Canadian Foreign Intelligence History Project (CFIHP)

by | Feb 9, 2017 | LCSC, War and Society | 0 comments

Introducing a new historical research initiative—the Canadian Foreign Intelligence History Project (CFIHP).

The CFIHP seeks to encourage the study of the history of the foreign intelligence assessment function in Canada by facilitating the exchange of information among researchers and providing a forum for formal and informal collaboration through workshops and conferences. We hope to integrate the study of foreign intelligence in Canada more effectively with the study of Canadian foreign and defence policy and related fields.

Full information on the CFIHP, its research focus and the research resources available to project partners is available at This website is a work in progress and will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.

The centrepiece of this effort is a database that has been created containing a wide range of declassified documents related to foreign intelligence assessment and the organization of intelligence in Canada. Most of these documents were obtained through an extensive and continuing campaign of requests through the Access to Information process and have not been previously available to researchers. The website describes in more detail the current contents of the database, but the quantity of available documents will increase as additional ATI requests are finalized.

We would like this to be a fully collaborative effort. Partners will have access to the growing collection of documents on the CFIHP database. In return, we would expect project partners to share documents that they have obtained through the ATI process and elsewhere that are not readily available to researchers so that they can be included in the database. As well, we would encourage project partners to share draft and finished research via the CFIHP website, workshops and conferences, and to share published articles and other finished research for inclusion in the CFIHP database. The CFIHP would also provide a forum for coordinating ATI requests and the sharing of best practices in accessing the ATI process.

We believe that scholars in a number of areas would find value in becoming CFIHP partners, including:

  • Canadian intelligence history
  • Comparative (5-eyes) intelligence studies
  • Canadian foreign and defence policy
  • Cold War history

The CFIHP will be holding one-day a workshop in Ottawa on 14 June 2017. This will be an opportunity to discuss the goals and operation of the CFIHP with project partners. We hope to include a session with archivists from LAC and DND/DHH to describe the range of available archival records in this field, and a session to discuss best practices in accessing restricted records via the ATI process. More details on the workshop will be provided on the website as they become available. Due to the Canada 150 celebrations in Ottawa this year, accommodation is likely to be at a premium so interested participants are encouraged to make arrangements early.

In 2018 we are aiming to hold a scholarly conference in Toronto where the results of the research will be presented.

We would very much appreciate your bringing this project to the attention of any of the students or researchers associated with LCMSDS who you think might be interested in participating. Please have them contact either of the project leaders. As we make our plans for the workshop in June we are trying to gauge the level of interest in this project.


Alan Barnes
Senior Fellow
Centre for Security, Intelligence and Defence Studies
Norman Paterson School of International Affairs
Carleton University
Dr. Timothy Sayle
Assistant Professor
Department of History and Senior Fellow
Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History
University of Toronto