Order Paper Responses

Under the Canadian parliamentary systems, members of parliament can issue order paper questions to the government. Such questions must be specific and pertain to public affairs. They are typically addressed to government Ministers. The purpose of such questions is to obtain precise or detailed answers and, as such, overly broad questions may be split or broken down to elicit such a response from government agencies. The government is expect to reply within 45 days though this norm is not enforceable by parliament. In the event of parliament being prorogued the Order Paper is cleared and any requests or questions are cancelled. For more, see Robert Marleau and Camille Monpetit. (2000). “11: Questions,” House of Commons Procedure and Practice.


Q-566: Regarding government programs conducting surveillance or information gathering information from Canadians through their phones or mobile devices, including programs involving anonymized data. Responses to this question revealed the RCMP’s use of On-Device Investigate Tools (ODIT) (i.e., government malware) under electronic interception warrants, as well as information pertaining to ArriveCan and other pandemic-related surveillance measures. Issued June 22, 2022.

Q-156: Regarding content removal requests issued to an internet search engine, aggregator, web hosting service, or other internet service provider, for the period of November 3, 2015 to April 22, 2016. Responses revealed that, on behalf of the Privacy Council Office (PCO) and the Canada Revenue Agency, that employment and Social Development Canada requests Google remove search results associated with the respective agencies’ websites. The Department of National Defence also issued a request to Google to remove an “older version of a document containing the personal information of a CAF member.” CSIS declined to disclose whether they had made requests, whereas the RCMP did make requests to Google; these were either because individuals named (e.g., in wanted orders or news releases) had charges withdrawn, because the RCMP sought to generally remove references to all news releases older than two years, or because they contained information about a member of the public who wished the information removed. Tabled June 13, 2016.

Q-511: Regarding disclosures by telecom and Internet providers of subscriber information and which government agencies make such requests, how often, in what ways is it used, and what policies cabin collection, use, or disclosure of subscriber information or other obtained telecommunications information. Responses to this question–which included 68 questions and sub-questions–extensively interrogates how government agencies obtain, use, and disclose subscriber data, as well as policies constraining/enabling such activities, and also how content-related information (e.g., geolocation, transmission data, content of communications) are similarly handled. The request for for activities spanning January 1, 2010 to May 22, 2014, and was deemed similar to question Q-233 (41st Parliament — 2nd Session). Issued September 15, 2014.

Q-630: Regarding requests by government agencies to telecommunications service providers to provide information concerning customers’ usage of communication usage and services between 2001-2013. Includes details concerning CBSA and RCMP surveillance activities. Deemed substantially similar to Q-233 (41st Parliament– 2nd Session). Issued September 15, 2014.

Q-580: Regarding the Government Operations Centre, how did it monitor protests. Responses to this order paper question detail the instances where the Government Operations Centre monitored protests, as well as other agencies. It spans 2007-2014. Issued September 14, 2014.

Q-233: Regarding requests by government agencies to telecommunications service providers to obtain information about their customers’ usage of communications devices and services. Responses make clear how CBSA, the RCMP, and other government agencies obtained information; notably whereas the CBSA was able to provide an accounting of obtained information the RCMP was less able to as a result of their record management practices. A Citizen Lab analysis of responses is available at, “Mapping the Canadian Government’s Telecommunications Surveillance.” Issued March 24, 2014.

Q-234: Regarding tracking by government agencies of telecommunications service providers’ use of communications devices and services. Questions included those focused on government agencies’ use of exploits or interception techniques, with relevant agencies (e.g., CSE, CSIS, and RCMP) declining to state what techniques they did or did not use. Issued March 24, 2014.