National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Submits Reports to the Prime Minister
Ottawa, September 3, 2019 — The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) submitted its second Annual Report to the Prime Minister on August 30, 2019. The Report details three extensive reviews conducted by NSICOP in 2019 and related findings and recommendations.
NSICOP’s first review examined issues of diversity and inclusion in Canada’s security and intelligence community. The second review examined the government response to foreign interference. The third review focused on the national security and intelligence activities of the Canada Border Services Agency, the first time the agency’s activities have been independently reviewed.
The Committee also submitted a Special Report to the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence. The Special Report examined the collection, use, retention and dissemination of information on Canadian citizens by the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces in the conduct of defence intelligence activities. The Special Report also includes findings and recommendations.
Section 21(6) of the NSICOP Act requires that the Prime Minister table declassified versions of the reports within 30 sitting days of the resumption of Parliament. Until then, their contents remain classified.
The Chair of NSICOP, the Honourable David McGuinty, acknowledged the security and intelligence community’s support, stating that “the Committee recognizes the work of all organizations involved in the reviews and thanks them for their efforts.”
These are the final reports before the Committee is dissolved at the start of the 2019 general federal election period, as required by section 5(1) of the NSICOP Act. As such, the Committee took the opportunity in the Annual Report to reflect on the lessons, challenges and highlights of its first two years of deliberations.
“Canada is one of the last G7 countries to have set up a parliamentary review body, with the necessary clearance to access classified information,” noted Mr. McGuinty. “We have had an ambitious agenda over the past two years and have sought to engage critically and substantively with our security and intelligence community and with Canadians. I am confident that we have established a solid foundation for the next Committee to continue this important work,” concluded Mr. McGuinty.
Mr. McGuinty thanked his parliamentary colleagues on the Committee. “We all shared a common commitment to improving the performance and accountability of the security and intelligence community, and in doing so, demonstrated the value of a non-partisan approach to issues of profound importance to Canadians,” he said.
The Committee members also recognized the dedication and professional support of the NSICOP Secretariat, which coordinated more than 75 committee meetings, resulting in two Annual Reports and two Special Reports within a two-year period.
NSICOP was established under the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act on June 22, 2017. It may 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 NSICOP.
NSICOP must submit an Annual Report to the Prime Minister that includes the reviews conducted in the preceding year. It may also complete a Special Report on any matter related to its mandate, at any time. A declassified version of these reports must be tabled in Parliament within 30 sitting days. NSICOP members hold the highest level of security clearance, are bound by the Security of Information Act and meet in private.