An Act respecting national security matters

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

Second reading (House), as of June 20, 2017

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-59.

Summary

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

Part 1 enacts the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act, which establishes the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and sets out its composition, mandate and powers. It repeals the provisions of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act establishing the Security Intelligence Review Committee and amends that Act and other Acts in order to transfer certain powers, duties and functions to the new Agency. It also makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 2 enacts the Intelligence Commissioner Act, which provides that the duties and functions of the Intelligence Commissioner are to review the conclusions on the basis of which certain authorizations are issued or amended, and determinations are made, under the Communications Security Establishment Act and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and to approve those authorizations, admendments and determinations if those conclusions are reasonable. This Part also abolishes the position of the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment, provides for that Commissioner to become the Intelligence Commissioner, transfers the employees of the former Commissioner to the office of the new Commissioner and makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 3 enacts the Communications Security Establishment Act, which establishes the Communications Security Establishment and, among other things, sets out the Establishment’s mandate as well as the regime for authorizing its activities. It also amends the National Defence Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to

(a) add a preamble to that Act and provide a mechanism to enhance the accountability of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service;

(b) add new limits on the exercise of the Service’s power to reduce threats to the security of Canada including, in particular, by setting out a list of measures that may be authorized by the Federal Court;

(c) provide a justification, subject to certain limitations, for the commission of acts or omissions that would otherwise constitute offences;

(d) exempt employees of the Service and persons acting under their direction from liability for offences related to acts committed for the sole purpose of establishing or maintaining a covert identity;

(e) create a regime for the Service to collect, retain, query and exploit datasets in the course of performing its duties and functions;

(f) make amendments to the warrant regime that are related to datasets; and

(g) implement measures for the management of datasets.

Part 5 amends the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act to, among other things,

(a) emphasize that the Act addresses only the disclosure of information and not its collection or use;

(b) clarify the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada”;

(c) clarify that advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression are not activities that undermine the security of Canada unless they are carried on in conjunction with an activity that undermines the security of Canada;

(d) provide that a disclosure of information is authorized only if the disclosure will contribute to the carrying out by the recipient institution of its national security responsibilities and will not affect any person’s privacy interest more than reasonably necessary;

(e) require that information disclosed be accompanied by information about the accuracy of the disclosed information and the reliability of the manner in which it was obtained; and

(f) require that records be prepared and kept in respect of every disclosure of information and that every year a copy of every record prepared in the preceding year be provided to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.

Part 6 amends the Secure Air Travel Act to authorize the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to collect from air carriers and operators of aviation reservation systems, for the purpose of identifying listed persons, information about any individuals who are on board or expected to be on board an aircraft for any flight prescribed by regulation, and to exempt an air carrier from providing that information, or from the application of any provision of the regulations, in certain circumstances. It amends the Act to authorize that Minister to collect personal information from individuals for the purpose of issuing a unique identifier to them to assist with pre-flight verification of their identity. It also reverses the rule in relation to a deemed decision on an application for administrative recourse. Finally, it amends the Act to provide for certain other measures related to the collection, disclosure and destruction of information.

Part 7 amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) make certain procedural modifications to the terrorist listing regime under section 83.‍05, such as providing for a staggered ministerial review of listed entities and granting the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness the authority to amend the names, including aliases, of listed entities;

(b) change the offence of advocating or promoting terrorism offences in general, in section 83.‍221, to one of counselling the commission of a terrorism offence, and make corresponding changes to the definition of terrorist propaganda;

(c) raise one of the thresholds for imposing a recognizance with conditions under section 83.‍3, and amend when that section is to be reviewed and, unless extended by Parliament, to cease to have effect;

(d) repeal sections 83.‍28 and 83.‍29 relating to an investigative hearing into a terrorism offence and repeal subsections 83.‍31(1) and (1.‍1), which require annual reports on such hearings;

(e) require the Attorney General of Canada to publish a report each year setting out the number of terrorism recognizances entered into under section 810.‍011 in the previous year; and

(f) authorize a court, in proceedings for recognizances under any of sections 83 and 810 to 810.‍2, to make orders for the protection of witnesses.

Part 8 amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act to, among other things, ensure that the protections that are afforded to young persons apply in respect of proceedings in relation to recognizance orders, including those related to terrorism, and give employees of a department or agency of the Government of Canada access to youth records, for the purpose of administering the Canadian Passport Order.

Part 9 requires that a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this enactment take place during the sixth year after section 168 of this enactment comes into force. If that section 168 and section 34 of Bill C-22, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, come into force within one year of each other, the reviews required by those sections are to take place at the same time and are to be undertaken by the same committee or committees.

Elsewhere

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.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

October 16th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his interesting question. It reminds me of what we saw with the Conservative government's Bill C-51 and what we are still seeing with Bill C-59. Bill C-59 is supposedly going to repair the damage caused by Bill C-51, which jeopardizes the right of activists to protest for the environment.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is currently in court because the CSIS watchdog refuses to release documents that would show whether these people were spied on. This is sowing division and keeping people from speaking out and making sure the country and the government are on the right track with regard to the environment and sustainable development. We find that unacceptable.

Public SafetyOral Questions

October 6th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the details of Bill C-59 have been examined by the most eminent experts in the field. Every single one of them has said that this represents a major step forward in terms of transparency, scrutiny, and accountability, including real-time oversight and the creation, for the first time, of the office of the intelligence commissioner that will examine the activities of security agencies before those activities are undertaken, as well as having them reviewed afterward.

Public SafetyOral Questions

October 6th, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians' overall distrust of our security agencies is a direct consequence of the fact that we have no mechanism to provide real-time oversight and accountability.

The government is currently in court with environmental groups it has accused of spying. Even the watchdog tasked with monitoring CSIS operations failed in its duty by dismissing their complaint and throwing a cloak of total secrecy over the whole case.

Bill C-59 does nothing to fix these problems, but pays lip service to them. When will the minister truly take steps to make real-time oversight, fix these problems, limit the excessive powers of CSIS, and truly protect the rights of Canadians to peaceful protests?

October 5th, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Director, North America Advocacy, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Niall Cronin

I'm sorry. It was Bill C-59...?

October 5th, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Okay. That would be interesting to know, because the minister did say that, to date, the safe third country agreement hasn't been brought up, and we're wondering why.

I'm just wondering if in either of your departments there has been any analysis on the potential effects of Bill C-59, in terms of the availability of either of your departments to share information with CBSA or IRCC or even the IRB, with regard to people who have sought asylum protection or have received it, and to identify them as potential public safety risks.

October 5th, 2017 / 9:15 a.m.
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Director, Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Project, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Brenda McPhail

Yes. I think that is the case. It's possible that the revisions under Bill C-59 will ever so slightly limit some of those concerns in relation to stricter proportionality requirements around sharing.

Still, once information is shared under that agreement, we don't know how far it can go, and again that brings up the concerns about whether the uses of that information will be limited to what it was collected for.

October 5th, 2017 / 9:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Thank you.

My question is then subsequently related to the information-sharing agreements and processes related to that process and other processes between hearing asylum claims and ensuring the safety of Canada.

The current law stipulates that institutions can share information if it's “relevant to the recipient institution's jurisdiction or responsibilities under an Act of Parliament or another lawful authority in respect of activities that undermine the security of Canada, including in respect of their detection, identification, analysis, prevention, investigation or disruption”.

My understanding is that if Bill C-59 comes into force, Government of Canada institutions will be permitted to share only information that contributes to the recipient institution's carrying out of its responsibilities.

Has an analysis been done on how Bill C-59 will affect the minister's ability to carry out the responsibilities outlined in ENF 28?

October 5th, 2017 / 9:05 a.m.
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Director, Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Project, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Brenda McPhail

Yes. My understanding is that under the terms of Bill C-59 it is the national security functions of CBSA that will be brought under the aegis of the new integrated review committee. It's not clear to me whether or not the more specifically customs-related activities of CBSA are covered under that. It's actually a bit unclear the extent to which all the activities of CBSA are covered, because the legislation specifies that it will be their national security activities that are subject to review by that committee.

October 5th, 2017 / 9:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

I should also mention that we can set our time frame and discuss with the Americans, but obviously we have no control over what they decide to do. If they have determined 75 years, we can have those conversations but we obviously can't make any requirements towards the U.S. to shorten that time frame.

Ms. McPhail, you were talking about oversight of CBSA. I would just mention, though, that it is included in Bill C-59. While it doesn't exist right now, it is something that is included in the legislation that is before the House. We anticipate and hope to see that legislation at this committee, and then of course go through the Senate. That is something that will be taking place once that legislation becomes finalized, and we'll fill the gap that currently exists. I recognize this came here first, but we are looking at doing that. You were aware of that, I'm assuming.

October 5th, 2017 / 8:45 a.m.
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Brenda McPhail Director, Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Project, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Thank you to the committee for allowing the Canadian Civil Liberties Association the opportunity to appear before you today and speak on Bill C-21.

I'm going to focus on three topics: first, the need to for appropriate frameworks including explicit privacy protection for information sharing that happens between the CBP and the CBSA; second, the need to ensure that critical details about how the collection of this information will take place receives public attention and parliamentary debate rather than relying excessively on regulations; and third, the need to increase CBSA accountability commensurately with this significant increase in their powers.

The information that Canada will collect and share with the United States after Bill C-21 is passed includes biographical information as well as the date, time, and place of entry or exit for every traveller crossing the Canadian border, including Canadian citizens.

This is information on literally millions of Canadians. StatsCan suggests that in January 2017 alone Canadians made 3.6 million trips to the U.S. It also allows for information about every person who boards a plane, train, bus, or ship—if those conveyances are prescribed, because that prescription is left to regulation—in Canada to be collected and shared.

When the beyond the border agreement was signed, CCLA along with the ACLU in the United States and Privacy International in the U.K. developed and released a series of core legal principles for sharing the U.S.-Canada security perimeter. In respect of information sharing, we recommended that it should be restricted to the particular purpose—not used, disseminated, or stored for secondary uses. It needs to be subject to rules limiting the duration of retention to reasonable periods, and it should be subject to independent oversight review and accountability procedures. In particular, when the laws of the two countries differ, the highest standard that grants the best protections to individuals should prevail.

As an example of the problems introduced by different privacy standards, we're concerned that at the time this bill was originally discussed in 2014 one source suggested that Canada had decided to limit the time they could retain personally identifiable information to 15 years. The U.S. has said they reserve the right to retain it for 75 years or longer. Even 15 years is a long time, and it's worth considering whether or not that's the right time frame. It is highly questionable that Canada could maintain control over the uses of information through a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. for as long as a lifetime .

We believe the responsibility for taking such principles seriously should be explicit in the legislation. In addition to the current amendments to Bill C-21, we would suggest including an amendment to add a preamble similar to that found in the recent national security legislation, Bill C-59, and similar to that found in section 3 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which is another act that CBSA administers. Both of these pieces of legislation explicitly identify the responsibility of customs enforcement officers to carry out their responsibilities in a manner that safeguards the rights and freedoms of Canadians and that respects the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. One might argue that it's incumbent on them to do so whether or not that clause is inserted in the legislation, but we would argue that there is both practical and symbolic value in including it in the Customs Act at this time.

On a pragmatic level, one way to ensure that privacy protections are in place is to conduct privacy impact assessments. Clearly, for a project of this scope, which is going to collect information on millions of Canadians, these assessments should be undertaken before information is collected under this legislation and ideally in time to inform the regulations. The assessments should be reviewed by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and an executive summary should be publicly reported.

We realize that Bill C-21 is enabling legislation and will continue a process that has already begun. In fact, there were privacy impact assessments for the pilot stages of this project before Canadian information was collected, but these assessments need to be updated in light of the expanded collection.

CBSA also committed to conducting an analysis on all uses of personal information by all parties involved in the sharing of biographic entry data, and while that analysis to my knowledge is not publicly available, I would suggest that, as an important precautionary step before expanding the scope, the committee might wish to see if that analysis actually took place, and figure out how it's working now before we expand it.

I'd also just like to flag that in 2015, in his spring report, the Auditor General expressed concerns that the CBSA's project management framework was not conducting risk assessments at appropriate times. That would be another area where the committee might want to make sure the technological infrastructures as well as the policy infrastructures around this information are appropriately secure.

In relation to regulations, clause 2 of Bill C-21 amends the act so that proposed subsection 92(1) will allow the CBSA to collect information from prescribed sources in the prescribed circumstances, within the prescribed time, and in the prescribed manner, and then allow the Governor in Council to make regulations to fill in those blanks. The problem is that leaving so much to be prescribed means a process that is less public, less transparent, and less accountable.

In simpler terms, who we are going to collect the information from, why, when, and how is not clearly specified anywhere in the legislation, but these aren't inconsequential details. Knowing them would allow us to evaluate the nature of the collection process, weigh the potential risks to privacy, and better understand the potential costs of a leak or breach. Knowing the source of information allows us to judge its integrity. Knowing why and how it can be collected allows us to assess the proportionality of the collection in relation to its purpose. Clichés sometimes ring true: the devil is in the details.

While we appreciate the need to keep the legislation technologically neutral and flexible, flexible should not mean completely open-ended, particularly because regulations can be changed quietly, largely out of public view, with a much less democratic process than the one we're engaging in today. What current drafters intend to include in the regulations may not be what subsequent governments would choose.

We are, at this time, witness to a dramatic change in policy direction in one of our neighbours. We should take that lesson to heart. When we're talking about practices that engage charter-protected rights to privacy and mobility, safeguards should be enshrined in law. To this end we recommend the committee consider what aspects of the collection process could and should reasonably be included in the legislation.

Lastly, this bill expands CBSA powers but does not increase accountability. CBSA is still the only federal agency with security and law enforcement powers that doesn't have comprehensive, independent oversight or review of its actions. We argue that it's unwise to continue expanding their powers without increasing that accountability framework.

CBSA will now be allowed to share information for the purposes of enforcing the Employment Insurance Act and the Old Age Security Act. If mistakes are made, that could have highly detrimental effects on individuals. There should be a possibility for individuals to appeal the accuracy of the information to an independent body.

CBSA's role in controlling the exit of goods and people from Canada is expanding. The bill creates a new requirement for people exiting Canada now to answer the questions of a CBSA officer truthfully. Answering falsely is an offence. This is a broad power. There is no question that people should have to respond truthfully to a CBSA officer, but I'm sure we've all seen recent stories about agents on both sides of the border asking questions that people are alleging relate to racial background, religious beliefs, and political opinions. Potentially allowing some form of this intrusive and problematic questioning on exit as well as entry doubles the opportunity for potential abuses of power.

While creating an independent review body for the CBSA is clearly beyond the scope of this bill, allowing a potential escalation of a non-problem while simultaneously failing to provide a recourse to an independent civilian body to receive complaints, review policies or officer conduct, or investigate potential misconduct is simply wrong. Every time the CBSA's powers are increased, the lack of an independent review body to provide additional and necessary safeguards becomes more problematic.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide these comments. I look forward to your questions.

October 3rd, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

I'm just curious as well. There's a bill in front of the House of Commons, Bill C-59. Has your department done any sort of analysis on that bill in terms of how it would impact the information that's shared from the RCMP should they find evidence of criminality or any sort of threat to the public with either the IRB or your department? Is there any change that the bill would present in terms of information sharing?

October 3rd, 2017 / 9:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

There are several safeguards, including, number one, the nature of the information. It is very basic data, and it's data that people already share. If you're crossing into the United States, you show your passport. What this will add is the provision that this information will then automatically come back to the CBSA too. You've already told the Americans, so CBSA will have the data that would say this individual left Canada at this time at this border crossing. That's safeguard number one, the nature of the information.

Safeguard number two is the relationship we've developed with the Privacy Commissioner. In all of these measures, whether it's for this or Bill C-23 or Bill C-59, we have an ongoing dialogue with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. He comments on areas where we could improve, where he sees problems, where he would like to see things changed, and all of that advice is taken very seriously in crafting both the law and the regulations.

There are privacy impact assessments that are required to be done. The ones that have been done so far on this initiative are already on the website. Once the legislation is passed and we actually have the legal framework, we will produce a new privacy impact assessment that will be made public to satisfy the requirements of the Privacy Commissioner. There will also be written agreements between the relevant Canadian departments and between Canada and the U.S., which will detail the way the information will be managed and safeguarded, what the privacy protection clauses need to be, and the mechanisms for addressing any potential problems. That will all be laid out in agreements governing—

October 3rd, 2017 / 9:15 a.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Minister, that's fair, but the question is this. So as amended under Bill C-59—that's fine—this information will be shareable across government agencies, based on that regime of information sharing.

October 3rd, 2017 / 9:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

In due course, as it will be amended by Bill C-59, the rules would apply, Monsieur Dubé, but again, the critical point for the purposes of Bill C-21 is the nature of the information. It is nothing more or nothing less than what is on page 2 of your passport.

October 3rd, 2017 / 9:15 a.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Minister, let me echo what you said about the events in Edmonton and Las Vegas.

Welcome back to the committee. I'm going to apologize in advance if I have to cut you off, as I do have several questions.

The first one is about the information-sharing regime put in place under what was Bill C-51 and that is maintained mostly in its integrity under Bill C-59. Would this information be shared among the government agencies covered by what is now referred to as SCISA?