Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.


Steven Blaney  Conservative


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 enacts the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, which authorizes Government of Canada institutions to disclose information to Government of Canada institutions that have jurisdiction or responsibilities in respect of activities that undermine the security of Canada. It also makes related amendments to other Acts.

Part 2 enacts the Secure Air Travel Act in order to provide a new legislative framework for identifying and responding to persons who may engage in an act that poses a threat to transportation security or who may travel by air for the purpose of committing a terrorism offence. That Act authorizes the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to establish a list of such persons and to direct air carriers to take a specific action to prevent the commission of such acts. In addition, that Act establishes powers and prohibitions governing the collection, use and disclosure of information in support of its administration and enforcement. That Act includes an administrative recourse process for listed persons who have been denied transportation in accordance with a direction from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and provides appeal procedures for persons affected by any decision or action taken under that Act. That Act also specifies punishment for contraventions of listed provisions and authorizes the Minister of Transport to conduct inspections and issue compliance orders. Finally, this Part makes consequential amendments to the Aeronautics Act and the Canada Evidence Act.

Part 3 amends the Criminal Code to, with respect to recognizances to keep the peace relating to a terrorist activity or a terrorism offence, extend their duration, provide for new thresholds, authorize a judge to impose sureties and require a judge to consider whether it is desirable to include in a recognizance conditions regarding passports and specified geographic areas. With respect to all recognizances to keep the peace, the amendments also allow hearings to be conducted by video conference and orders to be transferred to a judge in a territorial division other than the one in which the order was made and increase the maximum sentences for breach of those recognizances.

It further amends the Criminal Code to provide for an offence of knowingly advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general. It also provides a judge with the power to order the seizure of terrorist propaganda or, if the propaganda is in electronic form, to order the deletion of the propaganda from a computer system.

Finally, it amends the Criminal Code to provide for the increased protection of witnesses, in particular of persons who play a role in respect of proceedings involving security information or criminal intelligence information, and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to permit the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to take, within and outside Canada, measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada, including measures that are authorized by the Federal Court. It authorizes the Federal Court to make an assistance order to give effect to a warrant issued under that Act. It also creates new reporting requirements for the Service and requires the Security Intelligence Review Committee to review the Service’s performance in taking measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada.

Part 5 amends Divisions 8 and 9 of Part 1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to, among other things,

(a) define obligations related to the provision of information in proceedings under that Division 9;

(b) authorize the judge, on the request of the Minister, to exempt the Minister from providing the special advocate with certain relevant information that has not been filed with the Federal Court, if the judge is satisfied that the information does not enable the person named in a certificate to be reasonably informed of the case made by the Minister, and authorize the judge to ask the special advocate to make submissions with respect to the exemption; and

(c) allow the Minister to appeal, or to apply for judicial review of, any decision requiring the disclosure of information or other evidence if, in the Minister’s opinion, the disclosure would be injurious to national security or endanger the safety of any person.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


May 6, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
May 6, 2015 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word "That" and substituting the following: “this House decline to give third reading to Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, because it: ( a) threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms; ( b) provides the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight, despite concerns raised by almost every witness who testified before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, as well as concerns raised by former Liberal prime ministers, ministers of justice and solicitors general; ( c) does not include the type of concrete, effective measures that have been proven to work, such as providing support to communities that are struggling to counter radicalization; ( d) was not adequately studied by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which did not allow the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to appear as a witness, or schedule enough meetings to hear from many other Canadians who requested to appear; ( e) was not fully debated in the House of Commons, where discussion was curtailed by time allocation; ( f) was condemned by legal experts, civil liberties advocates, privacy commissioners, First Nations leadership and business leaders, for the threats it poses to our rights and freedoms, and our economy; and ( g) does not include a single amendment proposed by members of the Official Opposition or the Liberal Party, despite the widespread concern about the bill and the dozens of amendments proposed by witnesses.”.
May 4, 2015 Passed That Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
May 4, 2015 Failed
April 30, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
Feb. 23, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
Feb. 23, 2015 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give second reading to Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, because it: ( a) threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms; ( b) was not developed in consultation with other parties, all of whom recognize the real threat of terrorism and support effective, concrete measures to keep Canadians safe; ( c) irresponsibly provides CSIS with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight; ( d) contains definitions that are broad, vague and threaten to lump legitimate dissent together with terrorism; and ( e) does not include the type of concrete, effective measures that have been proven to work, such as working with communities on measures to counter radicalization of youth.”.
Feb. 19, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than two further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the second day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

March 22nd, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Harjit S. Sajjan Liberal Vancouver South, BC

I can assure you that when it comes to the actions that are taken by our government, we are given the appropriate authorities. This gives the Canadian Armed Forces and CSE the authority to act.

The other aspect of what our government has done is to make sure that we have fully funded our Canadian Armed Forces to be able to meet those needs.

More importantly, it gives CSE, within Bill C-59, the legislation to now be able to actively protect Canadians, whereas it couldn't before. Your previous government, at the time of Bill C-51, neglected to do that.

March 22nd, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Harjit S. Sajjan Liberal Vancouver South, BC

I'm sorry. My policing experience of listening to how people talk and question is coming in here.

I see where you're trying to go with this, and I can assure you, when it comes to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and me, we have a very good relationship when it comes to looking at threats. That's what Bill C-59 is focused on, making sure that we keep Canadians safe but at the same time give Canadians the confidence that their privacy is going to be looked after. More importantly, finally we have CSE being given the ability to leverage their expertise. That wasn't there before, especially when it came to Bill C-51.

Access to InformationAdjournment Proceedings

March 1st, 2018 / 6:45 p.m.
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Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am here today to talk about a question I asked last year on Bill C-58.

Just so the citizens of North Island—Powell River, who I am proud to represent, know what we are talking about, I am going to repeat the question. The minister keeps repeating that his government is the first in 30 years to make improvements to access to information. However, the Information Commissioner was very clear when she said that the Liberals' Bill C-58 is regressive and that the status quo would be better than what they are proposing, meaning that Stephen Harper's government was more open and accountable than the current government. Canadians were promised more accountability and transparency. Will the government work with us to help it actually keep that election promise?

This is a very important question. The constituents I talked to across my riding spoke passionately about their concerns around Bill C-51 from the last government, and about wanting to make sure things were transparent. The President of the Treasury Board said that we are reaching a new bar, and this is absolutely not the truth. It is important we remember who the expert is in this, and that is the Information Commissioner, who said, “I would much prefer to keep the status quo.”

This is incredibly important to my constituents. This is about the transparency of government. It is about making sure information is accessible. We know so many issues have come to light because Canadians, journalists, and NGOs use access to information to ask important questions that deserve answers. I do not understand why the government created a bill that really just blocks this.

Let us look at the facts. Residential school survivors fighting the government for decades for acknowledgement of the terrible and horrific abuse they faced, the reality that type 1 diabetes in Canada is now being rejected, the under-reporting of sexual assaults in Canada, Afghan detainees and those horrendous stories we heard, these were all discovered by the access to information that this bill totally erases. That is horrendous in this day and age.

One of the most concerning things for me is the fact that the bill talks about people who may be vexatious. What may appear to the government as vexatious may be of the utmost interest for Canadians. Who gets to decide what that is? How do Canadians appeal the decision by a department? This is really important. I know the people of North Island—Powell River are very concerned. They want to know we have information and have access to it, and that journalists have access to it, so that we can learn what is happening in this country. This completely bars the way. We really need to take a moment to reflect on that.

At this point, the bill has passed through the House, but this is leading to something that will be an ever-growing concern. When the government talks about increased transparency and when it says that the PM's office can be talked to now and people can ask for information, that is simply not true. When the Information Commissioner is saying that what we have now, which was in much need of change, is better than what is being proposed, all Canadians need to stand up and take notice of what is happening.

That is why I am here today, and I think we all must focus on this. Whoever is in government has tremendous power. It must be held in check. That is what democracy is all about.

February 15th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
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Director, Research, Policy and Strategic Investigations Unit, Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Joanne Gibb

We don't have any public complaints of that nature, but I'll add that our ongoing national security review into Justice O'Connor's recommendations is looking at domestic information sharing as it is currently done by the RCMP.

When that's complete, we should have a better answer for you on whether or not Bill C-51 affected how they share information, but I'm not aware of any public complaints regarding information sharing in that regard.

February 15th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
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Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

I'm sorry, perhaps my question was not clear.

Let's say you receive a complaint related to an action by the RCMP involving the sharing of information as set out in the former Bill C-51 and as amended, in a sense, by the current bill.

What do you do if you follow the trail from the complaint and arrive at the information forwarded by CSIS, for instance, and you find that it is the actions by CSIS that are the object of the complaint?

February 15th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Mr. Newark, just to reiterate what you said earlier about the current provisions that Bill C-51 put in place where it is an offence to broadly counsel someone to propagate terrorist propaganda. This means that in a particular case somebody who is propagating terrorist propaganda could unknowingly influence somebody to commit a terrorist act without that person who is propagating the propaganda even knowing that somebody was going to commit the offence.

Let me get to my point. Bill C-59 is proposing that somebody would only be charged if they had counselled somebody, which means that somebody would have to commit the act, and we would have to trace that back to whoever counselled them, whereas the legislation as it currently exists could stop the person from propagating the terrorist activity in the first place, thereby preventing the activity from happening.

Is that a fair assessment?

February 15th, 2018 / 11:35 a.m.
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Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to both our guests for being here.

CBSA is not mentioned a lot in this particular bill, and as mentioned, there's nothing at all of substance about our borders in Bill C-51.

We know we've had issues with illegal border crossers, significantly, over the last year. These individuals who cross the border are given hearing dates. The processing time has been cut by 80%. They disappear, and many of them don't show up for their secondary hearings. When you put all these things together, it leaves the impression that our borders are porous and that there are national security issues that exist.

In the context of our border and CBSA, can you offer us any insights on what amendments we should be looking at within this legislation, keeping in mind Mr. Day's comments about a practicality component as well?

February 15th, 2018 / 11:25 a.m.
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Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

I don't mean to cut you off.

You alluded in your remarks to your concern about the speech crime provision in Bill C-51 being modified under Bill C-59. I was reading a piece that you wrote—it might have been for iPolitics as a matter of fact, back in the fall—where you pointed to your opposition to this.

Just for the record, under Bill C-51, it was a crime for one to “knowingly advocate or promote the commission of terrorism offences in general”. Under Bill C-59, this has been replaced with something much more common in criminal law: “counselling another person to commit a terrorism” act.

I have read your criticism, so I want to jump immediately to ask you a question about how the offence was phrased in Bill C-51. Take the example of a journalist or a group of protestors who were supporting a group—now the times don't align here but I think you'll appreciate the example—of anti-apartheid activists, under the ANC and under Mandela. You know very well that, particularly in the early history of their activism against apartheid, they advocated for non-lethal attacks on public infrastructure.

Now if a journalist here in Canada were writing in favour of that kind of an approach—again, the anti-apartheid movement was one of the most important struggles of the 20th century—it's entirely conceivable, and I'm not the only one to use this example, that they could have been charged under the wording in Bill C-51.

To shift now, to pivot to a counselling offence, doesn't this clarify and bring greater understanding to what is permissible and what is not permissible?

February 15th, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
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Scott Newark Policy Analyst, As an Individual

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. It's good to see you again.

I'd like to thank the committee for the invitation to appear before you with respect to this very important Bill C-59. I've had the opportunity to follow some of the proceedings and to read some of the transcripts, and it's very encouraging to see the depth and substance of the questions asked of the individual witnesses who are appearing, including with different perspectives.

I've had a long history, and I was thinking about it before I came here today. It's been almost 30 years, I guess, since I first testified before a parliamentary committee. I was a crown prosecutor from Alberta, and as I put it, I got tired of tripping over the mistakes of the parole system in my courtroom, and realized that the only way to try to change it was to change the laws. That meant coming to Ottawa, because we were dealing with federal correctional legislation. I was appearing before parliamentary committees where I exposed what had happened in a couple of cases.

The important work of the legislative branch struck me then, and it has remained with me throughout. That sometimes gets overlooked, and depending on how things are being handled at the executive branch of government, the really important and critical analysis that committees can do is quite significant. A bill like this is a very good example of that, because you can have different opinions about things on different subjects, but you have the ability to ask questions and to try to elicit information to analyze whether or not the intended results are going to be achieved by the legislation in the way that it's drafted or if other things need to be done. That is particularly true, I think, in relation to legislation like Bill C-59, which is obviously pretty complex legislation and deals with a whole lot of subjects.

In fairness, the discussion itself has raised issues that are not contained in Bill C-59. I think a very encouraging sign was the way that the government sent the bill here in advance of second reading so that you could have input and suggestions on other subjects. I have some suggestions to make on things like that. I must admit, though, that I would suggest that it probably is a better idea, simply from a procedural perspective, to confine your recommendations to the specifics of the bill, and perhaps, in an ancillary report, make suggestions on other subjects rather than adding huge new amendments to sections and opening up different issues that are not specifically contained in Bill C-59. There's so much of value in Bill C-59 that it's a good idea to move it forward.

My presentation today will touch on essentially three aspects. The first is just to take some examples of things that I think are notable and quite important in Bill C-59. I also have a couple of comments on things, and one in particular I have a problem with, but I suppose, to put it in a larger sense, they're just ones where I would suggest you may want to ask some questions and make sure you understand that what you are anticipating is the case is, in fact, the case. Then, because the minister has invited suggestions on other issues, if we have time—and probably not in the opening statement, but during questions and answers—I have some suggestions on other issues that I think might be of interest.

Let me just give you a little bit of background as well on my personal experience in this, because it impacts on the insights. As I mentioned, I was a crown prosecutor in Alberta. Ultimately, because of one of the cases I was involved in, in 1992 I became the executive officer of the Canadian Police Association. This is the rank-and-file police officers, the unions. We were involved very heavily from 1992 to 1998 in criminal justice reform, policy advocacy. It was from that, in particular, and my work as a crown prosecutor, that I got the sense of the importance of learning from front-line operational insights how you can then shape legislative or policy tools so as to achieve desired outcomes.

Also, not everything needs to be done by legislation. There are frequently instances—and I was struck by this as I was watching some of the evidence from some of the witnesses that you've had—where we don't necessarily need new laws. We need to enforce the ones we already have, and we need to make sure that the tools are in place to use them appropriately. There are some examples of that, I think, in Bill C-59 specifically.

I ended up working with the Ontario government in 1998 as an order in council appointment. That government had intended to achieve some criminal justice reforms, and they weren't getting it done, so they wanted some people with some understanding of the justice system.

After 9/11, I was appointed as the special security adviser on counterterrorism because of some work I had previously been involved in. I had significant interactions with Americans in relation to that. In the old days, it was the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, which became INSET. I had a role, essentially, in being the provincial representative in some of the discussions, and I saw the inter-agency interactions, or lack thereof, and the impact that potentially had.

Since then, I'm actually one of the guys who did the review that led to the arming of the border officers. I still do work with the union on policy stuff. I also do some stuff with security technology committees. The value of that is that you get an understanding of some of the operational insights and what is necessary to achieve the intended outcomes.

I should add, I suppose, the final thing. Last year, I accepted a position at Simon Fraser University as an adjunct professor. I know you'll be shocked to hear that. It's for a course they offer, a master's program, the Terrorism, Risk, and Security Studies program. The course I teach is balancing civil liberties and public safety and security. To go on from a point that the general made, I think the case is that these are not either-or situations. We are fully capable of doing both, and there is a balance involved in this. As a general principle, it is a very good idea, when you're looking at what is proposed in legislation, especially in legislation like this which has national security implications, to keep in mind the general principles of protecting civil rights.

There are two points about that. You'll notice that in “civil rights”, “rights” is modified by “civil”. In other words, they are rights that exist in the context of a civil society. That has ramifications in the sense, I think, of what citizens are entitled to expect of their government. I don't want government intruding on my privacy, but, at the same time, if government has the capability of accessing relevant information and acting on someone who is a threat to me and my family, I expect, under my civil right, that, in fact, government will do what it needs to do to extend that protection.

The other side of that—and I know, Monsieur Dubé asked many questions about this, as did other members of the committee—is the importance of looking at it generally, at what is proposed, to see that there is, in effect, oversight initially and, as well, appropriate review so that the balancing can take place. In my opinion, and more accurately in my experience, having the executive branch reporting to itself for authorization is something that should raise a red flag. There are provisions within the act that ultimately address that, although there are some that raise some questions about it.

In the very brief time left, let me just say that I think that among the important things in the legislation are the extensive use of preambles and definitions about the importance of privacy and what we would generally call civil rights in consideration of why we're doing things. That, I think, was a deficiency in Bill C-51. I can tell you that it is critically important in today's charter world to make sure that is included so that the courts can consider whether or not what was being done by legislative authority in fact took into account the charter issues. A rule of statutory interpretation is “thou shalt consider the preamble in a statute when actually drafting it”.

With one minute left, I think probably the most important operational aspect of this bill is the proactive cyber-activity authorized to CSE. That is a reality of the world in which we live. We are totally cyber-dependent, which also means we have enormous cyber-vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity, in effect, has been an afterthought. This is a step; it is not the complete answer. I do some work in the cyber field as well, and that is something that I think is extremely important.

The one issue I would raise, in closing, which I have a concern about specifically, is in relation to the change in what I think is the evidentiary threshold in the terrorism propaganda offence. I can get into that in more detail, but my concern is, essentially, that it may be making it, for no good reason, no justifiable reason that I can see, harder to use that section, which has extreme relevance now in the changing domestic terrorism environment in which we are living.

I look forward to answering any questions and, hopefully, touching on the other subjects.

February 8th, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
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Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Yes. It's in a different form in Bill C-59 than it was in C-51, if I am correct.

February 8th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
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Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Thank you very much to both of you for that.

I want to pick up on something that was mentioned toward the end of your comments. That's the critique of the change in Bill C-51, the speech crime provision, and the change to a counselling offence. It's interesting, because one of the criticisms of Bill C-51 was that under the speech crime provision as written, it was conceivable, for example, for a Canadian journalist to be convicted under that bill for writing in favour of some of the actions taken by anti-apartheid activists against the infrastructure of the racist South African state in the 1980s. That's if Bill C-51 had been in place, obviously, during that time.

With the counselling offence, this is much more common in existing criminal law. It still would allow for individuals who are involved in encouraging terrorism to face legal consequences. I wonder if you could comment from this perspective. I mean, do you see that point about the dangers of Bill C-51 and how that might impact upon freedom of expression?

February 8th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
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Michael Mostyn Chief Executive Officer, National Office, B'nai Brith Canada

Thank you. I will be sharing my time with Mr. Matas.

We thank the committee for inviting us to appear. I will provide some introductory remarks. My colleague David Matas, our senior legal counsel, will elaborate on some of our key points on the proposed legislation.

B'nai Brith Canada is this country's oldest national Jewish organization, founded in 1875, with a long history of defending the human rights of Canadian Jewry and others across the country. We advocate for the interests of the grassroots Jewish community in Canada and for their rights such as freedom of conscience and religion.

B'nai Brith Canada testified before this committee in 2015 and, most recently, in February 2017, on what was then Bill C-51. Our testimony today will develop the same points we had previously expressed, and we will focus on specific areas that touch on our work, particularly part 7.

Our latest audit of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada contains a key truth: Jews are consistently targeted by hate and bias-related crimes in Canada at a rate higher than that of any other identifiable group. Statistics Canada recently released its report on 2016 police-reported hate crimes, and once again Jews were targeted more than any other group in the country. But police-reported hate crimes are only the tip of the iceberg. We require better tools—data and analysis—to gain greater insights into all hate crimes and to do a better job of countering them.

Bill C-59 includes proposals to change the Criminal Code aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the terrorist entity listing regime. We endorse those proposals providing for a staggered ministerial review of listed entities and granting the minister the authority to amend the names, including aliases, of listed entities.

In the past, B'nai Brith has been supportive of measures to empower security officials to criminalize advocacy and promotion of terrorism, and seize terrorist propaganda. We supported these measures to deny those intent on inspiring, radicalizing, or recruiting Canadians to commit acts of terror and who exploit the legal leeway to be clever but dangerous with their words. Bill C-59 seeks to change the law's articulation of this offence from “advocates or promotes” to “counselling” the commission of a terrorism offence. This is a weakening of the law that we believe is unhelpful. We have noted the assurances provided by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, but we are still uncertain that such a change, which in our view weakens the law, is needed.

The change of advocacy and promotion to “counselling” also impacts on the definition of “terrorism propaganda”. Bill C-59 would remove the advocacy and promotion of terrorism offences in general from the definition. This is also a weakening of the law.

We accept that the right to freedom of expression is an important consideration, but the right of potential victims to be free from terrorism and the threat of terrorism must be a greater priority.

The importance of a clear articulation of the penalties for advocacy and promotion of terrorism should include the glorification of terrorism, something that should be of concern to all of us.

These are specific points I wanted to raise. There are others that, while not specifically part of the proposed amendments to Bill C-59, are intimately associated and are of interest and concern to B'nai Brith Canada. There are further points here. I'd like to highlight some.

The continuing manifestation of anti-Semitism, hate crimes, and hate speech in Canada affects not only the Jewish community. B'nai Brith Canada sees these worrying trends as national security issues. Organizations such as ours working with law enforcement agencies at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels must address these issues collaboratively.

The government's framework to counter youth radicalization is also extremely important. We endorse the work of the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence. We look forward to a stronger dialogue with them.

How can we collaborate in the more effective monitoring of groups engaged in hate speech or incitement directed at children, including those using coded messages that are nonetheless threatening, even where these might fall short of actual crimes? This is very much the focus in countering radicalization at an early stage, where civil society can have better dialogue with law enforcement.

How can we ensure that government agencies shun questionable organizations and groups, particularly those that receive government grants and nonetheless are operating in ways inimical to the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadian society? We would welcome a channel of dialogue for this purpose.

Lastly, how can we better engage in dialogue with the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure diligent follow-up to complaints regarding organizations engaged in or supporting those expressing hate speech at odds with their charitable status?

There are other points, as I mentioned, in our paper. I'm sure we can answer those in questions.

I'd like to cede the floor to my colleague David Matas.

February 8th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
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Executive Director, OpenMedia

Laura Tribe

We definitely have big concerns about the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act that was enabled by Bill C-51 not really being revised or overhauled in the way we had hoped. One of the big changes that we would look for is limiting the information requested to those who request it, and not allowing it to continue being shared between departments after the fact. Another change we would look for is limiting who can access information within other government agencies.

February 8th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
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Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Thank you very much.

When it comes to information sharing, how concerned should be about what are essentially cosmetic changes in this bill from what was brought in by the former Bill C-51? You mentioned it in your comments, and I don't really have time to get into some of the details I was going to ask about, but perhaps you could reiterate those concerns in the 30 seconds that are probably left.

February 8th, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
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Timothy McSorley National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Thank you. I'm very glad to be able to present today on behalf of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and our 45 member organizations. I'd like to thank OpenMedia for inviting us to join them today.

I'd like to touch on three main points: first, review and oversight; second, some of the changes to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act; and third, the no-fly list.

Regarding oversight and review, the ICLMG greatly welcomes the creation of the national security and intelligence review agency, as well as the intelligence commissioner. However, we believe there are important ways in which both bodies could be strengthened. We hope the committee and government take this opportunity to ensure that both the NSIRA and the intelligence commissioner have the powers and resources they need to carry out their important work. Others have given feedback, which we largely support, regarding the intelligence commissioner, so I will focus on the NSIRA.

The ICLMG has long supported an overarching review mechanism as a way to ensure Canadians' rights are not violated, and to monitor the effectiveness of Canada's national security activities. Bill C-59 does away with the silos that have restricted the various review agencies' work, which alone is a major improvement.

I would highlight three issues, though, that we think the committee should examine regarding strengthening the NSIRA. First, to ensure independence we suggest that the NSIRA members be appointed via vote in Parliament and not through Governor in Council. Second, the complaints mechanism in the NSIRA act should apply not just to the RCMP, CSIS, the CSE, and security clearances, but be expanded to include, at a minimum, the national security activities of the CBSA as well as Global Affairs Canada, although ideally the complaints mechanism would actually include all federal national security related activities.

Third, SIRC has faced important criticism over the lack of transparency in its complaints system. There is, in fact, an ongoing lawsuit over this issue. We have also raised concerns about SIRC's inability to make binding recommendations. The NSIRA act would transpose these problems onto the new agency. We urge the committee to take this opportunity to improve on the SIRC model and ensure we have a strong, effective, overarching review body.

Next, regarding changes to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, CSIS's threat-reduction powers were introduced with Bill C-51 and were heavily criticized at the time. Bill C-59 attempts to solve some of these issues by restricting the powers to a set list of activities. However, we must reiterate in the strongest possible terms our opposition to granting an intelligence agency, which operates in secret, powers akin to those of law enforcement.

My time does not allow me to go into all our specific concerns, but at the heart of this is that CSIS's creation was meant to separate intelligence activities from law enforcement, and today we continue to have the same concerns we had at that time. Even in cases that require a warrant, we believe that a non-adversarial system will not ensure the protection of a target's civil liberties. We do not believe that this is an issue of “if” the system will violate an individual's rights, but “when”.

We are also concerned about new powers granting CSIS agents immunity for acts or omissions that would otherwise constitute an offence. The Canadian Bar Association, among others, raised serious concerns when these powers were granted to law enforcement officers, calling it antithetical to the rule of law. We believe this even more so when such powers are granted to intelligence agents operating in secret, and we think this section should be removed from Bill C-59.

Finally, regarding the Secure Air Travel Act and the no-fly list, we support the tremendous efforts by the No Fly List Kids and other groups to bring about a redress system. However, we believe the government must go further and address the more fundamental problems with the no-fly list regime. Bill C-59 does not address the due process issues that have been raised since 2007. We cannot condone a system that is used to restrict individuals' travel and to place them on what amounts to a terrorist watch list but does not allow them full access to the information against them, in order to mount a full and adequate defence. We have also yet to be shown that it improves upon Criminal Code provisions already in place that can be used to restrict the activities of an individual suspected of planning a crime. While we appreciate potential solutions put forward by others, such as introducing a special advocate system into the appeals process, we do not believe it is sufficient to restore due process. We maintain our fundamental opposition and call for the repeal of the no-fly list regime.

For more on our positions, we sent a brief to the committee, which I believe was circulated yesterday. I'd also be happy to take any questions, or follow up with any members, following the meeting.

Thank you.