2017-2018 Departmental Plan
- PDF Format (688.9K)
- Commissioner's message
- Plans at a glance
- Raison d'être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do
- Operating context: conditions affecting our work
- Key risks: things that could affect our ability to achieve our plans and results
- Planned results: what we want to achieve this year and beyond
- Spending and human resources
- Supplementary information
- Appendix: definitions
I am pleased to submit the 2017–18 Departmental PlanNote 1 for the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner.
The mandate of the Commissioner remains constant: under section 273.63 of the National Defence Act to review the activities of Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to determine whether they comply with the law; to undertake any investigation the Commissioner deems necessary in response to a written complaint about CSE; and to inform the Minister of National Defence and the Attorney General of Canada of any CSE activities that the Commissioner believes may not be in compliance with the law. The National Defence Act (subsection 273.65(8)) also requires the Commissioner to review CSE activities under a ministerial authorization to ensure they are authorized and report to the Minister. In order to effectively discharge this mandate, the office will continue to plan and perform rigorous, in-depth reviews of the activities of CSE for compliance with the law and for safeguarding the privacy of Canadians. The office will also continue, within the limits of the Security of Information Act, to communicate as much as possible about the operations of the office, the results of its reviews and the impact of recommendations on CSE.
The security and intelligence environment in which the office operates is undergoing significant pressure and change. Bill C-22, an Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians is in process through Parliament as of the writing of this report. Once the committee is established, the office will work with it and its secretariat as well as with the existing expert review bodies to establish a strong complementary and comprehensive framework for accountability of security and intelligence activities and in so doing enhance transparency and public trust.
In addition to Bill C-22, about which I appeared before a House of Commons Committee, I have also appeared before another House of Commons Committee examining the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act (SCISA). In the year ahead, I welcome the opportunity to engage more closely with parliamentarians on these matters. I will also continue to press for amendments to the National Defence Act, to remove ambiguities in the legislation and to provide explicit authority for CSE metadata activities. These amendments will help clarify the legislation and strengthen the accountability of CSE.
In the pages of the plan that follow you will learn more about the contribution of the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner to help ensure CSE complies with the laws of Canada and safeguards Canadians' privacy.
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Plouffe, CD
February 8, 2017
- Plan and conduct comprehensive reviews of CSE activities
- Contribute to effective accountability for security and intelligence activities
- Promote cooperation among expert review bodies
The Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner (office) will continue to discharge its mandate. To do so, the office identifies those Communications Security Establishment (CSE) activities that pose the greatest risk to compliance with the law and to the privacy of Canadians. To conduct rigorous reviews of those areas identified, the office must ensure it has the necessary resources available to it. The office will complete its planned reviews in accordance with the timetable approved by the Commissioner and the Commissioner will deliver his public annual report for Parliament to the Minister in accordance with legislative requirements. This will support the government's priority related to security.
With the advent of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, the office will work with the committee and its secretariat to help develop an effective framework for accountability of security and intelligence activities. It is critical that roles and responsibilities be well defined to avoid duplication of effort and contribute to the effective utilization of resources.
The office will increase its efforts for cooperation with the existing expert review bodies, with the objective of strengthening overall accountability of security and intelligence agencies.
For more information on the office's plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Planned results” section of this report.
The position of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner was created to review the activities of the CSE to determine whether it performs its duties and functions in accordance with the laws of Canada. This includes having due regard for the privacy of Canadians. The Commissioner's office exists to support the Commissioner in the effective discharge of his legislated mandate.
The office is a micro-agency. The Commissioner is supported by 11 full-time employees. Eight experienced, knowledgeable review staff, supported by subject matter experts as required, conduct rigorous in-depth reviews of CSE activities to determine whether or not these activities comply with the law and include satisfactory measures to protect the privacy of Canadians.
- The National Defence Act and the Security of Information Act establish the mandate of the Commissioner
- Assists the Minister of National Defence in his responsibility to Parliament for CSE
- Helps strengthen accountability and transparency of CSE
- Helps ensure CSE complies with the law and it protects the privacy of Canadians
The mandate of the Commissioner is set out under Part V.1 the National Defence Act (NDA):
- to review the activities of the CSE to ensure they comply with the law;
- in response to a complaint, to undertake any investigation that the Commissioner considers necessary; and
- to inform the Minister of National Defence and the Attorney General of Canada of any activity of the Communications Security Establishment that the Commissioner believes may not be in compliance with the law.
The Commissioner is also required to submit an annual report to the Minister, for tabling in Parliament, on the Commissioner's activities and findings within 90 days after the end of each fiscal year. He is also required to review and report to the Minister as to whether the activities carried out under a ministerial authorization are authorized. The mandate is further defined under Section 15 of the Security of Information Act which requires the Commissioner to receive information from persons who are permanently bound to secrecy and who seek to defend the release of classified information about the Communications Security Establishment on the grounds that it is in the public interest.
For more general information about the department, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report.
- Sufficiency of resources
- Effective working relationships
- Reporting burden on small and micro departments and agencies
There is a requirement to increase the resources devoted to the review program to allow the office to continue to provide sufficient review of the activities of CSE, and to acquire additional secure communications equipment to facilitate information sharing.
The office is being significantly impacted by external influences. The Government of Canada is committed to providing greater security and keeping all Canadians safe while at the same time protecting cherished rights and freedoms. Legislation is pending (Bill C-22) that will establish the mandate of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) to review “any activity” carried out by national-security agencies and “any matter relating to national security or intelligence.” The extent of committee review and its potential impact on the office is yet to be determined.
Bill C-22 makes specific reference to “Cooperation” and states: “The Committee and each review body are to take all reasonable steps to cooperate with each other to avoid any unnecessary duplication of work by the Committee and that review body in relation to the fulfilment of their respective mandates.” It remains to be determined how this will develop in practice. The Commissioner's office is fully committed to establishing effective working relationships that avoid unnecessary duplication.
The Commissioner and senior officials of the office will continue to consult with Canadian review bodies and review bodies of other countries to discuss further possibilities for cooperation and to exchange views on issues and methodologies related to the review of intelligence and security agencies.
The reporting requirements of the various central agencies imposes a significant burden on the resources of a micro-agency such as the Commissioner's office. The office will be discussing and assessing with the central agencies means of lightening the burden or getting the resources to deal with it.
- Inability to address CSE activities where there is greatest risk to compliance with the law and protection of the privacy of Canadians
- Loss of public trust
The office needs to address its capacity as CSE continues to grow. The technologies CSE employs are constantly adapting and adjusting in order to be able to provide the necessary protections to critical information against threats that have increased in both number and sophistication. For the office to keep pace with CSE growth and change, it is necessary to increase its resource base. An additional review position will be created and resourced and additional technologies will be acquired, sufficient to allow the office to continue to provide effective review of CSE activities.
The NSICOP will come into being with the passage of Bill C-22. This committee will have the authority to review “any activity” carried out by national-security agencies and “any matter relating to national security or intelligence.” This committee will provide, along with expert review bodies, a complementary and comprehensive accountability framework for security and intelligence activities. The framework has the potential to permit greater transparency and provide added reassurance to all Canadians that intelligence agencies and the oversight mechanisms in place are working effectively together to provide both security and protection of rights and freedoms.
The office will continue its ongoing efforts to increase transparency while at the same time protecting sensitive information. Further description of review activities and results will help to provide assurance to the public that the activities of CSE are subject to comprehensive review and will contribute to enhancing public trust in the work performed by CSE.
The office continues to explore with other review bodies cooperation in conducting reviews that implicate more than one intelligence agency. There are opportunities to address areas of significant risk to security and safety that are common to more than one department or agency. These cooperative reviews are not intended to replace the specific reviews conducted within individual security and intelligence agencies but rather to complement them. It remains to be seen whether the office may require additional resources to work with the new parliamentary committee and to support the conduct of joint reviews.
|Risks||Risk response strategy||Link to the department's Programs||Link to mandate letter commitments or to government‑wide and departmental priorities|
|Failure to address CSE activities of greatest risk to compliance with the law and to protection of the privacy of Canadians||
||Review program||Security and opportunity|
|Loss of public trust||
||Review program||Security and opportunity|
The review program includes research, monitoring, planning, the conduct of reviews and the reporting of results. In addition, it also includes consultations and communications with CSE officials, with other review bodies and other government officials, as required.
- Program outcome remains constant – CSE complies with the law and protects the privacy of Canadians
- Identification of CSE activities where there is risk to compliance and privacy is key to success
- Increase capacity for review
- Establish effective working relationship with NSICOP and its secretariat once they are functioning will be essential
- Opportunity for maintenance and growth of expert review
The core responsibility for the Commissioner's review program is to examine CSE activities to determine whether or not it performs its duties and functions in accordance with the laws of Canada and with due regard for the privacy of Canadians. The priorities of the office remain unchanged from the previous year – improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the review program, increase transparency and maintain public trust.
The office will work to strengthen its working relationship with CSE. As a result of this relationship, the office receives from CSE extensive information on its plans and priorities, its activities, both underway and planned, and its areas of concern. The analysis of this information, coupled with the results of previous reviews, contribute to the identification of review priorities.
With the growth of CSE, the office intends to initiate a request to increase its financial authorities. The office must ensure that sufficient skill sets are in place to address the review issues that need to be examined. Employees will continue to be offered opportunities for training and development and the office will continue to improve the tools and systems available to support the review activity. Mentoring and on-the-job training will continue to be made available, as required. When necessary, the skill sets of the office will be supplemented by engaging on a part-time basis the services of technical and subject matter specialists.
Discussions and meetings with other review bodies in Canada and abroad will continue with a view to the development of professional standards and the sharing of best practices, including expert review.
Striving to strengthen public trust in security and intelligence agencies and in the review and of oversight of them is an ongoing effort. The NSICOP will create an accountability framework for the review of security and intelligence activities and in so doing is expected to contribute to enhancing the public trust in what intelligence agencies are doing and in the adequacy of review and oversight. The office will work with the Committee and its secretariat to ensure the framework provides for effective and efficient review.
The office will continue to strive for greater transparency. It will continue to participate in conferences, and meetings with other review bodies in Canada and abroad.
|Expected results||Performance indicators||Target||Date to achieve target||2013–14
|The CSE performs its duties and functions in accordance with the laws of Canada and with due regard for the privacy of Canadians||% of reviews completed within targeted time frames||80%||Mar 31, 2018||80%||90%||90%|
|% of recommendations accepted||80%||Mar 31, 2018||100%||100%||100%|
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.
In 2016–17, Internal Services will continue to support the Commissioner, the Executive Director and the review program across the full range of internal services. This support will include the following:
- The revision of office processes and practices to meet the requirements of Treasury Board transformation initiatives in human resources, financial management and information management;
- The review of the adequacy of financial management policies and practices instituted as a result of the core control audit;
- The improvement in the mobility of employees by changing their status relative to internal competitions in the core public service; and
- The strengthening of current practices related to professional development and talent management.
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Departmental Spending Trend Graph
|Program and Internal Services||2014–15
|Commissioner's Review Program||1,445,424||1,498,360||1,665,598||1,581,736||1,581,736||1,581,736||1,581,736|
Budgetary planning summary for the Program and Internal Services (dollars)
The forecast spending in 2016–17 is $176 thousand higher than 2015–16 is due primarily for two reasons. The funds available to the office for spending in 2015–16 were reduced by $90 thousand, as 2015–16 was the third and final year of repaying reprofiling costs related to office expansion in 2012–13. The forecast spending for 2016–17 also includes expenditures being financed from lapsed funds, $85,000, carried forward from 2015–16. The Main Estimates and the planned spending for the next three fiscal years are constant throughout the planning period.
It should be noted however that the office intends to seek additional funding on a permanent basis in 2017–18 to allow for additional review FTEs as well as for upgrades to technology assets.
|Program and Internal Services||2014–15
|Commissioner's Review Program||7.5||8.5||8.5||8.5||8.5||8.5|
The office intends to stabilize its human resources at 11; however, it is expected that the office will seek funding on a permanent basis for additional FTEs for the Commissioner's review program in fiscal year 2017–18.
The Future‑Oriented Condensed Statement of Operations provides a general overview of the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's operations. The forecast of financial information on expenses and revenues is prepared on an accrual accounting basis to strengthen accountability and to improve transparency and financial management.
Because the Future‑Oriented Condensed Statement of Operations is prepared on an accrual accounting basis, and the forecast and planned spending amounts presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan are prepared on an expenditure basis, amounts may differ.
A more detailed Future‑Oriented Statement of Operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations to the requested authorities, are available on the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's website.
|Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers||2,250,156||2,297,073||46,917|
The office planned spending amounts have increased by 2% over the forecast spending. The overall increase is due to slight increases in planned spending for professional services and increased amortization costs.
Appropriate minister (under the Financial Administration Act):
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP, Minister of National Defence
Institutional head: The Honourable Jean-Pierre Plouffe, CD - Commissioner
Ministerial portfolio: National Defence
Year of incorporation / commencement: 1996
Other: The Commissioner's office was granted its own appropriation in 2008.
The Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture (PAA) of record for 2017–18 are shown below:
1. Strategic Outcome: CSE performs its duties and functions in accordance with the laws of Canada and with due regard for the privacy of Canadians.
1.1 Program: Commissioner's Review Program
The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs. The tax measures presented in this report are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.
The Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner can be reached at the following address:
Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner
P.O. Box 1474, Station "B"
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5P6
The Office may also be reached:
For further information on the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, its mandate and function, please visit the office's website.
- appropriation (crédit)
- Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
- budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)
- Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.
- Core Responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)
- An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a Core Responsibility are reflected in one or more related Departmental Results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.
- Departmental Plan (Plan ministériel)
- Provides information on the plans and expected performance of appropriated departments over a three‑year period. Departmental Plans are tabled in Parliament each spring.
- Departmental Result (résultat ministériel)
- A Departmental Result represents the change or changes that the department seeks to influence. A Departmental Result is often outside departments' immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.
- Departmental Result Indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)
- A factor or variable that provides a valid and reliable means to measure or describe progress on a Departmental Result.
- Departmental Results Framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)
- Consists of the department's Core Responsibilities, Departmental Results and Departmental Result Indicators.
- Departmental Results Report (Rapport sur les résultats ministériels)
- Provides information on the actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.
- full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)
- A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. Full‑time equivalents are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work. Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.
- government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)
- For the purpose of the 2017–18 Departmental Plan, government-wide priorities refers to those high-level themes outlining the government's agenda in the 2015 Speech from the Throne, namely: Growth for the Middle Class; Open and Transparent Government; A Clean Environment and a Strong Economy; Diversity is Canada's Strength; and Security and Opportunity.
- horizontal initiatives (initiative horizontale)
- A horizontal initiative is one in which two or more federal organizations, through an approved funding agreement, work toward achieving clearly defined shared outcomes, and which has been designated (e.g. by Cabinet, a central agency, etc.) as a horizontal initiative for managing and reporting purposes.
- Management, Resources and Results Structure (Structure de la gestion, des ressources et des résultats)
- A comprehensive framework that consists of an organization's inventory of programs, resources, results, performance indicators and governance information. Programs and results are depicted in their hierarchical relationship to each other and to the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute. The Management, Resources and Results Structure is developed from the Program Alignment Architecture.
- non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)
- Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.
- performance (rendement)
- What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.
- Performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)
- A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.
- Performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)
- The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.
- planned spending (dépenses prévues)
- For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts that receive Treasury Board approval by February 1. Therefore, planned spending may include amounts incremental to planned expenditures presented in the Main Estimates.
- A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.
- plans (plan)
- The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead up to the expected result.
- Priorities (priorité)
- Plans or projects that an organization has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired Strategic Outcome(s).
- program (programme)
- A group of related resource inputs and activities that are managed to meet specific needs and to achieve intended results and that are treated as a budgetary unit.
- Program Alignment Architecture (architecture d'alignement des programmes)
- A structured inventory of an organization's programs depicting the hierarchical relationship between programs and the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute.
- results (résultat)
- An external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization's influence.
- statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)
- Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.
- Strategic Outcome (résultat stratégique)
- A long‑term and enduring benefit to Canadians that is linked to the organization's mandate, vision and core functions.
- sunset program (programme temporisé)
- A time‑limited program that does not have an ongoing funding and policy authority. When the program is set to expire, a decision must be made whether to continue the program. In the case of a renewal, the decision specifies the scope, funding level and duration.
- target (cible)
- A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.
- voted expenditures (dépenses votées)
- Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an Appropriation Act. The Vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.
- Note 1
Our 2017–18 Departmental Plan provides parliamentarians and Canadians with information on what we do and the results we are trying to achieve during the upcoming year. To improve reporting to Canadians, the government is introducing a new, simplified report to replace the Report on Plans and Priorities.
The title of the report has been changed to reflect its purpose: to communicate our annual performance goals and the financial and human resources forecast to deliver those results. The report has also been restructured to tell a clearer, more straightforward and balanced story of the actual results we are trying to achieve, while continuing to provide transparency on how tax payers' dollars will be spent.
- Date modified: