Overview: Canada plays a vital role in international efforts to detect, disrupt, prevent, and punish acts of terrorism. Canada and the United States maintained a close, cooperative counterterrorism partnership, working together on key bilateral homeland security programs such as the Beyond the Border initiative and the Cross Border Crime Forum. Canadian diplomacy supported global efforts to prevent radicalization, counter violent extremism, and promote the rule of law overseas.

Canada has made significant contributions to the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. In addition to providing military forces to coalition air and ground operations in Iraq, Canadian law enforcement and security services are working to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and from Iraq and Syria. Traveling abroad to commit acts of terrorism is a violation of Canadian federal law. Measures include denial of passport applications (or revocation of valid passports) of Canadian citizens suspected of traveling abroad (or aspiring to travel abroad) to commit acts of terrorism, and maintenance of a watchlist of individuals (both citizens and non-citizen residents) flagged for potential involvement with violent extremist organizations.

2014 Terrorist Incidents: On October 20 and 22, two Canadian Forces soldiers were murdered in separate terrorist attacks that took place outside Montreal and in downtown Ottawa, respectively. On October 20, Martin Couture-Rouleau, a Canadian national, killed one uniformed Canadian soldier with his car and injured a second in a hit-and-run ambush outside a government office in Quebec that provided services to military personnel. Police fatally shot Couture-Rouleau following a car chase. Authorities said that he had become radicalized and motivated by violent extremist ideology.

On October 22, Canadian national Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot one military honor guard and fired at a second guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before forcing entry into the federal Parliament, where he was shot and killed by security officials. Authorities said that he had become radicalized by violent extremist ideology.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Canada's legal framework includes significant penalties for committing terrorist acts, conspiring to commit terrorist acts, financing terrorism, and traveling abroad to engage in terrorism. In June, the government passed C-24, Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which provided for the collection, retention, use, disclosure, and disposal of information on Canadian citizens – including disclosure for the purposes of national security, the defense of Canada, the conduct of international affairs; or verification of citizenship status or identity of any person for the purpose of administering the law of another country. C-24, which came into effect August 1, further granted the Canadian government authority for the first time to strip Canadian citizenship from Canadian dual nationals convicted of treason, terrorism, and espionage offenses, or who served as a member of an armed force or organized armed group engaged in an armed conflict with Canada. It also barred individuals convicted of these offenses, or who had engaged in armed conflict with Canada, from acquiring Canadian citizenship.

At year's end, the passing of C-44, Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act, was still pending in Parliament. C-44 would amend the Canadian Security Intelligence (CSIS) Act to confirm CSIS's authority to conduct investigations abroad and obtain federal court warrants to carry out those investigations; protect the identity of CSIS human sources from disclosure; and protect the identity of CSIS employees engaging in covert activities. The bill would expedite implementation of the citizenship revocation measures in C-24 Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act passed in June.

On December 11, C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, received Royal Assent. The bill permits a combination of new online lawful access investigative tools to intercept, track, and preserve (with judicial production orders or warrants) private electronic communications on "reasonable grounds for suspicion" of committing an offense. The bill shields internet providers from lawsuits for voluntary disclosure of private data to law enforcement without a warrant. The bill also amends the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to promote cooperation among specific states by establishing a system for exchanging information and evidence relating to the gathering of evidence in Canada on behalf of a foreign state for use in a criminal investigation and prosecution conducted by that state.

Canadian law enforcement and homeland security entities shared information with their U.S. and other investigative counterparts in a timely, proactive fashion. Prosecutors worked in close cooperation with specialized law enforcement units that maintain advanced investigative techniques, crisis response capabilities, and border security capacity. Canadian law enforcement entities, such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), have clearly demarcated counterterrorism missions, as well as effective working relationships with provincial and municipal law enforcement and other elements of the Canadian Forces that have counterterrorism roles.

Canada has an extensive border security network and makes excellent use of travel document security technology, biographic and biometric screening capabilities at ports of entry, information sharing with host governments and other countries, and collection of advance passenger name record information on commercial flights. Canada and the United States continued their extensive border security collaboration under the auspices of the Beyond the Border initiative, as well as the Cross Border Crime Forum and other ongoing law enforcement exchanges. Canadian security forces are very capable of effectively patrolling and controlling land and maritime borders.

Notable terrorism-related cases in 2014 included:

  • One man pled guilty to avoid trial, courts found a second guilty, and acquitted a third man in a 2010 conspiracy to bomb targets in Ottawa and participate in and facilitate terrorist activity. In September, Hiva Alizadeh received a 24-year sentence with no eligibility for parole for nine years in exchange for a guilty plea on a charge of possessing an explosive device for terrorist activity. The government withdrew lesser charges of participating in and facilitating terrorist activity. With credit for time in pre-trial custody, Alizadeh faced a maximum 18-year-sentence. In July, a court found Pakistan-born Misbahuddin Ahmed guilty in the same plot of conspiring to facilitate a terrorist activity and participating in a terrorist activity, but acquitted him of possessing an explosive device. In October, he received a 12-year prison sentence, reduced to 11 years with credit for time served in custody, with eligibility for parole after three years. In November, authorities appealed the sentence. The appeal remained pending as of December 2014. In August, courts acquitted Khurram Sher on one count of conspiring to commit terrorism.

  • On May 14, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a national security certificate against Ottawa resident Mohamed Harkat, and reinstated a lower court decision that had found him guilty of being a sleeper agent of the al-Qa'ida network. Harkat, who arrived in Canada in 1995 and was arrested in 2002, appealed the constitutionality of his certificate. The Supreme Court had struck down the original certificate system in 2007 as unconstitutional because it did not allow defendants to know and challenge confidential evidence against them.

  • On July 17, Canadian authorities handed down the country's first charge under a 2013 law that criminalizes travel for the purposes of terrorism. Police charged Hasibullah Yusufzai, a Canadian national, in absentia for murder "in association with a terrorist group." Yusufzai reportedly left the country in January for Syria.

  • On July 25, an Ontario court sentenced Somali-born Canadian citizen Mohamed Hersi to a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment on one count each of attempting to participate in a terrorist activity and of counselling another person to participate in a terrorist activity. The case was the first in which authorities laid charges of attempted terrorist activity. Authorities had arrested Hersi in March 2011 at an airport in Toronto where authorities alleged he intended to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabaab.

  • On August 11, the provincial Alberta Court of Appeal denied an appeal by Iraqi-born Canadian citizen Sayfildin Tahir Sharif (also known as Faruq Khalil Muhammad Isa) challenging his extradition to the United States, and ordered him to be extradited to face charges of complicity in terrorist bombings in Iraq that killed five American soldiers and seven civilians in 2009, and of aiding and abetting the murder of U.S. nationals abroad. [Sharif was extradited to the United States in January 2015.]

  • On November 13, the Supreme Court denied an appeal by Lebanese-born Canadian citizen Hassan Diab of his deportation order to France to face charges in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Four passersby were killed, and forty others were injured in the bombing. Authorities extradited Diab on November 14.

Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian national, and Raed Jaser, a Palestinian national, remained in custody awaiting trial on charges of conspiring to derail a VIA Rail passenger train between Toronto and New York City for terrorism purposes. Neither are Canadian citizens. Police charged the pair in April 2013. At year's end, courts had not set a date to try the cases.

On December 11, Canada's Supreme Court ruled that police may search a suspect's cellphone without a warrant under specific conditions that safeguard the broader constitutional right to privacy. In one case, for example, an individual was arrested after an armed robbery. His cellular phone, which was not password protected, was searched and found to contain a picture of the handgun used in the robbery and a draft text message that said "We did it."

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Canada is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. Canada is also an observer in the Council of Europe's Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures; the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force; and the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America. Canada is a member of the Egmont Group, a global association of financial intelligence units, and plays an active role in developing training to combat terrorist financing.

Canada has a rigorous detection and monitoring process in place to identify money-laundering and terrorist financing activities. FINTRAC is Canada's Financial Intelligence Unit and is responsible for detecting, preventing, and deterring money laundering and financing of terrorist activities.

In June, the Canadian government passed C-31, Economic Action Plan 2014, which amended the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to enhance record keeping and registration requirements for financial institutions and intermediaries, and expand the circumstances in which FINTRAC or the Canada Border Services Agency can disclose information. C-31 also updated the review and appeal provisions related to cross-border currency reporting. C-31 came into effect on June 19.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Canada prioritizes collaboration with international partners to counter terrorism and regularly seeks opportunities to lead. Canada is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and was also active in other fora dealing with counterterrorism, including: the OSCE, the UN, G-7, APEC, ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum, Commonwealth, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the Global Initiative to Counter Nuclear Terrorism, and the OAS. Canada makes major contributions to the GCTF, including as co-chair of the Sahel Working Group.

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development maintains a counterterrorism capacity building program, and provides training, funding, equipment, technical, and legal assistance to states to enable them to prevent and respond to a broad spectrum of terrorist activity. Examples of Canadian counterterrorism assistance include: border security; transportation security; legislative, regulatory, and legal policy development; human rights training; law enforcement, security, military, and intelligence training; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives terrorism prevention; mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery; detecting and preventing terrorist financing; cybersecurity; and protection of critical infrastructure.

Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The RCMP's National Security Community Outreach program continued to promote interaction and relationship building with at-risk communities. The Department of Public Safety's Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security fosters dialogue on national security issues between the government and community leaders, including diaspora groups. Both of these initiatives are part of Canada's Counterterrorism Strategy, which seeks specifically to reduce the risk of individuals succumbing to violent extremism and radicalization. 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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