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Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar (Arar Commission)

A New Review Mechanism for the RCMP’s National Security Activities

Arar Commission: Recommendations    
Format Softcover + CD-ROM
Catalogue No. CP32-88/2-2006E
Pages 630
Language English; Aussi disponible en français
Price $24.95

Issued by the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar.
Published by Canadian Government Publishing, 2006.


The Commissioner’s mandate for the Policy Review was to make recommendations on an independent, arm’s length review mechanism for the activities of the RCMP with respect to national security. This mandate included an examination of domestic and international review models, as well as an assessment of how an oversight mechanism would interact with existing review mechanisms.

The Policy Review resulted in the second report of the Arar Commission: A New Review Mechanism for the RCMP’s National Security Activities, which was tabled on December 12, 2006.

Commissioner O’Connor makes 13 detailed recommendations with respect to the review of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) national security activities as well as those of other federal departments and agencies. Commissioner O’Connor concludes that “increased information sharing, increased police powers of coercion and increased integration among Canadian and foreign national security actors” requires a new review agency to review the RCMP’s national security activities, and a new review process for five other federal departments and agencies involved in national security.

The Commissioner recommends the creation of the Independent Complaints and National Security Review Agency for the RCMP (ICRA) with jurisdiction to review all of the RCMP’s activities, including those related to national security. The Commissioner concluded that there were significant advantages to having the RCMP’s national security activities reviewed by the same body that has jurisdiction to review the RCMP’s other law enforcement activities. The Commissioner recommends that ICRA have the authority to conduct self-initiated reviews of the RCMP’s national security activities for compliance with laws, policies, international obligations and for standards of propriety expected in Canadian society.

Because of the integrated nature of the RCMP’s national security activities, the Commissioner has examined the Canadian national security landscape generally. The Commissioner recommends that the government extend independent review, including complaint investigation and self-initiated review, to the national security activities of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Transport Canada, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The Commissioner based his recommendation on the nature of the national security activities of these five departments and agencies, and the degree of integration of their national security activities with those of the RCMP, CSIS and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

The Commissioner also recommends the creation of INSRCC (Integrated National Security Review Coordinating Committee) – a review coordinating committee – to provide a unified intake mechanism for complaints regarding national security activities of federal entities, to help ensure that the statutory gateways are functioning as intended, and to report to the federal government on accountability issues relating to Canada's national security practices, including their effects on human rights and freedoms.

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Also released by the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar: Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar

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This page last modified: December 19, 2006

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