Country Report on Terrorism 2017 - Chapter 1 - Canada

Overview: Canada experienced minimal terrorist activity in 2017. The main external terrorist threats to Canada are from terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida and their sympathizers, while the main internal threat is from lone actors inspired by these groups and ideologies. By the end of 2017, approximately 180 Canadian citizens or permanent residents had traveled abroad to engage in terrorist activity in Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS and approximately 60 have since returned to Canada. The government has policies and legislation to counter these threats and worked to address the radicalization of its citizens to violence.

The United States worked closely throughout the year with Canada to identify and develop new capabilities that meet a wide variety of requirements for countering terrorist threats. Through a cost-sharing bilateral relationship, both countries advanced their technical ability to defeat or mitigate the evolving capabilities of terrorists and criminal organizations. Canada is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

2017 Terrorist Incidents: Canada experienced three terrorist incidents in 2017:

Also, on June 21, Amor Ftouhi, a Tunisian-born Canadian resident of Montreal, Quebec, stabbed a U.S. police officer at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan. During the attack, Ftouhi made reference to killings in Syria and Afghanistan. He was awaiting trial in Detroit, Michigan at the end of 2017.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In 2017, the following legislative activity impacting the investigation or prosecution of terrorism offenses occurred:

Canada conducted numerous law enforcement actions against terrorists and terrorist groups over the past year, the most significant of which were:

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Canada is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body. Canada’s financial intelligence unit, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is a member of the Egmont Group. In June 2017, amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act came into force that strengthened Canada’s anti-money laundering/counterterrorist finance regime and improved compliance. These amendments expanded FINTRAC’s ability to disclose information to police, the Canada Border Services Agency, and provincial securities regulators. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): On June 26, Public Safety Canada officially launched the Center for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence with a budget of C$35 million (US $26.7 million) over five years and C$10 million (US $8 million) annually thereafter to counter radicalization to violence. In addition, the city of Montreal is a founding member of the Strong Cities Network.

International and Regional Cooperation: Canada prioritizes collaboration with international partners to counter terrorism and regularly seeks opportunities to lead. Canada makes major contributions to the Global Counterterrorism Forum (in which it co-chairs the Capacity-Building in the West Africa Region), the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), the Global Initiative to Counter Nuclear Terrorism, and the G-7 Roma-Lyon Group. Global Affairs Canada maintains a Counterterrorism Capacity Building program, which provides training, funding, equipment, and technical and legal assistance to nations, enabling them to prevent and respond to a broad spectrum of terrorist activity.