The government of Canada and its departments have a duty to ensure that individuals with access to government information and assets are reliable, trustworthy, and loyal. This is a continuing duty which means that the government is required to ensure the reliability, trustworthiness and loyalty of employees and contractors even after they have started working with the government. Therefore security screenings must be regularly updated.

You can be denied a security clearance before you are hired. You can also be dismissed, transferred, demoted or denied a promotion or transfer on the basis of being denied a security clearance after you are hired.

You may be denied if there are reasonable grounds to believe you are or may become involved in activities which threaten national security. You could also be denied if you are deemed unreliable because there are reasonable grounds for believing you may disclose information by, for example, carelessly talking or failing to safeguard records or by being induced as a result of blackmail or other means to disclose information.

If You Are Denied a Security Clearance

If you have been denied a security clearance you have the right to make a complaint to Canadian Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), and where appropriate, SIRC will investigate and make written recommendations about the validity of the complaint. They will then hold a hearing which you may not be allowed to attend.

At the conclusion of the hearing they will report their findings and any recommendations to the Minister of Public Safety, the Director of CSIS and to the Deputy Head of the department or agency which would have employed or contracted with you.

You will also get a report of the findings, although it may have sensitive or classified information removed. The committee only has authority to make a recommendations to grant or reinstate a security clearance but this recommendation does not have to be followed by the Deputy Head of your government department or agency. If the Deputy Head does not follow the recommendation he or she must consult with the Privacy Council Office, which must review the issue.