Canadian Security Magazine

Some facts about CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, amid claims of sexual assault, harassment

The Canadian Press   

News CSIS

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service says it’s conducting a workplace assessment of its British Columbia office where a group of officers said they were subjected to sexual assault and harassment. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday their allegations were “devastating,” and his entire government was following up “very directly” on the issues raised by the whistleblowers in an investigation published by The Canadian Press.

Here’s a look at Canada’s spy agency:

  • The duties of CSIS are to investigate threats to Canada’s security, report them to government, and take measures to reduce any risk they pose. It also briefs officials, collects foreign intelligence and does security assessments for immigration and other purposes, including when someone requires access to classified information.
  • The agency had more than 3,200 employees in 2020, according to its website. Last year, it said 48 per cent of staff were women and 20 per cent were members of racialized groups.
  • It says in its 2022 public report that it created more than 2,500 “intelligence products” and received about 500,000 referrals or requests for security screening.
  • It says it gave 92 briefings to elected officials at municipal, provincial and federal levels.
  • The agency’s code of conduct says it is “committed to providing a healthy and respectful workplace that is free of harassment, discrimination and reprisal, to ensure the health, safety and well-being of employees at all levels.”
  • The CSIS Act prohibits disclosing the identity of a covert officer, punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • David Vigneault has been Director of CSIS since 2017.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2023.

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