Statement from Minister Goodale on bringing openness, transparency, and clarity to new Ministerial Directions


OTTAWA, September 25, 2017 – The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, issued the following statement:

“The Government of Canada knows that it has a clear responsibility to protect the safety of its citizens while protecting their individual rights and freedoms.

In response to the concerns Canadians expressed in the National Security Consultation, I have issued new Ministerial Directions on Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities to Public Safety’s security and intelligence bodies.  They replace the 2011 Ministerial Directions on Information-Sharing with Foreign Entities.

The Government of Canada unequivocally condemns in the strongest possible terms the mistreatment of any individual by anyone for any purpose. Torture is a criminal offence, and is prohibited under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law.

Canadians rightly expect their Government to take great care in preventing complicity in mistreatment.

The new Ministerial Directions strengthen the rules preventing complicity in mistreatment by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The Directions provide substantial improvements over the previous ones under which these bodies have been lawfully operating. The Directions more clearly prohibit the disclosure or requesting of information that would result in a substantial risk of mistreatment. They also prohibit certain use of information likely obtained through mistreatment, except when necessary to prevent loss of life or significant personal injury. They no longer allow the use of such information for risks to property.

In support of the Government’s National Security Transparency Commitment, the Government is proactively publishing the Directions for the first time.

To bolster accountability, new reporting requirements are also set out, including the production of annual reports to the Minister and Canadians. The implementation of the Ministerial Directions will be subject to independent review by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the current review bodies. Following the passage of Bill C-59 (National Security Act, 2017), the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency will take over that function from the current review bodies.

In renewing the Ministerial Directions, we were guided by the Government’s commitment to keep Canadians safe and uphold Canada’s commitments to human rights and the rule of law. The Ministerial Directions reflect the Government’s steadfast commitment to both.”

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Scott Bardsley
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
(613) 991-0657

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