Bill C-59, an Act Respecting National Security Matters: What It Does and Why It Matters
10 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 3, 2019
Forum Introduction to Special Edition of the Alberta Law Review on Bill C-59: An Act Respecting National Security Matters passed into law in June 2019.
It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most wide-reaching and important update to Canada’s national security legal framework and organizational structure since at least 1984, when the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act hived off the security and intelligence functions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to create the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS). Among other things, the ATA 2017 created an entirely new oversight body in the form of the Intelligence Commissioner (IC), radically redesigned intelligence review, reformed and added new lines of operations for the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) including brand-new offensive and defensive cyber authorities, and made substantial changes to the breadth and scope of the information CSIS can collect. These changes will assuredly be both vital to the protection of Canadian national security and controversial with regards to the civil liberties of Canadians in the years to come.
Keywords: national security, Canada, intelligence, law enforcement, cyber, free speech, privacy
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