Since 2016, Employment Canada has fired 64 employees who posed "security risks" to the department. As if something out of an international spy thriller, one of those firings included a confirmed 'foreign spy.'
"Sixty-four department employees had their security clearance revoked following a review for cause," said the briefing note Revocation Of Government Security Clearance.
"Notably, one individual had their security clearance revoked in 2019 based on the conclusions of an investigation conducted by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that determined they acted on behalf of a foreign government."
Staff did not disclose the person's name, which foreign government they acted for, or if CSIS involved the police.
"For sensitivity reasons, we cannot provide additional information on specific cases," according to the March 31 briefing note for Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.
According to Blacklock's Reporter, Qualtrough viewed the report the same day Conservative MP John Barlow tabled an inquiry of ministry in the Commons confirming three foreign spies worked in either the Employment and Fisheries departments or the Canada Border Services Agency.
Barlow asked, "How many individuals have had their security clearances revoked for cause since 2016?" Richard Fadden, former national security adviser, testified in 2021 at the Commons special committee on Canada-China relations, confirming: "They are after us."
"The great difficulty we have in Canada is the general public has trouble understanding that we are threatened," he continued. "We feel very comfortable here in North America."
"We have three oceans and a border with the United States. Sometimes you have to face a crisis before truly understanding a problem," Fadden said.
According to Blacklock's, the 64 firings occurred from 2016 to February 9, 2023. Over half (37) of the dismissals occurred in 2021, an election year, with 13 last year.
The note asked whether the dismissed staff could be trusted to safeguard information, assets and facilities and not pose a security risk to the Government of Canada.
"In the 64 cases, employees had 'security-related vulnerabilities that put into question the employees' reliability and trustworthiness," it said. "As a result, the employees lost their employer's trust and were terminated."