Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


CSIS, RCMP, An Act Respecting National Security Matters, CSE, Communications Security Establishment Act


Canada is about to join the ranks of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea; countries with a declared policy and authorized program of state-sponsored cyber attacks. In the summer of 2017, the Liberal Government introduced Bill C-59 An Act 2 Respecting National Security Matters. The bill, if passed, represents the most significant overhaul to Canadian national security institutions since the establishment of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) as a separate organization from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1984. One component of this sweeping reform is the introduction of The Communications Security Establishment Act (CSE Act or the Act). Through the passage of this Act, Canada’s signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE or the Establishment) will, for the first time, be constituted under its own legislation. The CSE Act institutes greater oversight and review requirements for this super secret agency, while also dramatically expanding the Establishment’s current tripartite mandate to include defensive cyber operations, active cyber operations, and the provision of technical and operational assistance to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).