Canadian Agencies

Privy Council Office (PCO)

Unlike most of its allies and competitors Canada does not have an agency dedicated to gathering foreign intelligence abroad. More specifically Canada does not have the equivalent of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency or the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service. Instead Canada's foreign intelligence requirements are met from a variety of sources.

Canada has close formal intelligence relationships with a number of countries. The closest of these were forged during World War II and solidified during the Cold War. Links remain particularly strong with the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Intelligence products including analyses and assessments are exchanged and technical assistance is provided by each to the others. These and other relationships provide Canada with information and technological resources that would otherwise be unobtainable with current resources.

The Prime Minister has leadership in areas of fundamental importance to the national interest, such as foreign affairs and the security of the nation. The Prime Minister therefore provides direction on key intelligence policy issues. The Privy Council Office (PCO) supports the Prime Minister in his ultimate responsibility for the security and integrity of Canada and related intelligence matters. A senior official of the Privy Council Office supported by the Security and Intelligence Secretariat has a mandate from the Prime Minister to co-ordinate intelligence community activities. The PCO also houses the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat which both assesses and co-ordinates the assessment of political, economic, strategic and security intelligence for the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, ministers and senior officials.

The Co-ordinator of Security and Intelligence in PCO is responsible for providing co-ordination to the security and intelligence activities of all Canadian government agencies and through the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet (the Clerk), advising the Prime Minister on security and intelligence matters. The Clerk, or in the Clerk's stead the Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator supports the meetings of ministers on security and intelligence issues. The Security and Intelligence Secretariat of PCO supports the Clerk in advising the Prime Minister on security and intelligence matters. In addition, the Secretariat assists the Co-ordinator and itself plays a co-ordinating role within the intelligence community. PCO also houses the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat (IAS). This is a central intelligence assessment unit that undertakes national intelligence assessments on matters related to Canadian foreign, defence and security policy. National intelligence assessments are interdepartmentally agreed assessments with a broad governmental perspective that cuts across departmental boundaries.

The IAS undertakes its own analyses and also supports the Intelligence Assessments Committee (IAC). The IAC is an interdepartmental group, chaired by the Executive Director of the IAS, that co-ordinates and facilitates interdepartmental co-operation in preparing analytical and assessment reports to ministers and senior government officials. The Security and Intelligence Secretariat helps co-ordinate the work of the community through several interdepartmental and ad hoc, issue-specific committees that it chairs. In addition to the co-ordination that is effected through these committees, the committees provide a measure of informal control that results from sharing information and from discussing plans and operations among committee members. The Interdepartmental Committee on Security and Intelligence (ICSI) includes the deputy heads of the departments and agencies directly and indirectly involved in security and intelligence matters. In practice, the executive subcommittee of ICSI is currently the most senior forum at the officials' level for regular consideration of security and foreign intelligence matters, and the primary interdepartmental mechanism for reviewing proposals and submissions to ministers. It also has responsibility for the management of resources to ensure that priorities are met by the various departments and agencies. The Intelligence Policy Group (IPG) is the principal policy and operational co-ordination forum in the community. Its membership is drawn from the assistant deputy minister level in key departments and agencies of the intelligence community. It also includes the Assistant Deputy Attorney General (Criminal Law), who has functional responsibility for co-ordinating legal advice by the Department of Justice to the intelligence community. There are a number of other interdepartmental committees and working groups. These cover foreign intelligence as well as national security matters (for example, counter-terrorism). Their purpose is to provide support and co-ordinated advice to the committees of senior officials and to ministers.

Security Intelligence Review Committee / Comité de surveillance des activités de renseignement de sécurité

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) is an independent review agency which guards against any infringement upon human rights and freedoms by CSIS. SIRC was created by Parliament in the CSIS Act. The SIRC is composed of between three and five Privy Councillors who are not members of the House of Commons or the Senate. SIRC members are appointed by the Governor in Council. Prior to making these appointments the Prime Minister consults the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of any party that has at least 12 members in the House of Commons. In 1995-96, SIRC had a budget of $1.4 million and the equivalent of 14 full-time staff.

The Committee's responsibilities are extensive. First SIRC reviews the Service's performance of duties and functions, especially with reference to the Director's reports to the Solicitor General, the Inspector General's certificates, and the directions of the Solicitor General to the Director. Second SIRC investigates the complaint of any person with respect to any act performed by the Service. The Committee also investigates complaints from those individuals denied security clearances in the cases of public service employment, or in the supply of goods or services to the government of Canada. In addition SIRC receives reports concerning immigration applications and may receive reports concerning citizenship applications which have been rejected on security or criminal grounds. Commensurate with these responsibilities, SIRC has been granted special powers. The Committee has access to all information under the Service's control, with the exception of Cabinet confidences as does the Inspector General. SIRC has the authority to direct the Inspector General to examine specific activities. It may also conduct such investigations utilizing its own staff. The analyses by SIRC of the Service's performance are provided to the Solicitor General on an ongoing basis. In addition, the Committee is required to produce an annual report which is presented to the Solicitor General for tabling in Parliament.

Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces have a unique, unified management and command system. The 1971 report of the Review Group resulted in the merging of the Department, Canadian Forces Headquarters and the Defence Research Board into a single entity; National Defence Headquarters. The reorganization created an Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) Group and placed public servants at the head of highly centralized materiel and financial management functions. That organization is essentially the one in place today. Major headquarters include support services and control functions such as intelligence, mapping and cartography and general safety and control as well as common and administrative staff. The organization of National Defence mixes the civilian Department managed by the Deputy Minister with the military headquarters commanded by the Chief of the Defence Staff. This sharing of responsibility is sometimes called the diarchy. The predominant concept of organization has been to centralize much decision making in National Defence Headquarters. This has been particularly true with materiel and human resource management.

The Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (DCDS) is the senior operations (J3) and intelligence (J2) officer of the CF and as such is the representative of these functions in the National Defence Headquarter (NDHQ) Joint Staff. The DCDS is also the departmental Security Advisor (DSO). The DCDS ensures effective national level planning, conduct, coordination, support and direction of Canadian military operations, security and intelligence activities and federal civil emergency preparedness. The DCDS Group is organized primarily as an NDHQ staff consisting of four divisions and an independent organization, Emergency Preparedness Canada (EPC).

The Director General Intelligence (J2/DG Int) is responsible to DCDS for the production and dissemination of Defence Intelligence required by the Department and other government departments. This division operates the National Defence Intelligence Centre (NDIC) which monitors global events on a 24/7 basis and provides Canada's only all-source indications and warning centre. The NDIC is located adjacent to the Operations Centre in NDHQ. J2/DG Int also directs the geographic support programme which provides the Canadian Forces (CF) and the Department of National Defence (DND) with maps and charts and geodetic products and services. The 250 intelligence staff in National Defence Headquarters spend a portion of their time on policy and force development. Defence planning is the process by which policy options are developed for government consideration. Force development is the planning process used to translate government policy into military forces. These processes are supposed to provide overall direction to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces and are therefore key building blocks in the management control system of the Department.

Intelligence Branch

Communications Security Establishment / Centre de la sécurité des télécommunications

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) an agency of the Department of National Defence, is one of the main organizations devoted to providing the government with foreign intelligence. CSE analyses and reports on intercepted foreign radio, radar and other electronic emissions referred to as signals intelligence (SIGINT) and provides this foreign intelligence to Canadian government clients. The Communications Security Establishment's other mandate is to provide technical advice, guidance and service to the government on the means of ensuring the security of federal government telecommunications and electronic data processing. This area is commonly referred to as INFOSEC. The Chief of CSE reports to two deputy ministers: the Deputy Minister of National Defence for financial and administrative issues, and the Co-ordinator of Security and Intelligence (PCO) for policy and operational matters. Those two officials support the Minister of National Defence who is accountable to Parliament for CSE.

The Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System (CFSRS) supports CSE primarily in its signals intelligence collection and analysis roles. In addition CSE has access to allied SIGINT through reciprocal sharing agreements. The Communications Security Establishment uses substantial public funds in carrying out intelligence functions that are important to the national interest, sensitive and potentially controversial. However, CSE's existence, its objectives, the scope of its functions, and the framework within which it should operate have not been publicly debated or endorsed by Parliament through legislation. The 19 June 1996 order-in-council authorizing the Minister of National Defence to appoint a Commissioner for the Communications Security Establishment sets out the Commissioner's mandate to review CSE's activities to determine whether they comply with the law. The Commissioner is to submit a report to the Minister each year on his activities and findings that are not of a classified nature. The Minister is required to table that report in Parliament. Most of the funding for CSE is provided through votes for the Department of National Defence operating and capital expenditures. The CSE's operating and capital budgets ($84 million and $29 million respectively in 1995-96) make up only a small proportion of the total operating and capital budgets of National Defence ($7.5 billion and $2.7 billion respectively in 1995-96) that are visible to Parliament.

Solicitor General

Canadian Security Intelligence Service /Service Canadien du Renseignement de Sécurité

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) provides advance warning to government departments and agencies about activities which may reasonably be suspected of constituting threats to the country's security. CSIS does not have the mandate to conduct foreign intelligence operations outside of Canada. CSIS is a defensive, domestic security intelligence service. Other government departments and agencies, not CSIS, have the responsibility to take direct action to counter the security threats. CSIS does not have law enforcement powers, therefore all law enforcement functions are the responsibility of police authorities. The splitting of functions combined with comprehensive legislated review mechanisms ensures that CSIS remains under the close control of the federal government. The Service uses a variety of collection methods to monitor individuals or groups whose activities are suspected of constituting a threat to national security. Through such monitoring, the Service is able to identify individuals with suspected connections to terrorism and persons operating in Canada on behalf of hostile intelligence services. In addition to monitoring potential espionage and sabotage efforts, the Service is mandated to inform the government of foreign-influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person.

The 120-year old interlocking of Canada's security intelligence service with the federal police force was brought to a close with the establishment of the civilian Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the disbanding of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service by an Act of Parliament in 1984, which recognized the differences between security intelligence activities and law enforcement work. CSIS was created following the McDonald Commission of Inquiry of the late 1970s and the MacKenzie Commission of the 1960s. In its early years much of the Service's energy and resources were devoted to countering the spying activities of foreign governments. In response to the rise of terrorism worldwide and the demise of the Cold War, CSIS has made public safety its first priority. This is reflected in the high proportion of resources devoted to counter-terrorism. CSIS has also assigned more of its counter-intelligence resources to investigate the activities of foreign governments that decide to conduct economic espionage in Canada in order to gain an economic advantage or try to acquire technology in Canada that can be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction.

CSIS through its mandated investigations in Canada and its international liaison network seeks to identify attempts by countries of proliferation concern to acquire Canadian technology and expertise. The resulting analysis is shared with relevant government departments and agencies. In its efforts to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction CSIS works closely with federal government departments and agencies such as Foreign Affairs and International Trade, National Defence, Revenue Canada, Customs, Excise and Taxation, the National Research Council and the Atomic Energy Control Board. These have either an enforcement role or the expertise to support a thorough and comprehensive assessment of the threat. CSIS reports to and advises the Government of Canada. CSIS intelligence is shared with a number of other federal government departments and agencies, including Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Immigration, the Department of National Defence and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As well, CSIS has arrangements to exchange security related information with other countries. The vast majority of these arrangements deal with visa vetting. A small number deal with exchanges of information collected by CSIS in its investigation of threats to national security. As well as investigating threats to Canadian security CSIS provides security assessments, on request, to all federal departments and agencies with the exception of the RCMP and the Department of National Defence, which conduct their own. These assessments are made with respect to applicants for positions in the Public Service of Canada requiring a security clearance and for immigration and citizenship applicants. The Solicitor General is responsible to Parliament for CSIS as a whole and for its general direction. The Solicitor General also issues policy guidelines concerning basic operational procedures. The Director of CSIS is responsible to the Solicitor General for the control and management of the Service. The Director must consult with the Deputy Solicitor General on the operational policy of CSIS, on applications for warrants, and on any other matter for which the Solicitor General indicates such consultation is needed.

CSIS Operational Branches

Counter Intelligence (CI) Branch - Counter Intelligence Branch monitors threats to national security stemming from the espionage activities of other national governments' intelligence operations. The Branch is focusing its resources on the areas of transnational crime, economic security, and issues surrounding the proliferation of weapons.

Counter Terrorism (CT) Branch - The Counter Terrorism Branch is one of the Service’s two main investigatory sections (the other being Counter Intelligence) and its role is to provide the Government of Canada with advice about emerging threats of serious violence that could affect the national security of Canada.

Analysis and Production (RAP) Branch - The Service’s research arm, the Analysis and Production Branch, underwent a major reorganization in 1996-97. The goals of the reorganization were two: to improve the coordination of intelligence production with the Privy Council Office’s Intelligence Assessment Secretariat, 27 and enhance the intelligence support to the main consumers of its product inside the Service — the operational desks, the Executive, Security Liaison Officers, and the like. The Analysis and Production Branch adopted a new structure with three divisions: one responsible for counter intelligence and foreign intelligence matters, a division that deals with counter terrorism matters, and a division to prepare documents such as the public annual report and the classified annual report to the Solicitor General

Royal Canadian Mounted Police /Gendarmerie Royale du Canada

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is Canada's federal police force. It is also contracted to serve as the police force for all provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), the two territories, and nearly 200 municipalities. About 50 percent of its members are engaged in provincial and municipal policing. The Dominion Police, with Canada's developing security intelligence function, was amalgamated with the 2,500 members of the Royal North West Mounted Police in 1920 to form the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Between the wars, the security intelligence function remained small and inconspicuous. At the headquarters in 1939 it employed only three members and two stenographers, with field units in the larger cities investigating threats such as the fascist movement. The espionage activity related to the Second World War and the subsequent defection of Soviet cypher clerk Igor Gouzenko in September 1945 removed any thoughts the government might have had about reducing the security intelligence function to pre-war levels. Gouzenko's revelations of a number of elaborate Soviet espionage networks operating in Canada ushered in the modern era of Canadian security intelligence. It was necessary to identify potential threats, but in order to fully maintain the democratic way of life of Canadians, it was also necessary to scrupulously protect the right to exercise legitimate political dissent. These tasks were made all the more complex by the conflicting combination of priorities and responsibilities of security intelligence investigations as compared to police work. The 120-year old interlocking of Canada's security intelligence service with the federal police force was brought to a close with the establishment of the civilian Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the disbanding of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service by an Act of Parliament in 1984, which recognized the differences between security intelligence activities and law enforcement work

Criminal Intelligence Service Canada / Service Canadien du Renseignements Criminels

Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC) is an organization that provides the facilities to unite the criminal intelligence units of Canadian law enforcement agencies in the fight against the spread of organized crime in Canada. CISC is comprised of a Central Bureau located in Ottawa and a system of nine Provincial Bureaux which are located in each province, with the exception of Prince Edward Island whose interests are served by the Nova Scotia Bureau. The Central Bureau functions on a national scale and the Provincial Bureaux operate within provincial boundaries. Regular members of CISC consist of federal, provincial and municipal police forces in Canada that have full time intelligence units. They presently include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Quebec Police Force, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and in excess of 85 municipal and regional police departments. The intelligence units of these law enforcement agencies supply their Provincial Bureaux with intelligence and raw data for further analysis and dissemination. The criminal intelligence shared is related to organized crime and any other major criminal phenomenon in Canada. In addition to regular members, CISC also has associate members consisting of law enforcement agencies with a part-time intelligence unit and affiliate members which have investigative and enforcement personnel from the private sector and government.

The Central Bureau of CISC takes its direction from an Executive Committee, comprised of 20 Chiefs of Police and RCMP Commanding Officers from across Canada and chaired by the Commissioner of the RCMP. This Committee meets annually to review the operation of CISC and to decide on goals and priorities. The CISC Central Bureau monitors the progress of those priorities through the nine Provincial Bureaux. The Managers of those Provincial Bureaux meet annually with the Director of CISC to discuss organized crime issues and forward recommendations to the Executive Committee. The staff of the Central Bureau consists of one civilian, 11 regular members, 3 public servants, and secondments from other police departments and government agencies.

Joint Task Force-Two

In 1993 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) SERT (Special Emergency Response Team) was disbanded reportedly due to problems the officers had resolving the necessity to kill verses their desire to protect and save lives. This unit had been Canada's premier Counter-Terrorist unit. After their dissolution the Canadian Armed Forces created a highly secretive unit (in April of 1993) reportedly called Joint Task Force Two. JTF-2 is Canada's new CT unit. JTF-2 is so secretive that it's size, location, and training regiment aren't known. But details have slowly began to appear. It is guessed that their strength is around 200-250 operators. Each member is a volunteer from one of the three services in the Canadian military; creating a unit that is self-sufficient and able to deploy itself and act with a minimum of dependency on other units. JTF-2 is commandeered by a Lt. Colonel of one of the branches. Reports have surfaced recently that JTF-2 was deployed to Bosnia in response to Canadian troops being taken hostage by Serb forces (in early 1995). The Canadian military would not comment on these reports, but the Ottowa Citizen reported that they were not used. $20 million in start-up costs were earmarked for the unit the first two years of their existence. Included in this were funds for the purchase of land and equipment JTF-2 bought from the RCMP. 


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