Hundred forty-first edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: June 2009)

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Intelligence profile: Canada


Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south across an unfortified border. Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care and education services, as well as responding to separatist concerns in predominantly francophone Quebec. Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.


Name : Canada
Capital : Ottawa
Administrative divisions : 10 provinces; Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and 3 territories; Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon Territory.

Military & state security services

Canadian Forces:

Intelligence Agencies / Security:

Department of the solicitor general

The Department of the Solicitor General is a body within the Ministry of the Solicitor General which consists of the department and four other agencies: the RCMP, the CSIS, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), and the National Parole Board (NPB). The Department assists the minister by giving direction to policing, law enforcement, and national security. The ministry is responsible for the protection of Canadians.

Canadian Space Agency (CSA)

CSA has radar imagery capacity and a remote sensing system from it's RADARSATS.

Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC)

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was established in 1984 as an independent, external review body which reports to the Parliament of Canada on the performance of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)

The Canadian Parliament has given CSIS extraordinary powers to intrude on the privacy of individuals. SIRC ensures that these powers are used legally and appropriately, in order to protect Canadians' rights and freedoms. To do this, SIRC examines past operations of the Service and investigates complaints. Note that SIRC examines CSIS's performance on a retrospective basis, so it is not providing oversight of current CSIS activities.

The Deputy Director Operations, who reports to CSIS’s Director, is responsible for three groups:

Intelligence branches:

The SECURITY SCREENING BRANCH has two program streams: government screening and immigration screening.

The INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENTS BRANCH consolidates the key analytical function of the Service and centralizes its main intelligence reporting mechanisms. It develops strategic and operational analyses of current threats and emerging issues, and produces Intelligence Assessments, Threat and Risk Assessments and Perspectives.

The HUMAN SOURCES AND OPERATIONS SUPPORT BRANCH provides a range of support and coordination services including risk management and analytical expertise for operational activities across the Service. It is the policy centre in a number of areas including operational security, multilingual services and management of human sources. It also contains the Threat Management Centre, which provides 24/7 support to operational staff at headquarters and regional and Foreign Offices, and it provides support to the Service’s involvement in major special events such the upcoming 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SERVICES BRANCH develops and deploys technical tools and mechanisms to support the operations and investigations of CSIS’s other branches.

The INTEGRATED THREAT ASSESSMENT CENTRE (ITAC)produces assessments that warn the government about terrorist threats to Canada and to Canadian interests abroad. Once completed, ITAC’s threat assessments are distributed to domestic and foreign partners. Additionally, ITAC acts as a distribution hub for threat assessments produced by counterparts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Operations branches:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

The RCMP were originally known as the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP). Formed in 1873 and charged with the task of bringing law and order to the Northwest Territories which officially became part of Canada in 1870. After World War I the NWMP merged with the Dominion Police, which had patrolled eastern Canada, and they gave the national force a new name, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in recognition of its expanded national role.

The RCMP is Canada 's federal police service, providing law enforcement services in detachments across the country. The Drug Enforcement Program is only one of a number of other federal policing duties carried out by the RCMP. The National Central Bureau (Interpol Canada ) is also located at RCMP HQ. It forwards all enquiries received from Canadian law enforcement agencies to the relevant foreign Interpol branches.

The Force is divided into 13 divisions. Each division is managed by a Commanding Officer. Divisions roughly approximate provincial boundaries with their HQ located in respective provincial or territorial capitals (except Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver). Divisions have 52 sub-divisions. Air and Marine Services supply support to the divisions. The RCMP "Depot" Division training center is located in Regina, Saskatchewan, and the Canadian Police College is located in Ottawa, Ontario.

According to radio enthusiasts the RCMP have used HF radio for its communications n the past. As far as I know they do not utilize this kind of communications anymore. Dxers reported RCMP traffic on the following frequencies: 2788, 4765, 4776.5, 4785, 4798.5, 4812.5, 5445, 6792, 7780, 9200, 10390, 14620, 14817.5, 19130, 21785, 21807.5, 24110 kHz. Modes: encrypted RTTY and USB (voice)

Department Of National Defence

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces have a unique, unified management and command system. The 1971 report of the Review Group resulted in the merging of the Department, Canadian Forces Headquarters and the Defence Research Board into a single entity, the National Defence HQ.

The Director General Intelligence (J2/DG Int) is responsible for the production and dissemination of Defence Intelligence required by the Department and other government departments. This division operates the National Defence Intelligence Centre (NDIC) which monitors global events on a 24/7 basis and provides Canada 's only all-source indications and warning centre. The NDIC is located adjacent to the Operations Centre in NDHQ. J2/DG Int also directs the geographic support programme which provides the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence with maps and charts and geodetic products and services.

Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) was created in 1993 as Canada 's elite commando unit. It is responsible for anti-terrorist operations.

Communications Security Establishment (CSE)

The CSE, an agency of the Department of National Defence, is one of the main organizations that provide the government with foreign intelligence. It's SIGINT department analyzes and reports on intercepted foreign radio, radar and other electronic emissions and provides the government with this foreign intelligence. The CSE is also responsible for the security of federal telecommunications and electronic data processing. This area is commonly referred to as INFOSEC. The head of the CSE reports to the Minister of Defence and the PCO.

The Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System (CFSRS) supports CSE primarily in its signals intelligence collection and analysis roles. In addition, CSE has access to allied SIGINT through reciprocal sharing agreements.

Canada is a member of the secret "UKUSA Community" SIGINT alliance that traces its origins to the World War II. The member agencies are the CSE, the National Security Agency (USA), the Government Communications Headquarters (UK), the Defence Signals Directorate (Australia), and the Government Communications Security Bureau (New Zealand). SIGINT agencies from other countries share their information on a more or less limited bases. In addition to the UKUSA community agreements, Canada has bilateral SIGINT agreements with the United Kingdom and the United States (CANUSA agreement).

The Commissioner of CSE was created as an independent government office in 1996 to review the activities of the CSE.

Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC)

The CISC is an organization that provides the facilities to unite the criminal intelligence units of Canadian law enforcement agencies. CISC has its HQ in Ottawa and has nine Provincial Bureaux.

CISC member agencies fall into three categories.


All information used in this article is in public domain. We have quoted information from the following websites and documents:

# Advised reading

Brassey's International Intelligence Handbook 2003

Voice stations | Morse stations | Various modes
Military stations | Utlility round-up
Intelligence profile : Canada | Logs
Index | NS NL Home