2001-02 Departmental Performance Report

Improved Reporting to Parliament

Pilot Document

Each year, the government prepares Estimates in support of its request to Parliament for authority to spend public monies. This request is formalized through the tabling of appropriation bills in Parliament.

The Estimates of the Government of Canada are structured in several parts. Beginning with an overview of total government spending in Part I, the documents become increasingly more specific. Part II outlines spending according to departments, agencies and programs and contains the proposed wording of the conditions governing spending which Parliament will be asked to approve.

The Report on Plans and Priorities provides additional detail on each department and its programs primarily in terms of more strategically oriented planning and results information with a focus on outcomes.

The Departmental Performance Report provides a focus on results-based accountability by reporting on accomplishments achieved against the performance expectations and results commitments as set out in the spring Report on Plans and Priorities.

The Estimates, along with the Minister of Finance's Budget, reflect the government's annual budget planning and resource allocation priorities. In combination with the subsequent reporting of financial results in the Public Accounts and of accomplishments achieved in Departmental Performance Reports, this material helps Parliament hold the government to account for the allocation and management of funds.

© Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada

Available in Canada through your local bookseller or by mail from
Canadian Government Publishing -- PWGSC
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0S9

Catalogue No. BT31-4/72-2002
ISBN 0-660-62151-7


In the spring of 2000, the President of the Treasury Board tabled in Parliament the document "Results for Canadians: A Management Framework for the Government of Canada". This document sets a clear agenda for improving and modernising management practices in federal departments and agencies.

Four key management commitments form the basis for this vision of how the Government will deliver their services and benefits to Canadians in the new millennium. In this vision, departments and agencies recognise that they exist to serve Canadians and that a "citizen focus" shapes all activities, programs and services. This vision commits the Government of Canada to manage its business by the highest public service values. Responsible spending means spending wisely on the things that matter to Canadians. And finally, this vision sets a clear focus on results - the impact and effects of programs.

Departmental performance reports play a key role in the cycle of planning, monitoring, evaluating, and reporting of results through ministers to Parliament and citizens. Departments and agencies are encouraged to prepare their reports following certain principles. Based on these principles, an effective report provides a coherent and balanced picture of performance that is brief and to the point. It focuses on outcomes - benefits to Canadians and Canadian society - and describes the contribution the organisation has made toward those outcomes. It sets the and discusses risks and challenges faced by the organisation in delivering its commitments. The report also associates performance with earlier commitments as well as achievements realised in partnership with other governmental and non-governmental organisations. Supporting the need for responsible spending, it links resources to results. Finally, the report is credible because it substantiates the performance information with appropriate methodologies and relevant data.

In performance reports, departments and agencies strive to respond to the ongoing and evolving information needs of parliamentarians and Canadians. The input of parliamentarians and other readers can do much to improve these reports over time. The reader is encouraged to assess the performance of the organisation according to the principles outlined above, and provide comments to the department or agency that will help it in the next cycle of planning and reporting.

Comments or questions can be directed to this Internet site or to:

Results-based Management Directorate
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
L'Esplanade Laurier
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R5

or to this Internet address: rma-mrr@tbs-sct.gc.ca

Security Intelligence
Review Committee

Performance Report

For the period ending
March 31, 2002

The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister of Canada

Table of Contents

Section I: Message from the Chair

The Security Intelligence Review Committee, on behalf of Parliament and the public, reviews and investigates the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. For reasons of which we are all sadly aware, Western intelligence agencies have come under tremendous scrutiny in recent months. Concern about public safety and the government's ability to protect Canada's citizens is at an all time high. While new legislation such as the Anti-Terrorism Act has responded both to the events of September 11 and our citizens' concerns regarding public safety and effective security intelligence activities, the need to balance those priorities against individual rights and freedoms remains an essential and valued feature of Canadian society.

Members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee are selected in a consultative, non-partisan manner and then entrusted with extraordinary powers of review and inquiry. Our job is to make independent, meticulous and fair-minded assessments of the facts as we find them, across the entire spectrum of CSIS activities.

Specifically, SIRC has two main tasks. The first is to review CSIS' performance directly, through regular and continuous scrutiny of its activities. The Committee has absolute authority to examine and report on all the Service's activities, wherever and whenever they occur. Our second task is to investigate complaints about CSIS' activities. In this role, the Review Committee sits as an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal.

In all its activities, SIRC has one overriding goal: to ensure that CSIS serves the Canadian people as Parliament intended, that is, appropriately and within the law. The results of our inquiries are provided, as classified documents, to the appropriate government officials. The law prevents us from publicly disclosing much of the detail of our reviews and inquiries. However, we strive to make public as much as possible in order to maintain the trust and confidence of Canadians. SIRC's annual public report on CSIS is the main means by which we assure the people of Canada that, in acting to protect public safety and national security, CSIS has not endangered their civil or constitutional rights.

Last year, the Committee expressed its concern regarding increases in the number of complaints received. The resulting backlog was largely eliminated in fiscal year 2000-2001 and the subsequent year has seen both a stabilization in the number of new complaints and the avoidance of a new backlog.

The struggle against terrorism requires constant commitment to democracy's core value: citizens' freedom from untrammeled government power. Canadian history reflects a commitment to balancing the protection of our democratic institutions with the protection of individual rights. An effective and respected external review of our country's security intelligence service contributes to that balance. In the wake of the events of September 11 and the Government's response to those events, both I the other Members of the Committee remain confident of SIRC's ability to fulfill our mandate.

Paule Gauthier, P.C., O.C., O.Q., Q.C.

II Agency Context

Overview of Organization

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) derives its power from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act (the CSIS Act) promulgated on July 16, 1984. Legislation passed by the Canadian Government following the events of September 11 did not change the powers of the Committee. Members of the Review Committee are appointed by the Governor in Council, following consultation by the Prime Minister with the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of each party having at least twelve members in the House of Commons. The CSIS Act gives the Committee the authority to employ an Executive Director and adequate staff to support its required activities. The Committee is also empowered to set its own Rules of Procedure to govern any of its activities, including its quasi-judicial proceedings.

Two Roles

SIRC fulfills two distinct functions, namely the external review of CSIS' performance of its duties and functions, and the examination of complaints or reports from Ministers concerning security clearances, immigration, citizenship, and other matters involving CSIS investigations. With the exception of Cabinet confidences, SIRC has unlimited access to CSIS information. The Committee may also require CSIS or the Inspector General appointed under the CSIS Act to conduct a review of specific activities of the Service and to provide the Committee with a report of the review. The nature of the information received and reviewed places limits on SIRC's ability to disclose details of the Committee's reviews and findings to the public. However, not later than September 30th in each year, the Committee submits a public report to the Solicitor General of Canada who must, in turn, table that report in each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the day the Minister receives it.

External Review of CSIS

To protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians, the CSIS Act gives SIRC the power to examine CSIS' activities so as to ensure that the Service's powers are used legally and appropriately. The Committee measures CSIS' performance of their duties and functions against the standards and requirements laid out in Ministerial Direction, CSIS Operational Policies, the CSIS Act and any other applicable policy, legislation and regulations. In this role, SIRC has the absolute authority to examine all information concerning the Service's performance of its duties and functions -- with the exception of Cabinet confidences -- no matter how highly classified that information may be.

Investigation of Complaints

The Committee investigates complaints concerning denials of security clearances to government employees or contractors. It also investigates reports from Ministers involving immigration, citizenship, certain human rights matters, and organized crime. Finally, the Committee investigates complaints from the general public concerning any act or thing done by CSIS. Complaints may be resolved through an administrative review or, where necessary, through a quasi-judicial hearing presided over by a Member of the Committee. Each year, the Committee's public report provides edited summaries of decisions reached on complaints cases.

Section III: Performance Accomplishments

Strategic Outcomes

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) strives to provide Canadians with confidence that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is using its extraordinary powers within the law and in a way that recognizes the civil and constitutional rights of Canadians, while ensuring that Canada's security is protected. By exercising its dual mandate to review CSIS' performance of their duties and functions and to investigate complaints, SIRC provides assurances to Parliament and Canadians that CSIS is balancing national security on the one hand and civil liberties on the other.

The achievement of this outcome is measured by:

Level of Satisfaction of Parliament and the Public

Context and Outcomes. The Committee derives its power and duties from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act (CSIS Act), promulgated on July 16, 1984. Built into the Act is a requirement that not later than September 30 in each year, the Committee must produce a public report of its activities during the preceding fiscal year. Given the sensitive and classified nature of much of the Committee's work, the public report to Parliament must carefully balance the importance of thoroughly informing the public and Parliamentarians against national security and privacy concerns. All of SIRC's annual reports can be accessed electronically at www.sirc-csars.gc.ca.

Follow-up from Parliament and the public to this report is a key indicator of the Committee's effectiveness. Measures of this type, are, by their nature, subjective. Subjective indicators, capturing remarks by Parliamentarians, academics, editorial writers, and foreign professors who have studied the Canadian system, attest to the fact that many independent observers believe that the Committee is reviewing CSIS effectively. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, informed observers are canvassed to ensure that the Committee is aware of outside opinions.

The Review Committee's ability to respond to questions raised by elected representatives is a key element in the public's confidence in the security intelligence system as a whole. While the Committee does its best to keep Members of Parliament informed, SIRC does not have the authority to give Parliamentarians classified information. Section 37 of the CSIS Act directs that Members of the Committee comply with the security regulations of the Government of Canada and that they take an oath of secrecy.

Nevertheless, the Review Committee continually seeks ways to convey information to Parliamentarians and the public so that they can be confident of the quality and scope of the Committee's research and findings, and judge whether the CSIS Act is working as it should. Several opportunities to answer questions and make presentations to both Parliamentarians and members of the public presented themselves in the previous fiscal year. The Committee appeared before Senate and House Committees and spoke both in Canada and abroad. Opportunities for dialogue with Parliament and the public will continue to be accepted in the coming year.

Review of Findings and Ensuring CSIS Effectiveness

Context and Resources. SIRC has a staff of seven to conduct research, yet they must review many files each year in order to report to the Canadian public and Parliament on CSIS' effectiveness. Statutory requirements also set out broad areas for ongoing audits of CSIS' work. SIRC strives to review and audit a wide range of CSIS activities within these allocated resources, all with a view to maintaining the public's confidence in the validity of the Committee's conclusions. Under the direction of the Committee, SIRC carefully monitors the Service's public and private operational reports, identifies issues of public concern and interest, scrutinizes national and international events, assesses the historical record of CSIS performance and identifies a list of priority projects for each fiscal year.

The Committee's goal is to ensure that its plans, strategies and reviews will enable it to be knowledgeable about CSIS's level of effectiveness in protecting Canadians from terrorist or other threats to national security.

Outcomes. Each research project proposal is reviewed and approved by the Committee Members. SIRC's research reports are prepared so that Committee Members can examine the drafts of research studies every other month, rather than receiving the bulk of them at the end of the fiscal year. This gives staff enough time to prepare the many reports, while allowing Members sufficient time to deliberate on the research, and offer any feedback and follow-up direction.

The Committee recognizes that unforeseen events may necessitate adjustments to their review schedule. The program will remain flexible to address these adjustments while striving to maintain the normal review schedule of every other month.

Research projects for a fiscal year are designed to deliver a broad range of assessments across many of CSIS's operational activities. Customarily, the Committee has focused on completing a series of stand-alone, in-depth reviews of distinct areas of CSIS responsibility and operations. This approach ensures that the Committee delivers a comprehensive overview of CSIS's performance.

Another indicator of the Committee's effectiveness is the degree to which CSIS modifies its operational procedures, initiates new policy guidelines or issues reminders to staff as a direct or indirect consequence of SIRC's recommendations, following reviews or complaints investigations. The Committee has a program to measure the degree to which CSIS responds to its recommendations.

Assessments Arising from Unexpected Events

Context and Outcomes.  Each year, under the direction of the Committee, SIRC staff undertake a broad range of research projects as described above. While the selection of review projects is generally approved by the Committee at the beginning of each fiscal year, the Committee has, since its inception, recognized the need to adjust its review plans to respond to unexpected events. To meet the resource demands of these unforeseen reviews, the Committee maintains the capability to redirect research resources to priority issues on very short notice. In past years, the Committee's reviews of these unexpected events have stretched existing resources but have generally been incorporated into the research program without having to cancel any other reviews.

Since 1999-2000, SIRC's capacity to manage demands on the review program have come under increasing stress. The review function is essentially one of risk management - deciding which areas of the Service's extensive activities warrant the most careful monitoring and which are less important. Compounding the situation is that for the first time in many years, the Service is dramatically increasing its own activities in areas where SIRC has a compelling interest and legal responsibility.

The events of September 11 placed significant pressures on the Committee to redirect research resources on short notice, while still delivering the reviews originally planned for the fiscal year. The Committee is satisfied that the adjustments made to the research program protected the integrity of SIRC's obligations to Parliament and Canadians, while allowing it to respond in a timely manner to an issue of critical concern to the Canadian Government and public. However, this major unforseen event, together with the statutory requirements that must be met in each year, placed exceptional pressures on the Committee's small team of researchers.

The Committee, together with senior SIRC staff, is currently assessing the broad impact of September 11, and of CSIS's increased activity, on SIRC's statutory review functions. This will enable the Committee to develop an effective strategy and to make any necessary adjustments to ensure SIRC's continued ability to meet the expectations of Parliament and the public, and to fulfill its statutory obligations under the CSIS Act.

Response of the Minister and the Public to SIRC Reports and Use of Resources

Context and Outcomes. The research, analysis and consultation that comprise the review function are continuous processes that provide the basis for the Committee's ability to report with confidence to Parliament in the SIRC Annual Report each September. Occasionally, a particular research project or study may fall wholly within a fiscal year, making it possible to establish discrete costs. More often, the Committee's research and monitoring activities will require assigned resources spanning more than one fiscal year, with reports, conclusions or recommendations flowing from the Committee on an extended timetable.

The Annual Report and special Committee reports to the Solicitor General usually require the use of resources over more than one fiscal year. Between 1985 and 1998-1999 SIRC managed its activities within the resource levels set in 1985. In 1999-2000 SIRC sought, and Treasury Board approved, an increase in reference levels to reflect actual and mostly non-discretionary expenditures, including major spending in such areas as information technology infrastructure required to handle classified information, and costs associated with the exercise of SIRC's quasi-judicial tribunal functions in dealing with a rising number of complaints. With the exception of some unanticipated operational expenses, no new resources have been directed to the review side of the organization.

Authoritative Independent Source of Information about CSIS

Context. A recent but revealing indicator of the usefulness of SIRC's Annual and other published reports, and of SIRC's work in general, is the interest displayed (the number of visits) to SIRC's web site. An older indicator is the demand for copies of the printed version of SIRC's Annual and other reports.

Outcomes. Public demand for information provided by the Committee indicates that SIRC may be achieving its objective of becoming the most trusted and authoritative independent source of information about CSIS' activities.

During fiscal 2001-2002, the SIRC website was visited 1,029,295. This compares to the 543,137 visits recorded in fiscal 2000-2001. Printed copies of the Committee's 2000-2001 Annual report were sent to 1,250 recipients. This represented a 17% decrease from the preceding year's requests. The Committee continues to encourage the use of its website for both the current annual report as well as the archive of all previous annual reports. If these developments continue, the trend would point to an increased reliance by Canadians on SIRC's website for news about the Committee's activities.

SIRC's redesigned website (http://www.sirc-csars.gc.ca) went on-line in September 2000, and may have contributed to the initial increase in visits to SIRC's website recorded in last year's report. The website was changed in order to bring information about the Committee's activities to a wider audience, and to make it easier to obtain information about the complaints and review programs. The effectiveness of the site in meeting the Committee's expectations and the public's needs is a dynamic process that receives the ongoing attention of SIRC Members and staff, and further changes will further be introduced over time.

Arms-Length, Objective Relationship with CSIS

Context.  It is essential for SIRC to maintain an arms-length, objective relationship with CSIS so that the Committee can offer the Service constructive criticism where issues or concerns are identified, and evluate whether CSIS is working in compliance with the law, policy or other applicable measurements. Public concern over the state's potential to intrude into everyday life is entirely valid. The public must be confident that the activities engaged in by intelligence agencies to protect the security of Canada are conducted within the law.

In this context, SIRC's relationship with CSIS has evolved into what the Committee describes as a healthy tension. Ongoing dialogue with CSIS staff ensures that the Committee's findings and recommendations are clearly communicated and that the Service has opportunities to provide its response to SIRC's reviews. Through these open and professional lines of communication, the Committee has made a practice of acknowledging any disagreement CSIS may have with SIRC in the preparation of both our classified reviews and annual reports.

In order to support this arms-length relationship, the Committee employs a number of tools to measure objectively CSIS's response to SIRC recommendations. The Committee tracks the degree to which CSIS adjusts its policies or practices to reflect SIRC's recommendations. Where the Committee identifies issues or concerns in the context of either a complaint case or research project, follow-up reviews may be conducted to measure the long-term impact of the Committee's recommendations on the activities of CSIS. In all cases, the Committee strives for objective, professional measures within the context of a relationship with CSIS that is founded on SIRC's duty to review their functions fairly and comprehensively.

Investigation of Complaints and Ministers' Reports

Context.  The Committee conducts investigations in relation to complaints made by any person with respect to any act or thing done by the Service (section 41 of the CSIS Act), complaints made by individuals who are denied a security clearance required by the Government of Canada (section 42 of the CSIS Act), reports made to the Committee pursuant to the Citizenship Act or the Immigration Act (Ministerial reports), as well as matters referred to the Committee pursuant to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

In the exercise of its statutory jurisdiction regarding complaints, the Committee has all the powers, rights and privileges of a superior court. Staff carry out a thorough investigation of the complaints. These investigations may lead to a hearing. Committee counsel, sometimes assisted by security-cleared outside counsel, may conduct pre-hearing meetings aimed at promoting an expeditious hearing confined to the issues; examine and cross-examine witnesses as required; and meet counsel for complainants to establish and agree on procedures. Committee counsel also provide legal advice to Committee Members on procedural and substantive matters throughout the decision-making process, and prepare summaries of evidence for the Committee's consideration. Complaints can be complex with a consequent flow of documents, transcripts, and Committee reports requiring significant administrative support activity.

Outcomes.  The Committee has found pre-hearing meetings, chaired by Committee counsel, to be a useful tool in increasing the efficiency of its hearings. This use of pre-hearing meetings parallels the increased emphasis on pre-trial procedures in the civil courts to streamline the litigation process. The Committee will continue to encourage the parties who come before it to participate in pre-hearing meetings, where appropriate.

The volume of complaints, referrals and Ministerial reports dealt with by the Committee from its inception in November 1984 until March 2002 is shown below.

SIRC Complaint Cases to March 31, 2002
Year General Complaints Security Clearance Citizenship Immigration Human Rights Total
Total 562 168 18 12 9 769
2001-02 42 2 0 0 1 45
2000-01 52 0 0 0 1 53
1999-00 47 5 2 0 1 55
1998-99 53 0 0 0 1 54
1997-98 30 1 - - - 31
1996-97 29 1 1 1 1 33
1995-96 37 1 1 - - 39
1994-95 53 1 - 1 3 58
1993-94 45 2 - - - 47
1992-93 44 3 - 1 - 48
1991-92 40 4 - - - 44
1990-91 37 23 - - - 60
1989-90 46 21 - - 2 69
1988-89 16 12 - 3 - 31
1987-88 33 2 1 3 - 39
1986-87 12 6 - 2 - 20
1985-86 17 85 12 1 1 116
1984-85 3 1 1 - - 5

The disposition of complaints over the past three fiscal years is set out below. Additional information regarding the resolution of individual complaints cases can be found in SIRC Annual Reports.

Disposition of Complaints
Description 1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002
Carried over 20 24 41
New 55 52 45
Total 75 76 86
Closed 51 35 69
Carried forward 24 41 17
Orders and Reports Arising from Complaints 4 3 16

Frequency with which Complaints and Report Case Decisions are Overturned or Changed

Context.  The Committee strives to ensure the confidence of all parties in the validity and fairness of the Committee's decisions or recommendations in complaints cases.

In the last fiscal year, no SIRC reports have been challenged in Federal Court.


The Committee's ongoing strategic priority is to maximize the effectiveness of the review process by improving research methods, personnel training and resource allocations. This, in turn, is designed to allow the Committee to audit more effectively CSIS activities, respond to unforeseen events and meet the demands created by the Service's expanding activities. All of these competing pressures and challenges must be addressed by a small staff experiencing growing demands on their skills and expertise. The Committee's primary strategic objective is to fulfill its statutory review functions and demonstrate its effectiveness to Parliament and the Canadian public.

In the complaints program, more pre-hearing meetings are being conducted by Committee staff to provide a forum to identify the central issues which will arise in hearings. Further, the assignment of additional staff to this program last year ensured that the Committee's strategic priority of dealing with complaints cases in a timely manner was realized.

Section IV: Other Information

Contact List

Security Intelligence Review Committee
P.O. Box 2430, Station "D"
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

Telephone: (613) 990-8441
Facsimile: (613) 990-5230
Internet: http://www.sirc-csars.gc.ca
E-Mail: info1@sirc-csars.gc.ca

Legislation Administered

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act

Section V:  Financial Performance

Table 1 - Summary of Voted Appropriations

Financial Requirements by Authority ($ thousands)

Total Department $2,325.00 $2,325.00 $2,036.00


Vote Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual
Security Intelligence Review
50 Operating expenditures $2,098.00 $2,098.00 $1,819.00
Capital expenditures - -
Grants and Contributions - -
Minister of SIRC - Salary and motor car allowance - -
Employee Benefits contributions $227.00 $227.00 $217.00
Table 2 - Comparison of Total Planned Spending to Actual Spending

Departmental Planned versus Actual Spending ($ thousands)

  Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual
Security Intelligence Review Committee
Personnel $1,363.00 $1,363.00 $1,258.00
Operating $962.00 $962.00 $778.00
Capital - - -
Grants and Contributions - - -
Total Gross Expenditures $2,325.00 $2,325.00 $2,036.00
Less: Respendable Revenues - - -
Total Net Expenditures $2,325.00 $2,325.00 $2,036.00
Other Revenues and Expenditures - - -
Non-respendable Revenues - - -
Cost of services provided by other departments - - -
Net Cost of the Program $2,325.00 $2,325.00 $2,036.00
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