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Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - Canada

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 May 2013
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - Canada, 30 May 2013, available at: [accessed 29 October 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Canada is an indispensable counterterrorism partner. Canada and the United States cooperated bilaterally through the Cross Border Crime Forum sub-group on counterterrorism and the Bilateral Consultative Group on Counterterrorism. In addition to close bilateral cooperation, as embodied in the Beyond the Border Agreement and numerous cooperative law enforcement and homeland security programs, the U.S. and Canada work together in crucial multilateral settings such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). Canadian diplomats played a key role in international efforts to counter terrorist threats, and the Government of Canada consistently worked to strengthen the rule of law in other countries. Canadian contributions to the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime help to prevent terrorist organizations from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In February 2012, Canada's Ministry of Public Safety announced Canada's first official Counterterrorism Strategy. The Strategy includes a terrorism threat analysis and a summary of federal priorities and actions to combat domestic and international terrorism. The Canadian government passed two counterterrorism-related bills in 2012 and introduced three others that were under consideration at year's end. The Safe Streets and Communities Act, C-10, received Royal Assent on March 13. The Act rolled together nine draft crime and national security bills from the 40th Parliament into one omnibus crime bill. It included the former S-7, An Act to Deter Terrorism and Amend the State Immunity, to allow terrorism victims to sue terrorists and terrorist entities (and in some cases foreign states that have supported terrorist entities) for loss or damage suffered as a result of their acts. These provisions entered into force on receipt of Royal Assent.

On June 29, legislation implementing the Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations [Ship Rider] between Canada and the United States received Royal Assent, enabling this bilateral agreement to enter into force in October 2012. The legislation was included in budget legislation, Bill C-38.

Law enforcement actions:

  • On April 25, the Federal Court of Appeal ordered a new hearing of the reasonableness of an immigration security certificate against Ottawa resident Mohamed Harkat which the Federal Court had upheld in 2010 on the basis that Harkat constituted a threat to national security. Authorities alleged that Harkat was an al-Qa'ida sleeper agent. The Appeal Court ruled that the withholding of sensitive information against Harkat violated his right to a fair defense, ordered the exclusion of the evidence to which he was not privy, and referred his case back to the Federal Court for reassessment. The appeal stayed a deportation order against Harkat. On November 22, the Supreme Court granted leave to appeal the Federal Court ruling and the constitutionality of the security certificate process. At year's end, the Supreme Court had not set a date for the hearing.

  • On December 14, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by former Ottawa resident Momin Khawaja of his terrorist conviction under the anti-terrorism law and his challenge to the constitutionality of the legislation. Khawaja was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to 15 years for financing and facilitating a British bomb plot minus credit for time served, for an effective sentence of 10.5 years. The Ontario Court of Appeal increased this sentence to life in prison in 2010 with no eligibility for parole for 10 years. The Supreme Court upheld Khawaja's life sentence as appropriate to the gravity of his offense.

  • Also on December 14, the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed an appeal of an extradition order to the United States of Piratheepan Nadarajah and Suresh Sriskandarajah, to stand trial on charges of attempting to purchase surface-to-air missiles and other weaponry in the United States for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The court ordered the men surrendered to U.S. authorities. Delivered in conjunction with the ruling in the Khawaja case, the court rejected the appellants' arguments that the definition of terrorist activity in the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act was overly broad.

  • As of December 2012, three men arrested and charged in August 2010 in an alleged conspiracy to bomb targets in Ottawa, and participate in and facilitate terrorist activity continued to await trial. In 2011 authorities released Misbahuddin Ahmed and Khurram Sher on bail. The third member of the group, Hiva Alizadeh, remained in custody.

  • During the year, two other Federal Court reviews continued to determine the reasonableness of security certificates against alleged terrorist suspects Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub.

Cooperation sought during the previous five years in the investigation or prosecution of an act of international terrorism against U.S. citizens or interests included:

  • In January 2011, Canadian authorities arrested Canadian-Iraqi citizen Faruq Khalil Muhammad in response to U.S. charges that he helped coordinate Tunisian violent extremists believed responsible for separate suicide attacks in Iraq in 2009 that killed five American soldiers outside a U.S. base and seven people at an Iraqi police complex. The Alberta provincial court ruled in October 2012 there was sufficient evidence to extradite Faruq to the United States; Faruq continued to appeal his extradition.

Authorities use biometric systems at Canadian ports of entry. Canada plans to introduce e-passports containing electronic chips with biometric information and radio frequency identification technology used to authenticate the identity of travelers. Canada has required fingerprints from refugee claimants, detainees, and individuals ordered to be deported from Canada since 1993. The Canada Border Services Agency has been collecting fingerprints from detainees and people under removal order from Canada from the same year. On December 13, 2012, the Canada-U.S. Visa and Immigration Information Sharing Agreement was signed. Once it enters into force after Canadian ratification, and implementing arrangements have been concluded, it is expected that both countries will share biographic and biometric information to assist in decision making in cases where third-country nationals are applying for visas, admission, asylum, or other immigration benefits and in immigration enforcement proceedings.

Canada continued to exchange a limited number of fingerprint records with the United States in an effort to counter fraud and reduce the abuse of respective immigration programs as part of the High Value Data Sharing Protocol signed in 2009 with the United States, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Canada also works with international partner countries through the Five Country Conference forum on biometric information sharing.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Canada is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, the Egmont Group, the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and is a supporting nation of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. Canada is also an observer in the Council of Europe's Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering.

Canada has a rigorous detection and monitoring process in place to identify money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is Canada's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and is responsible for detecting, preventing and deterring money laundering and financing of terrorist activities. Established in 2000, FINTRAC is an independent agency reporting to the Minister of Finance. It was established by and operates within the parameters of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA). According to its 2011-2012 Annual Report, FINTRAC continued to aggressively investigate instances of potential money laundering and terrorist finance activities.

FINTRAC signed seven new bilateral agreements in 2011-2012 with foreign FIUs and now cooperates with 80 FIU's globally. These bilateral agreements allow for the exchange of information related to money laundering and terrorist financing. During 2012 FINTRAC prepared three Trends and Typologies reports which provided insight into the latest money laundering and terrorist financing patterns. These reports used sophisticated text mining techniques to analyze the content of suspicious transaction reports allowing for more effective detection of the latest trends in suspicious transactions.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: Canada prioritizes collaboration with international partners to counter terrorism and international crime and regularly seeks opportunities to lead. Canada is a founding member of the GCTF and was also active in fora dealing with counterterrorism, including the OSCE, UN, G-8, APEC, ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum, Commonwealth, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Maritime Organization, and the OAS. Canada co-sponsored the ASEAN Intersessional Meeting on Counterterrorism and Transnational Crime in 2012 and co-chaired the GCTF's Sahel Regional Capacity Building Group.

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade created the Counterterrorism Capacity Building Program in 2005 as a key part of Canada's international terrorism prevention efforts. The Program provided training, funding, equipment, and technical and legal assistance to states to enable them to prevent and respond to terrorist activity in seven areas: border security; transportation security; legislative, regulatory and legal policy development, legislative drafting, and human rights and counterterrorism training; law enforcement, security, military and intelligence training; chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear and explosives terrorism prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; combating the financing of terrorism; and cyber security and protecting critical infrastructure.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police's National Security Community Outreach program promoted interaction and relationship-building with at-risk communities. The Department of Public Safety's Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security fostered dialogue on national security issues between the government and community leaders. Both of these initiatives are encapsulated in Canada's aforementioned 2012 Counterterrorism Strategy, which seeks specifically to reduce the risk of individuals succumbing to violent extremism and radicalization, challenge violent extremist ideology by producing effective counter-narratives, and increase the resilience of communities to violent extremism. The government continued to work with non-governmental partners and concerned communities to deter violent extremism through preventative programming and community outreach.

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