Ministerial Direction on Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities

The Ministerial Direction (MD) to the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) on Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities reiterates Canada’s commitment to human rights, and continues to fulfill our obligations under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and international law.

The Government of Canada condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the use of torture, or other mistreatment of any individual, by any foreign government for any purpose.

CSE has had a longstanding, rigorous process in place to assess the risk of mistreatment associated with disclosing and requesting information. This risk continues to be considered with every transaction CSE undertakes. This process was formalized with the November 2011 Ministerial Direction.

The Ministerial Direction to CSE on Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities was signed by the Minister of National Defence on November 2, 2017, replacing the previous Ministerial Direction to CSE: Framework for Addressing Risks in Sharing Information with Foreign Entities issued in November 2011.

The new Ministerial Direction increases CSE’s transparency and accountability, and provides additional guidelines and explicit restrictions and reporting requirements, as it pertains to the disclosure, requesting and use of information from foreign entities. It also provides a clear statement of values and principles against mistreatment, and clear prohibitions.

This Ministerial Direction on Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities prohibits:

  • The disclosure of information where there is a substantial risk that the disclosure would result in mistreatment;
  • The requesting of information where there is a substantial risk that the request would result in mistreatment; and
  • Certain uses of information likely obtained through mistreatment.

For more detailed information, please see the Ministerial Direction to the Communications Security Establishment: Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities.