Involvement in public event unlikely to harm efforts to suppress hostile activities

Complaint: The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) withheld under section 15 the amount it had contributed to a conference and the annual budget of its academic outreach program.

Investigation: The OIC found that CSIS did not show that releasing the information could reasonably be expected to injure its efforts to detect, prevent or suppress subversive or hostile activities. Moreover, CSIS’s logo had appeared on the conference program, which was posted on the Internet, so the institution’s involvement in the event was publicly known.

Outcome: CSIS agreed to release the amount of its contribution to the conference but not the budget figures.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • When applying section 15, institutions must be able to demonstrate how releasing information could genuinely harm the conduct of international affairs or, as in this case, the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities.
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