2020-2021 Departmental Plan - Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians

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From the Executive Director

Headshot of Rennie Marcoux

It is my pleasure to present the 2020-21 Departmental Plan of the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

The Secretariat assists the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate of reviewing Canada’s national security and intelligence community. The Prime Minister will nominate the new members of the Committee by early February 2020.

The Secretariat anticipates an ambitious agenda as the new Committee initiates its review activities. We will work with the new Committee members to build their knowledge of Canada’s security and intelligence community. We will support their engagement with academics, non-governmental experts and other civil rights actors to obtain a diverse range of perspectives on the issues of national security and intelligence, and to discuss the interplay of rights, freedoms and security. Most importantly, we will support the Committee’s decision-making on which reviews to conduct in 2020 and assist in the conduct of those reviews.

In contributing to the Committee’s forthcoming review plan, the Secretariat will support the Committee’s focus on issues of accountability, efficacy and democratic principles. The Secretariat will also build on its previous experience to improve the review process, including through closer engagement with the members of the security and intelligence community.

Ultimately, the work the Secretariat does to support the Committee enhances the performance and accountability of Canada’s security and intelligence apparatus and strengthens public knowledge of issues that are of profound importance to Canadians.

We look forward to supporting the new Committee’s agenda for 2020-21.


Rennie Marcoux
Executive Director

Plans at a glance

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) has the broad mandate to review the legislative, regulatory, policy, administrative, and financial framework for national security and intelligence. It may also review any activity carried out by a department or agency that relates to national security or intelligence, as well as any matter relating to national security or intelligence referred to it by a minister of the Crown. The Committee is composed of up to eight Members of the House of Commons and up to three Senators, each of whom must obtain a Top Secret security clearance to fulfill their responsibilities.

Each year, the Committee must submit a report of the reviews it conducted during the preceding year to the Prime Minister. The Committee may also produce special reports on any matter related to its mandate at any time. The Prime Minister must table these reports in both Houses of Parliament.

The Prime Minister will nominate the new members of the Committee in early February 2020. The Secretariat will focus its initial activities on briefing the new members on the various components and activities of Canada’s security and intelligence community. It will facilitate briefings with heads of departments and agencies, and site visits to operational organizations to allow members to see first hand their activities and capabilities. The Secretariat will also support the Committee’s engagement with academics, non-governmental organizations and civil rights actors to help build a broader perspective on the issues facing the security and intelligence community.

The Secretariat anticipates that the Committee will determine its review schedule early in the 2020-21 fiscal year. In support of the Committee’s decision, the Secretariat will prepare a number of review proposals under both parts of the organization’s mandate, notably framework reviews and activity reviews. These reviews would be included in the Committee’s Annual Report and provided to the Prime Minister prior to the end of the 2020 calendar year.

For more information on previous Committee reports, please visit the Committee’s website.

For more information on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Core responsibilities: planned results and resources, and key risks” section of this report.

Core responsibilities: planned results and resources, and key risks

This section contains detailed information on the department’s planned results and resources for each of its core responsibilities. It also contains information on key risks related to achieving those results.

Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate

The Secretariat’s core responsibility consists of a range of activities to ensure the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians receives timely access to relevant, classified information, as well as strategic and expert advice in the conduct of reviews and development of reports and support to ensure compliance with security requirements.

Planning highlights

As its overarching result, the Secretariat will directly contribute to strengthening accountability over national security and intelligence activities. In support of this outcome, the Secretariat will focus efforts in 2020-21 on supporting the Committee’s reviews.

With the nomination of the Committee’s new membership, the Secretariat’s initial activities will include establishing a baseline of knowledge among members regarding the Committee’s mandate, past work, and the authorities and functions of core organizations in the security and intelligence community. Briefings on these areas will be followed by engagement with the heads of departments and agencies, and subsequent site visits to operational organizations. This engagement will allow members to see first hand the activities and capabilities of Canada’s security and intelligence apparatus. Understanding the authorities, mandates and functions of the core security and intelligence organizations will be critical for the Committee to effectively fulfill its mandate. The Secretariat anticipates these efforts will occur at the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year and carry over into the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The second phase of Committee activity will consist of considering and approving the reviews to be conducted in 2020. The Secretariat will develop a number of review proposals for the Committee’s consideration. Consistent with the previous approach, the Secretariat will propose a number of review topics under both parts of the organization’s mandate, notably framework reviews and activity reviews.

In developing review proposals for Committee consideration, the Secretariat’s approach will be informed by a number of considerations. With respect to reviews on the activities of an individual organization:

For framework reviews, the Secretariat will develop proposals on issues or activities based on some of the following considerations:

In support of the Committee’s activities and at the Chair’s direction, the Secretariat will arrange all steps in support of the reviews. Secretariat staff will conduct research and analysis to develop the review chapters for Committee consideration and approval; organize briefings and hearings with members of the security and intelligence community; and finalize Committee reports to the Prime Minister.

Over the first year of the Committee’s mandate, the Secretariat will also facilitate Committee engagement with other external stakeholders, including with other government departments, Officers of Parliament, academics, civil liberties groups and international counterparts. These activities would aim to build Committee knowledge of important national security and intelligence issues.

With a broad mandate, access to classified information, and the independence to set its own agenda, the Committee will continue to strengthen Parliamentary scrutiny while enhancing democratic accountability of national security and intelligence matters. The Secretariat anticipates the 2019 Annual Report to be tabled and published in the latter parts of the 2019-20 fiscal year. The Committee will provide its next Annual Report to the Prime Minister prior to the end of the 2020 calendar year.

Gender-based analysis plus

In 2019-20, the Committee completed a review of diversity and inclusion across Canada’s security and intelligence community. More specifically, the review provided a baseline assessment of the degree of representation of women, Aboriginal peoples, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities within the core organizations of the security and intelligence community. The review also examined the goals, initiatives, programs and measures that departments and agencies have taken to promote diversity and inclusion. The Committee’s review will be published in its 2019 Annual Report, which includes recommendations on the issue of diversity and inclusion in Canada’s security and intelligence community.

Experimentation

Given the functions and responsibilities of the Secretariat, the organization does not engage in experimentation activities.

Key risks

The NSICOP Act gives the Committee its mandate, its right of access to information to conduct reviews, and the limitations to that right of access. Over the past two years, some organizations delayed the provision of information or did not provide material relevant to the review and within the scope of the Committee’s work and statutory rights of access. Should this continue, the ability of the Committee to fulfill its statutory mandate will be compromised. In mitigating the risk, the Secretariat will continue to engage members of these organizations, at various levels, to clarify the Committee’s statutory right to receive information. The Secretariat has also created detailed procedures, which it will use to increase communication and to assist in framing productive working relationships.

Pursuant to the NSICOP Act, members of the Committee hold office until the dissolution of Parliament. In a minority Parliament, there is a risk that the dissolution of Parliament would interrupt or delay the completion of the Committee’s reviews.

Planned results for the Core Responsibility

The Secretariat’s reporting framework of record is noted further below. However, the organization’s Departmental Results Framework, which will include performance indicators, is under development and will be completed at the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned budgetary financial resources for assisting the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate
2020–21 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2020–21
planned spending
2021–22
planned spending
2022–23
planned spending
2,800,209 2,800,209 0 0

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned human resources for assisting the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate
2020–21
planned full-time equivalents
2021–22
planned full-time equivalents
2022–23
planned full-time equivalents
9.0 0.0 0.0

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Internal Services: planned results

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of Programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct services that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. These services are:

Planning highlights

The Secretariat is entering its third year of operation and has refined its financial planning methods and is more narrowly defining expenditures associated with its functions and activities. Notably, the Secretariat is attributing the following expenses and activities to internal services: the memoranda of understanding with the Privy Council Office for corporate, administrative and security support; facility rental costs; and legal counsel. This approach will ensure greater consistency with standard practice.

Planned budgetary financial resources for Internal Services
2020–21 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2020–21
planned spending
2021–22
planned spending
2022–23
planned spending
749,457 749,457 0 0
Planned human resources for Internal Services
2020–21
planned full-time equivalents
2021–22
planned full-time equivalents
2022–23
planned full-time equivalents
1 0 0

Spending and human resources

This section provides an overview of the department’s planned spending and human resources for the next three consecutive fiscal years, and compares planned spending for the upcoming year with the current and previous years’ actual spending.

Planned spending

Departmental spending 2017–18 to 2022–23

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory) spending over time.

Departmental spending trend graph
Text version
Fiscal year Total Voted Statutory
2017–18 579,141 579,141 0
2018–19 3,632,272 3,487,129 145,143
2019–20 2,868,554 2,649,149 219,405
2020–21 3,549,666 3,331,078 218,588
2021-22 0 0 0
2022–23 0 0 0

The variances in year over year spending are attributable to two key factors. First, the construction of the organization’s permanent facility was delayed in 2017-18 and the majority of work pushed into 2018-19. As a result, the Secretariat moved funding from the 2017-18 fiscal year into 2018-19 to ensure sufficient financial flexibility to address construction-related expenditures. The majority of these costs were paid in 2018-19. Second, the comparative decrease in spending in 2019-20 is attributable to the dissolution of the Committee following the call of the 43rd general election in September 2019. Pursuant to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, members of the Committee hold office until the dissolution of Parliament, with new members reappointed within 60 days after the day on which Parliament is summoned to sit. Therefore, the majority of the organization’s operational activities in support of the Committee ceased for a four-month period within the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Budgetary planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)

The following table shows actual, forecast and planned spending for each of the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ core responsibilities and to Internal Services for the years relevant to the current planning year.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2017–18
expenditures
2018–19
expenditures
2019–20
forecast spending
2020–21 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2020–21
planned spending
2021–22
planned spending
2022–23
planned spending
Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate 579,141 3,369,320 2,194,609 2,800,209 2,800,209 0 0
Subtotal 579,141 3,369,320 2,194,609 2,800,209 2,800,209 0 0
Internal Services 0 262,952 673,945 749,457 749,457 0 0
Total 579,141 3,632,272 2,868,554 3,549,666 3,549,666 0 0

The Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ funding profile remains relatively constant year over year. Year over year variances pertain primarily to the construction of the organization’s permanent facility and the dissolution of the Committee, as explained above.

Planned human resources

The following table shows actual, forecast and planned full-time equivalents (FTEs) for each core responsibility in Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ departmental results framework and to Internal Services for the years relevant to the current planning year.

Human resources planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2017–18
actual full‑time equivalents
2018–19
actual full‑time equivalents
2019–20
forecast full‑time equivalents
2020–21
planned full‑time equivalents
2021–22
planned full‑time equivalents
2022–23
planned full‑time equivalents
Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate 4.1 8.2 9.0 9.0 0.0 0.0
Subtotal 4.1 8.2 9.0 9.0 0.0 0.0
Internal Services 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.0 0.0 0.0
Total 4.1 8.2 9.4 10.0 0.0 0.0

The Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ human resources profile reflects the timing of its full operationalization. In the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years, the Secretariat undertook a series of staffing actions to recruit a full staff complement of ten full-time equivalents. The Secretariat is currently operating with one vacancy and is implementing temporary measures to address this gap.

Estimates by vote

Information on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ organizational appropriations is available in the 2020–21 Main Estimates.

Condensed future-oriented statement of operations

The condensed future‑oriented statement of operations provides an overview of the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ operations for 2019–20 to 2020–21.

The amounts for forecast and planned results in this statement of operations were prepared on an accrual basis. The amounts for forecast and planned spending presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan were prepared on an expenditure basis. Amounts may therefore differ.

A more detailed future‑oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations to the requested authorities, are available on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ website.

Condensed future oriented statement of operations for the year ending March 31, 2021 (dollars)
Financial information 2019–20
forecast results
2020–21
planned results
Difference
(2020–21 planned results minus
2019–20 forecast results)
Total expenses 3,014,964 3,740,750 725,787
Total revenues 23 23 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 3,014,941 3,740,727 725,787

Corporate information

Organizational profile

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

The Secretariat’s core responsibility consists of assisting the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate as outlined in Section 8(1) of the NSICOP Act, which is to review:

The Secretariat ensures the Committee receives timely access to relevant, classified information and strategic and expert advice in the exercise of Committee reviews. It assists in the development of Committee reports and provides support to ensure compliance with security requirements.

From a corporate accountability perspective and as required by section 3 of the NSICOP Act, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is the designated Minister responsible for the Secretariat.

“Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ website.

Operating context

The establishment of NSICOP addressed an important gap in the review of Canada’s security and intelligence community. Review in Canada previously centred on specific organizations and did not contemplate wider issues. The specialized review apparatus focused individually on the activities of CSIS, CSE, and the RCMP. No entity previously had the authority, mandate or capacity to ‘follow the thread’ of how information was shared or review an issue, activity or case across those organizations or in the government more broadly.

The siloed nature of the review apparatus in Canada meant that there was no review across the broader federal government to other organizations with security and intelligence responsibilities. Furthermore, specialized review bodies primarily examined the legal compliance of activities, but could not conduct strategic or framework reviews of the security and intelligence community as a whole. Moreover, unlike its closest allies, Canada did not have a parliamentary or legislative review body with access to classified information that could examine national security and intelligence organizations.

The establishment of NSICOP in 2017 and the subsequent creation of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) in 2019 address these gaps. Both review bodies may conduct reviews of any organization with a security and intelligence mandate; may follow the thread of information or investigations across organizations; and review issues from an interdepartmental lens. The review bodies have compatible but different mandates: NSICOP’s mandate is to conduct high-level strategic or framework reviews and enables Parliamentarians to scrutinize the security and intelligence activities of the state, while NSIRA’s mandate is focused on legal compliance reviews.

Information on the operating context is available on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ website.

Reporting framework

The Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ approved departmental results framework and program inventory for 2020–21 are as follows. However, the organization’s Departmental Results Framework, which will include performance indicators, is under development and will be completed at the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year or at the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Results Framework and Program Inventory of record
Text version

The Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Departmental Results Framework for 2020-2021 consists of the following:

  • One core responsibility: Assist the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians in fulfilling its mandate.
    • The Secretariat’s core responsibility consists of a range of activities to ensure the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians receives timely access to relevant information, strategic and expert advice in the conduct of reviews and development of reports and support to ensure compliance with security requirements. Results and indicators are under development.
  • One program:
    • Reviews
  • Internal Services

Supporting information on the program inventory

Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ website:

Federal tax expenditures

The Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians’ Departmental Plan does not include information on tax expenditures that relate to its planned results for 2020–21.

Tax expenditures are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance, and the Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for government­‑wide tax expenditures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report provides detailed information on tax expenditures, including objectives, historical background and references to related federal spending programs, as well as evaluations, research papers and gender-based analysis. The tax measures presented in this report are solely the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Organizational contact information

Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians
P.O. Box 8015, Station “T”
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 5A6

Contact the Secretariat online.

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)
Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)
Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.
core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)
An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.
Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)
A report on the plans and expected performance of a department over a 3 year period. Departmental Plans are tabled in Parliament each spring.
departmental priority (priorité ministérielle)
A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Departmental priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.
departmental result (résultat ministériel)
A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.
departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)
A factor or variable that provides a valid and reliable means to measure or describe progress on a departmental result.
departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)
A framework that consists of the department’s core responsibilities, departmental results and departmental result indicators.
Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)
A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.
experimentation (expérimentation)
The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare, the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works and what doesn’t. Experimentation is related to, but distinct form innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.
full time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)
A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person year charge against a departmental budget. Full time equivalents are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work. Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.
gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS+])
An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)
For the purpose of the 2020–21 Departmental Plan, government-wide priorities refers to those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2015 Speech from the Throne, namely: Growth for the Middle Class; Open and Transparent Government; A Clean Environment and a Strong Economy; Diversity is Canada's Strength; and Security and Opportunity.
horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)
An initiative in which two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.
non budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)
Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.
performance (rendement)
What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.
performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)
A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.
performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)
The process of communicating evidence based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision-making, accountability and transparency.
plan (plan)
The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead up to the expected result.
planned spending (dépenses prévues)
For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in the Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.
program (programme)
Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.
program inventory (répertoire des programmes)
Identifies all of the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.
result (résultat)
An external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.
statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)
Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.
strategic outcome (résultat stratégique)
A long-term and enduring benefit to Canadians that is linked to the organization’s mandate, vision and core functions.
target (cible)
A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.
voted expenditures (dépenses votées)
Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an Appropriation Act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, 2020
Departmental Plan 2020-21
ISSN 2561-5661
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