SIRC to examine CSIS's role in Arar case

December 22, 2003 - The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) today announced that it is conducting an in-depth review into the case of Maher Arar. Its report, to be prepared pursuant to Section 54 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, will investigate all aspects of CSIS's involvement in this affair.

In particular, the review will examine the relationship between CSIS and various domestic and foreign agencies. It will include the nature and extent of any exchanges of information which may have occurred between CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and foreign intelligence agencies.

Under Section 54 of the CSIS Act, the Committee “may on request by the Minister or at any other time” forward to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness a special report on any matter that relates to “the performance of its duties and functions.” The Chair of SIRC, the Honourable Paule Gauthier, stressed that this report was being undertaken solely at the initiative of SIRC and had not been requested by the Minister.

She added that SIRC's investigation would be quite separate from the inquiry launched by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, and that it is necessary because SIRC is the only independent, external body with the legal mandate and expertise to review CSIS activities. “Parliament and the people of Canada must have confidence that the Service is acting within the law and respecting Canadians' rights,” said Madame Gauthier, “and this investigation will establish whether that occurred in the case of Mr. Arar.

Madame Gauthier said that she expected the review to be completed in early Spring, 2004. Appropriate steps will be taken to release as much information as possible to the public at that time.

Attachment: 1) SIRC's Role and Responsibilities

For further information about SIRC, please contact:
Suzanne Beaubien
Research Manager
(613) 990-8445
or consult

Page details

Date modified: