Thursday, December 15, 2011

CSE leaves DND

As this blog speculated earlier, CSE has left DND to become a stand-alone agency of the government of Canada!

The change was very quietly made early on the morning of November 16th. The "Place in Government" section of the CSE webpage has the details:
The Government of Canada has taken the decision to establish CSEC as a stand-alone agency. This is an administrative change that established the Chief, CSEC as a deputy head and accounting officer, who reports directly to the Minister of National Defence as of 16 November 2011.

Questions and Answers

What has changed?

The Chief, CSEC, now reports directly to the Minister of National Defence.

What was the reporting structure before the change?

Before the change, CSEC was reporting through two deputy ministers: the National Security Advisor (NSA) on policy and operational issues and the Deputy Minister (DM) of National Defence on administrative and financial matters.

Will the change affect CSEC’s current mandate?

No, this is principally an administrative change that will not affect CSEC’s mission, mandate and operations.

What will be the status of CSEC after the change?

CSEC will be established as a stand-alone agency within the Minister of National Defence portfolio. For the purposes of the Financial Administration Act (FAA), CSEC will be designated as a department by being added to column 1 of Schedule 1.1, as a branch of the federal public administration, through an Order-in-Council. This will also establish the Chief, CSEC as deputy head and accounting officer reporting directly to the Minister of National Defence.
As I understand it, this means that the agency will remain within the Minister of National Defence's portfolio, but it will no longer be a part of the Department of National Defence.

Aficionados of bureaucratic procedure will appreciate the fact that in order to make the transfer the government felt it had to make subsection 132(1) of the Public Service Employment Act apply to the CSE for exactly two seconds, during which time Order in Council P.C. 2011-1305 transferred control and supervision of the Communications Security Establishment and the Communications Security Establishment Internal Services Unit (whatever the heck that is) from DND to CSE itself.


Anonymous Sixth Estate said...

I don't know if you're any more a legal expert than me, but is there a reason that CSE normally doesn't fall under the Act? I assume there must be some potentially serious complication, if they decided they needed a two-second period like this.

December 15, 2011 10:10 pm  
Blogger Bill Robinson said...

I don't really know what it's all about. CSE has been a "separate employer" within the public service since its inception. There are several such "separate employers", including agencies as diverse as CSIS, the Canada Revenue Agency, and Parks Canada; all of these agencies are exempt from the Public Service Employment Act. As separate employers they have more control over hiring and firing of employees, conditions of service, discipline, etc. Presumably it was deemed useful to have this one section of the Act apply to CSE for the purposes of November's transfer, but I don't know exactly why that was so, or why, other than a concern for neatness, the government decided to limit its applicability to the shortest time possible. Perhaps one of my readers more versed in the ways of government will be willing to enlighten us.

December 15, 2011 11:56 pm  

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