National Security

“On the one hand stands the manifest evil of terrorism and the random and arbitrary taking of innocent lives, rippling out in an ever-widening spiral of loss and fear. Governments, expressing the will of the governed, need the legal tools to meet this challenge.On the other hand stands the need to ensure that those legal tools do not undermine the values that are fundamental to our democratic society — liberty, the rule of law, and the principles of fundamental justice — values that lie at the heart of the Canadian constitutional order and the international instruments Canada has signed. In the end, it would be a Pyrrhic victory if terrorism were defeated at the cost of sacrificing our commitment to those values. Parliament’s challenge is to draft laws that effectively combat terrorism and conform to the requirements of our Constitution and our international commitments.” R. v. Suresh, (2002), Supreme Court of CanadaPost 9/11 national security measures have resulted in complicity in torture, arbitrary and indefinite detentions, secret evidence, racial profiling, and denial of due process and fair trial rights. These measures violate our Constitution and Canada’s international legal obligations. CCLA calls for national security measures which comply with our Charter and international law, upholding our commitments to human dignity, life, liberty, the rule of law and fundamental justice. Through litigation and advocacy, CCLA works for accountability and compliance with Canada’s legal obligations. The key issues in our national security work are:

  1. Privacy & National Security
  2. Fair Trial & Due Process
  3. Absolute Prohibition Against Torture
  4. Security Certificates

>> Read CCLA’s Afghan detainees case fact sheet

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>> View all articles and posts from the National Security Program<<

Recent Work

Features & Multimedia


Canada’s Universal Periodic Review

On April 26 Canada will undergo its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a unique global accountability process that allows all members of the UN Human Rights Council to review Canada’s compliance with international human rights law.  CCLA believes this is an important process and was pleased to participate in a pre-session with states allowing us [...]

Audio Audio

AUDIO: CCLA’s NGO Report To The UN For Canada’s 2nd UPR Review

CCLA’s Sukanya Pillay, Director of the National Security Program, speaks to RCI’s Wojtek Gwiazda about CCLA’s recent report to the UN – the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrant workers, the right to peaceful protest, and  the number of Aboriginal women in Canadian prisons, are some of the issues raised by CCLA as part [...]

Icon of camera Video

CCLA Holds Conference Assessing Global Counter-Terror Initiatives

On Friday, October 19th, 2012, nearly 100 attendees gathered at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law for a one day symposium entitled “The Social Cost of National Security: Assessing the Impact of Global Counter-Terror Initiatives on Canadian Society”.  The conference was a partnership between the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Arab Institute [...]