Don Butler, Canwest News Service, 25 July 2008
OTTAWA - Current laws do not effectively protect against human right violations by Canada's security intelligence agencies, concludes a study undertaken for the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
The commission asked four Toronto human rights lawyers to examine the extent to which the RCMP, CSIS, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and the bodies that monitor them are legally obliged to consider human rights issues when discharging their duties.
It commissioned the study because of concern that laws enacted in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks might unfairly target certain groups based on their race, religion or ethnic origin.
The study found some broad legislation, such as the Anti-terrorism Act, imposes "limited human rights obligations" on security intelligence agencies and their monitoring bodies.
But none of the agencies, it says, is explicitly mandated by its enabling legislation to consider and report on human rights matters.
That legislative gap increases the risk of rights violations by national security agencies, said Nicole Chrolavicius, one of the report's authors.