International contract security requirements

Is your organization thinking about contracting or subcontracting with a foreign government or business? Or is your foreign organization looking to bid on a Government of Canada contract? Find out how Public Services and Procurement Canada's (PSPC) Contract Security Program (CSP) can help your organization get the security clearance it needs to compete in the global marketplace.

Security requirements for international contracts

Security requirements are clauses written into government solicitation documents and contracts with private sector organizations. They specify what levels of security are required to safeguard sensitive information, assets and work sites.

Security requirements for international programs and projects may be listed in the:

Bidding on Government of Canada solicitation requests with security requirements

Foreign organizations wanting to bid on Government of Canada solicitation requests with security requirements must contact their home country's national or designated security authority. These authorities are the government organizations responsible for contract security.

Bidding on classified solicitation requests from foreign governments

Canadian organizations wanting to bid on classified solicitation requests from foreign countries or to create partnerships with foreign suppliers must inform Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program of their intent by email to tpsgc.ssicontrats-isscontracts.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

What to expect during the contracting process

Canadian organizations can expect a number of actions to occur during the following 3 phases of the contracting process.

1. Preparing to bid

Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program will:

  • help your organization understand foreign contract security requirements, and ensure they comply with the bilateral security instrument in place with that country
  • need to approve the anticipated release of Canadian classified information to foreign entities
  • provide security screening once your organization is sponsored by the foreign national or designated security authority or a Canadian approved source
  • assist with any required exchange of classified solicitation documents, if required

Learn how to obtain security screening for your organization.

2. Prior to contract award

The foreign government or organization responsible for the contract will:

  • contact Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program to:
    • initiate appropriate security screening for your organization and employees
    • request, if required, foreign security assurance to confirm that your organization and employees are cleared to the appropriate level:
  • issue foreign security clauses for the contract or subcontract

3. After contract award

Canadian organizations that have been awarded a foreign classified contract must send the security clauses to Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program by email to tpsgc.ssilvers-isssrcl.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security program will:

  • ensure the security requirements are in line with bilateral security instruments
  • assess your organization's security plans
  • process approvals for:
    •  visits to secure sites and document transfers
    • program or project security instructions
    • secure communications plans
    • the release of Canadian classified information to foreign entities
  • ensure compliance

Subcontracting to foreign organizations

Before subcontracting to a foreign organization, Canadian organizations must get written approval from Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program by emailing a request to tpsgc.dgsssiprojetintl-dobissintlproject.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

During the approval process, Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program will:

Requesting foreign security assurances

A foreign security assurance is the confirmation that a foreign organization and its personnel meet the security requirements of a solicitation request, contract or subcontract. If the organization and its personnel do not meet the requirements, they will be screened at the appropriate and required level by the national or designated security authority in their home country.

Canadian organizations need to request foreign security assurances from Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program by sending an email to tpsgc.dgsssiprojetintl-dobissintlproject.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

Security assurances for Canadian organizations

The Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program provides security assurances to foreign governments for Canadian organizations bidding on classified foreign contracts.

Security assurances for foreign organizations

Canadian organizations wanting to subcontract to a foreign organization must contact Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program to confirm the possibility to subcontract and to request a foreign security assurance, as appropriate.

During the request process, your organization will need to provide a:

  • point of contact for the foreign organization:
    • include the email address, telephone number, physical address and country of origin
  • contract number
  • security levels and requirements of the contract:
    • for example, state whether your subcontractor will need access to classified information and assets or access only to a specific secure work site

If available, you can also provide the organization's business registration number, equivalent to your Canadian Procurement Business Number:

  • for subcontractors based in the United States, this number is called the Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code
  • for subcontractors based in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) country, this number is called the NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code

Security assurances for foreign personnel

Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program conducts foreign security assurances for employees who hold personnel security clearances in countries that share bilateral security instruments with Canada.

To request a security assurance for foreign personnel, you must provide the program with the following information:

  • name, place of residence, place of birth, date of birth and citizenship of the employee
  • name and address of their employer
  • contract number
  • government-issued identification, such as a Social Security Number in the United States or national identity card number in other countries

Exchanging protected or classified information

Canadian organizations must contact Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program if it needs to exchange or transfer sensitive information or assets during a program, project or contract with a foreign organization or government.

The program will determine if the information or asset can be released to, and safeguarded by, that foreign organization or government.

Learn how to transfer sensitive information and assets.

Bidding on North Atlantic Treaty Organization procurement initiatives

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance of 30 member countries from North America and Europe. This partnership gives Canadian organizations the opportunity to bid on NATO procurement initiatives.

Who are North Atlantic Treaty Organization member countries?

Learn how the NATO procurement process works by consulting the Guide to navigating North Atlantic Treaty Organization procurement.

NATO procurement initiatives are advertised here:

North Atlantic Treaty Organization clearances for organizations

Organizations bidding on NATO opportunities must meet the security requirements listed in the procurement documents.

A NATO facility security clearance gives access, at the appropriate security level, to information and assets to the level of:

  • NATO Confidential
  • NATO Secret
  • Control of Secret Material in an International Command (COSMIC) Top SecretFootnote 1

For contracts requiring access to NATO Restricted information and assets, contact Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program by sending an email to tpsgc.dgsssiprojetintl-dobissintlproject.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

Organizations may need to request a designated organization screening with document safeguarding capability at the level of Protected A.

How organizations get a North Atlantic Treaty Organization clearance

North Atlantic Treaty Organization clearances for personnel

Once your organization is granted a NATO facility security clearance, you need to request NATO personnel security clearances for employees to gain access to NATO information and assets.

Who is eligible?

Organizations can request NATO clearances for employees who are:

  • citizens of Canada or permanent residents
  • citizens of other NATO countries
    • Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program will coordinate with the security authority of that country
  • citizens of non-NATO countries at NATO Confidential or Secret clearance level, on a case-by-case basis

How personnel get a North Atlantic Treaty Organization clearance

Organizations that have obtained the required NATO organization clearances can request NATO clearance for their employees. The program will send you a NATO security briefing form to be completed by the company security officer (CSO) and the employee. Once approved, the employee is considered NATO security cleared, with access to NATO information and assets respecting the need-to-know principle.

Learn more about NATO security requirements in Chapter 10: International organizations – section 10.2 North Atlantic Treaty Organization of the Contract Security Manual.

Getting approval for visits to secure sites

If you are hosting a visit to a secure site in Canada, or visiting a secure site abroad, you must get approval from PSPC's Contract Security Program.

Learn how to get approval for visits to secure sites.

International security instruments

The Government of Canada works with foreign governments to safeguard the exchange of protected and classified information, and to help Canadian organizations compete internationally.

Bilateral security instruments

To help Canadian organizations access international contracts involving classified information, Canada has negotiated bilateral security instruments with various countries and international organizations.

The countries and international organizations are:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Denmark
  • European Space Agency
  • European Union institutions
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • NATO
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The Multinational Industrial Security Working Group

Canada is part of the Multinational Industrial Security Working Group that consists of senior government officials responsible for contract security. The group works to achieve shared security practices and procedures for the exchange of classified information required in international programs and contracts.

This international working group consists of:

  • all NATO countries (except Iceland)
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Finland
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • European Commission (observer)
  • European Defence Agency (EDA) (observer)
  • European Space Agency (ESA) (observer)

International alternative solutions

International alternative solutions ensure the safeguarding of Canadian protected information handled abroad for the purposes of Government of Canada contracting.

With international alternative solutions:

When international alternative solutions may be used

In cases where there is no bilateral security instrument covering Protected A or Protected B information, customized international alternative solutions may be developed.

These alternative solutions depend on:

  • the existence of a bilateral security instrument for the exchange of classified information
  • the location of the foreign suppliers and their facilities (for example, within a member country of NATO or of the European Union)
  • the nature of information to be shared
  • the adequacy of the other country's privacy legislation

Note

International alternative solutions do not apply to classified or Protected C information or assets.

Security clauses for international alternative solutions

An alternative solution mainly uses security clauses to specify the security requirements. These clauses ensure that foreign contractors or subcontractors safeguard Canadian protected information according to similar standards as Canadian suppliers on various aspects, such as:

  • personnel security screening
  • physical security
  • information technology security
  • the protection of personal information

Security clauses also cover compliance visits, security breaches and the measures to be taken in case of loss or compromise of Protected A or Protected B assets and information exchanged under a contract or subcontract.

Security clauses for international alternative solutions are:

  • contract-specific
  • valid for the life of the contract or subcontract
  • not transferable between contracts or subcontracts

How to determine if international alternative solutions are possible

Canadian organizations

Inform your Government of Canada procurement officer of your intent to bid on a solicitation request or subcontract involving Protected A or Protected B that require foreign resources. The officer will contact Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program to confirm the possibility to use international alternative solutions.

Government of Canada procurement officers

When a Canadian organization has informed you of its intent to bid on a solicitation request or subcontract involving Protected A or Protected B that require foreign resources, inform Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program at ssicontratsinternationaux.issinternationalcontracts@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

The program will confirm the possibility to use international alternative solutions. If solutions are possible, it will then validate the security requirements in the solicitation request, contract or subcontract to ensure the organization is in compliance with the security requirements.

Foreign suppliers

Inform the appropriate Government of Canada procurement officer of your intent to bid on a Canadian solicitation request or subcontract. The procurement officer will contact Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program to validate the security requirements.

Depending on the specifics of the solicitation request or subcontract, you must demonstrate to Public Services and Procurement Canada that you meet the security requirements of the solicitation request or subcontract in your bid submission.

Reference sheet: International industrial security

Note

Subject to change based on program updates.

Description of the reference sheet: International industrial security

International industrial security

Security requirements for international contracts are listed in the:

Canadian organizations wanting to bid on foreign government contracts must contact the Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) Contract Security Program (CSP).

International bilateral security instruments

PSPC negotiates international bilateral security instruments with foreign countries and international organizations.

These instruments promote trade and economic growth and facilitate Canadian industry's participation in foreign contracts requiring access to classified information and assets.

Canada has instruments with many countries and organizations, such as:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Denmark
  • European Space Agency
  • European Union institutions
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • NATO
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland 
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Visits

Security-cleared individuals are required to get approval to visit an organization both at home and abroad in order to discuss or access classified information.

A request for visit (RFV) should be made at least 1 to 2 months before the visit to avoid delays.

PSPC works with our international counterparts to approve visits to government or contractor sites outside of Canada.

How to get approval
  • complete and submit a request for visit form to PSPC's CSP
  • PSPC will contact the country's security authority for processing and approval

For RFV to the Department of National Defence (DND) or military sites, please visit Getting approval for visits to secure sites.

For visits from foreign countries to Canada, foreign organizations must complete and submit a RFV form to their own country's security authority.

Types of visit requests
  • One time visit: a single event over a specified period of time, example: a meeting, conference or a symposium
  • Recurring visit: a series of separate visits for the length of the contract
  • Emergency visit: reserved for visits of an urgent nature
Request for visit generic inbox

ssivisites-.issvisits@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca

Transmittal of classified Information

Any classified government information, assets and/or equipment leaving or coming to Canada must be transferred through government-to-government channels using approved couriers.

Document control and foreign disclosure generic inbox

tpsgc.dgsssiprojetintl-dobissintlproject.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca

Foreign contracts

Foreign organizations wanting to bid on Government of Canada (GC) contracts with security requirements must contact their designated security authority, which is the government organization responsible for contract security, in their home country.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Union contracts

Organizations wanting to bid on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) contracts must meet the security requirements described in the solicitation documentation.

International alternative solutions

Customized alternative solutions, based on international best practices, could ensure the safeguarding of protected information handled abroad for the purposes of GC contracting where there is no bilateral security instrument covering protected information.

These alternative solutions depend on the following factors:

  • existence of a bilateral security instrument for the exchange of classified information
  • location of the foreign suppliers (such as within a member of NATO or the EU)
  • nature of information to be shared
  • strength of the other country privacy legislation

An alternative solution uses security clauses to ensure that foreign contractors, including subcontractors, safeguard Canadian protected information according to similar standards as Canadian suppliers.

Alternative Solutions generic inbox

 ssicontratsinternationaux.issinternationalcontracts@pwgsc-tpsgc.gc.ca

Foreign disclosure

Contractors that wish to exchange classified information and assets with foreign entities must get approval from PSPC.

Foreign Disclosure generic inbox

tpsgc.dgsssiprojetintl-dobissintlproject.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca

Contact us

National Capital Region:
613‑948‑4176
Toll-free:
1-866‑368‑4646
Email:
ssi-iss@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca
Website:
Security requirements for contracting with the Government of Canada

Return to the Contract Security Program roadmap.

Training and information for international contract security

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