The Commissioner's Office
I continue to be supported in my work by a full-time staff of eight people, together with a number of subject matter experts who make themselves available, as required, under contract.
Keeping sufficiently current with technology to support my review of CSEC's activities is always a challenge. It was facilitated this year by CSEC itself. In the fall of 2007, CSEC opened its doors to members of my staff who attended two courses for CSEC employees, one respecting information technology security, and another course covering foreign intelligence.
In May 2007, I addressed a meeting of the Advisory Council on National Security that was held in Ottawa. The Advisory Council was created in April 2004 as a feature of the National Security Policy. It is made up of individuals from outside the government whose function is to provide advice on security matters.
Also in May, my office hosted a meeting of the Review Agencies Forum, which brings together the staff members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the Office of the Inspector General of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Commission for Public Complaints against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and my own office. The Forum provides an opportunity for review analysts to compare best practices and discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. In this regard, my office's review methodology initiative was discussed at length.
In June 2007, I had the pleasure of introducing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at the International Conference on the Administration of Justice and National Security in Democracies, held in Ottawa. The Conference, which was jointly sponsored by the Federal Court of Canada and the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at Carleton University, also provided me with an opportunity to renew my contacts with colleagues from other countries, some of whom I had met at the last International Intelligence Review Agencies Conference (IIRAC) in South Africa in October 2006.
Also in June, I was represented by the Executive Director at an international conference on Accountability of Intelligence and Security Agencies and Human Rights, held in The Hague under the auspices of the Dutch Review Committee on the Intelligence and Security Services and the Faculty of Law of Radboud University, Nijmegen. In September, I was represented by the Director of Operations at the annual conference of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies in Calgary, where participants explored the many challenges facing the security and intelligence community.
Also in September, I attended a two-day conference entitled Protecting Security and Human Rights: The Case for Migration in Canada and sponsored by the Institute for Research in Public Policy.
All these initiatives demonstrate increasing interest, in Canada and abroad, in security and intelligence matters and their many dimensions.
Since its creation in 1996 by Order in Council pursuant to Part II of the Inquiries Act, the Office of the CSE Commissioner has been funded by the Department of National Defence, but has received administrative and other support from the Privy Council Office.
Over the fall months, a decision was taken that the long-standing relationship with the Privy Council Office would be severed, and that the administrative and other support activities for my office would be taken over by National Defence. I view this change in a positive light. I would be remiss, however, if I failed to take note of the outstanding help and support provided by the staff of the Privy Council Office over the last twelve years. Thank you from all of us.
In the interest of providing information about OCSEC's work, my office hosts a website (www.ocsec-bccst.gc.ca) that describes our mandate and activities. In fiscal year 2007-2008, there were over 98,000 visits to the site, including visitors from approximately 40 countries outside North America.
In 2007-2008, my office's expenditures were $1,220,999, which was well within budget for the period. Annex C to this report provides a summary of 2007-2008 expenditures.
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