Terrorism Prosecutions

Date: October 21, 2020
Classification: Unclassified
Branch / Agency: NCSB / PS

Proposed Response:

If pressed on the number of charges:

If pressed on what Public Safety Canada is doing to coordinate efforts to prosecute terror suspects:


In fall 2019, Public Safety Canada (PS) was mandated to “work with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to coordinate efforts to prosecute terror suspects to the fullest extent of the law, including bringing forward the creation of the Director of Terrorism Prosecutions.” The intent was to ensure that Canadians who travel abroad to join terrorist organizations, or who participate in terrorist organizations here at home, would be brought to justice. In an effort to support this commitment, PS began coordinating engagement within the national security community on a number of activities to help address the key challenges related to terrorism prosecutions, and more broadly, Canada’s ability to mitigate the threat posed by Canadian Extremist Travelers (CETs).

PS is working with the DOJ, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) and security and intelligence (S&I) partners to identify areas that could benefit from legislative and/or non-legislative changes to help prosecute terror suspects in Canada, including the possible creation of a Director of Terrorism Prosecutions.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) continues to actively investigate terror suspects, including CETs, to collect evidence with a view to laying criminal charges and supporting successful prosecutions, where possible. Where prosecution is not feasible, S&I partners continue to explore other options to protect national security and enhance public safety, including surveillance and monitoring; terrorism peace bonds; no-fly listings; and refusals, cancellations or revocation of passports. These partners prioritize the detection and disruption of potential threats by leveraging the mandates and tools of all government departments and agencies.

As a result of many factors, including: the varying nature of criminality; the availability, nature and reliability of evidence; and the complex foreign aspects to many terrorism cases, the national security community agrees that there is no one operational, policy, or legislative change that will be able to address all of the challenges related to the investigation and prosecution of terror suspects. Several other significant issues affecting terrorism prosecutions like intelligence and evidence remain, and will continue to require concerted efforts among PS, DOJ, PPSC and S&I partners.


Prepared by: Uriel Marantz, A/ Senior Policy Advisor (343-572-9365)
Approved by: Dominic Rochon, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister (613-990-4976)

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