Business Continuity Planning for CSIS

Classification: Unclassified

Branch / Agency: CSIS

Proposed Response:


CSIS’ primary mandate is to investigate and advise Government on threats to the security of Canada, which are defined as terrorism and violent extremism, espionage, foreign interference and sabotage and to take measures to reduce these threats. As a matter of regular business, CSIS has robust procedures in place to ensure the continuity of operational activities to ensure it can continue to fulfill this critical mandate, including during a pandemic.

CSIS has two specific procedures in place to ensure the continuity of its operations. The first is the Business Continuity and Incident Management program which is developed further to requirements established in the Emergency Management Act and further clarified in the Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Government Security. Each CSIS branch and region has conducted business impact analyses which identify all critical services and functions which must be carried out in the event of a major event or situation which has a negative impact on the normal course of operations, such as a pandemic. Each region then also produces a business continuity plan, detailing how critical services and functions will continue to be carried out if there is a disruption of normal operations. CSIS also has a Pandemic Response Plan, which details a high-level governance framework for how the organization will ensure coordination between key stakeholders in the event of a pandemic. This plan addresses the preparation, mitigation and recovery phases.

Threat actors continue to operate against Canadian interests and national security. As such, CSIS is able to remain flexible and manage the essential staff it requires to conduct and support its operations, and to monitor and respond to the evolving threat environment. CSIS is constantly assessing its operational posture to ensure it is appropriately positioned to keep Canadians safe. For streamlined decision-making and maximum adaptability during this unprecedented time, CSIS established a Pandemic Steering Committee comprised of its senior executive. The Committee meets daily to address any operational and corporate issues, and to ensure ongoing operational readiness.

State actors continue to seek to advance their own priorities, which may be detrimental to Canada’s interests. The uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic could create new opportunities for foreign influence in Canada’s economy and democratic institutions. Moreover, we also alert to the potential for vulnerable people to be susceptible to undue influence or extremist messaging in a time of social isolation. CSIS continues to monitor threat activity – online and in the real world – that could evolve along with social behaviours that are being impacted by the pandemic.


Prepared by: N/A

Approved by: [Redacted], Assistant Director Policy and Strategic Partnership, [Redacted]

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