The organization I have chosen for this essay is CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service).
CSIS closely resembles The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or British Security Intelligence Service. I have chosen this organization because I have great interest in becoming an employee of CSIS in the future. This essay will provide brief history of CSIS, the responsibilities of CSIS for Canada, and the application process for an entry – level position. These will be further discussed in greater detail as the essay goes on. CSIS was created by the passage of an Act of Parliament (Bill C-9) on June 21, 1984.
The service began its formal existence on July 16, 1984. Prior to June 21, 1984, security intelligence was collected by the Security service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Two different Commissions chaired by the Justice Mackenzie in 1969 and Justice McDonald in 1977 recommended that the security intelligence functions be separated from the RCMP and that a civilian service be formed to carry out those functions. Both commissions recognized that the problem of balancing the need for accurate and effective security intelligence with the need to respect democratic rights and freedoms could not be adequately resolved as long as security intelligence responsibilities remained part of the Federal police force.
In 1970, following the report of the Mackenzie Commission, John Starnes, a Foreign Service officer with the Department of External Affairs, became the first civilian Director General of the RCMP Security Service. Although the RCMP became more flexible problem arose due to the different natures of security intelligence work and police work. In August 1981, the feral government announced that a security intelligence service, separate from the RCMP would be established. The first legislation to establish the security intelligence service, Bill C-157, ” an Act to Establish the Canadian Security intelligence service (CSIS) ” was introduced in Parliament in May 1983.
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It passed by both Houses of parliament and given Royal Assent in June 1984. CSIS began its formal existence on July 16, 1984 with Ted Finn as Director. In addition to creating a civilian security intelligence service, the Cat also created SIR, to review the activities of CSIS. CSIS is a government agency dedicated to protecting the national security interests of Canada and safeguarding its citizens. The main objective of the service is to investigate and report on threats to the security of Canada. CSIS is unique in its role as the Government of Canada’s principle advisor on national security.
CSIS reports to and advises the Government of Canada. CSIS intelligence is shared with a number of other federal government departments and agencies, including Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Immigration, the Department of National Defense and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As well, CSIS has arrangements to exchange security related information with other countries. The vast majority of these arrangements deal with visa vetting.
A small number deal with exchanges of information collected by CSIS in its investigation of threats to national security. CSIS does not have the mandate to conduct foreign intelligence operations outside of Canada. CSIS is a defensive, domestic security intelligence service. The security intelligence service is restricted to investigating threats to its country’s national security.
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On the other hand, a foreign intelligence service conducts offensive operations for its government in foreign countries. CSIS does not investigate company to company industrial espionage. CSIS does, however, investigate the activities of foreign governments that engage in economic espionage as means of gaining and economic advantage for themselves. The fundamental goal of CSIS is to protect the Canadian way of life, but also recognize the rights and freedoms of the individual. To ensure this goal the CSIS Act strictly limits the type of activity that may be investigated and the ways that information can be collected and who may view the information. Information may be gathered only on those individuals or organizations suspected of engaging in any of the following types of activity that threaten the security of Canada; Espionage and Sabotage, Foreign – Influenced activities, Political violence and Terrorism, and Subversion.
The range of CSIS activities means that it is employees must posses a variety of academic backgrounds and abilities. The Intelligence Officer (IO) is the core professional group. They are responsible for the collection, analysis and production of intelligence. In order to be considered for employment some basic qualifications are required. The basic requirements are only the starting point in applying to work at CSIS. The application process is rigorous, competitive and lengthy.
Because of the sensitive nature of CSIS’ work, all applicants must undergo security background investigations. The Service is looking for motivated people who possess strong interpersonal skills and the ability to take initiative; people who are empathetic and sensitive to the cultural mores of a changing Canadian society. Proficiency in both Official languages is an asset, are foreign languages capabilities and computer literacy. To be considered for employment as an Intelligence Officer, you must: be a Canadian citizen with a completed university degree and possess a valid driver’s license, agree to relocate anywhere in Canada, depending on the requirements of the Service, throughout your career.
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There are 9 stages in the IO recruitment process. The first stage is the Application for Employment (AFE) – Assessment; your potential to become a IO is initially based on a review your AFE including a 500 word essay submitted. The second stage is the Information Session; Candidates found to have potential will be invited to and information session focussing on the role of CSIS, duties of IO and hiring criteria. The third stage is the Suitability Interview; The interview gives the Service an opportunity to assess the applicant’s suitability in relation to the IO requirements. The fourth is the Psychological Assessment; a CSIS psychologist will interpret a battery of well established psychometric tests and asses through an interview your aptitudes and suitability. The fifth stage is the, Second Language Assessment; required to undergo an assessment of the second language or assessment to learn a second language.
The sixth stage is the National Assessment Panel; an in depth interview will explore your motivation, knowledge of CSIS, and general suitability for employment as an IO. The seventh stage is the Security Clearance; the security clearance process includes an extensive background investigation involving the interview references, verification of all personal information, criminal record. A security interview, polygraph testing, fingerprinting, and the submission of a financial statement are all requirements designed to asses a candidates reliability and loyalty. The eighth stage is the Executive Committee; an interview by an executive of the Service will evaluate your overall suitability for a career as an IO. The ninth stage is the Final Assessment; a final review of all applicants is completed based on the results of the overall recruiting process, to determine which candidates most closely match the IO requirements of the Service. An Intelligence Officer’s starting salary is $ 34, 680 per annum.
Subsequent salary progression is based on successful completion of training, attaining the required experience and on performance. All Intelligence Officers are on probation for a period of five years as part of their Career Progression Program. Working conditions of a IO is mostly and office job performing research, analyze information and preparing clear and concise reports on national security related matters. Working hours is basically a 9 to 5 job, but depending on the importance of the assignment could work into long days and long nights. Employees of CSIS enjoy a wide range of benefits, which depending on your status: Full medical and dental plans, Group life insurance (optional), Pension plan 20 years service, can retire with penalty 25 years service, full pension 35 years (maximum pension), Clothing allowance (plainclothes duties only), Relocations paid by CSIS, Annual Leave 0-5 years – 15 days, 5-10 years – 20 days, 10+ years – 25 days, Maternity Leave/Parental Allowance (17 weeks at 93% salary), Leave with and / or without pay (1-5 years).
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In Conclusion CSIS main purpose is to investigate and report on the threats of the security of Canada. In 1984 the Government of Canada realized the need for a civilian service to require security intelligence, on the problem of conflicting security intelligence responsibilities with a Federal Police Force. The sensitive nature of the work the recruitment process is lengthy, and consists of several interviews and examinations. CSIS is an organization with secrets to protect, they are not a secret organization. Although, I must receive a university degree before I apply to CSIS, I hope someday I will join the ranks of their organization..