Access to Information and Privacy Section

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The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Section administers the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act on behalf of the Service and serves as the centre of expertise in those areas. The ATIP Section processes formal requests under the Acts, responds to consultations received from other government institutions and handles complaints lodged with the Information and Privacy Commissioners. The ATIP Section also promotes awareness and provides training with respect to the Acts, and generally supports the Service in meeting its commitments concerning greater openness and transparency. We invite you to consult the CSIS Info Source Chapter to view all of the CSIS record holdings.

The Privacy Act

The purpose of the Privacy Act is to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information. It also governs the federal government’s collection, retention, use and disclosure of that information, providing individuals (including those in Canada who are not permanent residents or citizens) with a right of access to their personal information.

There are no costs associated with the processing of Privacy Act requests. Requests made under this legislation are free of charge.

Who can make a request under the Privacy Act?

  • Every individual who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident and any person present in Canada, is entitled to make a Privacy Act request.

In the event that you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living outside of the country, please provide with your application the appropriate documentation as proof of citizenship. Copies of your birth certificate or passport are acceptable.

Note: If you are not entitled to make a request under the Privacy Act, you may use a third party or a representative who can file a request under the Access to Information Act for your personal information. A written consent authorizing CSIS to disclose your personal information to your representative should accompany the request.

How to submit a Privacy Act request

Subsection 13(2) of the Privacy Act states that a request for access to personal information shall be made in writing to the government institution that has control of the information. The request should provide sufficiently specific information on the location and nature of the records in order for the institution to be able to retrieve the information in question.

For CSIS to process a Privacy Act request, we require the following information:

  • full name;
  • date of birth (for identification purposes only);
  • the Personal Information Bank(s) required to be searched (found in Info Source);
  • a return address to send the information to; and
  • an original signature (we are unable to process requests that are faxed or e-mailed as they do not contain an original signature).

You may either submit your request on the Treasury Board Secretariat prescribed request form or by writing a letter. Please include any details that could assist us in locating the information. In the absence of the prescribed form, you must mention that you are requesting information pursuant to the Privacy Act and that you are a Canadian citizen/permanent resident or are physically in Canada. Request should be mailed to:

CSIS Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
P.O. Box 9732 Station T
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 4G4

Note: The personal information banks may be identified by bank name or number. For more information on the submission of a Privacy Act request, please consult the Treasury Board Secretariat publication Info Source.

Online Request

Use the ATIP Online Request service for a faster, easier and more convenient way to submit a request for personal information.

The Access to Information Act

The Access to Information Act provides Canadian citizens, permanent residents, individuals or corporations present in Canada the right to request access to records that are under the control of federal government institutions regardless of their format. While the Act provides a right to seek access to existing records, it does not make provisions for institutions to create records or to answer specific questions in response to a request. There is an initial $5.00 processing fee.

Who is entitled to make a request under the Access to Information Act?

  • Every individual who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident and a person present in Canada, as well as businesses and corporations within the country are permitted to make an Access to Information Act request.

If you do not meet the admissibility criteria when making your request, you may use a third party or representative who can make the request. If the request is for personal information, a written consent to disclose your personal information to your representative should be provided along with the request.

In the event that you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living outside of the country, please provide with your application the appropriate documentation as proof of citizenship. Photocopies of your birth certificate or passport are acceptable.

How to submit an Access to Information Act request

To make an Access to Information Act request, you may either submit your request on the Treasury Board Secretariat prescribed request form or you may send a written request describing the records you are seeking and any relevant details necessary to help us find them. In the absence of the prescribed form, you must mention that the request is made pursuant to the Access to Information Act and that you have a right of access by virtue of your Canadian citizenship/permanent resident, or because you are physically in Canada. Request should be mailed to:

CSIS Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
P.O. Box 9732 Station T
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 4G4

For CSIS to process an Access to Information Act request, we require the following:

  • All requests must be made in writing;
  • Although we do not need an original signature on an Access to Information Act request, there is an application fee of $5.00 payable before work is started;
  • Payment can be made by cheque ormoney order to “The Receiver General of Canada”;
  • We do not accept credit cards; and
  • If you are requesting personal information that is not your own, you should include a duly signed consent form from the concerned individual to disclose his/her personal information to you.

Please provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee of the institution with a reasonable effort to identify the record.

Online Request

Use the ATIP Online Request service for a faster, easier and more convenient way to submit an Access to information Act request.

Tips in filling a request

Because of the costs associated with the processing of Access to Information Act requests, we strongly advise that you be as specific as possible when describing the records you want so that we may locate and process them as quickly as possible. A cost-effective request is focused on specific records, e.g., a memorandum or a briefing note on a given topic, that was generated within a given time period.

The cost and time of processing a request can be significantly reduced by eliminating some or all of the following records from the ambit of your request:

  • Draft documents;
  • Duplicates;
  • E-mails;
  • French records if they exist in an English format;
  • Documents which originate from another government institution; and
  • Portions of documents that have no relevancy to the subject of the request.

Note: The processing of an ambiguous request will not begin until the request has been clarified. Ensure that you provide a telephone number where we can reach you during the day or an e-mail address to permit us to communicate with you if need be.

Principles for assisting applicants

In processing your access request under the Access to Information Act / Privacy Act, we will:

  • Process your request without regard to your identity.
  • Offer reasonable assistance throughout the request process.
  • Provide information on the Access to Information Act / Privacy Act, including information on the processing of your request and you right to complain to the Information Commissioner of Canada / Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
  • Inform you as appropriate and without undue delay when your request needs to be clarified.
  • Make every reasonable effort to locate and retrieve the requested records under the control of the government institution.
  • Apply limited and specific exemptions to the requested records.
  • Provide accurate and complete responses.
  • Provide timely access to the requested information.
  • Provide records in format and official language requested, as appropriate.
  • Provide an appropriate location within the government institution to examine the requested information.

How do I file a complaint

Applicants who are not satisfied with the results of an Access to Information Act or Privacy Act request have the right to file a complaint with:

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (Access to Information Act)
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Québec
K1A 1H3
Toll-free: 1-800-267-0441
Phone: (819) 994-1768
Fax: (819) 994-1768

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (Privacy Act)
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Québec
K1A 1H3
Toll-free: 1-800-282-1376
Phone: (819) 994-5444
Fax: (819) 994-5424
TTY: (819) 994-6591

Hours of service: Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time.

You may wish to contact us before doing so as we may be able to rectify the situation or may be able to more clearly explain why we could not provide the information to you.

How to reach us

Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
P.O. Box 9732 Station T
Ottawa, Ontario  K1G 4G4
Toll Free: 1-877-995-9903
Phone: (613) 231-0107  
Fax: (613) 842-1271
Email: ATIP-AIPRP@smtp.gc.ca

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