The RCMP intelligence official accused of violating Canada's national secrets act spent years living in B.C., where he attended university, CTV News has learned.

Authorities confirmed Friday that Cameron Ortis, the director general of the RCMP's intelligence unit, has been charged under both the Security of Information Act and the Criminal Code.

"The charges stem from activities alleged to have occurred during his tenure as an RCMP employee," a spokesperson for the force said in an email.

The RCMP said it couldn't provide any further details as the investigation into Ortis remains ongoing.

Though the 47-year-old accused has been living in Ontario and working at the RCMP's headquarters in Ottawa, he spent years studying at the University of British Columbia, beginning in the fall semester of 1999.

"From 2001 to 2007, Ortis held positions as a graduate academic assistant, assistant research fellow and post-doc fellow," a spokesperson for UBC said in a statement.

Ortis obtained his doctor of philosophy in political science in 2006.

Brian L. Job, a political science professor who supervised Ortis during his PhD studies and postdoctoral fellowship, told CTV News the allegations took him completely by surprise.

"Since leaving UBC for employment in Ottawa, (Ortis and I) have met socially for coffee or dinner once a year, or less frequently," Job said in an email.

"Nothing in my experience with Cameron would lead me to suspect his alleged involvement in the activities for which he is charged. Indeed, the exact opposite is true. I am deeply shocked by the news."

A spokesperson for the RCMP said Ortis was charged under three parts of the Security of Information Act and two parts of the Criminal Code. The Security of Information Act addresses national security concerns, including threats of espionage by foreign powers.

CTV News has also learned that Ortis was once a close adviser of former RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson, who retired two years ago.

With files from's Christy Somos and Mariam Matti