Watchful Eyes: National Security Review and Oversight in Canada

17 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2019

See all articles by Leah West

Leah West

Carleton University - Norman Paterson School of International Affairs; University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

For almost two decades, the reach of Canada’s intelligence and security community continued to expand in this vein without any significant enhancement to the review bodies that serve as a check on its power. Until 2019, only the RCMP, CSIS and CSE were subject to regular national security review, while other organizations like CBSA, DND, and DFAIT underwent sporadic review by commission of inquiries established to investigate catastrophic failures in the system; commissions which consistently identified Canada’s siloed approach to national security review as a priority for reform.

This chapter begins by setting out the definition of review and oversight, followed by the history of Canada’s review bodies. It then details the dramatic remodelling of review and oversight in Canada and describes the structure, mandates and resources of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), the National Security Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA), and the office of the Intelligence Commissioner (IC). It is too early to identify the impacts these reforms will have on Canada’s intelligence and security community thus, this Chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the factors that could impact their success.

Keywords: national security, oversight, intelligence, review bodies

Suggested Citation

West, Leah, Watchful Eyes: National Security Review and Oversight in Canada (March 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3449183 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3449183

Leah West (Contact Author)

Carleton University - Norman Paterson School of International Affairs ( email )

1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law ( email )

Falconer Hall
84 Queens Part
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

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