Spy watchdog calls for changes to ensure information-sharing does not lead to torture

OTTAWA — A review by the national spy watchdog has found inconsistencies when it comes to federal efforts to ensure information-sharing with foreign agencies does not result in 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 National Security and Intelligence Review Agency looked at efforts by 12 federal organizations, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP and Global Affairs Canada, to implement procedures under the law.

The review agency’s recently released report, covering a period in 2019, says while considerable work had been done by the organizations, there were notable differences in approaches.

For instance, it found a lack of standardization in the assessments that various departments used to gauge the human rights records of countries and the risk of mistreatment by agencies.

The review agency recommended departments devise a means of ensuring uniform risk-assessment tools to support a consistent approach.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021.

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