Section 1: A year in review 2006–07

D. SIRC complaint decisions 2006–07

The following are summaries of the five reports issued by SIRC during the period under review, in response to complaints filed.

Alleged discrimination in an immigration process - Report 2006–01

SIRC reported a decision concerning a complaint that was referred to SIRC by the Canadian Human Rights Commission under Section 45 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). The complainant in the case alleged discrimination in contravention of the CHRA after being denied a “security clearance”.Footnote 8 Since this security assessment was required for the complainant's immigration process, the allegation was that the complainant was prevented from becoming a Canadian citizen because of the denial of the clearance.

The complaint specifically alleged: a delay by CSIS in processing the complainant's security assessment which formed the basis of the advice to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration provided under Section 14 of the CSIS Act; accusations made against the complainant by CSIS during an interview with the complainant; and poor treatment by the Service during an administered polygraph examination.

SIRC concluded there was no evidence to support the allegations concerning the Service's delay in processing the security assessment, or in the manner in which the citizenship interview and polygraph examination were conducted. SIRC found that the Service did not proceed with its investigation with intent to treat the complainant adversely because of his national or ethnic origin. Rather the Service investigated security concerns associated with the complainant's application for Canadian citizenship.

Recommendation

Alleged actions by CSIS during a citizenship interview - Report 2006–02

SIRC reported a decision concerning a complaint pursuant to Section 41 of the CSIS Act dealing with the alleged actions of CSIS during a citizenship interview.

SIRC found that CSIS failed to provide the complainant with proper notice before it conducted the citizenship interview. SIRC found that although CSIS's report to Citizenship and Immigration Canada contained some errors, the report adequately reflected the content of the complainant's citizenship interview.

Recommendation

Revocation of a security clearance - Report 2006–03

SIRC reported a decision on a complaint pursuant to Section 42 of the CSIS Act, concerning the revocation of a security clearance of a CSIS employee, which ultimately led to the employee's dismissal.

The complainant held a Top Secret security clearance. According to the Government Security Policy, a Top Secret security clearance may not be granted where there are reasonable grounds to doubt the applicant's loyalty to Canada or reliability as it relates to loyalty.

SIRC concluded there were reasonable grounds to believe the complainant:

SIRC concluded the Director had reasonable grounds to revoke the complainant's security clearance.

Recommendations

SIRC recommended that CSIS:

Alleged false statements - Report 2006–04

SIRC reported a decision on a complaint made pursuant to Section 41 of the CSIS Act by Human Concern International (HCI), alleging that the Service made a false statement to the Federal Court of Canada, via the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. It was further alleged that a document filed by both Ministers was based on CSIS information that the Service knew—or ought to have known—would impugn the character, reputation and standing of the complainant. Furthermore, HCI maintained that not being party to the court proceedings meant there was no formal opportunity to challenge a statement by the Service that was later published in two Canadian newspapers.

Upon receipt of this complaint, SIRC encouraged the two parties to seek an alternative resolution of this dispute. When these discussions failed, SIRC undertook its own investigation. It found that the Service had made an unsubstantiated allegation about the complainant in its advice to the Ministers of Public Safety and Citizenship and Immigration which was in turn presented to the Federal Court. As well, SIRC found that CSIS knew that reliance would be placed on its advice by both the Ministers of Public Safety and Citizenship and Immigration, as well as the Federal Court. For this reason, and since HCI was not given an opportunity to respond to the impugned statement, CSIS should have taken care to avoid making an unsubstantiated statement which could lead to injury or loss of support and funding.

Recommendations

SIRC recommended that:

Alleged delay in processing a citizenship application - Report 2006–05

SIRC reported on another complaint made pursuant to Section 41 of the CSIS Act, which alleged that CSIS deliberately and improperly caused a delay in the processing of the complainant's citizenship application. The complainant, a permanent resident of Canada, applied for Canadian citizenship and was the subject of a security screening interview conducted by the Service, as requested by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).Footnote 10

In this case, CSIS explained to SIRC that the investigator's delay in filing the report of the interview with the complainant had occurred partly due to workload issues in the aftermath of 9/11.

SIRC's authority under Section 41 of the CSIS Act does not extend to investigating CIC. Therefore, it was unable to determine CIC's role in any delay in the processing of the complainant's citizenship application. Regarding the Service's role, SIRC found that the Service:

SIRC determined, however, that these delays—although regrettable—were unforeseeable and found the complainant's allegations were unsupported.

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