The Government of Canada to Introduce Changes to CSIS Act
The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced that the Government of Canada intends to introduce legislative changes to the CSIS Act.
The threats to Canada’s security have changed dramatically since the passage of the CSIS Act in 1984. The threat from terrorism is now more complex and diffuse. Now, more than ever, a radical individual or group of motivated extremists with access to technology can do significant harm to Canada from thousands of miles away. Threats to our national security do not stop at our border.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service must have the tools it needs to investigate threats to the security of Canada. Recent court decisions have invited the Government to bring forward legislation to clarify CSIS’s authorities to act on threats abroad. For this reason, the Government intends to introduce legislation to strengthen CSIS’s ability to investigate threats outside of Canada. These tools will ultimately allow CSIS to conduct investigations into potential terrorists when they travel abroad meaning that those individuals will be tracked, investigated, and ultimately prosecuted. The Government will also take action to ensure that CSIS can protect the identity of their sources. These measures demonstrate our Government’s continuing commitment to do what is necessary within the law to prevent terrorists from carrying out violent attacks against Canadians at home.
· The Government of Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy lays out its response to terrorism through four key elements to Prevent, Detect, Deny and Respond to terrorism in all of its forms, including the phenomenon of extremist travellers and returnees.
· Though the numbers fluctuate, as of early 2014 the Government was aware of more than 130 individuals with Canadian connections who were abroad and who were suspected of terrorism-related activities.
· The Combating Terrorism Act came into force in May 2013, creating new criminal offences of leaving or attempting to leave Canada for the purpose of committing certain terrorism offences outside Canada.
· The activities of Canada’s intelligence agencies are carried out within the scope of Canadian law.
“Our Government remains committed to ensuring the safety of Canadians and protecting our borders. Terrorism remains the leading threat to Canada’s security. Global conflict, particularly the barbaric acts of violence perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), serve as a reminder of our obligation to address this threat. That is why our Government will update the CSIS Actto allow our security and intelligence service to better operate and investigate threats to Canada’s national security from beyond our borders. We will continue to ensure that those who risk their lives to ensure the safety and security of Canadians have the tools and resources needed to do their jobs.”
– The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
· Information regarding the Government of Canada’s approach to national security can be found on the Public Safety Canada Web site at www.publicsafety.gc.ca under National Security, Counter-Terrorism.