Backgrounder Article from
Consultation on National Security
Topics for Discussion
The Government of Canada is seeking your views on how best to protect national security while safeguarding the rights of Canadians. The consultation on national security will focus on the following 10 key topics. Learn more about these topics and share your views online at http://www.canada.ca/national-security-consultation
To protect our national security, a number of government agencies are given the power to collect intelligence and enforce laws. Much of this work is very sensitive and confidential.
We must make certain that the system that is in place to ensure the accountability of these agencies is effective and that our intelligence and law enforcement powers are being exercised with great care, in a way that respects the Charter.
“Radicalization to violence” is a process whereby a person or group of people adopts a belief or ideological position that moves them toward extremism, violence and, ultimately, to terrorist activity. Understanding why violent radicalization takes root, and how we can better prevent it, is important to keeping our communities safe.
Since the adoption of Bill C-51 the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) now has the mandate to “reduce” or “disrupt” threats.This meansCSIScan take direct action against threats to the security of Canada, some of which may affect Charter rights and freedoms.
Domestic National Security Information Sharing
National security institutions share information to detect, analyze, investigate and prevent threats. There are various ways of doing this, including through the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act. Government institutions must follow certain rules when sharing information, especially information about individuals. However, the complexity of the rules can sometimes make it difficult to share information between institutions.
Passenger Protect Program
The Passenger Protect Program (PPP) is an air passenger identity screening program. Under the Secure Air Travel Act, the Government can use the PPP to take measures, including denying individuals from boarding a flight, if they pose a threat to transportation security or are seeking to travel by air to commit certain terrorism offences. However, false positive name matches sometimes occur, and can result in delays for air travelers.
Criminal Code Terrorism Measures
Canada’s Criminal Code sets out a range of terrorism offences as well as anti-terrorism powers for law enforcement, which include measures that:
- seek to prevent the carrying out of terrorist activity or terrorism offences;
- make it a crime to advocate or promote the commission of terrorism offences in general;
- give courts the authority to order the seizure and forfeiture or removal of terrorist propaganda;
- give protection to witnesses and other participants in national security proceedings.
These measures may impact Charter rights in various ways.
Terrorist Entity Listing Procedures
Formally listing an individual or group as a “terrorist entity” publicizes their involvement with terrorism and results in the freezing of their assets in Canada. The most common method of listing is available through the Criminal Code. Being on the Criminal Code list does not itself constitute a criminal offence, although it can lead to criminal consequences.
Terrorist entities raise, collect and transfer funds all over the world to finance their attacks and support their day-to-day operations. As funds are vital to these organizations and to the violence they perpetrate, it is important that they are deprived of the money they need to plan and conduct their activities. It can, however, be difficult to keep up with financial technology advances and new platforms that could be exploited for terrorist financing.
Investigative Capabilities in a Digital World
Technologies such as smartphones and laptops can be exploited by terrorists and other criminals to coordinate, finance and carry out their attacks or criminal activities. Our laws on how information can be properly collected, and then used in court as evidence, were mostly written before the rapid pace of new technology became a consideration.
Intelligence and Evidence
National security information is sometimes involved in legal proceedings. When relevant to a civil, criminal or administrative proceeding, steps must be taken to protect and possibly use national security information, while at the same time maintaining fairness for all those involved.
Input received from Canadians as part of the consultation on national security will help to inform the Government of Canada’s policy on these 10 key topics. Together we can ensure Canada’s national security framework is effective in keeping Canadians safe, and equally in safeguarding our values in a free and democratic society.
Search for related information by keyword
Hon. Ralph Goodale Public Safety Canada Government and Politics
- Date modified: