Chapter 8: Visits to secure sites
Use this chapter in conjunction with Annex E: Guidelines for requests for visits.
On this page
For bid solicitation purposes, or during the course of a contract, security-cleared individuals may be required to visit a government or private sector organization in Canada or abroad, or an organization may be required to host visitors to their facilities. In these cases, a request for visit (RFV) must be submitted to and approved by Public Services and Procurement Canada’s (PSPC) Contract Security Program (CSP).
In Canada, PSPC’s CSP verifies that the organization requesting the visit has the required level of facility security clearance (FSC); each of the proposed visitors has the required level of security clearance; and foreign disclosure limitations (Chapter 9.3: Foreign Disclosure), if any, are identified and strictly observed according to international security instruments.
An approved RFV authorizes access to classified information on an oral and visual basis only; it does not authorize removing classified material from the site. Organizations and individuals must strictly observe any access or disclosure limitations prescribed in the visit authorization.
The visitor’s personnel security clearance level and need to know must be verified through official visit protocol before the host organization allows access to classified information or access to a controlled site.
PSPC representatives holding the appropriate level of personnel security clearance may visit organizations in an official capacity without notifying the organization in advance of their visit. The organization must verify PSPC personnel’s valid Government of Canada credentials and level of clearance by contacting the Contract Security Program’s client service centre before granting access to classified information. Personnel of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) will also be afforded the same access for the purpose of conducting an inspection of information technology systems.
Procedures for processing RFVs are available on the Approval for visits to secure sites webpage.
8.2 Types of visit requests
There are different types of visit requests:
- a one-time visit is for a specified, continuous period of time up to one year, and it is not renewable. If the need for access is ongoing, a new request must be submitted at the end of the year for approval
- a recurring visit is for a series of visits over an extended period of time, normally up to one year. It is renewable on an annual basis, unless otherwise authorized by PSPC’s CSP, i.e. for a multi-year contract or major crown project
- an emergency request is used for an event of an urgent nature
- a project/program security instruction-specific visit. These are determined on a case-by-case basis
8.3 Mandatory prerequisites
All organizations submitting an RFV for access to classified information, must hold a valid FSC at or above the categorization level of the requested visit. In addition, each person involved must hold a personnel security clearance at or above the categorization level of the requested visit.
Foreign nationals, residing in Canada and employed by a cleared Canadian organization, must hold a Canadian personnel security clearance before PSPC’s CSP will approve a visit to other countries or to other Canadian organizations as a representative/consultant of a Canadian organization.
Foreign nationals visiting a Canadian organization on an approved international visit request cannot be included in a Canadian visit request to another Canadian organization.
Guidelines for processing visits and the responsibilities for the visiting and host organizations are available in Annex E: Guidelines for requests for visits.
8.4 International visits
All international visits must be authorized through the Canadian Designated Security Authority (DSA) (Chapter 9.1.1: Canadian Designated Security Authority) using the Multinational Industrial Security Working Group request for visits form. Similarly, the Canadian DSA will process visit requests for Canadian organizations to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commands and agencies using the NATO international visit control procedures.
The requirements for processing international visits vary according to the specific bilateral security instrument. PSPC’s CSP will notify Canadian organizations of applicable procedures if and when required.
8.5 Records of visits
Organizations must keep a record of all visitors to their facility who access classified information. A separate visitor log must be maintained for NATO visits listing the visitor’s full name and organization, person visited, and the date of arrival and departure. PSPC’s CSP representatives are not considered visitors and are not required to enter their names in visit logs.
Records of authorized visits that have taken place must be maintained by the host organization for a minimum period of two years and can be randomly inspected by PSPC’s CSP during that period.
8.6 Urgent requests
Special procedures exist for processing urgent visit requests through official PSPC channels as a result of an invitation from a host organization. The requesting organization's company security officer (CSO) or alternate security officer (ACSO) must adequately justify the urgent requirement and provide all details (e.g., urgent need to repair equipment whose non-serviceability is preventing the continuation of test trials, and thereby affecting the overall progress of a program or contract).
Contact PSPC’s CSP by email at email@example.com for information on submitting an urgent request.
When submitting additions or deletions of visitors to approved visit requests, the organization must include the original approved PSPC’s CSP visit identification number.
Generally, the purpose or period of a visit cannot be changed by an amendment submission, and a new request may be required. The CSO or ACSO should contact PSPC’s CSP before submitting these types of amendments.
8.8 Unclassified Visits
For unclassified visits to United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DOD) facilities, a visit approval using the Canada/U.S. Joint Certification Program (JCP) directly arranged visit (DAV) process may be required by Canadian organizations for access to certain establishments (Chapter 11: Joint Certification Program).
More information about visit requests is available on the Approval for visits to secure sites webpage.
8.9 Visits requiring access to foreign Restricted information
Requests for visits involving access to foreign Restricted information or assets must be done in accordance with procedures established in the contract clauses. Contact the Canadian DSA by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about these types of visits.
- Date modified: