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Rescinded [2014-10-20] - Personnel Security Standard

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1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose and scope

This document establishes the operational standard and certain technical-level procedures for personnel security. The standard contains both requirements, indicated by use of the word "must" appearing in sentences in italics, and recommended safeguards, indicated by use of the word "should."

1.2 Roles and responsibilities

Departments are responsible for protecting sensitive information and assets under their control in accordance with the Security policy and its operational standards.

The contracting authority is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Security policy and that contract documentation includes the necessary clauses.

1.3 Guidance

Contact the organizations listed at Appendix A for advice and assistance on applying this standard.

2. Personnel screening process

2.1 Introduction

Good personnel management requires the examination of the trustworthiness and suitability of all employees to protect the employer's interests. This process usually involves reference enquiries, verification of qualifications and, often, credit and criminal history checks. A national government, in addition, must have regard for the employee's loyalty and associated reliability as those relate to national security concerns. Security assessment and reliability checks are conditions of employment under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA).

The Security policy requires that individuals undergo a screening process if their duties or tasks necessitate access to sensitive information and assets. This applies to all positions and to all phases of the contracting process, and when an individual's duties or tasks require access to essential persons or installations critical to the national interest that are deemed to afford regular and consistent access to classified information and assets. Until the required checks are complete, individuals cannot be appointed to a position or have access to sensitive information and assets.

In the case of contracts requiring access to designated information and assets, there may be special circumstances that will permit the use of a contractual clause stipulating that the personnel screening requirements will be met within a certain time frame. See Section 2 of Chapter 2-5 for further information on this option.

The initial personnel screening process comprises the following steps:

  • Determining screening requirements.
  • Identifying required checks.
  • Obtaining consent.
  • Processing reliability checks or security assessments.
  • Evaluating results of reliability checks or security assessment information.
  • Granting or denying reliability status or security clearances.
  • Making an appointment or deployment.
  • Briefing the screened person.

Each of these steps is described below.

2.2 Screening requirements

Personnel screening must be carried out according to the highest level of information and assets that will be accessed in the normal performance of assigned job duties or during the contracting process.

It is the manager's responsibility, with advice or assistance from departmental security staff, to decide what type of personnel screening is required, on the basis of the sensitivity of the information and assets that need to be accessed.

There are two types of personnel screening: an assessment of reliability; and an assessment of loyalty and reliability related to loyalty. The types and levels of personnel screening, as well as the levels of access they permit, are as follows:

Basic reliability status is the minimum type of screening required for individual's appointed or assigned to a position for six months or more. This status is also required for individuals who are under contract for more than six months and who will have regular access to government premises. It is optional for periods of less than six months. An individual granted basic reliability status may access only information and assets that are neither classified nor designated.

Enhanced reliability status is the type of screening required when the duties or tasks of a position or contract necessitate access to designated information and assets, regardless of the duration of an assignment, appointment or contract. An individual granted enhanced reliability status may access, on a need-to-know basis, designated information and assets.

A security clearance is the type of screening required when the duties or tasks of a position or contract necessitate access to classified information and assets. An individual granted a security clearance may access, on a need-to-know basis, classified information and assets up to and including the level of security clearance granted.

Personnel screening types and levels, as well as the related levels of sensitive information and assets, are shown in the following table:

Types of personnel screening
SCREENING TYPE SCREENING LEVEL SENSITIVITY LEVEL
RELIABILITY STATUS Basic Non-sensitive
Enhanced Designated
SECURITY CLEARANCE Level I Confidential
Level II Secret
Level III Top Secret

Security assessments for site access security clearances may be conducted in limited and specific circumstances. See article 3.4 for further information.

The necessary screening type and level for positions must be noted on the Classification Action Form or other similar form in use by departments and, where required, recorded in the Position Information Collection System (PICS).

2.3 Checks to be conducted

Checks to be conducted must be identified on the Personnel Screening Request and Authorization form. All personnel screening processes must include the following primary checks as part of the assessment of reliability.

  • Verification of personal data (including date of birth and address).
  • Verification of relevant education and professional qualifications.
  • Verification of employment data.
  • An assessment of reliability, by checking with previous employers and identified references.

In addition to the above, there are mandatory as well as optional checks for each level, as described below. The manager ensures that the mandatory checks are done and decides, with advice and assistance from departmental security staff, which options are justified based on the sensitivity of the information and assets accessed and the requirements of similar positions.

Departments are responsible for determining what constitutes sufficient verification of personal data, educational and professional qualifications and employment history. References are to be limited to those provided on the application for employment or equivalent form. See Appendix B for guidance on the use of information concerning an individual for purposes of a reliability check.

2.3.1 Basic reliability check

A basic reliability check involves the following:

  • Verification of personal data, educational, professional and qualifications, employment data and references.
  • A declaration concerning any conviction for a criminal offence for which a pardon has not been granted, except when replaced by a CRC (see article 2.5.1).
  • An optional criminal records name check (CRNC), except mandatory as a prerequisite for a security balance.

All checks are to be conducted before the appointment and the results are to be received before the status is authorized that precedes appointment.

2.3.2 Enhanced reliability check

An enhanced reliability check involves the following:

  • Verification of personal data, educational or professional qualifications, and employment data and references.
  • An optional declaration concerning any conviction for a criminal offence for which a pardon has not been granted.
  • A check of criminal records, except for current federal government employees as defined in article 3.1.
  • credit check, when the duties or tasks to be performed require it or in the event of a criminal record based on the type of offence.
  • Other checks, according to the duties or tasks to be performed, and with the prior consent of the Treasury Board.

Either a CRNC or a fingerprint check must be conducted for the enhanced reliability check. If the manager decides that a fingerprint check is required, it may be performed before or after appointment. In the latter case, the CRNC must be completed and the status authorized before the effective date of appointment or contract.

2.3.3 Security assessments

The elements of a security assessment vary, depending on the clearance level being considered or the judgment of the investigative body concerned. The elements of a security assessment involve:

  • Check of character references.
  • Check of personal background, normally covering a period of 10 years (5 years for site-access security clearance) or back to age 16 years, whichever comes first.
  • Check of criminal records.
  • Check of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) indices.
  • Check of credit history.

In addition, personal character reference checks, field investigations and subject interviews may be conducted for cause. Departments must conduct subject interviews for access to signals intelligence (SIGINT).

See Appendix C for specific elements related to levels of security clearance.

Basic or enhanced reliability status must be authorized prior to requesting a security assessment. This does not apply to site access security assessments, as described in article 3.4.

The requirement to grant a basic or enhanced reliability check prior to requesting a security assessment does not apply to contracts.

Prior approval of the Treasury Board is required to conduct any other checks in the clearance process, including checks involving programs pursuant to international or bilateral agreements.

The required personnel screening checks are recorded on the form entitled Personnel Screening Request and Authorization.

2.4 Obtaining consent

The screening process entails the review of personal information and as such is governed by various provisions of the following acts:

  • Public Service Employment Act
  • Canadian Human Rights Act
  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Privacy Act
  • Access to Information Act
  • Young Offenders Act
  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act

Consent may be given only by a person who has reached the age of majority; otherwise, the signature of a parent or guardian is required.

For all reliability checks and security assessments, departments must:

  • Ensure that no collection of information for personnel screening purposes is undertaken without the written consent of the person concerned.
  • Inform individuals who do not consent to the screening that they cannot be considered further for employment or contract.

2.5 Processing reliability checks

2.5.1 Declaration

For all basic reliability checks where it has been decided that a CRNC is not required, a declaration regarding the existence of a criminal record must be obtained. Specifically, the person will be required to state whether he or she has been convicted of a criminal offence for which a pardon has not been granted.

The declaration form may also be used for basic reliability checks where it has been decided that a CRNC is required and for enhanced reliability checks.

2.5.2 Verification of personal, educational and employment data and references

Departments must not duplicate any verification of personal, educational and employment data and references already conducted as part of the staffing process. The verification of employment data and the reference checks will normally cover the previous five years.

2.5.3 Criminal records name check (CRNC)

To initiate a CRNC, the requesting office completes the form entitled Request for Criminal Records Name Check and forwards it to the security office for submission to the Civil Section, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Authorized users may transmit requests for name checks through the Government Electronic Messaging and Document Exchange Service (GEMDES) to the RCMP.

For cases that will include a post-appointment fingerprint check, a photocopy of the document entitled Fingerprint Form attached to the original will be sufficient to initiate a CRNC. The photocopy indicating the results will be returned by the RCMP. It is important to indicate all given names and surnames used by the person (for example, maiden name, married name, or legal change of name) so that a CRNC may be conducted on each one.

2.5.4 Fingerprint check

Where required, fingerprints are to be taken after the consent form is completed, normally within the department, or at a RCMP office or a local police station. The completed Fingerprint Form is to be forwarded to the security office for processing. No criminal record will be released by the RCMP without first receiving fingerprint impressions to confirm positive identity.

2.5.5 Credit check

Where required, the credit check is conducted by the security office through members of the Associated Credit Bureaus of Canada. Their service number 30, referred to as "File Access Consumer", normally provides the necessary information, however, a more detailed credit check may be justified, for cause.

2.5.6 Other checks

Prior approval of the Treasury Board is required to conduct any other checks in the reliability process, including checks involving programs pursuant to international or bilateral agreements.

2.5.7 Contracts

For contracts with firms, the contracting authority is responsible for ensuring that the firm verifies its employees' personal, educational and employment data and conducts reference checks. The contracting authority initiates criminal records checks, and conducts credit checks where required and other checks approved by Treasury Board.

For contracts with individual, the contracting authority conducts or initiates the required checks.

2.6 Processing security assessments

The first step in processing a security assessment is to decide whether basic or enhanced reliability status is the prerequisite.

In making this choice, attention should be paid to the checks that must be conducted for the particular clearance level. The CRNC is mandatory for a Level I or II clearance. The credit check and fingerprint check are mandatory if the enhanced reliability check is the precursor to a Level III clearance.

If enhanced reliability status is chosen and if a fingerprint check is to be done, the check is to be completed before the status may be granted. Fingerprint checks processed within the previous 12 months may be used again and will be accepted by CSIS for a security clearance assessment.

Reliability status may be granted administratively before proceeding with the next step in the security assessment process. This decision may not however be used on the basis for making an appointment.

Even if a person has been administratively granted basic or enhanced reliability status as a prerequisite to a security clearance, they must not be appointed to a position requiring access to classified information and assets until the security clearance has been granted.

As soon as a person is administratively granted basic or enhanced reliability status, the following documentation is sent through the security office to the investigative body that will conduct the security assessment.

  1. If Basic Reliability Status has been granted:
    • Personnel Screening Request and Authorization form.
    • Results of the CRNC.
    • Copy of the Fingerprint Form, where required.
    • Personnel Security Assessment form for Levels I and II.
    • Personnel Security Clearance Questionnaire, for Level III.
    • A record of decision concerning any reliability issues that have been decided in favour of the individual and that justify proceeding with a security clearance request.
  2. If Enhanced Reliability Status has been granted:
    • Relevant reliability documentation and request forms, as set out above in (a) above.
    • Results of the CRNC or optional fingerprint check.
    • A copy of the credit check report, if a check has been conducted.
    • A record of decision, as for basic reliability, described above.

CSIS carries out security assessments for all departments, with the exception of the RCMP and the Department of National Defence. Where a request for a security assessment has been sent to CSIS and is subsequently no longer required, the department must immediately advise CSIS to cancel the request and return the documentation. This requirement exists in order to avoid unnecessary work on assessments of individuals who are no longer applicants.

2.7 Evaluating results of reliability checks

In arriving at a reliability screening decision, officials are expected to provide a fair and objective assessment that respects the rights of the individual. Individuals must be given an opportunity to explain adverse information before a decision is reached. Unless the information is exemptible under the Privacy Act, individuals must be given the reasons why they have been denied reliability status.

The authorizing manager will need to determine whether a person can be considered trustworthy, taking into account the assessments in articles 2.7.1 to 2.7.5 below.

2.7.1 Verification of personal, educational and employment data and reference checks

On the basis of the information collected, the manager determines whether the person has been reliable in previous employment and is honest and trustworthy.

2.7.2 Results of the criminal records check

The existence of a criminal record can be but need not be sufficient grounds to deny reliability status. A criminal record should be considered in light of such matters as the duties and tasks to be performed, the nature and frequency of the offence, and the passage of time. Where the individual has been convicted of a criminal offence, an official of the security office may brief the manager regarding the nature and severity of the offence.

Departmental officials must not enquire about a criminal offence for which a pardon has been granted.

The authorizing manager will need to determine:

  • The person's attitude towards the unpardoned offence(s) and the extent to which he or she has changed behaviour in this regard.
  • The likely recurrence of similar offenses and their potential effect upon job reliability.

2.7.3 Discrepancies between criminal record check and declaration

Where the results of a criminal records check reveal a criminal record, an assessment is to be made of any discrepancy between this and the declaration of a criminal record. A discrepancy is not necessarily sufficient reason to deny reliability status.

If a post-appointment fingerprint check uncovers evidence that the individual intentionally provided incorrect information, departments should review the case. The following options may be considered:

  • Terminate a contract immediately.
  • Recommend to the Public Service Commission that, pursuant to Section 43 of the PSEA, they refuse to consider the person for the appointment, or that they revoke the appointment retroactively to the date of appointment.
  • Take other measures in accordance with the relevant legislation.

If the employee has already been appointed from outside the Public Service, departments may consider rejecting the employee during the probationary period, as per Section 28 of the PSEA. If the probationary period has already expired, enhanced reliability status may be revoked and the employee released under Section II of the Financial Administration Act.

2.7.4 Credit check

The existence of negative information in a credit report can be but need not be sufficient grounds to deny enhanced reliability status.

Where adverse credit information exists, the authorizing manager must evaluate:

  • To what extent the individual has changed habits with respect to financial reliability.
  • The likely recurrence of financial difficulties and their potential effect on job reliability.

2.7.5 Special provisions of the Criminal Code

Section 748(3) of the Criminal Code states that no person convicted of an offence under Section 121 (frauds on the Government), Section 124 (selling or purchasing office) or Section 418 (selling defective stores to Her Majesty) has, after that conviction, the capacity to contract with Her Majesty or to receive any benefits under a contract between Her Majesty and any other person or to hold office under Her Majesty unless a pardon has been granted.

2.8 Evaluating security assessment information

The decision to grant or deny a security clearance is based primarily on the investigative body's recommendation concerning the person's loyalty to Canada, as well as their reliability as it relates to such loyalty.

Depending upon the security clearance level requested and the position or contract for which the individual is being considered, consideration is given to some or all of the following factors:

  • Character (honesty, stability, etc.).
  • Criminal record (if any).
  • Financial situation.
  • Citizenship.
  • Personal beliefs and associations.
  • Statements made during the subject interview.
  • CSIS indices check.

A decision to grant or deny a security clearance must be based upon adequate information. Where such information does not exist, or cannot be obtained, a security clearance cannot be given. Normally, an adequate quantity and quality of information covers:

  • For site access, the last five continuous years or to age 16 years, whichever comes first.
  • For Levels I, II and III, the last 10 continuous years or to age 16 years, whichever comes first.

Adverse information concerning an individual is assessed with respect to its nature and seriousness, surrounding circumstances, frequency, the willingness of participation, the individual's age at the time of the incident(s) and the degree of rehabilitation.

Individuals are denied a security clearance if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the following conditions apply:

  • As it relates to loyalty, the individual is engaged, or may engage, in activities that constitute a threat to the security of Canada within the meaning of the CSIS Act.
  • Reliability as it relates to loyalty, because of personal beliefs, features of character, association with persons or groups considered a security threat, or family or other close ties to persons living in oppressive or hostile countries, the individual may act or may be induced to act in a way that constitutes a "threat to the security of Canada"; or they may disclose, may be induced to disclose, or may cause to be disclosed in an unauthorized way, classified information.

Classified CSIS information must not be discussed with an individual without the prior agreement of CSIS.

CSIS need only be informed of cases in which a department:

  • Grants a level of clearance other than that which has been requested.
  • Grants a clearance where a negative assessment recommendation is involved.
  • Denies, suspends or revokes a clearance.

If as part of a security clearance assessment, adverse information as defined in paragraph 3 to Appendix B "Guidance on Use of Information for Reliability Checks" is received, it may be used to re-assess the individual's previously granted reliability status. In such cases, departments must conduct their own internal investigation to determine if a revocation of reliability status is warranted.

In cases where the individual's security clearance is being denied or revoked on the grounds of loyalty or reliability as it relates to loyalty, departments must also re-assess the individual's reliability status.

In all cases that result in a denial or revocation of either a security clearance or reliability status, departments must follow those procedures outlined within Sections 5 and 6 of this Standard.

2.9 Granting or denying reliability status

Departments must ensure that authority is assigned to grant or deny reliability status.

In granting reliability status, the authorized official signs the document entitled Personnel Screening Request and Authorization Form, certifying that the checks have been carried out and whether, in his or her judgment, the risks attached to employing or contracting with the individual are acceptable.

All records pertaining to reliability checks are to be retained, normally as part of standard information bank PSE 921, except where an alternate bank is identified in Info Source.

If the requested reliability status is denied, the individual must be briefed and given the reasons for the denial, unless the information is exemptible under the Privacy Act. The individual is also to be advised of the right to redress. See Section 6 for further information on redress.

2.10 Granting or denying a security clearance

Departments must assign authority at an appropriate level to grant security clearances. The authority to deny, revoke or suspend clearances may not be delegated below the level of deputy head.

The decision to grant a security clearance is recorded on the Security Screening Certificate and Briefing Form. The requesting office is then advised so that the proposed appointment or contract may proceed.

All records pertaining to security clearances are to be retained in standard information bank PSE 909, except where an alternate bank is identified in Info Source.

If the required level is denied, Section 42 of the CSIS Act requires that the individual be advised in writing within 10 days of the decision and also be informed of his or her right to complain to the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC). See Section 6 for additional information.

Pursuant to making a complaint, individuals will be provided with a statement of circumstance by SIRC.

2.11 Making an appointment or deployment

The required level of personnel screening must be granted prior to making an appointment. In the case of appointment from open or closed competitions, and in accordance with the Public Service Reform Act and the Public Service Employment Act, a candidate may be placed on an eligibility list while it is being determined if the candidate meets the security conditions of employment. Positions must be kept open for higher-ranking candidates on the eligibility list for whom security clearances have yet to be granted.

Employees being deployed pursuant to the PSEA must meet the security requirements of the position to which they are being deployed.

2.12 Security briefing

Individuals must be advised of the access requirements of the position or contract, as well as their authorized level of screening, before commencement of duties.

Individuals should be informed on a periodic basis of their obligations to report, orally or in writing and without delay, to their security office matter such as:

  • Contact in which unauthorized access is sought to sensitive information.
  • There is concern that they may be the target of an attempted exploitation.

Information collected relating to the reporting of such incidents is protected by provisions of the Privacy Act.

Where foreign travel is involved, departments may seek travel advisory information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Individuals are required to sign the Security Screening Certificate and Briefing Form, which indicates their approved personnel screening level and informs them of their responsibilities with respect to safeguarding information and the requirements of the Security policy. The briefing should be conducted in person, but where that is not feasible, it may consist of an appropriate briefing in writing.

In accordance with the Section 110 of the Public Service Reform Act, employees, before undertaking their positions, must take an oath or solemn affirmation of office and secrecy.

3. Special circumstances

3.1 Exemptions for current employees

Employees who have remained incumbents of the same position since June 1986 and who were automatically granted enhanced reliability status are referred to as "current employees"; they are not subject to periodic updates, as required in Section 4. This exemption remains valid only for the period that the employee remains in the position held when automatically granted reliability status.

If the exempted employee is considered for another position requiring an enhanced reliability check, the fingerprint check may be replaced by a criminal records name check. This option does not apply if the employee is being considered for appointment to a position requiring a Level III security clearance.

However, departments may initiate an enhanced reliability check on an employee for cause.

3.2 Changes in position requirements

If new duties or tasks require an individual to have a higher level of screening (upgrade) in his or her own position, departments must make administrative arrangements to prohibit access to that higher level of sensitive information until such time as the subsequent screening process is successfully completed. If the new level is denied, departments must take action to remove the person from those functions, (as described in Section 5).

For upgrades, all checks required as part of the screening process and conducted as part of the initial process, must be repeated and reassessed, (except the primary checks identified in article 2.3).

Where a fingerprint check of criminal records was initially required, it may be replaced by a CRNC for the upgrade.

If the new duties or tasks require a lower level of screening (downgrade), departments must inform the individual of the new access requirement of the position or contract. The individual's status or clearance is not cancelled but becomes inactive and may be reactivated in accordance with Section 4. This information must be reflected in a revised Security Screening Certificate and Briefing Form. The Administrative Cancellation Form may also be used.

3.3 Special screening situations

Situations may occur which do not involve regular appointments but where personnel screening is still required (for example, secondments or assignments, locally engaged staff outside Canada). In such cases departments must ensure that before permitting access, the individual has the appropriate reliability status or security clearance issued under the Security policy or pursuant to any bilateral or international agreement.

For guidance on the screening requirements for individuals working in Ministers' offices consult the document entitled Guidelines for Ministers' Offices.

3.4 Screening for access to sensitive sites or facilities

Situations may occur when a person's duties require access to sensitive government-related sites or facilities, usually for a short time, and not to information. In limited and specific circumstances security assessments for site access security clearances may be conducted. These circumstance include the following programs:

  • Programs involving work sites or facilities that are designated, on the recommendation of the Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, as ones which could reasonably be expected to be targeted by those who engage in activities constituting threats to the security of Canada as defined in the Canadian Security Intelligence Act.

Contracting authorities are required to submit proposals regarding site access clearances under such circumstances to the Treasury Board for its recommendations.

  • Programs authorized by statute or regulation (for example, the Airport Restricted Area Access Clearance Program under the authority of the Aerodrome Security Regulations).

Appendix C includes a list of screening checks for the site access security clearance.

4. Updates, reactivation and transferability

4.1 Updates

Departments must update an individual's enhanced reliability status, Level I and Level II security clearances once every ten years. Site access security clearances also must be updated every ten years. A Level III security clearance must be updated once every five years. Every effort should be made to have the screening updated before the end of the update cycle. If for any reason this is not possible, the reliability status or security clearance does not expire for the individual occupying the position. This regular update cycle does not preclude the department from reviewing a person's reliability status or security clearance more frequently for cause.

Although "current employees" are exempted from regular reliability updates, their status may be subject to review for cause, as described in article 3.1.

All checks identified as part of the update process and conducted as part of the initial process must be repeated and reassessed, (except the primary checks described in article 2.3).

Where a fingerprint check of criminal records was initially required, it may be replaced by a CRNC for the update.

For Level III updates, departments must have in place a process to assess the individual's continuing reliability and loyalty. In all cases, the update will include a credit check, a criminal record check, and a CSIS indices check. Where the results of the criminal or credit checks reveal significant adverse information, departments must conduct an interview with the individual to resolve any doubt prior to requesting the CSIS indices check. Departments must conduct subject interviews for updates of Level III clearances for access to SIGINT. If any issue is raised in the interview that bears on the individual's loyalty or reliability as it relates thereto, CSIS is to be advised; a field investigation may be initiated to develop full details of this information.

Departments should use the opportunity of the updating process to conduct a security briefing with individuals on their on-going security responsibilities with respect to safeguarding information and the requirements of the Security policy referred to in article 2.12.

In situations where an individual does not provide the documentation required for an update within a reasonable time period, departmental officials should consult with their staff relations specialists or contracting authority. The application of progressive disciplinary actions may be considered.

4.2 Reactivation and transferability

Reliability status or a security clearance (Levels I and II only) may be reactivated without checks when any of the following conditions apply:

  • An individual has terminated employment with the government and subsequently returned.
  • Private sector individuals or companies have terminated a government contract and subsequently entered into a new contract.
  • A person holds an inactive reliability status or security clearance pursuant to article 3.2.

A Level III clearance may be reactivated without checks within 12 months of the end of continuous employment.

An individual's screening level may be transferred. This applies in cases of one position or contract to another, between a contract and a position and between departments.

It is not necessary for the screening level to be updated in order for it to be transferred or reactivated. However, the update process if required, must be initiated concurrent with the appointment.

5. Revocation

As a result of an update or a review based on new adverse information concerning an individual, his or her enhanced reliability status or security clearance may be revoked. The authority of the deputy head to revoke a security clearance may not be delegated.

In the event of a revocation, individuals must be informed of their rights of review or redress and prohibited from access to sensitive information and assets.

If as the result of a denial or revocation of a security clearance or reliability status, the individual no longer meets the condition of employment, departmental Labour Relations must be consulted.

If the individual concerned is on contract, the contract must be terminated. Where the individual is an employee of a firm, the person must be replaced by another employee of the contracting firm, otherwise the contract is to be terminated.

In cases involving security clearance denials, revocations or suspensions, except for members of the Canadian Forces, deputy heads must consult with the Privy Council Office before recommending to the Governor in Council the dismissal of any individual in the interests of national security. If the individual is an employee as defined in the Public Service Staff Relations Act, deputy heads must also consult with the Human Resources Policy Branch of the Treasury Board Secretariat.

When a member of the Canadian Forces is released in the interests of national security pursuant to the provisions of the Queen's Regulations and Orders (Chapter 15-Release), the deputy head must inform the Privy Council Office.

6. Review and redress

6.1 General

Departments should establish an internal screening review process to review all relevant information and negative recommendations before reliability status or a security clearance is denied or revoked.

Individuals must be informed in writing of their rights of access to review or redress mechanisms where a decision to deny or revoke reliability status or a security clearance has been reached. The authorized officer denying reliability status should consult the security office regarding the redress mechanisms available in each case in order to fully inform the individual concerned.

6.2 Reliability status

Employees who wish to challenge a negative decision based on the results of a reliability check may do so through current grievance procedures in accordance with Sections 91 and 92 of the Public Service Staff Relations Act. Departments, other than the Canadian Forces component of the Department of National Defence, must ensure that reliability check grievances proceed directly to the final level of the grievance procedure.

Individuals from outside the Public Service, such as applicants and contractors, may complain to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Public Service Commission's Investigations Directorate or the Federal Court, Trial Division, according to the specifics of each case.

6.3 Security clearance

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act establishes the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) as the formal review body in cases concerning denial of a security clearance. Pursuant to Section 42 of the CSIS Act, this right of review is available to outside candidates, employees and those contracting directly with the government who are denied a security clearance by a deputy head.

Deputy Heads who disagree with a security clearance recommendation made by SIRC must consult with the Privy Council Office (PCO) in reviewing the issue. Deputy Heads must also inform the Chairperson of SIRC of their final decision in writing. Consultation with PCO must take place prior to any action to release, demote or dismiss an individual, notwithstanding the fact that the authority to deny a security clearance remains with the Deputy Head. This requirement is intended to ensure the thorough review of the initial reasons for denying, revoking or suspending a security clearance in those cases where the SIRC recommends granting or reinstating the clearance.

Any individual denied a security clearance may also file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. If a minister advises the Commission that the basis of the denial relates to the security of Canada, the Commission may either dismiss the complaint or refer the matter to SIRC for investigation before proceeding. As well, individuals may appeal to the Federal Court following the denial of a security clearance.

7. Security screening records

7.1 Transferability

When an employee is being considered for appointment, assignment, deployment or secondment, a copy of his or her security screening records should be transferred only upon request of the receiving department. The receiving department must destroy copies of security screening records if no assignment or secondment takes place, or at the conclusion of the assignment or secondment.

If the security file contains adverse information, the security staff of the two departments involved and, if applicable, a representative of CSIS should discuss the case to determine if the information is still valid and relevant before transferring the documents.

If the security file contains a copy of the employee's criminal record, the record must be destroyed before transferring the file. An up-to-date copy of the criminal record may be obtained from the RCMP by submitting a set of fingerprints.

When receiving an employee on appointment, assignment or secondment, the receiving department should make arrangements for upgrading the security clearance or reliability status, as required.

7.2 Storage and disposal

Departments must destroy security screening records concerning a retired or separated employee under the retention and disposal schedules of the National Archives of Canada.

Security screening records concerning an employee who has permanently left his or her department are not to be transferred to the Personnel Records Centre or any Federal Records Centre of the National Archives of Canada.

7.3 Grant of pardon

Where an employee of a department has been granted a pardon or a discharge, the department that controls related records must ensure the administration of the provisions of the Criminal Records Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter 47, Section 6 and subsequent amendments.

8. Termination of employment

Departments must establish policies and procedures for dealing with the termination of employment that ensures a timely and complete separation. These policies and procedures should cover the following points:

  • A formal debriefing to remind individuals of their continuing responsibilities relating to the confidentiality of the sensitive information to which they have had access in the course of their employment.
  • The revocation of all authorities and reclamation of property (e.g. identification badges, access authorities, keys and locks) on termination or, when appropriate, on giving notice of termination.

Termination policies and procedures should be developed in consultation with departmental human resource advisors.

The Security Screening Certificate and Briefing Form or the Administration Cancellation Form may be used to record that termination procedures have been completed.


Appendix A - Guidance

Enquiries about this standard should be directed to the responsible officers in departmental headquarters, who, in turn, may seek interpretation from:

Information and Security Policy Division
Government Operations Sector
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
8th Floor, East Tower
140 O'Connor St.
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R5
Telephone: 613-946-5046 or 957-2534
Facsimile: 613-952-7287

For advice and guidance on applying this standard under contract, contact:

Industrial Security Requirements Directorate (ICSD)
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Place du Portage, Phase III
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 0S5

For information related to the threat/risk of travel to foreign locations, contact:

Security and Intelligence Bureau
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Dr.
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 0G2
Telephone: 613-992-6597

Appendix B - Guidance on Use of Information for Reliability Checks

1. The following table provides general guidance in the use of information concerning an individual for purposes of a reliability check. The guidelines regarding use of the information in assessing qualifications is provided for comparative purposes only.

Guidance on Use of Information for Reliability Checks
INFORMATION USE IN ASSESSING QUALIFICATIONS USE IN RELIABILITY CHECKS
Proof of Identity
(Personal Data)
To prevent personation, to ensure that qualifications assessed are those of the candidate. To prevent personation, to ensure that the records checked are those of the individual being checked.
Educational Qualifications To ensure that the candidate possesses the academic qualifications required by the position. To ensure that the individual is being truthful about background and history.
Employment History To evaluate experience in relation to the requirements of the position. To determine reliability in previous employment and to ensure that the person is being truthful about background and history.
References To evaluate experience, knowledge, abilities, interpersonal relations. To determine whether the individual has been honest, trustworthy, and reliable.
Credit Check N/A To determine whether the individual might be subject to financial pressures that could reflect on the degree of trust that can be justified, in relation to the duties to be performed.
Criminal Record Check N/A To determine whether the individual has in the past committed crimes that would indicate unacceptable risk in relation to the duties to be performed.

2. In determining the merit of a candidate for appointment, the question to be answered is whether the candidate is qualified and, if so, how well. In other words, how well can the candidate perform the functions that could be assigned?

3. In checking reliability, the question to be answered is whether the individual can be relied upon not to abuse the trust that might be accorded. In other words, is there reasonable cause to believe that the individual may steal valuables, exploit assets and information for personal gain, fail to safeguard information and assets entrusted to him or her, or exhibit behaviour that would reflect negatively on their reliability. Such decisions are to involve an assessment of any risks attached to making the appointment or assignment, and, based on the level of reliability required and the nature of the duties to be performed, a judgement of whether such risks are acceptable or not.

4. In either case, a negative decision requires that a individual not be appointed, assigned the duties, etc. No matter how well qualified, a person who cannot be trusted to carry out their tasks honestly and reliability is not to be engaged. No matter how honest, reliable or trustworthy, a person who is not qualified to perform those tasks is not to be engaged.

Appendix C

  Initial Process Initial and Update Process
  Personal data Education / professional qualifications Employment data and reference checks CRNC Fingerprint check Credit check Personal character reference CSIS indices check Field investigation Subject interview
RELIABILITY CHECK
Basic X X X X(1) X(2)          
Enhanced X X X X X(2,3,4) X(6)        
SECURITY ASSESSMENT
Site access X X X X X(2,3) X(10) For Cause X For Cause For Cause
Level I (7) (7) (7) X X(2,3) X(6) For Cause X For Cause For Cause
Level II (7) (7) (7) X X(2,3) X(6) For Cause X For Cause For Cause
Level III (7) (7) (7)   X(5) X X(8) X X(9) X(11)
  1. Optional; mandatory when conducted as a prerequisite for a security clearance.
  2. May be required where the results of the CRNC indicate that a criminal record may exist.
  3. Optional.
  4. For current employees, may be replaced by a criminal records name check.
  5. Mandatory for initial personnel screening process, for updates and upgrades, the initial fingerprint check may be replaced by a CRNC.
  6. Only when the duties or tasks to be performed require it on or in the event of a criminal record based on the type of offence.
  7. Basic or enhanced reliability status must be granted prior to the request for a security clearance.
  8. Mandatory for initial personnel screening process; for cause on updates.
  9. Mandatory for initial personnel screening process; optional based on update subject interview or checks.
  10. For cause only, as determined by the department responsible.
  11. Optional for initial personnel screening process. Mandatory for cause on updates. Mandatory for initial process and for updates for access to SIGINT.

Appendix D - References

The forms listed below are available from:

DLS
45 Boul. Sacré-Cour
Hull, Quebec
K1A 0S7
Telephone: 819-779-4335
Facsimile: 819-779-2833

Personnel screening forms

  • Administrative Cancellation Form (TBS 330-25), (NATO 7540-21-503-4859)
  • Classification Action Form (TBS 330-167), (NATO 7450-21-897-9656)
  • Declaration Regarding Criminal Convictions (TBS 330-58A), (Revised 1994/03)
  • Fingerprint Form (RCMP C-216C), (NATO 7540-21-862-7891)
  • Personnel Security Clearance Questionnaire (TBS 330-60), (NATO 7540-21-903-4650)
  • Personnel Screening Request and Authorization (TBS 330-23), (NATO 7540-21-909-1925)
  • Personnel Security Assessment for Levels I and II (TBS 330-279), (NATO 7540-21-909-1799)
  • Security Screening Certificate and Briefing Form (TBS 330-47), (NATO 7540-21-909-1926)
  • Request for Criminal Records Name Check (TBS 330-59), (NATO 7540-21-903-4856)

Other documents

  • Criminal Records Act, R.S., 1985, Chapter 47.
  • Guidelines for Ministers' Offices, Treasury Board Secretariat
  • Info Source, Supply and Services Canada.