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Description found in Archives

Secret file system [textual record]. 

Sub-series consists of



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

9.60 m of textual records

Scope and content

Sub-series consists of records from the registry system known as the "Secret File", or "SF" system. These records are maintained parallel to the unclassified registry files - the Second, Third and Fourth Central Registry files and the HQ case files - to protect documents classified above "Confidential". This sub-series documents many of the same topics covered in the unclassified subject files, although enforcement and security-related subjects tend to predominate. The SF system appears to have been created in the mid-1950s and remains in use as of 1987. Most of the files received by National Archives are dated 1945-1980, but they also contain a small proportion of records of earlier and later date. The volumes in this sub-series contain a selection of subject and case-like files from the Secret system, dated mainly from 1945-1980. The subjects covered include many aspects of Immigration policy and law, especially matters involving Immigration security and enforcement. The Immigration programme's duties during the relevant period have included responsibility for bringing about security examinations of prospective immigrants and visitors to Canada, to ensure that they are suitable individuals to settle in or visit this country. These examinations often also extend to the organizations, political parties, businesses, cultural groups, conferences, and other events or entities with which immigrants are involved. The security investigation process involves not only Immigration headquarters and field office staff, but also regional Canadian and foreign law enforcement agencies; the RCMP and CSIS; special federal departmental and interdepartmental security committees; and the Canadian Cabinet. Thus the SF files contain policy and operational records on Immigration legislation, policy and procedures, generally and in relation to Immigration security; the investigation of specific groups, events and issues; and representations on security matters made to the government by private parties. They include records on formal submissions to Cabinet and Cabinet decisions; the Security Panel and sub- panels and various governmental committees and working groups on security policy and procedures from the Second World War onwards; the revision of security procedures at Immigration NHQ and specific foreign posts; special investigations into irregularities involving Immigration personnel, and large-scale immigration rackets; and other specific issues. Among the individuals or groups in these files that were the objects of Immigration's interest are various ethnic groups (such as North American Indians and black and Chinese Canadians); persons attending academic conferences, peace rallies and political meetings; visiting foreign diplomats, politicians, military personnel (including U.S. defence construction parties), alien shipping and seamen, and Iron Curtain trade representatives; foreign workers and entrepreneurs imported by Canadian companies; persons involved in Canadian exchange visits with China, Hong Kong and the USSR; and suspected illegal immigrants, agitators or terrorists involved in Expo '67, the Sir George Williams University riots, and the October Crisis of 1970. The SF file system is said to have been originally conceived as a nominal system for secret case files. It later developed into a mixed case/ subject series, as topical records on the events, issues or organizations with which the individuals were involved came to predominate in some of the files. At some point, SF files began to be opened specifically to contain classified subject correspondence as such. Efforts were made to restore the files to their original purpose (as case files) in several stages between 1975-late 1983. Some active or recently dormant subject files were removed from the SF file system and merged with appropriate files in the 5000 block subject files (see the Classified 5000 block files sub-sub-series, MIKAN 161304, RG76-B-1-c-ii, for the portion of that series transferred to National Archives). Others were left as "SF" files. Still others were transferred to the National Archives unchanged; these are the files now in series B-2. Any SF files which may have been merged with the current 8000 block (Fourth Central Registry) files remain with the Department. The SF files now at the National Archives include both subject and case or case-like files. They are numbered in the form SF-[A to Z]-xxx. The secondary is the first letter of the file title, organization name, or immigrant's surname. The tertiary is a simple sequential number assigned when the file was opened. The only exceptions are the SF files on immigration from particular countries: these were originally numbered SF-xxx, the secondary being the country's geographical code (as given in the Second CR file manual, finding aid 76-13). Most or all of this latter group no longer exist; they appear to have been amalgamated with the appropriate classified 5000 block files (MIKAN 161304, RG76-B-1-c-ii).

Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
from 946 to 947
from 949 to 963
from 1075 to 1093
from 1097 to 1098
32: Restricted by law
Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown.

Finding Aid 76-14 is a typed subject index to the Second Central Registry files or "500" block. The latter also indexes those SF files in existence before 1970, including both files retained in the Department and files merged into the 5000 series. 76-14 (Paper)

Finding Aid 76-20 is a computer generated file list relating to volumes 946-963. 76-20 (Electronic)

Finding Aid 76-21 is a handwritten file list (unsevered, ATIP-restricted version) relating to volumes 946-963, 1075-1093, 1097-1098. 76-21 (Paper)

Additional information

Source of title
Title is based on the contents of the sub-series.

Further accruals are expected.


Related control no.

1. 1983-84/347 GAD
2. 1985-86/589 GAD
3. 1991-92/029 GAD
4. 119-000028-8
5. RG76
6. RG76-A-1-a
7. RG76-B-1-c
8. RG76-B-2