Intelligence can be many things. It can be a product, a process, a mission, or even an organization. Intelligence is used to give decision makers an advantage at the tactical, operational, and strategic level, ideally informing on threats or risks that may be on the horizon. The processes necessary to provide intelligence clients, from the private or public sector, with the information they need, are both distinct and inter-related. There is a need to understand these processes and the nuances associated with the intelligence-client relationship to appreciate what intelligence can and cannot do. In this course, participants will look at the key elements associated with the intelligence process and the intelligence -client relationship from a Canadian perspective.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:
  • Define "intelligence" in the context of national security
  • Describe the particular mandates of N.S. agencies in Canada
  • Identify the types of intelligence collection and its link to policy
  • Understand the current challenges of the Canadian intelligence community
  • Examine ethical issues associated with the collection and dissemination of intelligence


12 hours


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John Gilmour joins the PDI team after a thirty-seven-year career in the federal government in positions of growing responsibility. His initial professional experience was with Transport Canada and the management of Canada’s major international airports. This included serving as project manager and analyst for airport security programs. This led to a two-year assignment to the Security and Intelligence (Operations) section of the Privy Council office as a senior policy analyst, in support of the office of the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister (NSA).

From there John joined the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), where he served in a variety of branches, most recently as the Head-Strategic Planning and Operational Analysis with the Service’s Counter-Terrorism Division. Although retiring in 2018 from the Service, John continues to be periodically retained as a senior advisor for CSIS.

John has a BA from Carleton University (Ottawa), and a Masters and Ph.D from the War Studies Program of the Royal Military College of Canada (Kingston). He serves on the Advisory Board of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS) – Vancouver and is a Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI).