CSIS & Your Rights:
An Arab-Canadian Guide
by Canadian Arab Federation | HOME
What is CSIS?
The Canadian Security and Intelligence Services (CSIS) is a government agency. The purpose of CSIS is to collect information about the "threats to the security of Canada" and report it to the government. CSIS can also provide this information to the police and to foreign states. CSIS IS NOT THE POLICE. CSIS does not have the same powers as the police. CSIS only has the power to intercept communications (i.e. wiretap) and seize documents or records with a valid warrant. CSIS does not have the power to:
1. ask you who you are, question you or compel you to speak;
2. stop you or search you;
3. charge you or arrest you;
4. enter or search your home;
5. detain you or deport you.
Recently CSIS has been interviewing and monitoring members of the Arab community. When CSIS comes calling, you do not have to answer. CSIS may come to your home or workplace unannounced – they do not have the legal right to do this. Unfortunately, CSIS has not always acted responsibly towards Arabs and Muslims. That is why it is important for you to know and assert your rights. Arabs and Muslims have the same civil rights as all Canadians – DO NOT BE AFRAID TO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS.
Remember Your Rights
You have the right to remain silent
You can refuse to talk to a CSIS officer. CSIS cannot compel you to speak with them. If you do say anything to CSIS it is considered a voluntary statement and it can and will be used against you or another person to lay criminal charges or for immigration or extradition proceedings.
You have the right to refuse CSIS entry into you home or workplace
If CSIS insists on speaking with you or coming into your home or workplace, you have the right to call police for assistance.
You have the right to ask CSIS to leave
If they do not have a warrant they have no right to enter or remove anything from your home.
You have the right to see the CSIS warrant
If CSIS claims they have a warrant you have the right to see it. The warrant must specifically describe the date, the place to be searched, the time and the things to be seized.
You have the right to tell CSIS that you do not consent to the search
If CSIS has a warrant, you cannot stop them from entering and searching, but you have the right to tell them that you do not consent to the search. Remember, CSIS can only seize what is authorized by the warrant.
You have the right to observe and monitor their activities if CSIS has a warrant
You do not have to assist them or answer their questions during the execution of the warrant. A warrant for seizure does not give CSIS the right to question you. You have the right to say nothing during the seizure.
You have the right to be provided with a list of any and all items, documents and things seized by CSIS
You have the right to ask CSIS agents for their names and titles
Give this information to your lawyer.
You have the right to confront the officers politely in public if you suspect you are under CSIS surveillance
You also have the right to report this to the police and to provide this information to your lawyer.
You have the right to not give any information to CSIS
You have the right not to identify yourself, your address or reveal your immigration status to CSIS.
What To Do if CSIS Contacts You
• Ask the officers that visit you for their name, title and phone number and contact a lawyer for advice.
• Never talk to CSIS without a lawyer. You can cooperate with CSIS withthe assistance of a lawyer.
• If they try to question you or enter your home, without a warrant, just say "NO"
• Do not be afraid to say no. If you are nervous about simply refusing to talk, tell them to contact your lawyer or that you want to speak to a lawyer
• Remember CSIS is trying to collect information about you or others, about your habits, your opinions and your affiliations and that this information may result in criminal or immigration charges against you or another person.
• If you suspect you are under surveillance and want to confront the officer: make sure you are polite, in a public place and not alone. Record all details and report it to the police.
• If you are the subject of a wiretap or a seizure warrant contact a lawyer immediately.
• NEVER voluntarily leave the country with CSIS. If you are a Canadian citizen you can only be extradited by a court order after legal proceedings where you are represented by a lawyer. If you are not a citizen you have rights under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act not to be removed from Canada without legal proceedings and a deportation order.
CANADIAN ARAB FEDERATION (CAF)
1057 McNicoll Avenue
Toronto, ON M1W 3W6
LEGAL AID ONTARIO
375 University Avenue Suite 204
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2G1
Phone: (416) 598-0200
Fax: (416) 598-0558
LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE
The Lawyer Referral Service is available from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. A $6 user fee will be applied to your phone bill.
In Toronto Phone: 416-947-3330