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the Board makes conditional release decisions for offenders in provinces and territories, except in Ontario and Québec, which have their own parole boards with authority to grant conditional releases for offenders serving less than two years in prison.
Human rights and national security
Canada’s laws regulating the relationship between security and human rights have been
drafted to be consistent with Canada’s international human rights obligations and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They also implement international obligations to combat terrorism. Canada’s security laws have been enacted within the framework of ordinary statute law and are subject to the authority of Canadian courts to declare of no force or effect any legislation that does not meet Charter requirements.
A key element of Canada’s national security legislation is the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA).
Various aspects of the Act have been challenged since its enactment but it has generally been held to conform to the Charter. The ATA includes the following safeguards:
The general definition of "terrorist activity" requires that intent and purpose
elements be satisfied, expressly excludes "advocacy, protest, dissent or stoppage of work" (where these are not intended to result in serious forms of specified harm) and contains an
interpretive clause to ensure the protection of freedom of expression;
Judicial review, appeals, and judicial oversight mechanisms are incorporated into
provisions for listing suspected terrorists and for seizure, restraint and forfeiture of property;
Section 145 of the ATA required Parliament to conduct a "comprehensive review
of the provisions and operation of the Act," within three years from the date that the Act received
Royal Assent (December 18, 2001). This review, conducted by separate committees of the House of Commons and Senate, was completed in early 2007.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) also contains elements for the
protection of national security, including a security certificate process for the detention and removal of suspected terrorists, where much of the information made available to Ministers and
judges must be protected from public disclosure. In 2007, inconsistencies with human rights were identified by the Supreme Court of Canada and corrective legislation was enacted. The
2008 amendments to IRPA introduced a special advocate programme. Special advocates are top- secret security-cleared lawyers who are independent of government and who may be interjected into the certificate process, related inadmissibility proceedings under IRPA and other judicial reviews before the Federal Court. They are given access to sensitive information and may cross-
examine witnesses and make submissions before the judge on behalf of the named person’s interests.
Canada’ refugee protection system under IRPA takes into account Canada’s obligations
under the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol and under other relevant human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1985 that the Charter protects refugee claimants present in Canada. Since then, there have been several important decisions affecting both the procedures and the substance of Canadian refugee