Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner Visit

Published on 30 July 2018

The Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner (OCSEC), the Honourable Jean-Pierre Plouffe, recently met the Investigatory Powers Commissioner and his officials in London.

The purpose of the visit was to discuss Mr. Plouffe’s new role as the Intelligence Commissioner, under Canada’s Intelligence Commissioner Act contained in Bill C-59. This role will see him stop doing post facto reviews of Communications Security Establishment (CSE) activities and move to reviewing and approving, or not, authorisations and determinations made by Ministers with respect to certain activities of CSIS and CSE. For its part, the new review body of National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) will, among other things, be absorbing the current mandate of the Commissioner.

Both parties discussed and compared the Canadian and United Kingdom’s oversight regimes and judicial processes. Mr. Plouffe was briefed on the roles of the Judicial Commissioners and IPCO’s inspectors, and our progress in implementing the Investigatory Powers (IP) Act 2016. The visit comes as Canada is about to have the Senate study Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, which establishes the NSIRA, a new body that will be mandated to examine the lawfulness of all Canadian national security and intelligence activities. Bill C-59 will also establish the Intelligence Commissioner Act, of which the Honorable Plouffe will become the first Intelligence Commissioner.

 The Investigatory Powers Commissioner, The Rt Hon. Sir Adrian Fulford, said: “This was an extremely useful exchange of ideas and best practice. We have learnt a great deal from engaging with our oversight partners in other countries.”

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