ARCHIVED – Chapter 9: Security requirements for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Archived information

This information has been archived and replaced by the Contract Security Manual.

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived.

On this page

900. General

1. Canada is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance of 30 countries:

Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

As a member of NATO, Canada has agreed to observe the security regulations applicable to classified NATO information.

2. NATO information is classified information circulated within and by NATO, including information:

Note: When a circulated NATO document contains classified information contributed by a member nation, the classified information remains the property of the originating nation.

3. This chapter identifies the security requirements applicable to classified NATO information. For convenience, it combines references to NATO, found in other chapters of this manual.

901. Personnel security clearances

1. An employee with a Canadian personnel security clearance does not automatically have access to NATO information. A separate application is required for a NATO personnel security clearance. A personnel security clearance at the level of Control of Secret Material in an International Command (COSMIC) Top Secret, NATO Secret or NATO Confidential is required for access to those levels of NATO classified information.

2. Non-government employees must have a reliability status for oral or visual access to NATO Restricted information. NATO Restricted documents may not be released to an unscreened person. They must be handled and safeguarded in keeping with Protected A level information.

3. In the case of non-Canadians, a NATO clearance does not include a right to access non-NATO Canadian classified information. A Canadian personnel security clearance must be obtained separately. Refer to the procedures for requesting a personnel security clearance located in ARCHIVED - Chapter 2: Security screening, Part II—Personnel security clearances of this manual.

4. A NATO personnel security clearance for a national of another NATO member nation may only be granted by that parent nation, regardless of the length of time the person has resided in Canada.

5. Organizations must maintain a separate record of all employees at the facility who have been authorized access to NATO classified information. Prior to granting an employee access to NATO classified information, the company security officer (CSO) must review the following with an employee:

  1. what NATO information is (refer to section 900. General, article 2 in this chapter)
  2. when to mark "NATO" on a document signifies that the document is the property of NATO. This marking must be used on all copies of documents classified as Restricted, Confidential or Secret that are circulated within NATO. The marking « COSMIC TOP SECRET » also signifies that the document is the property of NATO, and is used exclusively on all copies of Top Secret documents circulated within NATO
  3. safeguarding NATO classified documents according to the requirements (refer to ARCHIVED - Chapter 5: Handling and safeguarding of classified and protected information and assets of this manual) for the handling of Confidential, Secret and Top Secret material, with the exception that they will be kept separate from other types of protected, classified or unclassified information. NATO Restricted documents must be handled and safeguarded to the Protected A level
  4. only people who hold a personal security clearance at the appropriate level and having a need-to-know , shall be permitted access to NATO  classified information
  5. if access to COSMIC Top Secret information is required, employees must receive a separate briefing about their responsibilities for safeguarding such information
    • these employees must sign a certificate acknowledging that they received this briefing
    • the Public Services and Procurement Canada's (PSPC's) Contract Security Program (CSP) will give detailed instructions to the CSO of the organization concerned

902. Facility security clearances

Facility security clearances (FSC) may be authorized at the level of NATO Restricted, NATO Confidential, NATO Secret or COSMIC Top Secret. ARCHIVED - Chapter 3: Facility security clearances, Part II—Facility security clearance (classified) of this manual identifies the requirements and procedures for obtaining a FSC personnel security clearance. In addition, ARCHIVED - Annex 3-C: Facility security clearance requirements (North Atlantic Treaty Organization classified information) of this manual gives full details of the personnel security clearance required by key senior officials (KSO), the CSO and the organization's employees, for each level and type of NATO FSC.

903. Handling of classified North Atlantic Treaty Organization

1. All classified NATO information received must be handled in accordance with ARCHIVED - Chapter 5: Handling and safeguarding of classified and protected information and assets of this manual and with the following additional requirements:

  1. classified NATO documents must be recorded in a NATO register
  2. when classified NATO material is received through channels other than those established by PSPC, details of such incident(s) must be reported directly to PSPC's CSP
  3. classified NATO information must be marked with "COSMIC" or "NATO", as appropriate, in addition to other classification markings
  4. classified NATO information must be returned to PSPC's CSP for destruction

2. When transmitting classified NATO information to another nation, Canadian industry must go through PSPC's CSP, unless otherwise authorized by PSPC.

904. Visits

1. When Canadian organizations are involved in visits under NATO international visit control procedures, PSPC's CSP will identify the procedures to be followed.

2. Organizations must keep a record of all visitors to their facility when such visitors will have access to classified information. A separate visitor log must document NATO visits. NATO visitors do not include PSPC's CSP representatives. As such PSPC's CSP representatives are not required to enter their names in NATO visit logs.

A NATO visit is:

  1. a visit by a person from a NATO country to a contractor in connection with pre-contract negotiations or contract performance on a NATO classified contract
  2. a visit between a Canadian contractor performing on a NATO classified contract
  3. other visits in which access to NATO classified information has been specifically authorized

3. The NATO visitor log must indicate the:

  1. visitor's full name
  2. name of the person(s) visited
  3. name of the organization, agency or government department that they represent
  4. date(s) of the visitor's arrival at and departure from the facility

The host organization must maintain records of authorized visits that have taken place over the previous 2 years, at minimum, and are subject to random inspection by PSPC's CSP during that period.

4. When requesting authorization to attend NATO meetings, PSPC's CSP must receive the request for visit at least 21 days prior to the date of the meeting.

905. Contracts

1. A NATO security aspects letter must accompany the contract. The letter documents the security requirements for classified NATO contracts. When a Canadian organization is bound to observe NATO security protocol in respect of a contract, PSPC's CSP may provide additional details as applicable and/or required.

2. Prior to the award of a classified NATO subcontract to a foreign contractor, the contracting authority and PSPC's CSP section must be consulted for guidance and approval before the proposed award.

3. When contractors negotiate directly with foreign governments and/or organizations, care must be taken to ensure that classified material to be transmitted outside of Canada is forwarded through the designated security channels established by PSPC for the particular program (refer to ARCHIVED - Chapter 5: Handling and safeguarding of classified and protected information and assets of this manual).

4. In addition to the above, all the requirements of personnel security clearance (refer to ARCHIVED - Chapter 2: Security screening, Part II—Personnel security clearances of this manual), request for visit (refer to ARCHIVED - Chapter 6: Classified request for visit protocol for Canadian-based industry of this manual) and foreign release and export sales (refer to ARCHIVED - Chapter 7: Classified and protected contracts of this manual) apply equally to NATO contracts.

Date modified: