Espionage in Canada:

1889: The first Official Secrets Act was passed in Britain and enacted almost verbatim in Canada in 1890.

1892 to 1939: The Canadian act was transferred to the first Criminal Code in 1892 where it remained until 1939.

1939: The current Official Secrets Act passed. Since then, there have been about two dozen prosecutions, almost all under the espionage section — and only six in last 40 years.

September 1945: Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk in the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, slips out of the office with documents that reveal the existence of a Soviet spy ring in Canada.

1945 to 1952: About 30 defectors from Soviet and Communist Bloc diplomatic and consular missions are allowed to settle in Canada.

1984: RCMP Security Service disbanded.

1984: Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is created to guard against activities that constitute "threats to the security of Canada."

December 2001: Security of Information Act passed. The Official Secrets Act was amended to address national security concerns, including threats of espionage by foreign powers and terrorist groups, and the intimidation or coercion of ethno-cultural communities in Canada.

March 2003: Between 5,000 and 6,000 current and former security and intelligence officials are expected to be designated as persons "permanently bound to secrecy" under provisions of the Security of Information Act.

Compiled by Peggy Mackenzie, Star Library

Sources: Star files, Canadian Press, CSIS