Bill C-51, whose short title is the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, had a number of parts. The first part pertained to the sharing of information between federal institutions, including personal information held by federal institutions. Such information can now be shared between government departments and 17 agencies that have specific responsibilities for suppressing or detecting terrorism. What Bill C-51 does is allow all federal departments to disclose personal information to these 17 agencies if it is relevant to detecting or suppressing terrorism.
We had concerns about the lack of comprehensive oversight mechanisms and the evidence threshold for sharing information, among other things.
I understand that the government plans to introduce a bill or conduct a study to review Bill C-51. We think that is an excellent idea.
The purpose of Bill C-44 was to give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, explicit authority to operate outside Canada. Before this bill was introduced, CSIS exercised its powers in Canada. Bill C-44 enabled CSIS to extend its activities outside the country. CSIS and the government were of the opinion that this was already provided for implicitly. Bill C-44 authorized it explicitly. The bill more explicitly authorizes information sharing between CSIS and similar agencies in other countries.
The concern we raised had to do with the risk of human rights violations, depending on the countries to which this information would be disclosed. We recommended that steps be taken to control this information sharing in order to avoid torture, for example, in the worst-case scenario.
Bill C-13 had to do with online crime in general, but amended the other law that my office administers, the Competition Act, to allow private companies to give information to police in investigations where electronic documents or personal information could be relevant. That applies in the case of online crime, but also more generally.
We had some concerns about that as well. We felt that the scope of the bill was too broad and that some provisions might not comply with a recent Supreme Court decision in Spencer, which provides for protection of some metadata when people use the Internet to share personal information.