Spy watchdog raps RCMP over application of protocol to avoid complicity in torture

  • Canadian Press

A federal spy watchdog says a senior RCMP official wrongly considered the importance of a strategic relationship with a foreign organization when deciding whether sharing information posed a risk of torture. Signage shows RCMP headquarters in Montreal, Thursday March 7, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

OTTAWA -- A federal spy watchdog says a senior RCMP official wrongly considered the importance of a strategic relationship with a foreign organization when deciding whether sharing information posed a risk of torture.

The aim of the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act is to prevent the brutalization of someone in overseas custody due to the information Canada exchanges with agencies abroad.

The RCMP and other federal agencies subject to these provisions must assess the risk of mistreatment and whether a risk can be managed.

In a report released today, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency strongly cautions against including other considerations, such as fostering strategic relationships, in the assessment of substantial risk.

The intelligence review agency recommended that in cases where an RCMP assistant commissioner disagrees with a committee's recommendation not to share information, the case be automatically referred to the force's commissioner.

This report by was first published June 20, 2024.