Intelligence and Evidence
Date: February 11, 2021
- When the Government uses sensitive information to take enforcement and administrative decisions, it may become subject to disclosure in criminal, administrative or civil proceedings.
- Canadian laws seek to protect sensitive information as much as possible in legal proceedings in order to minimize risks to national security interests, but challenges remain.
- Disclosing sensitive information can affect the ability of Canada’s security and intelligence agencies to protect human sources and covert methods, as well as negatively impact their relationships with foreign partners – all matters we must preserve and safeguard.
- Addressing intelligence and evidence issues requires concerted efforts by a range of federal government departments including CSIS, the RCMP, Public Safety, the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
- There is significant ongoing work by the RCMP and CSIS to identify possible solutions, including through a commissioned review to identify operational improvements.
- My department is committed to supporting these operational improvements and is working with its portfolio partners, the Department of Justice, and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to find further solutions in the interest of public safety and fairness.
Sensitive information may be relevant to a variety of enforcement and administrative decisions taken by Government of Canada. When intelligence is relied upon for law enforcement purposes or to make an administrative decision, it can become subject to disclosure in criminal, administrative or civil proceedings. The disclosure of such sensitive information can affect the ability of our security and intelligence agencies to effectively deliver on their mandates. Moreover, it can have significant impact on relationships with partners and reveal covert methods. Protecting sensitive information from disclosure means it cannot always be relied upon to support a particular case, decision or action. In some cases, this can lead to the staying of criminal charges, settlements in civil litigation, and the reversal of administrative decisions.
Addressing and mitigating intelligence to evidence risks requires concerted efforts among a range of federal government departments. The Public Safety Canada portfolio continues to work with the Department of Justice Canada and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to identify and address intelligence and evidence challenges, including policy and legislative gaps. Security and intelligence agencies also continue to work in consultation with other federal partners to consider all available tools that are appropriate when dealing with a national security case, including a range of non-prosecutorial measures to counter or mitigate national security threats. In all matters, these agencies employ all available tools and authorities at their disposal to mitigate threats and protect Canadians.
Prepared by: Melanie Charbonneau, Manager (613) 990-4365
Approved by: Dominic Rochon, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister (613) 990-4976
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