Prepared: Canadian Intelligence for the Dangerous Decades

Reimagining a Canadian National Security Strategy Report No. 6

November 15, 2021

This report focuses on two key elements of Canadian intelligence — collection and assessment — and the related institutional structures. All need to be upgraded. Canada’s allies frequently evaluate the effectiveness of their intelligence communities. This report proposes some significant changes in the Canadian intelligence community. A core recommendation is that Canada follow the example of our allies and initiate a comprehensive review of our security and intelligence capabilities — and follow up with changes prompted by the review results. The current threat environment features renewed great power competition, compounding cycles of technological change, climate disasters and the increasing fear that we are entering an age of serial pandemics. The last major upgrading of Canada’s intelligence capacity was a necessary response to September 11, 2001. Canada must now match its intelligence resources to the certainty that we face decades of international volatility that will directly affect the lives of Canadians and the prosperity of our country. The intelligence community must be able to provide the support that Canada’s leaders will need to face a prolonged period of interconnected dangers.

This thematic report is part of the Reimagining a Canadian National Security Strategy project. A special report by the project’s co-directors analyzes Canada’s new national security outlook and proposes a security strategy for Canada.

About the Author

Greg Fyffe served as executive director of the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat in the Privy Council Office from 2000 to 2008 and was President of the Canadian Association of Security and Intelligence Studies from 2012 to 2021.