Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

December 06, 2009 12:42 ET

National Security and Its Application to the Canada Evidence Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 6, 2009) - A recent media story incorrectly described the application of national security concerns to documents released under the Canada Evidence Act.

The notion of impact on national security is defined according to the three-part test established by the Federal Court of Appeal in the case of Ribic v. Canada (Attorney General)(2003)185 C.C.C. (3d) 129 (F.C.A.).

Government agencies identify sensitive information by having their experts vet the relevant documents to identify national security concerns. Officials from the Department of Justice National Security Group then assess their submissions.

Officials apply the same test as would the Federal Court:

1. First, the officials must determine whether the information sought to be disclosed is relevant or not to the litigation. If not, it is not necessary to proceed any further.

2. Second, the officials must determine whether the disclosure of the information would be injurious to international relations, national defence or national security.

3. Third, if the officials conclude that the disclosure of the information would result in injury, they must determine whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs in importance the public interest in non-disclosure.

The Department of Justice must balance the claim of injury that may be caused by the release of the information against the public interest of disclosing the information.

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Justice
    Pamela Stephens
    Press Secretary
    613-992-4621
    or
    Department of Justice
    Media Relations
    613-957-4207
    www.canada.justice.gc.ca