Are the policies, administration, and budgets of the intelligence services subject to effective and independent oversight?
Canada score: 100/100
There is considerable and regular undue influence in the oversight of the intelligence service’s policies, administration, and budgets. It is likely its mandate results in limited power and resources to carry out the oversight.
A parliamentary committee or independent body (e.g., appointed by PM) is designated to scrutinise the intelligence service’s policies, administration, and budgets. It may occasionally be subject to undue influence from the executive or the military or its mandate is not always matched by the body’s powers and resources.
A parliamentary committee or independent body (e.g., appointed by PM) is designated to scrutinise the intelligence service’s policies, administration, and budgets. It functions without undue influence from the executive or the military. Its mandate is matched by the body’s powers and resources.
A new agency – the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency – was announced in July 2019, which will have oversight of all intelligence activities carried out by the Canadian government.  This will complement (not replace) the existing House and Senate Committees on security that already carry out oversight activities of the intelligence gathering agencies of the Canadian government.  The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency has access to all activities and documents in agencies and departments related to national security. The exception is that a Minister could deny access on national security grounds. While oversight committees are able to draft reports and call expert testimony and act in an oversight capacity, they are not able to enact changes without legislating through Parliament. These committees (in the House of Commons) are constructed based on the existing seat proportions in the House of Commons, as such they are able to function without undue influence from the intelligence services as well as the executive, especially in the current circumtance of a Minority Government where opposition members outnumber government members on all parliamentary committees. 
1. John Paul Tasker, “Trudeau taps outgoing NDP MP to chair new national security oversight body,” CBC News, July 24, 2019, accessed 4 October, 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-national-security-committee-ndp-mp-1.5223425.
2. Cat Barker, Claire Petrie, Johanna Dawson, et al, Oversight of Intelligence Agencies: A Comparison of the ‘Five Eyes’ Nations (Ottawa: Library of Parliament, 2017), accessed 4 October, 2019, https://lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWebsite/default/en_CA/ResearchPublications/22035249E.
3. “Chapter 20: Committees,” in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, ed. Marc Bosc and André Gagnon (Ottawa: House of Commons, 2017), accessed May 20, 2020, https://www.ourcommons.ca/About/ProcedureAndPractice3rdEdition/ch_20_2-e.html.
Canada score: 75/100
The oversight function has little to no influence over the intelligence services.
The oversight function does not have regular access to classified information. It may meet less frequently than every 6 months.
The oversight function has access to classified information and meets at least every 6 months to review budget and expenditures, personnel issues, and policies of the intelligence services. Findings are rarely published.
The oversight function has access to classified information and meets at least every 6 months to review budget and expenditures, personnel issues, and policies of the intelligence services. Though meetings are held behind closed doors, a summary of findings is published.
The oversight function has access to classified information and meets at least every 2 months to review budget and expenditures, personnel issues, and policies of the intelligence services. Though meetings are held behind closed doors, a summary of findings is published.
The Parliamentary oversight committees have only limited access to classified information, and there are no standardised guidelines as to when and under what circumstances they may have access to operationally sensitive materials.  The House Committee meets frequently (some committees meet weekly and others less frequently based on their given mandates ) and releases reports regularly, but these reports seldom address matters related to the intelligence services, although it is unclear whether these issues are not dealt with or simply not publicly reported on.  Bill C-59 in 2017 created the role of an Intelligence Commissioner, who has access to classified material and must provide a yearly report to the Prime Minister, who must publish a redacted version of the report.  Therefore, reports are made available (although may be redacted in some way) to the public and are the result of regular committee meetings.
1. Cat Barker, Claire Petrie, Johanna Dawson, et al, Oversight of Intelligence Agencies: A Comparison of the ‘Five Eyes’ Nations (Ottawa: Library of Parliament, 2017), accessed 4 October, 2019, https://lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWebsite/default/en_CA/ResearchPublications/22035249E.
2. “Work”, Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Committees, House of Commons Canada, accessed 4 October, 2019, https://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/SECU/Work?show=reports.
3. “Part 2: the Intelligence Commissioner”, Bill C-59, Parliament of Canada, accessed 4 October, 2019, https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-59/royal-assent#ID0ELRAK. 4. “All Committee Meetings,” Committees, House of Commons, accessed May 20, 2020, https://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/Meetings.
Compare scores by country
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|Country||21a. Independence||21b. Effectiveness|
|Albania||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Algeria||0 / 100||NA|
|Angola||0 / 100||NA|
|Argentina||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Armenia||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Australia||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Azerbaijan||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Bahrain||0 / 100||NA|
|Bangladesh||0 / 100||NA|
|Belgium||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Botswana||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Brazil||75 / 100||0 / 100|
|Burkina Faso||50 / 100||NEI|
|Cameroon||0 / 100||NA|
|Canada||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Chile||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|China||0 / 100||NA|
|Colombia||NEI||50 / 100|
|Cote d'Ivoire||0 / 100||NA|
|Denmark||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Egypt||0 / 100||NA|
|Estonia||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Finland||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|France||50 / 100||75 / 100|
|Germany||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Ghana||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Greece||25 / 100||0 / 100|
|Hungary||50 / 100||100 / 100|
|India||0 / 100||NA|
|Indonesia||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Iran||0 / 100||NA|
|Iraq||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Israel||50 / 100||100 / 100|
|Italy||75 / 100||100 / 100|
|Japan||25 / 100||0 / 100|
|Jordan||0 / 100||NA|
|Kenya||75 / 100||25 / 100|
|Kosovo||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Kuwait||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Latvia||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Lebanon||0 / 100||NA|
|Lithuania||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Malaysia||0 / 100||NA|
|Mali||0 / 100||NA|
|Mexico||0 / 100||50 / 100|
|Montenegro||50 / 100||75 / 100|
|Morocco||0 / 100||NA|
|Myanmar||0 / 100||NA|
|Netherlands||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|New Zealand||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Niger||0 / 100||NA|
|Nigeria||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|North Macedonia||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Norway||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Oman||0 / 100||NA|
|Palestine||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Philippines||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Poland||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Portugal||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Qatar||0 / 100||NA|
|Russia||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|Saudi Arabia||0 / 100||NA|
|Serbia||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Singapore||0 / 100||NEI|
|South Africa||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|South Korea||100 / 100||25 / 100|
|South Sudan||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Spain||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Sudan||0 / 100||NA|
|Sweden||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Switzerland||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Taiwan||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Thailand||0 / 100||NA|
|Tunisia||0 / 100||NA|
|Turkey||0 / 100||NA|
|Uganda||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Ukraine||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|United Arab Emirates||0 / 100||NA|
|United Kingdom||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|United States||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Venezuela||0 / 100||NA|
|Zimbabwe||0 / 100||NA|