Before you contact NSIRA, you must:

Have the letter of denial/revocation of your security clearance provided by the Deputy Head of the organization from which you have been denied or revoked a clearance.

Note: NSIRA does not hear complaints concerning a security status (i.e. reliability checks/status). Click here for information about clearances that do not fall under NSIRA’s mandate to investigate.

What do you do next

Complete the form

Download Form

Note: You must submit your form within 30 days of receiving your denial/revocation letter.

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.

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
  • Contact the department who made the decision to deny/revoke your security clearance – the respondent(s).
  • Ask you and the respondent(s to provide details (in the form of a letter) regarding your complaint. This is what NSIRA is looking for:
    • Is your complaint regarding the denial/revocation of your security clearance by a government department?
    • If you are not a government employee, have you been denied a contract by the government as a result of the denial/revocation of your security clearance?
  • 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 because NSIRA does not hear complaints concerning reliability status (i.e. background screening or reliability checks). Click here for information about clearances that do not fall under NSIRA’s mandate to investigate.

NSIRA will inform you and the other parties of the next steps in the complaint process.

With the material provided by all parties, NSIRA will prepare a statement of circumstances of the complaint, basically a summary of all sides of the complaint and you will be provided with this summary.

The Member assigned to your complaint may review evidence from the department responsible and other agencies involved in the denial/revocation of your security clearance. 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 all parties.

At this point, 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.

When 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 the other department(s) 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

At the completion of your hearing, the assigned NSIRA Member may request written submissions from the parties. If this is the case, the government department/agency will have up to 4 weeks to provide written submissions that will address their arguments in support of their evidence presented at the hearing.

You will then have up to 3 weeks to provide written submissions in reply to their arguments.

Finally, the government department/agency will have up to two weeks to submit their rebuttal to your arguments.

Once NSIRA has received the parties’ written submissions, if requested, the NSIRA Member assigned to your complaint will report its findings, and/or any recommendations, to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Director of CSIS and the Deputy Head responsible for the denial/revocation of your clearance. NSIRA will also provide an unclassified version of the report to you – the complainant.

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
Email: 
Registrar-Greffier@nsira-ossnr.gc.ca

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