Foreign and Domestic Cooperation
The increasingly interconnected and global nature of security threats means that CSIS cannot fulfill its mandate in isolation. Foreign information sharing has been and remains fundamental to the Government of Canada’s national security requirements. Cooperation with foreign agencies provides CSIS access to timely information linked to a number of potential or specific threats, and allows CSIS to obtain information which might otherwise not be available to Canada.
CSIS has more than 300 foreign relationships in 150 countries and territories, each authorized by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and supported by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in accordance with s.17(1)(b) of the CSIS Act. The process to establish arrangements with foreign agencies is stringent and takes into consideration a wide range of issues, including Canadian security requirements, respect for human rights and the reliability of the agency. Additionally, CSIS officers stationed in various countries around the world collect and share security intelligence information related to threats to Canada, its interests, and its allies.
CSIS opposes in the strongest possible terms the mistreatment of any individual by a foreign agency. As part of its foreign information-sharing framework and policies, CSIS assesses all of its foreign arrangements, including human rights reputations within the security intelligence communities of all countries with which there is an established arrangement.
CSIS engagement with foreign entities must align with Canada’s laws and legal obligations. This includes ensuring CSIS remains fully compliant with the requirements outlined in the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities (ACMFE) Act. CSIS provides an annual report to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness outlining CSIS’s implementation of those requirements during the previous calendar year. Furthermore, s.7(2) of the ACMFE Act also requires CSIS to publish public information on that implementation process.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of cooperation with international partners. Despite the pandemic, CSIS continues to work closely with such partners on security issues of mutual concern, including and especially regarding hostile activities by state actors and violent extremism. CSIS has continued to engage with key foreign partner agencies during the pandemic to exchange information and obtain security intelligence on threats to Canada and Canadian interests, both domestically and abroad.
CSIS has strong and well-established relationships with many domestic partners throughout the Government of Canada as well as provincial and local law enforcement. Today’s global threat environment requires that each partner use their unique mandate and legal authorities to protect Canada and Canadians from threats at home.
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