Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC)
Comité de surveillance des activités de renseignement de sécurité
The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) is an independent review agency which guards against any infringement upon human rights and freedoms by CSIS. SIRC was created by Parliament in the CSIS Act.
SIRC is composed of between three and five Privy Councillors who are not members of the House of Commons or the Senate. SIRC members are appointed by the Governor in Council. Prior to making these appointments, the Prime Minister consults the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of any party that has at least 12 members in the House of Commons. In 1995-96, SIRC had a budget of $1.4 million and the equivalent of 14 full-time staff.
The Committee's responsibilities are extensive.
First, SIRC reviews the Service's performance of duties and functions, especially with reference to the Director's reports to the Solicitor General, the Inspector General's certificates, and the directions of the Solicitor General to the Director.
Second, SIRC investigates the complaint of any person with respect to any act performed by the Service. The Committee also investigates complaints from those individuals denied security clearances in the cases of public service employment, or in the supply of goods or services to the government of Canada. In addition, SIRC receives reports concerning immigration applications and may receive reports concerning citizenship applications which have been rejected on security or criminal grounds.
Commensurate with these responsibilities, SIRC has been granted special powers. The Committee has access to all information under the Service's control, with the exception of Cabinet confidences, as does the Inspector General. SIRC has the authority to direct the Inspector General to examine specific activities. It may also conduct such investigations utilizing its own staff.
The analyses by SIRC of the Service's performance are provided to the Solicitor General on an ongoing basis. In addition, the Committee is required to produce an annual report which is presented to the Solicitor General for tabling in Parliament.
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