Annex E: Role and Mandate of the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC)

The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) is Canada's national cryptologic agency. Unique within Canada's security and intelligence community, CSEC employs code-makers and code-breakers to provide the Government of Canada with information technology security and foreign intelligence services. CSEC also provides technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies.

CSEC's foreign intelligence products and services support government decision-making in the fields of national security, national defence and foreign policy. CSEC's signals intelligence activities relate exclusively to foreign intelligence and are directed by the Government of Canada's intelligence priorities.

CSEC's information technology security products and services enable its clients (government departments and agencies) to effectively secure their electronic information systems and networks. CSEC also conducts research and development on behalf of the Government of Canada in fields related to communications security.

CSEC has a three-part mandate under subsection 273.64(1) of the National Defence Act. These are known as parts (a), (b) and (c) of its mandate:

(a)  to acquire and use information from the global information infrastructure for the purpose of providing foreign intelligence, in accordance with Government of Canada intelligence priorities;

(b)  to provide advice, guidance and services to help ensure the protection of electronic information and of information infrastructures of importance to the Government of Canada; and

(c)  to provide technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies in the performance of their lawful duties.

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