OTTAWA – June 20, 2018 – Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, made the following statement on the 2017-18 Annual Report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC):
“The SIRC Annual Report is essential to providing assurance that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), in protecting Canada, fulfills its mandate in a manner consistent with Canadian law.
As many aspects of this year’s report demonstrate, the people of CSIS are dedicated to their mission to protect Canada's national security interests and the safety of Canadians. They appreciate the role that review plays in ensuring our laws and the expectations of Canadians are respected.
This year’s report covered the largest-ever number of reviews of CSIS activities. I am pleased about the thoroughness of the SIRC report and to see that CSIS has accepted and, in many cases, already acted on the majority of this year’s recommendations.
I take note of SIRC’s concerns with CSIS’s retention of certain datasets following the Federal Court’s decision on this matter in October 2016. This is a matter I take very seriously and a full review of these cases is underway. The National Security Act 2017 (Bill C-59) proposes a robust and transparent regime in law for dataset collection, retention and use. I am confident this framework will ensure clear and effective governance of the Service’s data analytics program.
While Bill C-59 continues to move through Parliament, CSIS has taken steps to address SIRC’s concerns and to protect the privacy of Canadians, such as the destruction of associated data. I have spoken with CSIS Director David Vigneault, who provided me with assurance of their continued engagement with the Federal Court and Privacy Commissioner.
The threat environment has never been more complex and CSIS plays a critical role in keeping Canadians safe. Canadians rightly expect CSIS to work in a way that fully respects their rights and freedoms. Bill C-59 addresses this expectation, and today’s complex threat environment, through measures such as modernizing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act.
Accountability remains critically important as we move forward. Bill C-59 proposes a number of enhancements to Canada’s national security review and oversight framework. I am confident that it will ensure even-stronger independent scrutiny of all national security and intelligence activities across the Government of Canada.”
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For questions about the SIRC report, please contact CSIS Media Relations: 613-231-0100.
Senior Advisor for Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada