New World of National Security and Intelligence Review

From November 16 to 27, 2020.

This online course will offer an intensive survey of the origins and history of security and intelligence review in Canada, the current state of review practice, and the challenges ahead. Course participants will be made familiar with the legislative basis for the new review bodies, their political context, and will study current review reporting and future challenges.

The Program

The objective of the course is to fully familiarize participants and deepen their understanding about the fundamental changes impacting national security and intelligence review in Canada. The changes underway to the Canadian system will be the most important since the passage of the CSIS Act in 1984 and will be transformative.

The course will feature a mix of instructor lectures, instructor-led discussions, participant interaction, talks by guest experts, and reference to review agency reports and the literature on security and Intelligence review. Practical exercises and critical input by course participants will be a central element of the course.

The course will be delivered online in modules, with asynchronous video presentations by the course instructors, spread over a two-week period to allow for maximum schedule flexibility for participants.

Registered students will be provided in advance with a detailed course agenda and schedule. Students will also be provided with key documentary material to support the video presentations. Students who complete the course will be awarded a certificate by the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

The language of instruction will be English. The Chatham House rule will be applied to chat and online group discussions. The presentations will be at the unclassified level using only material in the public domain.

Who Should Attend

  • The course is designed for :
  • government officials seeking to better understand the new review system
  • officials whose duties include review, either within the review bodies or the security and intelligence community
  • Parliamentary staff
  • Interested individuals, including from the NGO community, law firms, consultancy agencies and the media, who wish to be able to understand the nature of reporting on security and intelligence by the new review bodies.
  • Students who do not meet these criteria will be considered for admission on a case by case basis. The course will be delivered under the Chatham House rule.

Covered in the Course:

  • The objectives of national security and intelligence review
  • The principles of national security and intelligence review
  • The history of review in Canada
  • Major legislative changes to review, especially Bill C-59, the national security framework legislation
  • The work of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians
  • The role of the Federal Court
  • The role of the Privacy Commissioner
  • The challenges ahead
  • Public expectations
  • The elements of review success and failure
  • The new Canadian review system in comparative perspective—how does it compare with the systems of our allies?


Wesley Wark is an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa, and a professor emeritus of the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. He is one of Canada’s leading experts on security and intelligence review and gave invited testimony to Parliament on the legislation that led to the creation of the new review bodies.  He also advised the government on plans for a new system of national security review.

Professor Wark is the author of an edited collection, Secret Intelligence A Reader (Routledge, 2nd edition 2019). He published a study for Canada 2020 entitled “Once More into the Breach: Strengthening Canadian Intelligence and Security Accountability,” (March 2015)

He is a frequent media commentator on national security and intelligence matters and was honoured with the University of Ottawa’s “Excellence in Media Relations” award.


During the COVID-19 crisis, this course will be offered entirely online.


$1200 + HST

Online course materials will be included in the course fee. The course will be offered in English and class size will be kept small: a minimum of 8 students and a maximum of 20 students.

To Register:

Candidates will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Prospective candidates for the course are asked to send a brief statement of interest and a short bio detailing their career and educational background. This material should be sent electronically to the following address:

Once your participation has been approved, please select the appropriate date to register:

November 16 to 27, 2020.

For further Information on the Course

If you have questions regarding the registration process, please contact us at, phone: 613-796-6100.

Please read our cancellation policy.

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