Canadian Security Clearance Process Closely Mirrors the U.S.
The background investigation process for our neighbors to the North closely resembles our own suitability and security clearance process. Their version of our public trust suitability process is referred to as the reliability status background investigation process and is equivalent to our Tier 1. It is used to grant employees and contractors physical and/or logical access to government facilities or assets. Their security clearance levels, timelines and process is the same as ours and is used to grant an individual access to classified information. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) are the ones who conduct the background investigation checks.
After perusing through information on various sites provided by Canadian Government, I found their approach to transparency about the process quite refreshing. They put it out there in a simple and easily understandable format – no hidden surprises or smoke and mirrors. I found an interesting clearance denial appeal case in which a pilot lost his security clearance for making threats towards aviation officials and co-workers on multiple occasions and had his clearance revoked. He subsequently appealed the decision in court. The interesting court case summary didn’t hold anything back in identifying the applicant or white-washing the exact wording he used when making his threats. The judge in this case was quite forthright about how he interpreted the applicant’s arguments and pretty much told him to go pound sand. Even more interesting was the fact that the applicant, in losing his appeal, had to pay court costs of $1,000.