The CSIS Act (1984) provides the legislative foundation for the CSIS mandate, outlines CSIS roles and responsibilities, confers specific powers and imposes constraints, and sets the framework for democratic control and accountability for Canada's security intelligence service.
Section 12 of the Act allows CSIS to gather information pertaining to those individuals or organisations suspected of engaging in activities that may threaten the security of Canada including espionage, sabotage, political violence, terrorism, and clandestine activities by foreign governments. If there is reason to believe that a particular activity constitutes a threat to the security of Canada, CSIS may take measures, within or outside Canada, to reduce the threat in accordance with well-defined legal requirements and Ministerial Direction.
The CSIS Act prohibits the Service from investigating acts of lawful advocacy, protest, or dissent.
Sections 13 and 15 of the Act give CSIS the authority to conduct security assessments on individuals seeking security clearances when required by the federal public service as a condition of employment.
Sections 14 and 15 authorize CSIS to conduct security assessments used during the visa application process and the application process for refugees and Canadian citizenship.
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