Reporting security incidents and changes in circumstances and behaviors

If you believe that sensitive government information or assets have been accessed without permission, you are required to report the security incident to Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program (CSP). If you notice changes of circumstances or of behavior of your screened personnel, you are required to report these changes to the CSP. Find out how, when and where to report security incidents and changes in circumstances and behaviors.

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Security incidents

A security incident is an alert that a breach of security may be taking place or may have taken place. It is an act, event or omission that could result in the compromise of information, assets or services. This may include:

Organizations must establish procedures to ensure that suspected or confirmed security incidents are immediately identified, investigated and reported to the CSP.

How to report a security incident

Security incidents must be reported to the company security officer (CSO) or alternate company security officer (ACSO). The CSO or ACSO will conduct a preliminary inquiry, keep a written record and report security incidents to the CSP.

Complete the Security incident report form for security officers

The preliminary inquiry will address the following:

Submit either the Security incident report form or an email to:

Do not submit protected and classified information with your report or by email. When submitting either your security incident report or email, clearly indicate in your message whether you have sensitive information to provide as part of the security incident report. The investigator assigned to the file will then contact you to make the necessary arrangements to obtain these documents.

If you suspect a criminal act has been committed, contact your local police service.

Security breaches

A security incident that leads to a confirmed compromise of information and assets is considered a security breach.

A breach is an act, event or omission that results in the compromise of sensitive information or assets. This means that there has been unauthorized access, disclosure, destruction, removal, modification, use or interruption of protected and classified information and assets.

How to report a security breach

In the event of a security breach, the CSO or ACSO must take the following steps:

  1. report breaches immediately
  2. complete an investigation of the security incident to determine what caused it
  3. take corrective measures and implement controls to prevent or minimize the possibility of future similar security incidents

Security contacts

A security contact happens when the representative of a group communicates with you to access national security information for which they do not have a need-to-know. Most attempts to collect sensitive information or intelligence are subtle and often appear harmless. These can occur during social events, over the internet or during official meetings held domestically or abroad.

A security contact may come from:

These groups or individuals use considerable resources to obtain access to national and defence information, weapons or other military assets. Their efforts could involve targeting a person or their family and friends.

Awareness is vital. If you have regular contact with representatives of foreign or other groups in or outside of Canada, then you are required to report this to your CSO or ACSO.

At a minimum, the CSO or ACSO must report the following situations to the CSP:

Why you may be targeted

Employees of organizations screened with CSP could hold information that is highly sought after by foreign representatives. Information collected by these people and groups could be a threat to you, your organization and our national security.

You must report a suspicious contact so it can be assessed to:

When to report a contact

Your organization must report suspicious contacts as soon as they happen to allow prompt assessment and appropriate action.

Consider the following questions:

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you should immediately report the suspicious contact to the:

Third-party reporting

Third-party reporting is a vital assistance to the federal government in identifying inappropriate contacts.

The CSO or ACSO must ensure that security incidents of this nature are reported to the CSP. They may also need to contact other parties, depending on the severity of the concern. The CSP treats third-party reports in the strictest confidence.

How to report a security contact

If you suspect a security contact, you must contact the Contract Security Program.

You may also need to contact the following authorities to report:

How the program investigates a security breach

The CSP conducts administrative investigations into security breaches.

Some examples of security breaches include:

The CSP will investigate security violations such as:

Our investigator will:

Role of the security officers

If the CSO or ACSO believes a security incident has taken place, they are responsible for the following:

The CSO or ACSO can prevent security incidents by creating awareness in the organization by:

Changes in circumstances and behavior

As CSO or ACSO, you must promptly report any changes in circumstances and behavior of your screened personnel.

Change of circumstances

All individuals are required to report information related to a change of personal circumstances that may affect the reliability status or security clearance they have been granted.

At a minimum, individuals are required to report any:

The CSO or ACSO or the employee must promptly report on any changes of circumstances by email:

Changes in behavior

Unusual behavior that may be cause for security concern must be reported to the CSO or ACSO.

They include but are not limited to:

As CSO or ACSO, you must promptly report any changes in behavior of your screened personnel by email:

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