Department of Justice and its Role in National Security

The Department of Justice supports the efforts of the Minister (as the Minister of Justice and as the Attorney General of Canada) and the Government in relation to national security. Its roles include:

  • Providing in-house legal services to other departments and agencies working in the field of national security, which includes giving consistent and effective strategic legal advice on national security law issues.
  • Providing specialized constitutional, administrative, access to information, privacy, human rights and international legal advice on national security issues.
  • Providing advice, as well as acting as independent counsel, on cases involving listed terrorist entities under the Criminal Code.
  • Coordinating and conducting litigation involving the Government of Canada , including with respect to national security issues.
  • Supporting the Attorney General of Canada role in protecting information when there are legal proceedings that could injure national security, national defence or international relations under section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act.
  • Reviewing and co-ordinating extradition and mutual legal assistance requests (including those that relate to security and terrorism matters) and helping Canadian and foreign authorities gather evidence for criminal cases, or obtain the extradition of fugitives.
  • Providing policy advice and assisting in the development, drafting and implementation of domestic legislative, regulatory or other measures to protect national security and to combat terrorism, in relation to the legislative responsibilities of the Minister of Justice, and sometimes in relation to the legislative responsibilities of other Ministers.
  • Assisting in the development and negotiation of international instruments related to the prevention and suppression of terrorism, and participating in other international efforts in the fight against terrorism, including the sharing of best practices and reporting, and providing international technical assistance in these areas.
  • Providing contribution funding to the provinces to reimburse their legal aid expenses for economically disadvantaged persons charged under federal Anti-terrorism legislation.
  • Supporting the Minister of Justice’s role under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by managing the Special Advocates Program.
  • Providing ongoing support to the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security.

The Department of Justice works with many other federal departments and agencies involved in national security issues.

Departments and Agencies Involved in National Security Matters

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

The CBSA is a federal agency whose responsibilities include administering legislation that governs the admissibility of people and goods into and out of Canada; detaining people who may pose a threat to Canada; removing people who are inadmissible to Canada (including those involved in terrorism, organized crime, war crimes or crimes against humanity); administering a fair and impartial redress mechanism; and promoting Canadian interests in various international forums and with international organizations.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Within the CRA, the Charities Directorate has a regulatory responsibility to identify problems and to take measures to protect and maintain public confidence in the charitable sector. The CRA decides whether organizations should be registered as charities, to ensure that the tax benefits reserved for Canada’s charities are not used to provide support to terrorism in the guise of charity.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)

CSIS plays a leading role in protecting the national security interests of Canada by investigating and reporting threats to the security of Canada. Guided by the rule of law and the need to protect human rights, CSIS works within Canada’s integrated national security framework to provide advice to the Government of Canada on these threats.

Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC)

The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) is Canada’s national cryptologic agency. It provides the Government of Canada with two key services: foreign signals intelligence in support of defence and foreign policy, and the protection of electronic information and communication.

Department of Finance

The Department of Finance plays an important role in managing Canada’s activities in a number of international organizations that work to combat terrorism and terrorist financing, such as the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)

FINTRAC is Canada’s financial intelligence unit, a specialized agency created to collect, analyze and disclose financial information and intelligence on suspected money laundering and terrorist financing. Created in July 2000, the Centre is an integral part of Canada’s engagement in the global fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

Global Affairs Canada

Global Affairs Canada conducts diplomatic and consular relations, inter-governmental consultations and international negotiations on behalf of Canada; administers the foreign service of Canada; and helps develop international law. It is involved in the negotiation and development of international instruments that shape Canada’s response to the terrorist threat.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

IRCC is responsible for issuing and administering deportation orders, based on information provided by security agencies. People who are convicted of an offence in Canada may be subject to deportation depending on their status in Canada, the nature of the offence and the length of their sentence. The deportation is governed by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

National Defence (DND / CF)

The Defence Portfolio comprises the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Forces and a number of related organizations, which are the collective responsibility of the Minister of National Defence. The diverse elements of the Defence Portfolio provide the core services and capabilities required to defend Canada and Canadian interests.

Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)

As soon as an entity is listed in Canada as collaborating with terrorists, OSFI immediately informs Canadian financial institutions to freeze its assets.

Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC)

The PPSC is responsible for prosecutions on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada. The PPSC was created by the Director of Public Prosecutions Act on December 12, 2006. It is independent of the Department of Justice and reports to Parliament through the Attorney General of Canada.

Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada is responsible for policy development and advice to the Minister of Public Safety on matters of national security and is involved in the following initiatives, programs and files:

  • independent advice and support to the Minister of Public Safety on matters of national security;
  • Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security - a key element of the National Security Policy that helps inform policy-makers about the impact of national security matters on Canada’s diverse society;
  • listed entities - a list of “entities” is created by the government under the Criminal Code, thereby publicly identifying a group or individual as having knowingly carried out a terrorist activity or having knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with such a group or individual;
  • security certificates - the security certificate process is an immigration proceeding for removing non-Canadians who pose a threat to Canada’s national security.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

The RCMP is the Canadian national police service and an agency of the Ministry of Public Safety Canada. The RCMP has primary responsibility for national security law enforcement across Canada to reduce risk of terrorism at, within and beyond Canada’s borders.

Transport Canada

Transport Canada is responsible for developing regulations and national standards, as well as for monitoring, testing, inspections and subsidy programs which contribute to safety and security in the aviation, marine, rail and road modes of transport. Transport Canada administers the delivery of aircraft services to government and other transportation bodies; develops and enforces regulations and standards under federal jurisdiction in order to protect public safety in the transportation of dangerous goods and prevent unlawful interference in the aviation, marine and railway modes of transport.

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