Mohamed Harkat has lost a legal challenge against a security certificate issued against him and now faces deportation.

The Canadian government has begun the process of formally deporting an Ottawa man declared a threat to Canadian security, but his lawyers don't expect him to be leaving the country any time soon.

Mohamed Harkat's lawyer, Matthew Webber, said on Friday he had received a notice of intention to seek Public Safety Minister Vic Toews's opinion about whether to deport Harkat under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Under Section 115 of the act, the minister can decide not to allow an individual to remain in Canada with refugee status if the minister believes the individual constitutes a danger to the public or to the security of the country.

The notice starts a process rolling, but is not a formal deportation order.

"While they may be serving the paperwork, we fully expect and are confident the Canadian government respects due process," said lawyer Matthew Webber.

"[Harkat's] not going anywhere or being deported until we finish appealing the matter."

Co-counsel Norm Boxall said he hopes the government will stay the deportation order so Harkat's legal appeal can continue.

Harkat was arrested eight years ago under a security certificate on suspicion of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent. In December, a federal court ruled he was a security threat who maintained ties to Osama bin Laden's terror network.

Harkat, 42, denies any involvement in terrorism.

With files from The Canadian Press