The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act mandates the Committee to review:
- the legislative, regulatory, policy, administrative and financial framework for national security and intelligence;
- any activity carried out by a department that relates to national security or intelligence, unless the activity is an ongoing operation and the appropriate Minister determines that the review would be injurious to national security;
- any matter relating to national security or intelligence that a minister of the Crown refers to the Committee.
Committee members come from both Houses of Parliament. All hold Top Secret security clearances and are permanently bound to secrecy under the Security of Information Act. Members swear an oath or solemn affirmation indicating that they will obey and uphold the laws of Canada, and not communicate or inappropriately use information obtained in confidence as part their responsibilities on the Committee. On this basis, members are able to receive classified briefings and materials related to the conduct of the Committee’s work.
The Committee does not receive or deal with public complaints against national security and intelligence organizations.