CSIS is at the forefront of Canada's national security establishment, employing some of the country's most intelligent and capable men and women. The Service's role is to investigate threats, analyze information and produce intelligence. It then reports to, and advises, the Government of Canada to protect the country and its citizens. Key threats include terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, espionage, foreign interference and cyber-tampering affecting critical infrastructure. CSISprograms are proactive and pre-emptive.
Through its Security Screening Program, CSIS prevents non-Canadians who pose security concerns from entering Canada or receiving permanent resident status or citizenship. The Service also safeguards the confidential information of the Government of Canada from foreign governments and other entities that may present a risk.
However, countering terrorist violence is the top priority for CSIS. Terrorism, which has become a global phenomenon, is a very real threat to our national security. Terrorists and their supporters come from a variety of countries, cultures, political systems and socio-economic backgrounds. They include both highly educated elites and more humble "foot soldiers." Followers are recruited from around the world, including our own country. CSIS strives to prevent terrorist acts from being planned in Canada, from occurring on Canadian territory and from affecting Canadian citizens and assets abroad.
CSIS' proactive role complements law enforcement agencies such as police forces, which investigate crime and collect evidence to support prosecutions in courts of law.
CSIS activities and services can be grouped in the following categories:
Security clearance - Do you know where to go?
To obtain a security clearance, you may contact the following departments:
- If you are applying for a job with the Government of Canada and a government security clearance
is a condition of employment, contact the Human Resources representative of the hiring government
- If you are a general contractor and require a security clearance, call Public Works and
Government Services Canada at 613-948-4176, or call toll-free (weekdays from 8 a.m. until 4:30
p.m.) at 1-866-368-4646.
- For all immigration/refugee/visa-related issues, contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada at
CSIS' role in the security clearance process is to provide security screening on behalf of all federal
government departments and agencies (except for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). Once the security assessments
are completed, they are sent to the departments/agencies responsible which decide, based on the information made
available by CSIS, if a security clearance will be granted.
For information on the rights of current and prospective government employees and contractors regarding the
security screening process, consult the Government
Role of Other Departments and Agencies
While CSIS is at the forefront of Canada's national security system, several Canadian government departments
and agencies also provide services that, taken together, help to ensure the safety and protection of Canadians.
Key Federal Government Departments
Key departments of the Government of Canada involved in the Canadian security and intelligence community
include the following:
- Public Safety Canada: Provides
national leadership in assuring the viability and resilience of Canada's critical infrastructure and for
ensuring national civil emergency preparedness. Together with partners in criminal justice and security, the
department is also responsible for protecting the public and maintaining a just, peaceful and safe society.
Partner agencies include the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,
the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Firearms Centre, the Correctional Services of Canada and the
National Parole Board.
- Department of National Defence: Assesses foreign
political and military information, and scientific and technical information. It provides the government with
an around-the-clock intelligence watch on developments abroad that could affect Canada or Canadians. The
Canadian Forces also maintain at high readiness a counter-terrorism unit prepared to rescue hostages or
undertake other action in response to a counter-terrorist incident.
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada: Manages Canada's day-to-day
relations with the governments and people of other nations. The department leads the country's efforts in
developing effective international responses to security issues in forums such as the United Nations and the
G-8. Its security and intelligence responsibilities include helping protect Canadians and Canadian government
facilities abroad, supporting Canadians abroad who are victims of terrorism, managing such issues as the expulsion
of foreign diplomats from Canada for security reasons and can denying passports to those who represent a security
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada: Oversees the
federal government's immigration and citizenship policies and programs. As such, it helps to ensure that
immigrants, refugees, and visitors who come to Canada do not represent a risk. It has the authority to deny
access to this country to those coming from abroad, revoke Canadian citizenship, and deport people from
- Department of Justice Canada: Provides legal advice and
services to federal government departments and agencies. In CSIS' case, on-site legal counsels ensure the
legality of its security and intelligence activities. Senior Justice counsels also serve on various committees
that guide and coordinate the security and intelligence community's activities.
- Transport Canada: Sets and enforces security standards for
Canada's air, land, and water transportation systems, and directs the transportation industry to take
appropriate security measures to deal with threats.
Key Federal Government Agencies
Key agencies of the Government of Canada involved in the Canadian security and intelligence community include
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Enforces federal laws,
investigates criminal offences related to espionage and terrorism and collects and analyzes evidence to
support prosecutions in court.
- Communications Security Establishment: Provides the
government with foreign intelligence by collecting and analyzing information captured on foreign radio, radar,
and other electronic signals, and reporting its findings to the appropriate authorities. The CSE also helps to
ensure that the Canadian government's telecommunications are secure from interception, disruption,
manipulation, or sabotage.
- Canada Border Services Agency: Manages Canada's
borders by administering and enforcing the regulations that govern trade and travel as well as international
agreements and conventions. The agency provides the first line of defence in preventing inadmissible people,
such as terrorists, undeclared foreign Intelligence Officers, and criminals, from entering Canada. The agency
plays a key role in detecting attempts by foreigners to smuggle weapons/bomb elements (conventional or weapons
of mass destruction) into Canada.
- Privy Council Office: Coordinates
the Government of Canada's policies relating to the security and intelligence activities of all federal
departments and agencies, and promotes international intelligence relationships.
- National Security Advisor: Advises the Prime Minister on security matters and strengthens the capacity of
the Privy Council Office to develop and implement an integrated policy on national security and emergencies.
The Advisor supports the Security, Public Health, and Emergency Committee to Cabinet, and coordinates
integrated threat assessments and inter-agency cooperation among security organizations through the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre.
- Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada:
(FINTRAC) Receives, analyzes, assesses and discloses financial intelligence on suspected money laundering,
terrorist financing, and threats to the security of Canada.
- Canadian Air Transport Security Authority: Protects
the public by securing critical areas of the Canadian air transportation system.