Amendments to the CSIS Act - Threat Reduction Measures

Backgrounder

Threats to the security of Canada are defined in the CSIS Act, and include espionage, sabotage, foreign influenced activities, terrorism and domestic subversion (activities aimed at undermining the constitutionally established system of government in Canada).

CSIS plays a unique role in reducing these threats to the national security of Canada, which offers the Government of Canada another important tool to respond to threat activity.

Currently, where there are reasonable grounds to believe that a particular activity constitutes a threat to the security of Canada or Canadians, CSIS is authorized (within or outside Canada) to take measures to reduce the threat. If these measures would limit a right or freedom guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or otherwise be contrary to Canadian law, CSIS is required to obtain a warrant from a Federal Court judge.

The entry into force in 2019 of the National Security Act (2017) has  more clearly defined  CSIS’ threat reduction mandate by clarifying what type of measures can be authorized by judicial warrants, ensuring compliance with the Charter.

It has also introduced new safeguards, accountability measures and requirements that enhance transparency, including a list of distinct measures that can be authorized under warrant to address threats and new prohibitions that add to the list of activities that can never be undertaken as part of a threat reduction measure.

Enhancements have also been made to the role of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) in reviewing CSIS’ threat reduction measures.

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