On May 2, 2022 Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) will implement further changes to the Contract Security Program (CSP). These upcoming changes focus on the organization security screening process, and follow changes to the personnel screening process implemented in October 2021.
As we discussed in our previous bulletin, Upcoming Changes to the Federal Contract Security Program May Be Problematic For Industry (and the Government), the CSP will be limiting security screening to organizations that are active participants in a procurement with security requirements. While the CSP had previously flagged many of these upcoming changes, the latest update provides more details and some previously unannounced changes that will be going into effect.
We highlight the most significant changes below.
Changes to the Current Organization Security Screening Process
CSP will now screen new organizations, and renew or upgrade the security clearance of current or former registrants that:
- have responded to a government solicitation with security requirements
- will be awarded a contract (competed or sole source) or standing offer/supply arrangement with security requirements
- will be awarded a subcontract with security requirements
- are involved in a multinational program
- are underrepresented.
Consistent with CSP’s intention to restrict clearances to organizations involved in an active federal procurement, CSP will also:
- reassess screened organizations for continued CSP eligibility in accordance with existing policy requirements outlined in the Contract Security Manual and the organization’s security agreement; and
- review all organization security screening requests still in process and close those that do not meet the new eligibility criteria.
Once terminated, an organization can reactivate their security clearance if they are active in another solicitation process or are awarded a contract or subcontract with security requirements within:
- Two years of the termination date for DOS and reliability status
- One year of the termination date for FSC at the Secret/Top Secret/NATO levels and equivalent personnel security clearances
New Screening Processes
CSP is introducing a new provisional security clearance for Canadian organizations that require access to protected or classified information during the pre-solicitation stage of a procurement process. Similar to processes used by other countries, a provisional clearance will allow a limited number of bidder personnel to obtain provisional clearance for the duration of the bid solicitation only.
Once the bidder is confirmed as a respondent to a solicitation process, the bidder will be invited to complete the organization screening process (for DOS or FSC).
Foreign bidders will still be required to obtain assurances of clearances in their home country.
New Options for Subcontractors
Prime contractors may, in certain situations, request and hold personnel security screenings for subcontractor personnel (as opposed to the subcontractor having to obtain its own clearance). However, this option is not available for all subcontractors and requires a case-by-case analysis of factors such as the size of the subcontractor, the type of information to be accessed, and whether the information is being retained at the prime contractor’s site.