Chapter 5 – The Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Toronto 18 Case


  • Stephanie Carvin


While it is well known that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) played a key role in the investigation of the Toronto 18 cases, these activities have been left out of the public record. To provide some context for the other contributions in this study, this chapter proceeds by describing the process by which CSIS conducts counter-terrorism investigations – from initial notification of the threat through to cooperating with the RCMP. Although there have been some changes since the mid-2000s, these processes largely remain in place today.

Importantly, while the case of the Toronto 18 was seen as a huge success for Canada’s counter-terrorism capabilities at the time, it also shaped expectations regarding how future threats would be treated. Canadian national security would spend much of the five to seven years after the Toronto 18 arrests looking for the next such group, a threat that never really manifested. In this way, the Toronto 18 may have contributed to bias in understanding an evolving national security threat that was manifesting in the form of lone actors and extremist travel.