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Communications Security Establishment Act (S.C. 2019, c. 13, s. 76)

Act current to 2021-10-07 and last amended on 2019-08-01. Previous Versions

Communications Security Establishment Act

S.C. 2019, c. 13, s. 76

Assented to 2019-06-21

An Act to establish the Communications Security Establishment

[Enacted by section 76 of chapter 13 of the Statutes of Canada, 2019, in force August 1, 2019, see SI/2019-70.]

Whereas the protection of Canada’s national security and of the security of Canadians is a fundamental responsibility of the Government of Canada;

Whereas it is essential, to discharge that responsibility, for Canada to have a communications security establishment;

And whereas it is important that the communications security establishment carry out its activities in accordance with the rule of law and in a manner that respects the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Communications Security Establishment Act.


Marginal note:Definitions

 The following definitions apply in this Act.


Canadian means a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or a corporation incorporated or continued under the laws of Canada or a province. (Canadien)


Chief means the Chief of the Establishment appointed under section 8. (chef)


Commissioner means the Intelligence Commissioner appointed under subsection 4(1) of the Intelligence Commissioner Act. (commissaire)


entity means a person, group, trust, partnership or fund or an unincorporated association or organization and includes a state or a political subdivision or agency of a state. (entité)


Establishment means the Communications Security Establishment established under section 5. (Centre)

federal institution

federal institution includes any of the following institutions of Parliament or the Government of Canada:

  • (a) the Senate;

  • (b) the House of Commons;

  • (c) the Library of Parliament;

  • (d) the office of the Senate Ethics Officer, the office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, the Parliamentary Protective Service and the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer;

  • (e) any federal court;

  • (f) any board, commission, council, other body or other office established to perform a governmental function by or under an Act of Parliament, or by or under the authority of the Governor in Council;

  • (g) a department as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act;

  • (h) a Crown corporation established by or under an Act of Parliament; and

  • (i) any other body that is specified by an Act of Parliament to be an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada or to be subject to the direction of the Governor in Council or a federal minister. (institutions fédérales)

foreign intelligence

foreign intelligence means information or intelligence about the capabilities, intentions or activities of a foreign individual, state, organization or terrorist group, as they relate to international affairs, defence or security. (renseignement étranger)

global information infrastructure

global information infrastructure includes electromagnetic emissions, any equipment producing such emissions, communications systems, information technology systems and networks, and any data or technical information carried on, contained in or relating to those emissions, that equipment, those systems or those networks. (infrastructure mondiale de l’information)


Minister means the Minister of National Defence or, if another federal minister is designated under section 4, that minister. (ministre)

publicly available information

publicly available information means information that has been published or broadcast for public consumption, is accessible to the public on the global information infrastructure or otherwise or is available to the public on request, by subscription or by purchase. It does not include information in respect of which a Canadian or a person in Canada has a reasonable expectation of privacy. (information accessible au public)

Review Agency

Review Agency means the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency established under section 3 of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act. (Office de surveillance)

terrorist group

terrorist group has the same meaning as in subsection 83.01(1) of the Criminal Code. (groupe terroriste)


unselected, with respect to information, means that the information is acquired, for technical or operational reasons, without the use of terms or criteria to identify information of foreign intelligence interest. (non sélectionnée)


Marginal note:Principle

 It is in the public interest to ensure that the Establishment may effectively carry out its mandate in accordance with the rule of law and, to that end, to expressly recognize in law a justification for persons who are authorized to carry out activities under this Act to, in the course of carrying out those activities, commit acts or omissions that would otherwise constitute offences.

Designation of Minister

Marginal note:Minister

 The Governor in Council may, by order, designate any federal minister to be the Minister referred to in this Act.

Communications Security Establishment

Establishment and Organization

Marginal note:Establishment established

 The Communications Security Establishment is established.

Marginal note:Minister is responsible

 The Minister is responsible for the Establishment.

Marginal note:Head office

  •  (1) The head office of the Establishment is to be in the National Capital Region described in the schedule to the National Capital Act.

  • Marginal note:Other offices

    (2) The Chief may, with the approval of the Minister, establish other offices elsewhere in Canada.

Chief of the Communications Security Establishment

Marginal note:Appointment

  •  (1) The Governor in Council must appoint a Chief of the Communications Security Establishment to hold office during pleasure for a term not exceeding five years.

  • Marginal note:Reappointment

    (2) The Chief is eligible to be reappointed at the end of a term of office for a further term not exceeding five years.

  • Marginal note:Salary and expenses

    (3) The Chief is to be paid the salary that is fixed by the Governor in Council and is entitled to payments for reasonable travel and living expenses incurred in the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties and functions while absent from his or her ordinary place of work.

  • Marginal note:Compensation

    (4) The Chief is deemed to be an employee for the purposes of the Government Employees Compensation Act and to be employed in the federal public administration for the purposes of any regulations made under section 9 of the Aeronautics Act.

  • Marginal note:Absence, incapacity or vacancy

    (5) If the Chief is absent or incapacitated or the office of Chief is vacant, the Minister may appoint another person to act as Chief, but must not appoint a person for a term of more than 90 days without the approval of the Governor in Council.

Marginal note:Chief’s powers, duties and functions

  •  (1) The Chief, under the direction of the Minister, has the management and control of the Establishment and all matters relating to it.

  • Marginal note:Rank of deputy head

    (2) The Chief has the rank and all the powers of a deputy head of a department.

  • Marginal note:Delegation by Chief

    (3) The Chief may delegate to any person any power, duty or function conferred on the Chief under this Act, except the power to delegate under this subsection.

Marginal note:Establishment’s powers, duties and functions

 The powers, duties and functions of the Establishment may be exercised or performed by any person who is appointed to serve in the Establishment in a capacity appropriate to the exercise of the power or the performance of the duty or function.

Marginal note:Directions by Minister

  •  (1) The Minister may issue written directions to the Chief respecting the performance of the Chief’s duties and functions.

  • Marginal note:Statutory Instruments Act

    (2) Directions issued under subsection (1) are not statutory instruments within the meaning of the Statutory Instruments Act.

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