National Security

Parliament has given the Federal Court a substantial role in the national security domain. The Federal Court’s jurisdiction over national security matters includes the following: 

  • Applications for non-disclosure of information on national security grounds and determination of the reasonableness  of security certificates under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
  • Applications in private  for warrants by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS);
  • Applications, under the Canada Evidence Act,  for the non-disclosure of  sensitive or potentially injurious information related to national defence, international relations  or national security that a party may want to introduce as evidence in court or administrative proceedings;
  • Applications for appeal of decisions made by the Minister to “list” and to deny transportation to someone under the Secure Air Travel Act;
  • Applications to appeal passport cancellations under the Prevention of Terrorist Travel Act

These matters are referred to as “designated proceedings” because they are presided over by judges designated by the Chief Justice. Because these proceedings involve classified information, these proceedings are often carried out under confidentiality orders or in closed proceedings.

Relevant Statutes 

A number of federal statutes confer jurisdiction to the Federal Court in specific matters that concern national security. These statutes include the following:


View from the Bunker: The Role of the Federal Court in National Security - The Honourable Richard G. Mosley, November 25, 2015.   

National Security, Human Rights and the Federal Court - speech delivered by the Honourable Anne Mactavish before the International Commission of Jurists in Ottawa, on February 4, 2013     

Balancing Human Rights and National Security concerns : A reality check, the Honourable Simon Noël - January 16, 2006   

Address at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law, the Honourable Eleanor Dawson - March 30, 2006   

The Federal Court and National Security, the Honourable Allan Lutfy, Chief Justice - May 18, 2005  

Date modified: 2019-04-15

This is a Modal Popup Form