Action Plan of the Department of Justice and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to Address Practices in Warrant Matters before the Federal Court of Canada

Having received extensive advice in the form of reports from Murray Segal and John Sims, Q.C., the Department of Justice and the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service have taken a number of measures to improve their practices in applying for warrants under s. 21 of the CSIS Act in the Federal Court. Some changes have already been implemented, some are in the process of being implemented, and others will be implemented in the near future. Highlights of the measures taken are summarized below, and organized according to six broad themes: accountability, governance, scanning, responsiveness, training and facilitating the work of the Court.

Accountability

CSIS and the DOJ is clarifying and strengthening accountabilities for  the senior officials responsible for the warrant process

CSIS has revised its procedures on the reporting of instances of operational non-compliance with court-issued warrants, and will establish a position of Chief Compliance Officer

CSIS will embed compliance officers in high risk areas of its operation, such as the warrant process

Governance

DOJ and CSIS have publicly issued a joint policy on fulfillment of the duty of candour in ex parte national security proceedings

CSIS is implementing recommendations on process governance from the recent review of the Service’s business systems pertaining to information acquired under warrants

DOJ will enhance the role of reviewing counsel in the warrant application process, to ensure greater scrutiny before warrants are submitted to the Court

Scanning

CSIS is incorporating a step for legal assessment (as it relates to warrant applications) in its project management process

CSIS and DOJ are carrying out a review of all techniques currently used in the execution of warrants

Responsiveness

DOJ is setting up processes to track concerns and questions raised informally and formally by designated judges of the Court, and for reporting to the Court on these questions

CSIS is setting up processes to facilitate prompt reporting to the Court on issues arising from the execution of Federal Court warrants

Training

CSIS and DOJ have engaged in training on the duty of candour in ex parte proceedings, and will continue to conduct training on this and related subjects

DOJ will facilitate secondments, mentoring and exchanges of personnel to augment exposure to legal practitioners with relevant backgrounds

CSIS will train affiants on warrant applications and the warrant process generally

Facilitating the work of the Court

CSIS will provide information sessions to the Court on new technologies that may affect the issuance and execution of warrants

DOJ counsel will recommend to the Court appointment of amicus curiae in appropriate cases

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