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«The Terrorist Threat..........................................6 Aim and Fundamental Principles...... ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Building Resilience

Against Terrorism


Second Edition

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2013

Cat. No.: PS4-104/2013E-PDF

ISBN: 978-1-100-22422-0

Table of Contents

Ministerial Foreword.........................................1

Executive Summary..........................................2

Introduction...............................................4 The Terrorist Threat..........................................6 Aim and Fundamental Principles............................... 10 The Strategy: Prevent, Detect, Deny and Respond.................. 14 Prevent............................................. 15 Detect.............................................. 17 Deny............................................... 21 Respond............................................. 28 Way Forward............................................. 31 Annex A................................................. 33 Roles and Responsibilities Relating to Counter-terrorism Annex B................................................. 38 Counter-terrorism Legal Framework Annex C................................................. 43 Implementation Approach Annex D................................................. 45 List of Acronyms and Glossary Ministerial Foreword The events of September 11, 2001 changed the way the world viewed terrorism. Canada played a leading role in the international community’s efforts to assist Afghanistan to counter the terrorist threat, to promote global peace and security, and to ensure terrorism does not threaten Canadian interests. But even before that, Canada witnessed the devastating tragedy of the Air India bombing that killed 329 people, most of them Canadians. Canada’s capacity to counter terrorist threats on all fronts has increased significantly.

The threat persists, however, and recent events in Norway remind us that threats can come from different directions, and that we cannot afford complacency in the face of a complex and evolving threat.

I am pleased to present this Strategy, Building Resilience Against Terrorism, which sets out Canada’s approach to tackling this global and domestic threat. The Strategy reflects the ongoing and multifaceted activities of government departments and agencies that are involved in counter-terrorism. For the first time it sets out, in a coherent and unified format, how these activities contribute to the Government’s Strategy for countering terrorism.

The Strategy enshrines the Government of Canada’s existing approach to countering terrorism.

In conjunction with commitments made in the December 2010 Government of Canada Response to the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182, it will help to organize and prioritize counter-terrorism initiatives and investments and ensure that Government activities address the risks we face.

Ensuring the safety and security of its citizens is a key priority for this Government. This objective cannot be met by the federal government alone. Partnership is key to ensuring this security. Only through working with our international allies, and through effective cooperation with all levels of government and civil society, can we achieve these goals. I firmly believe that it is therefore in our shared interest to understand the terrorist threat—and to understand the Strategy for confronting it. Building Resilience Against Terrorism is an important contribution to this partnership between citizens and Government.

–  –  –


Executive Summary The first priority of the Government of Canada is to protect Canada and the safety and security of Canadians at home and abroad. Building Resilience Against Terrorism, Canada’s first counterterrorism strategy, assesses the nature and scale of the threat, and sets out basic principles and elements that underpin the Government’s counter-terrorism activities. Together, these principles and elements serve as a means of prioritizing and evaluating the Government’s efforts against terrorism. The overarching goal of the Strategy is to counter domestic and international terrorism in order to protect Canada, Canadians and Canadian interests.


Violent Islamist extremism is the leading threat to Canada’s national security. Several Islamist extremist groups have identified Canada as a legitimate target or have directly threatened our interests. In addition, violent “homegrown” Sunni Islamist extremists are posing a threat of violence. As the 1985 Air India bombing demonstrates, terrorist threats to Canada can also come from other sources. Other international terrorist groups like Hizballah or the remnants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam continue to pose a threat, whether it is a direct attack against Canada and its allies, or the use of our territory to support terrorism globally. At home, issue-based domestic extremists may move beyond lawful protest to threaten acts of terrorism.

Canadian interests around the world will continue to remain at risk of being targeted by terrorist attacks for the foreseeable future.


Building resilience is the Strategy’s core principle. The ultimate goal is a Canada where individuals and communities are able to withstand violent extremist ideologies, and where society is resilient to a terrorist attack, if one occurs. Counter-terrorism activities are also guided by the principles of respect for human rights and the rule of law, the treatment of terrorism as a crime, proportionality and adaptability. Working through partnerships is central to the success of the Strategy. It would include collaboration with Canada’s international partners, security intelligence and federal, provincial and municipal law enforcement agencies, all levels of government and civil society. In particular, the relationship between security intelligence and law enforcement communities has strengthened over time. This seamless cooperation continues to be critical to addressing the terrorist threat.

The Strategy operates through four mutually reinforcing elements: Prevent, Detect, Deny and Respond. All Government activity is directed towards one or more of these elements.

Prevent Activities in this area focus on the motivations of individuals who engage in, or have the potential to engage in, terrorist activity at home and abroad. The emphasis will be on addressing the factors that may motivate individuals to engage in terrorist activities.


Detect This element focuses on identifying terrorists, terrorist organizations and their supporters, their capabilities and the nature of their plans. This is done through investigation, intelligence operations and analysis, which can also lead to criminal prosecutions. Strong intelligence capabilities and a solid understanding of the changing threat environment are key. This involves extensive collaboration and information sharing with domestic and international partners.

Deny Intelligence and law enforcement actions can deny terrorists the means and opportunities to pursue terrorist activities. This involves mitigating vulnerabilities and aggressively intervening in terrorist planning, including prosecuting individuals involved in terrorist related criminal activities, and making Canada and Canadian interests a more difficult target for would-be terrorists.

Respond Terrorist attacks can and do occur. Developing Canada’s capacities to respond proportionately, rapidly and in an organized manner to terrorist activities and to mitigate their effects is another aspect of the Strategy. This element also speaks to the importance of ensuring a rapid return to ordinary life and reducing the impact and severity of terrorist activity.


The Strategy will serve to guide the Government’s efforts in countering terrorism. Built into the Strategy are mechanisms for monitoring the Government’s efforts and for reporting to Canadians on the Strategy’s progress, including an annual report to Canadians on the evolving threat environment.

–  –  –


Introduction Canada is not immune from terrorism. A number of international and domestic extremist groups are present in Canada—some engage in terrorist activity here, or support terrorism beyond Canada’s borders. Some have worked to manipulate or coerce members of Canadian society into advancing extremist causes hostile to Canada’s peace, order and good government.

Terrorism is a serious and persistent threat to the security of Canada and its citizens. Canadians expect their government to respond to threats in a manner that preserves their freedom and security.

For the first time, Building Resilience Against Terrorism clearly sets out Canada’s integrated approach to dealing with terrorist threats, both at home and abroad. It explains how Canada’s local, national and international efforts support each other to protect Canadians and Canadian interests.

The aim of the Strategy is to counter domestic and international terrorism in order to protect Canada, Canadians and Canadian interests. By clearly articulating the Government of Canada’s

approach, the Strategy:

• helps to focus and galvanize Canadian law enforcement, and the security and intelligence community around a clear strategic objective;

• provides a common basis to discuss Canada’s approach and guiding principles;

• assists in shaping future counter-terrorism priorities; and

• through periodic review, assists in regularly taking stock of the nature of the terrorist threat and how Canada is dealing with it.

Reflected throughout the Strategy is the fundamental belief that countering terrorism requires partnerships. Achieving the Government’s counter-terrorism goals will require an integrated approach not only by the Government of Canada, but by all levels of government, law enforcement agencies, the private sector and citizens, in collaboration with international partners and key allies, such as the United States (U.S.).

Partnership with citizens is important. Citizens need to be informed of the threat in an honest, straightforward manner to foster a deeper understanding of why particular actions are needed in response to the threat. Citizens also have a responsibility to act—a responsibility to work with Government and security personnel, and a responsibility to build strong and supportive local communities. Only when these tasks are shared will a truly resilient Canada be achieved.

The terrorist threat has evolved over the years, and Canada now faces ever more decentralized and diverse threats. That means Canada’s Strategy must be adaptable and forward-looking— not just to react to emerging threats but to identify and understand emerging trends.


To succeed, the Government’s counter-terrorism efforts cannot be limited to operations directed at groups or individuals already involved in terrorist activities. They must also be reinforced by preventive measures, aimed at keeping vulnerable individuals from being drawn into terrorism. These measures call for a focus on individual motivations, and other factors contributing to recruitment into terrorist activities.

It will never be possible to stop all terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, Canadians can expect that their Government will take every reasonable step to prevent individuals from turning to terrorism, to detect terrorists and their activities, to deny terrorists the means and opportunities to attack and, when attacks do occur, to respond expertly, rapidly and proportionately.


The Terrorist Threat Terrorism is not a new tactic. In the past few decades, several hundred Canadian civilians have been killed or injured in terrorist incidents. The current iteration of al Qaida inspired terrorism is only one example of the terrorist threats facing Canada. Other nationalist, politico-religious, or multi-issue groups continue to employ terrorist tactics in support of their aims. As a result, terrorism can be seen as a tactic whose use is connected to the drivers of political violence that exist at a given time, and the existence of individuals and groups who are willing to use violence to achieve specific goals.

In Canada, the definition of terrorist activity includes an act or omission undertaken, inside or outside Canada, for a political, religious or ideological purpose that is intended to intimidate the public with respect to its security, including its economic security, or to compel a person, government or organization (whether inside or outside Canada) from doing or refraining from doing any act, and that intentionally causes one of a number of specified forms of serious harm.

Terrorism continues to pose a significant threat to Canada, Canadians and Canadian interests abroad. The global terrorist threat—from groups and individuals—is becoming more diverse and more complex. The threat to Canada from terrorism has three main components: violent Sunni Islamist extremism—both at home and abroad, other international terrorist groups, and domestic, issue-based extremism.


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