2019-2020 Departmental Plan
About this Publication
Publication Author: Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner
ISSN number: 2371-6671
Publish date: April 11, 2019
Summary: Read through this departmental plan, which presents the Office's plan for 2019–20.
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Table of Contents
- PDF Format (708.3K)
- Plans at a glance and operating context
- Planned results: what we want to achieve this year and beyond
- Spending and human resources
- Additional information
- Appendix: definitions
It is my pleasure to present the Departmental Plan for 2019 –20 of the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner (office).
The office continues to evolve and adapt in order to provide meaningful, comprehensive and independent review of those activities of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) that pose the greatest risk to compliance with the law and to the protection of the privacy of Canadians. As CSE Commissioner, this is my primary mandate as set out under Part V.1 of the National Defence Act. I will also continue to discharge my mandate under section 15 of the Security of Information Act to receive information from persons who are permanently bound to secrecy if they believe it is in the public interest to release special operational information of CSE.
I believe that fiscal year 2019–20 will be the most challenging in the history of the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner. Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters which received second reading in the Senate and was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on December 11, 2018, proposes significant changes in the national security framework and intelligence accountability regime. Particularly, the proposed Intelligence Commissioner Act (Part 2 of Bill C-59), would create the Intelligence Commissioner who would have a quasi-judicial role of reviewing and approving, or not, authorizations issued by Ministers for certain activities of the CSE and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) before those activities could be conducted.
Under the proposed legislation, my current responsibilities as CSE Commissioner would be assumed by the newly created National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA). I would transition from the CSE Commissioner to the Intelligence Commissioner and employees of the Office of the CSE Commissioner would occupy their positions in the Office of the Intelligence Commissioner.
The office is presently involved in transition planning as it must be ready, should the proposed legislation be enacted, to transfer my current functions to the new NSIRA and move forward effectively to establish the Office of the Intelligence Commissioner. As such, the office has proactively engaged with stakeholders including CSE, CSIS and the Privy Council Office to ensure the readiness of all parties concerned/involved in this new quasi-judicial review framework.
Concerning internal services, discussions are underway with existing and potential goods and service providers to ensure that there will be no interruptions in the flow of either. Operating procedures are also being reviewed and adjusted as required to ensure an effective transition to the new office.
This Departmental Plan represents my commitment and that of my office to strengthen Canada's national security framework, to increase the accountability of its security and intelligence agencies, and to respect the rights and freedoms of Canadians and to keep them safe.
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Plouffe, CD
February 15, 2019
The mandate of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner remains unchanged for the upcoming fiscal year:
- to review the activities of CSE, which includes foreign signals intelligence and information technology security activities supporting the Government of Canada, to determine whether they comply with the law; this include having due regard for the privacy of Canadians;
- to undertake any investigation the Commissioner considers necessary in response to a written complaint; and
- to inform the Minister of National Defence (who is accountable to Parliament for CSE) and the Attorney General of Canada of any CSE activity that the Commissioner believes may not be in compliance with the law.
Under section 15 of the Security of Information Act, the Commissioner also has a mandate to receive information from persons who are permanently bound to secrecy if they believe it is in the public interest to release special operational information of CSE.
The approach and methodology for the conduct of reviews also has not changed – activities that pose the greatest risk to compliance with the law and the privacy of Canadians are identified, subject to rigorous review and reported upon. The office will work to strengthen its working relationship with CSE. It is through this relationship that the office receives extensive information from CSE 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, contributes to the identification of review priorities and the areas of highest risk. And again, as in previous years, and in accordance with legislative requirements, the Commissioner will deliver his public annual report for Parliament to the Minister of National Defence for tabling in the House of Commons.
The operating context, however, could and most likely will change significantly as a result of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (currently referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence for further study). If passed as is, Part 2 of Bill C-59 would abolish the position of the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment, provide for the Commissioner to become the Intelligence Commissioner, and transfer the employees of the office of the former Commissioner to the office of the new Commissioner. The duties and functions of the Intelligence Commissioner would be to review the conclusions on the basis of which certain authorizations are issued or amended, and determinations are made, under the proposed Communications Security Establishment Act and the amendments proposed to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and to approve those authorizations, amendments and determinations if those conclusions are reasonable. The existing mandate and current responsibilities of the CSE Commissioner would be assumed by a new, single review body, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.
As a result, in addition to fulfilling the existing mandate of the CSE Commissioner, the office is immersed in transition planning and prioritizing within the office and with CSE and CSIS to ensure that, should the legislation be enacted and the Intelligence Commissioner Act become law, the Intelligence Commissioner will be able to effectively discharge his new mandate from the outset.
As was stated last year, work will continue within the office on developing and testing a comprehensive quasi-judicial review program based on reasonableness. The office continues to review and refine its approach, methodology, objectives, criteria, and disclosure practices in order to be able to support the Intelligence Commissioner in the effective discharge of his mandate. In addition, consultations will continue with CSE and CSIS officials to gain further precisions on the volume, nature, complexity, timing and frequency of authorizations, amendments and determinations which will fall within the review scope of the Intelligence Commissioner.
For more information on the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Planned results” section of this report.
The CSE Commissioner provides independent, external review of CSE activities to determine whether they complied with the laws of Canada, including the National Defence Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Privacy Act. The results of individual reviews are produced as classified reports to the Minister of National Defence that document CSE activities, contain findings relating to criteria developed based on the legal, ministerial and policy requirements that govern these activities, and disclose the nature and significance of any deviations from the criteria. If necessary, the Commissioner makes recommendations to the Minister of National Defence aimed at improving privacy protections or correcting problems with CSE operational activities raised during the course of review. The Commissioner provides an annual report for Parliament about his activities, including unclassified summaries of his classified reviews of CSE activities.
The Commissioner will continue to discharge his review mandate with CSE. The Commissioner's responsibilities to examine CSE activities for their compliance with the law and their protection of the privacy of Canadians have not changed. However, Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters has the potential to change all that. Bill C-59, introduced in the House of Commons on June 20, 2017, has now passed through the House of Commons, First and Second Readings in the Senate and has been referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. It would, among other significant changes, establish a completely new role for the CSE Commissioner and his office. This new role for intelligence accountability, as set out in the Intelligence Commissioner Act (Part 2 of Bill C-59) would see the CSE Commissioner transition to the Intelligence Commissioner and the existing/remaining resources of the Office of the CSE Commissioner transfer to the office of the new Commissioner. The responsibilities now performed by the CSE Commissioner for post-facto review of CSE activities would be assumed by the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, also proposed in Bill C-59.
The Office of the CSE Commissioner will continue to perform its rigorous reviews of CSE. However, the office must also plan, prioritize and to some extent prepare to restructure in order to address the changes resulting from what Bill C-59 proposes – a new mandate, new responsibilities, a new program with an entirely different focus, pre, as opposed, to post operational review and determining reasonability as opposed to compliance. The office must be ready through its quasi-judicial review program to be able to deliver on the proposed new mandate of the Intelligence Commissioner, should the legislation be passed, immediately upon it coming into force. But until it does, the office remains the Office of the CSE Commissioner and the program remains the CSE Commissioner's review program.
|Departmental Results||Departmental Result Indicators||Target||Date to achieve target||2015–16 Actual results||2016–17 Actual results||2017–18 Actual results|
|Timely and effective review of the Communications Security Establishment's compliance with the laws and legislation governing its activities||% of reviews completed within targeted time frames||80%||Mar 31, 2020||90%||100%||89%|
|% of recommendations accepted||80%||Mar 31, 2020||100%||100%||100%|
|2019–20 Planned full-time equivalents||2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents||2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents|
Financial, human resources and performance information for the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.
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 services that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. These services are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Management Services; Materiel Management Services; and Acquisition Management Services.
|2019–20 Planned full-time equivalents||2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents||2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents|
Internal Services will continue to be provided to the Commissioner and the Executive Director in support of the review program in 2019–20. There are no significant changes planned in services or service levels for the Office of the CSE Commissioner.
However, should Bill C-59 be enacted, the Office of the Intelligence Commissioner will be created as a separate agency and the internal services currently provided to the Office of the CSE Commissioner will undergo significant change as they transition to the new office.
The following represents some of the more critical transition activities being planned or currently underway to provide for the successful transitioning of internal services.
Service agreements with other government departments and portfolio partners will be extended into the new fiscal year, despite the fact that these agreements will likely have to be renegotiated or terminated and replaced. Work is currently underway and will continue with the following departments to ensure the services can continue to be provided and if not, to identify alternative sources and arrange for the provision of these services.
- Public Services and Procurement Canada – discussions are underway to ensure pay administration, staffing and classification services will continue to be provided without interruption;
- Public Services and Procurement Canada – ensure the departmental financial management system (CDFS) will continue to be available;
- Receiver General – preparations are underway to provide for the successful closing of the Office of the CSE Commissioner and the successful opening of the Office of the Intelligence Commissioner;
- Shared Services Canada/PCO/DND – discussions are underway to address email and workplace information technology potential service providers; and
- PCO/DND – discussions are underway to address personnel and physical security
Plans are also underway to address additional issues in 2019–20 should Bill C-59 be enacted.
- Consultation with the President of the Treasury Board regarding the compensation and allowances for employees;
- Obtaining the approval of the President of the Treasury Board for the negotiating mandate of the Intelligence Commissioner;
- Public Service Commission – work is underway to address mobility issues;
- Library and Archives Canada – work is underway to address information resources of business value (IRBV), retention and disposition schedules;
- National Security and Intelligence Review Agency – negotiate and transfer of IRBVs regarding the review program;
- Identifying a process to facilitate and accelerate the engagement of service providers by the Intelligence Commissioner;
- Completion of a privacy impact assessment; and
- Creation, approval and registration of an applied title for the new organization.
Departmental spending trend graph
|Core Responsibility and Internal Services||2016–17 Expenditures||2017–18
|Review of CSE activities to determine compliance with the law||1,359,747||1,392,546||1,631,828||1,621,938||1,621,938||1,621,938||1,621,938|
A year to year comparison will best explain the variance in costs. In comparing total expenditures as well as expenditures for both the review program and internal services in 2016–17 with 2017–18, the overall departmental expenditures decreased by about $37 thousand. The expenditures related to the review program increased by $33 thousand, due for the most part to increased professional service costs related to the planned implementation of Bill C-59. The decreased costs of internal services in 2017–18, $70 thousand, was due to the refurnishing of the boardroom and the replacement of outdated telecommunications equipment in 2016–17.
In comparing actual total expenditures for 2017–18 with forecast total expenditures for 2018–19, the overall departmental expenditures increased by almost $200 thousand. Forecast spending for the review program increased by almost $240 thousand due primarily to increased salary costs (wage settlements and adding an additional lawyer to the staff complement to deal with the complexities of Bill C-59), increased international travel related to stakeholder engagement and increased professional service costs to prepare for the potential transition to the Office of the Intelligence Commissioner. Forecast spending on internal services is down by $40 thousand due to an overall reduction in most of the major objects of expenditure – rent, professional services, communications and supplies.
The Main Estimates for 2019–20 and the planned spending over the next three years remains constant and is at an appropriate level for the continued operation of the Office of the CSE Commissioner. However, should Bill C-59 be enacted and the Office of the Intelligence Commissioner commence operations, expenditures on the program and internal services will be closely monitored as the program matures to ensure that the authorities available to the new office are sufficient for the Intelligence Commissioner to effectively discharge his mandate.
Human resources planning summary for Core Responsibility and Internal Services
|Core Responsibility and Internal Services||2016–17
Actual full-time equivalents
Actual full-time equivalents
Forecast full-time equivalents
|2019–20 Planned full-time equivalents||2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents||2021–22 Planned full‑time equivalents|
|Review of CSE activities to determine compliance with the law||8.5||8.5||7.5||8.5||8.5||8.5|
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. The forecast and planned spending amounts presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan are prepared on an expenditure basis; as a result, 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.
(2019–20 Planned results minus 2018–19 Forecast results)
|Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers||2,401,065||2,355,382||($45,683)|
The decrease of $45,683 in total planned expenditures from the forecast spending, less than 2% of total expenses, is due primarily to a planned reduction in travel. Increased stakeholder travel in 2018–19 to discuss the potential implications on the office should Bill C-59 be enacted will not be repeated in 2019–20.
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 Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner was granted its own appropriation in 2008
“Raison d'être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's website.
The Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory of record for 2019–20 are shown below.
|Departmental Results Framework||Core Responsibility: Review of CSE activities to determine compliance with the law||Internal Services|
|Departmental Result: Timely and effective review of the Communications Security Establishment's compliance with the laws and legislation governing its activities||
% of recommendations accepted
% of reviews completed within targeted time frames
|Program Inventory||The Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's Review Program|
Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.
The following supplementary information table is available on the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner's website:
- Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy
- Gender-based analysis plus
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, as well as evaluations, research papers and gender-based analysis. 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, ON 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)
A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a three-year period. Departmental Plans are tabled in Parliament each spring.
- Departmental Result (résultat ministériel)
Any change 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)
The department's Core Responsibilities, Departmental Results and Departmental Result Indicators.
- Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)
A report on the actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.
- evaluation (évaluation)
In the Government of Canada, the systematic and neutral collection and analysis of evidence to judge merit, worth or value. Evaluation informs decision making, improvements, innovation and accountability. Evaluations typically focus on programs, policies and priorities and examine questions related to relevance, effectiveness and efficiency. Depending on user needs, however, evaluations can also examine other units, themes and issues, including alternatives to existing interventions. Evaluations generally employ social science research methods.
- experimentation (expérimentation)
Activities that seek to explore, test and compare the effects and impacts of policies, interventions and approaches, to inform evidence-based decision-making, by learning what works and what does not.
- 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.
- gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS+])
An analytical process used to help identify the potential impacts of policies, Programs and services on diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people. The “plus” acknowledges that GBA goes beyond sex and gender differences. We all have multiple identity factors that intersect to make us who we are; GBA+ considers many other identity factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
- government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)
For the purpose of the 2019–20 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 initiative (initiative horizontale)
An initiative where two or more departments are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.
- 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 Information Profile (profil de l'information sur le rendement)
The document that identifies the performance information for each Program from the Program Inventory.
- performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)
The process of communicating evidence-based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.
- plan (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.
- planned spending (dépenses prévues)
For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts 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.
- priority (priorité)
A plan or project 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 Departmental Results.
- Program (programme)
Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.
- Program Inventory (répertoire des programmes)
Identifies all of the department's programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department's Core Responsibilities and Results.
- result (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.
- 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.
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