Government Security Screening

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Government Security Screening program investigates and provides security assessments on persons whose employment with the Government of Canada requires them to have lawful access to classified information or sensitive sites, such as major ports, airports, nuclear facilities or the Parliamentary Precinct.

There are four levels of security clearances, each of which requires an assessment by CSIS in order to obtain:

  • Site Access,
  • Secret (Level II),
  • Top Secret (Level III),
  • Enhanced Top Secret (Level III)

In addition to completing security clearance assessments, CSIS also:

  • Assists the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with the accreditation process for Canadians and foreign nationals seeking access or participating in major events in Canada such as Olympic events, international summits and foreign visits. 
  • Provides security assessments to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) with regard to drivers who apply for membership under the Canada-US Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program; and 
  • Through reciprocal screening agreements, provides assessments to foreign governments, agencies and international organizations, such as NATO, with regard to Canadians seeking to work in sensitive positions abroad.

The Federal Accountability Act gives departments and agencies the exclusive responsibility to initiate, grant, deny, revoke or suspend security clearances or site access clearances. A CSIS security assessment is only one element of the security screening process undertaken by a department or agency. Enquiries on the status of a security clearance application should be directed to the sponsoring department or agency.

Obtain the status of a security clearance application

Enquiries on the status of a security clearance application should be directed to the sponsoring department or agency’s Departmental Security Officer (DSO).

Under the Privacy Act, individuals have the right to access personal information about themselves held by government institutions. Therefore, individuals may request records relating to the status of their security clearance applications by visiting the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) site.

It should be noted that the role of the CSIS ATIP section is limited to the processing of records. It has no authority to intercede in the processing of security screening applications.


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