Consulting Canadians on Modernizing Canada's Toolkit to Counter Foreign Interference

Current status: Closed

The online public consultation commenced on November 24, 2023 and closed to new input on February 2, 2024.

On this page:

Foreign states, or their proxies, are known to target certain vulnerable groups within Canada – often based on their ethno-religious background. They do this in an effort to sow divisions, fear, and suspicion within Canadian communities. They can threaten the basic rights of individuals in Canada, including personal security, religious and cultural freedoms, freedom of speech, movement and the right to earn a livelihood without interference. Furthermore, these interference activities can result in increased stigmatization of certain groups in Canada.

As the threat of foreign interference evolves, Canada's response needs to adapt. Domestic and international experts have noted that Canada needs to modernize its tools to counter the threat of foreign interference. Canada's closest allies and like-minded partners have also brought forward legislative initiatives to modernize their counter-foreign interference toolkits.

Consulting with Canadians is an important step in this effort to modernize our toolkit to counter foreign interference, so that potential solutions are aligned with our national values, capture a wide range of expertise, perspectives, views and opinions, and respect Canadian fundamental rights and freedoms. The Canadian public has expressed interest in greater transparency, as well as deeper engagement with the Government of Canada on national security issues, including foreign interference.

This is why on March 10, 2023, Public Safety Canada launched public and stakeholder consultations to guide the development of a Foreign Influence Transparency Registry (FITR). Public consultations closed on May 9, 2023. The FITR consultations yielded a large number of responses from across Canada and included engagements with a wide range of groups, such as community organizations, academia and the private sector. The consultations demonstrated broad support for the introduction of a FITR in Canada, but one of the main themes that emerged from the consultations is that a registry is not a universal solution, and should be accompanied by other legislative amendments to address other aspects of foreign interference. You can now access the "What We've Heard" report.

What we know, and what has been reinforced through the consultations, is that Canada's toolkit needs to adapt as the threats emanating from foreign interference evolve. To address these gaps, Canada must consider:

In recognition of this and of the above challenges, the Government of Canada is launching consultations on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Criminal Code, the Security of Information Act and the Canada Evidence Act. The purpose of these consultations is to assess potential amendments to these laws to bolster Canada's counter-foreign interference toolkit.

Together, we can protect Canadian values, principles, rights and freedoms from those who seek to harm our way of life.

Criminal Code/Security of Information Act/Canada Evidence Act

Justice Canada is seeking to initiate a meaningful dialogue on whether to amend the Security of Information Act (SOIA) and modernize certain Criminal Code offences, whether to amend the Criminal Code to reform how national security information is protected and used in criminal proceedings, and to introduce a review mechanism in the Canada Evidence Act (CEA) to manage sensitive information.

How to Participate

Read the consultation paper: Addressing foreign interference: Whether to Amend the Security of Information Act and Modernize certain Criminal Code offences, and to Introduce a review mechanism in the Canada Evidence Act to manage sensitive information.

Visit the Department of Justice's consultation page. Consultations will be open for 71 days.

CSIS Act

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is seeking to initiate a meaningful dialogue on potential amendments to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act (CSIS Act) to more effectively counter modern-day threats, including foreign interference.

An Overview of CSIS Act Challenges Impacting Ability to Counter Foreign Interference

Canada is witnessing aggressive foreign interference from highly-capable state actors who exploit technology and other means to advance their national interests to the detriment of Canada's. To counter this sophisticated threat requires CSIS to have the right tools and authorities.

The objective in amending the CSIS Act is to ensure CSIS can continue to protect Canada and Canadians in an increasingly digital world. In the face of sophisticated foreign interference threats, CSIS Act amendments will:

About the Consultation

CSIS will consult the Canadian public on the potential for CSIS Act amendments in key areas, including:

As a complement to public consultations, CSIS will also engage with a broad array of stakeholders in round table discussions, including those from community advocacy organizations, businesses, critical infrastructure, academia, and legal, privacy and transparency experts.

The consultations will allow Canadians to participate in a full and informed discussion about national security tools and authorities. CSIS recognizes that the authorities in the CSIS Act must reflect the values and ideals of those it seeks to protect. Engaging in a dialogue with Canadians on maintaining the right balance between protecting national security and respecting Canadians' expectations of privacy is a prerequisite to achieving this objective.

How to Participate

Read the consultation paper Enhancing measures to counter foreign interference: Whether to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and fill out the survey. Consultations will be open for 71 days.

If you have any questions regarding the consultation please contact: ps.publicsafetyconsultations-consultationssecuritepublique.sp@ps-sp.gc.ca.

How your information will be used

Input received will be compiled and analyzed to identify key themes, ideas and suggestions to help inform and guide the development of new measures. Results may also be used to inform policy and may be shared within the Government of Canada.

All information under the control of Public Safety Canada is subject to the Access to Information and Privacy Act. You have the right to the protection of, access to and correction of your personal information. Instructions for obtaining this information is outlined on the Public Safety Canada Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) website. Any questions, comments, concerns or complaints you may have regarding Public Safety's handling of your personal information may be directed to our Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator by emailing atip-aiprp@ps-sp.gc.ca. If you are not satisfied with Public Safety's response to your privacy concern, you have the right to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada regarding the institution's handling of your personal information.

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