National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians launches reviews of Global Affairs Canada and the Government’s Cyber Defence Activities
September 17, 2020
Ottawa, September 17, 2020 — The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) today announces two reviews of national security and intelligence activities. These reviews will be conducted over the next few months and concluded in 2021.
The Committee’s first review will examine the national security and intelligence activities of Global Affairs Canada (GAC). GAC collects information on security issues, liaises with allied intelligence organizations and supports the work of the security and intelligence community through its missions abroad. As with the Committee’s previous reports of DND/CAF in 2018 and the CBSA in 2019, this review is intended to establish a baseline of knowledge about GAC’s national security and intelligence activities. While GAC is a core member of the national security and intelligence community, its national security and intelligence activities have never been subject to external independent review and are not well known by the public or Parliament.
NSICOP will also review the Government of Canada’s framework and activities to defend its systems and networks from cyber attack. Government systems and networks are an attractive target as they hold sensitive information regarding government operations and the personal information of Canadian citizens. This review will be wide ranging. It will examine the evolution of the Government of Canada’s cyber defence policies and laws; assess the role and responsibilities of relevant government organizations, including the Communications Security Establishment and the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security; describe the threat to government systems from malicious cyber actors, and examine relevant case studies where government systems were compromised in a cyber attack. NSICOP will also pay close attention to the risks to the privacy rights of Canadians associated with cyber defence activities.
“NSICOP’s planned reviews aim to strengthen accountability for security and intelligence organizations and to contribute to an informed discussion of issues of importance to Canadians, including their security, rights and freedoms,” said the Chair, the Hon. David McGuinty.
NSICOP was established under the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act on June 22, 2017. It may review:
- the legislative, regulatory, policy, administrative and financial framework for national security and intelligence;
- any activity carried out by a department that relates to national security or intelligence, unless the activity is an ongoing operation and the appropriate Minister determines that the review would be injurious to national security; and,
- any matter relating to national security or intelligence that a minister of the Crown refers to the Committee.
NSICOP members hold the highest level of security clearance, are bound by the Security of Information Act and meet in private.
National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians