How to transfer sensitive information and assets

The Contract Security Program ensures that information and assets that are transferred or exchanged as part of a sensitive government contract, whether in Canada or abroad, are safeguarded.

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Methods of transfer

When do you use regular mail, email, courier or another method to transfer information? That will vary depending on the destination and level of security required.

Find out how to prepare and transfer your sensitive information and assets by consulting the Contract Security Manual:

Standard transfer of information and assets—inside of Canada

With the exception of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) transfers, a transfer within Canada does not need to come through the program. However, you should contact the program to ensure that the receiving organization has the appropriate clearance and safeguarding capability.

Standard transfer of information and assets—outside of Canada

Protected and classified information, assets and equipment need to be transferred through government-to-government channels when entering or leaving Canada. Canadian organizations must contact the Contract Security Program when transferring sensitive information or assets to or from Canada.

Plan ahead: timelines for shipment and approvals vary between countries.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization transfers

The Contract Security Program is responsible for all transfers of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) information and assets by private sector organizations. When transmitting NATO classified information to another nation, organizations must contact the Contract Security Program for guidance and approval, unless otherwise authorized by the Canadian designated security authority.

Courier certificates for hand carriage

A courier certificate authorizes a representative of your organization to hand carry classified documents or equipment to or from Canada. Your organization should only use hand carriage if standard document transfer routes do not meet urgent timelines.

Your company security authority can issue a courier certificate, and must give the program at least 7 business days before the scheduled day of departure. This allows time for the program to obtain agreement from the foreign authority, and to process the request. If justified, urgent processing will be considered.

Bulk transfer

The program will assist with the transfer of bulk shipments of sensitive information and assets within Canada and internationally.

The company security officer (CSO) or alternate company security officer (ACSO) is responsible for submitting the following to the program for bulk transfer:

You can review guidelines for bulk transfers in the Industrial Security Manual:

You can consult Annex C: Guidelines for safeguarding information and assets – section V: Packaging and transmitting of the Contract Security Manual for information on how to properly transmit protected and classified information and assets.

Transportation plan

Transportation plans are used to coordinate the shipment of oversized items and bulk shipments that cannot be shipped using regular channels. Plans are approved based on bilateral industrial security agreements or arrangements with the receiving or transferring country.

The plan should include:

Notice of consignment

A notice of consignment is used in conjunction with a transportation plan and is required for each shipment involving protected or classified information or assets. It must provide a description of the:

Project security instruction

Project security instruction provides information about contract security requirements that may fall outside of internationally-recognized standards and Memorandum of Understanding with the program's foreign partners.

A project security instruction:

It must include information on the transmission of protected and classified information and assets, on visits, and on the document transfer procedures agreed upon by all participants.

Who prepares a project security instruction

The government department in charge of the contract drafts the project security instruction. It should include at minimum the following details:

Transferring classified documents from United States military commands to Canadian industry

In some cases, an organization will need a United States (U.S.) classified security annex to prepare a request for proposal. All requests for these transfers must come through the program. This applies only to the transfer of classified information from U.S. military commands.

In their request, organizations must provide the program with information about the following:

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