Before you contact NSIRA, you must:

  1. Have made a formal complaint (in the form of a letter) to the Chief of CSE:
    Chief, Communications Security Establishment
    P.O. Box 9703, Terminal
    Ottawa, ON
    K1G 3Z4

2. Have not received a response from the Chief of CSE within 60 days or are not satisfied with the response you have received.

What do you do next

Complete the CSE Complaints form


It is best that you include as much detail as possible, including names, dates and any other relevant information to assist NSIRA in its investigation of your complaint.

Don’t forget to include a copy of your letter to CSE and any response you have received.

For the security of your information, please send your documents by courier/mail to:

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
P.O. Box 2430
Station “D”
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

What you need to know:

  • You don’t need to pay a fee to submit a complaint
  • You don’t need to hire a lawyer or get legal assistance
  • If you decide to seek legal advice, you are responsible for paying your legal fees and associated costs

NSIRA is an independent and external review agency
When NSIRA receives your complaint form and documentation, NSIRA will:

  • Notify you that we have received your complaint
  • Ask you and CSE to provide details (in the form of a letter) regarding your complaint. This is what NSIRA is looking for:
    • The complaint letter explains the activity carried out by CSE;
    • That it be satisfied that the complaint letter is not trivial, frivolous or vexatious or made in bad faith.
  • Conduct a preliminary review of the information received from both parties  and determine if the complaint falls within NSIRA’s mandate to investigate the complaint.

What happens next

Should NSIRA determine it is not within its mandate to investigate your complaint, your complaint file will be closed. NSIRA will inform you, by letter, of its decision.  

Your complaint may not have been accepted by NSIRA as your complaint does not concern an activity carried out by CSE and/or NSIRA is satisfied that your complaint is trivial, frivolous or vexatious or made in bad faith.

NSIRA will inform you and the respondent (s) of the next steps in the complaint process.

NSIRA will contact you and seek your availability so that you have an opportunity to present your evidence in the course of NSIRA’s investigation, which may done in person or in writing.  

While NSIRA communicates with you to arrange a suitable time for the Hearing and walk you through the process, here is what to expect:

  • A pre-hearing conference will be scheduled with the assigned NSIRA member and CSE to discuss procedures and the scheduling of your hearing.
  • Items to be discussed can include:
    • The nature of the complaint to be investigated and/or other issues to be addressed
    • If parties are open to a settlement conference
    • Format of your hearing: in writing or in person
    • Witnesses that will testify at the hearing
    • Duration, proposed dates and place of your hearing
  • Your hearing will now be scheduled
    • Before the hearing, you will need to:
      • Submit a summary of your witness(es) testimony
      • Submit all documents you wish to rely on at your hearing if  you have not provided it already

The Member assigned to your complaint may review evidence from CSE. This evidence may remain classified and you may not be entitled to see it in its original form. However, an unclassified summary of this evidence will be provided to you as well as to CSE.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the assigned Member may request written submissions from both parties. If this is the case, you will have up to 4 weeks to provide written submissions that will support your evidence.

CSE will then have up to 3 weeks to provide written submissions in reply to your arguments.

Finally, you will have an additional two weeks to submit your rebuttal to their arguments, if any.

Once NSIRA has received the parties’ written submissions, if requested, the NSIRA Member assigned to investigate your complaint will prepare a final report which will include NSIRA’s findings and/or recommendations based on the evidence reviewed and written submissions (if any) from the parties. An unclassified copy of the final report will be sent to you.

National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
Complaints – Registry Services
P.O. Box 2430, Station “D”
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W5

Telephone: 1-833-890-0293
Fax: (613) 907-4445

Back to Complaints Page

Privacy Preference Center