Information leading to suspension of security clearances could come from any source

Federal appeal | Admiralty

GENERAL

Information leading to suspension of security clearances could come from any source

Minister upheld cancellation of security clearance granted to individual under Marine Transportation Security Regulations (Can.). Individual was worker at port. On application for judicial review Federal Court quashed Minister’s decision finding it to be unreasonable. Federal Court concluded that evidence was not strong enough to warrant cancellation of security clearance. Federal Court also found Minister failed to give to individual procedures that he legitimately expected would be followed and found Minister’s reasons to be inadequate. Minister appealed. Appeal allowed. Federal Court erred in its interpretation of s. 509 of Regulations. Minister’s decision fell within ambit of s. 509 properly interpreted. Information leading to suspension of previously-granted security clearances could come from any source, not just from information supplied by applicant or from checks and verifications. Regulations did not say that requirements of verifiability and reliability applied to this sort of evidence. Reasonable grounds to suspect provided meaningful standard against arbitrary cancellation of security certificate. Requirements and verifiability and reliability applied only to this sort of evidence supplied during initial granting process. Federal Court erred and decision was reviewable on basis of reasonableness, not correctness. Decision was reasonable. Fact set out supported Minister’s conclusion that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that individual engaged in conducted described, and thus posed risk to security of marine transportation. Minister’s reasons were adequate. Ground of legitimate expectation that individual asserted did not arise in case. There was no breach of procedural fairness warranting quashing of Minister’s decision. Minister provided individual with opportunity to make case. Minister gave individual sufficient access to information to know case against him and to make meaningful response to it. Process was fair overall.
Canada (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities) v. Farwaha (Mar. 3, 2014, F.C.A., Johanne Trudel J.A., David Stratas J.A., and Robert M. Mainville J.A., File No. A-431-12) 238 A.C.W.S. (3d) 282.

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