 and received the distinction Lawyer Emeritus from the Quebec Bar in 2014.

She was called to the Quebec Bar in 1975 and practised as a litigator at Martineau Walker and Sylvestre et Matte in family, civil and commercial law, then at Rouleau, Rumanek and Sirois in criminal law and finally at Byers Casgrain in civil and commercial law. She was appointed judge to the Quebec Superior Court in 1990, to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1992 and to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2002. She retired from the judiciary in August 2012 and rejoined the Quebec Bar in 2013.

In 2014, she was appointed to conduct the Independent Review of the Canadian Armed Forces Policies on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment. In 2015, she was named Chair of the United Nations Review Committee on the Response to Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Militaries not under UN Command in Central Africa. In 2016, she served as Member of the Review Committee on Quebec Provincial Judges Remuneration. In 2017, she was appointed Chair of the Council of Canadian Academies Independent Assessment on Medical Aid to Die. In 2018, she was designated as Assessor in the LGBT Purge Class Action Settlement. In 2019, she was appointed member and in 2021 Chair of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.

She served as member of the Boards of Directors of Educaloi from 2013 to 2019 and of Energir from 2014 to 2019, and acts as Trustee of Pro Bono Canada since 2013.

Craig Forcese is a full professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, where he also serves as the Vice Dean for Graduate Studies in Law. Mr. Forcese teaches public international law, national security law, administrative law, and constitutional law. He also teaches advanced international law and relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. From 2011 to 2014, he served as Vice Dean of the Juris Doctor program in the Common Law Section at the University of Ottawa. Prior to joining the law school faculty, he practiced law with the Washington D.C. office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP for two years, specializing in international trade and commercial law. Mr. Forcese is a member in good standing of the bars of Ontario, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Forcese earned a Master of Laws from Yale University, after graduating summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.). Mr. Forcese also holds a Bachelor of Arts Joint Honours in Anthropology and Geography from McGill University, and a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

Since 2017, Mr. Forcese has served as an Adjunct Research Professor and Senior Fellow at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, as well as a National Security Crisis Law Fellow for the Center on National Security and the Law at Georgetown Law in Washington D.C.

Mr. Forcese is a senior research affiliate at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, and is a board member and past president of the Canadian Council on International Law and a past president of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers.

Mr. Forcese’s research focuses on national security, international, and public law. He has appeared before a number of parliamentary committees, and participated in litigation related to national security. He has published books and law review articles on the use of force in international law, state immunity, extraterritorial law and the regulation of transnational corporations, international trade law, diplomatic protection of aliens, and international law and national security matters.

The Honourable Marie-Lucie Morin was Executive Director for Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean at the World Bank Group from 2010 to 2013. Previously, Ms. Morin pursued a 30-year career in the federal Public Service. She was appointed National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet in 2008, having served as Deputy Minister for International Trade and Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.  

Earlier in her career, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ms. Morin completed assignments in San Francisco, Jakarta, London, and Moscow. In 1997 she was appointed Ambassador to Norway with accreditation to Iceland. 

Ms. Morin was named Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 2012. She is also a member of the Order of Canada. 

Ms. Morin serves on corporate and not-for-profit boards.

Ian Holloway was appointed on January 30, 2015, as a Member of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

Ian Holloway was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and grew up in New Brunswick. He received a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University, a Master of Laws from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Doctorate from the Australian National University. He also completed the Advanced Executive Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the Leadership 21 Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Before beginning his academic career, Dr. Holloway worked in private practice in Halifax with the McInnes Cooper law firm, focusing on labour and employment law. He also served as the law clerk to the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada. Dr. Holloway served a term as Associate Dean at the Australian National University, as a visiting professor of law at the National University of Singapore, and also held an appointment at Cambridge University. He was the longest serving Dean of Law at the University of Western Ontario, holding the position from 2000 to 2011. He is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary, where he has served since 2011.

Dr. Holloway is also a retired Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, who spent a total of 26 years serving in the Royal Canadian and Royal Australian Navies. He has published two books, numerous book chapters, and many articles in law journals in Canada and throughout the world. In addition, he has published a book on naval history as well as 25 essays and other pieces in various legal and non-legal periodicals.

Dr. Holloway is a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Law Society of Upper Canada. In 2003, he was elected a member of the American Law Institute, an honour held by only a few Canadians. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2005. He is currently a Trustee of the Law School Admission Council and a member of the NALP Foundation’s National Advisory Board. Dr. Holloway serves as a Governor of the Southern Alberta Division of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires and was a member of the Advisory Council to the Minister of Canadian Heritage on the Commemoration of the War of 1812. He also served as the legal education and training team leader for the Canadian Bar Association’s Futures project. Dr. Holloway was awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration in 1989, the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Canadian Confederation in 1992, and in 2013, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Faisal Mirza is a partner at Mirza Kwok Defence Lawyers. He practices trial and appellate litigation in the areas of criminal, constitutional, and regulatory law. He frequently appears on behalf of clients and human rights organizations at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mr. Mirza is an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where he teaches Advanced Criminal Law. He is also an instructor in National Security and the Law at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Criminal Jury Charge Practice and several articles about criminal procedure and sentencing.

Mr. Mirza is co-founder of the Sentencing and Parole Project, which focuses on anti-Black racism in the criminal justice system. He is President of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, a board member of The Advocates’ Society, and a contributor to various initiatives with the South Asian Bar Association and the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

Mr. Mirza has been recognized by Best Lawyers magazine as one of Canada’s leading appellate lawyers and received the Diversity Award by the South Asian Bar Association for his work in social justice. He was also nominated in Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers of 2020, in the Changemakers section.

Mr. Mirza holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Osgoode Hall. Before being called to the bar in 2002, he articled at Greenspan Humphrey Lavine, and worked for the Honourable Fred Kaufman and Mark Sandler during an independent review of the Government of Nova Scotia’s response to abuse in provincial institutions.

Dr. Foluke Laosebikan is a legal practitioner from Melfort, Saskatchewan, where she founded her own legal practice, FLK Law Firm. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1995 and to the Saskatchewan Bar in 2011.

Originally from Nigeria, Dr. Laosebikan immigrated to Canada in 2004. Since then, she has been involved in volunteer work, sitting on the board of directors of Melfort Cooperative Daycare and Collaborative Professionals of Saskatchewan Inc. for several years. A community-builder, Dr. Laosebikan has been an active member of her home-community, serving in a variety of roles in and around Melfort, including as a youth leader, an organizer for community enrichment and advancement programs and a legal support for the Northeast Women’s Shelter.

Dr. Laosebikan is an active member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan where she has served as a Bencher since 2017, participating on and chairing various committees including its Truth and Reconciliation Committee on which she currently serves as Co-Facilitator. She is a Past President of the Law Society of Saskatchewan. She is also one of the Appeal Panel Chairs of the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) Appeals Board.

Having keen interest in education, Dr. Laosebikan has been on the faculty of a few universities as Tutor, Facilitator, Trainee-Fellow and Assistant Professor. She has created and actively participates in public legal education programs in and around her community of Melfort and provides ongoing free legal information and free legal advice through her law firm.

Dr. Laosebikan holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a Master of Laws from Obafemi Awolowo University, in Nigeria, as well as a Ph.D. in Law from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in South Africa.

Matthew Cassar is a successful Canadian entrepreneur, businessman, and innovator in the field of information technology.

Mr. Cassar is Co-Chief Executive Officer of Sherweb, a Quebec-based cloud computing, messaging, and collaboration solutions company he co-founded in 1998. The company is a North American leader in information technology, providing services to more than 7,000 partners and 85,000 small and medium-sized enterprises and multinationals in more than 100 countries.

Mr. Cassar sits on the Board of Governors of the University of Sherbrooke’s School of Management and the Board of Directors of ACET, a Quebec-based accelerator focused on supporting emerging businesses and entrepreneurs working in technological innovation.

He holds a combined master’s degree in Law and Business Administration from the University of Sherbrooke.

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