Public Safety Canada
October 22, 2007 15:00 ET
The Government of Canada Introduces Legislation to Improve Security Certificate Process
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2007) - The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, today tabled new legislation that will improve the security certificate process, in keeping with the February 2007 Supreme Court ruling. The proposed legislation, Bill C-3, demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to defend Canadian public safety and national security, and to protect the rights and freedoms of all people in Canada.
"This Government has moved swiftly to develop and table this legislation. We believe that security certificates remain to be an important tool to protect Canada from terrorist threats, but also that the process should protect rights and freedoms in Canada," said Minister Day. "That's why the proposed changes include introducing a special advocate to represent and protect the interests of individuals involved in security certificates."
In order to fulfill their responsibility, special advocates would challenge the Government's claim that the information cannot be disclosed for reasons of national security or public safety. The special advocate would also challenge the relevance, sufficiency and weight of the information.
In its February 2007 decision, the Supreme Court recognized the Government's responsibility for protecting Canada from terrorists and the use of security certificates, regulated in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), as a means of achieving this objective. As well, the Supreme Court gave Parliament one year to address its ruling regarding the process for using confidential information in court proceedings.
This legislation also addresses the Supreme Court's decision by providing foreign nationals with the same detention review rights as permanent residents. Any person subject to a security certificate will be entitled to an initial detention review within 48-hours. A Federal Court judge will conduct the review. This may be followed by ongoing reviews at six-month intervals thereafter.
Bill C-3 also takes into account recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committees that examined the security certificate process. The bill must pass through the legislative process before it can be implemented. In keeping with the Supreme Court decision, the current security certificate process will remain in place until February 23, 2008.
Security certificates have been used since 1978 in order to protect Canadians against threats to their safety and security, where information cannot be disclosed publicly for national security reasons.
An online version of the legislation will be available at www.parl.gc.ca.