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Some facts about Canada's spy agency, as director apologizes for rape claim response

OTTAWA — Canada's spy chief David Vigneault has apologized to staff for his response to rape and harassment claims in the British Columbia office of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. He's also pledging the creation of an ombudsperson's office to deal with workplace problems.

Here's a look at Canada's spy agency:

— The duties of CSIS are to investigate threats to Canada's security, report them to government, and take measures to reduce any risk they pose. It also briefs officials, collects foreign intelligence and does security assessments for immigration and other purposes, including when someone requires access to classified information.

— The agency had more than 3,200 employees in 2020, according to its website. Last year, it said 48 per cent of staff were women and 20 per cent were members of racialized groups.

— It says in its 2022 public report that it created more than 2,500 "intelligence products" and received about 500,000 referrals or requests for security screening.

— It says it gave 92 briefings to elected officials at municipal, provincial and federal levels.

— The agency's code of conduct says it is "committed to providing a healthy and respectful workplace that is free of harassment, discrimination and reprisal, to ensure the health, safety and well-being of employees at all levels."

— The CSIS Act prohibits disclosing the identity of a covert officer, punishable by up to five years in prison.

— David Vigneault has been Director of CSIS since 2017.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2023.

The Canadian Press