Ottawa vows to make Canada a global leader in cyber security

Tech Updates


Ottawa has released its long-awaited update to its national cyber security strategy, promising to better protect Canadians from cyber crime, to respond to evolving threats, and defend critical government and private sector systems.

“The strategy is the roadmap for Canada’s path forward on cyber security, and is designed to meet the objectives and priorities of Canadians,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in releasing the document.

It promises that working with provincial and private sector partners it will improve cyber security in the public and private sectors. In addition, it vows to support advanced research, foster digital innovation and assist in developing cyber skills and knowledge, the federal government will position Canada as a global leader in cyber security.

Ottawa “will take a leadership role to advance cyber security in Canada and will, in co-ordination with allies, work to shape the international cyber security environment in Canada’s favour,” the document also says.

The strategy is rooted in several decisions already made by the government in its latest budget, including

  • creating a new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, which brings federal cyber resources under one roof to not only better protect federal data networks but also to be a resource for Canadian citizens and businesses to turn to for advice;
  • creating the National Cybercrime Co-ordination Unit to expand the RCMP’s capacity to investigate cyber crime, The unit will be a central place for residents and businesses to report cyber crime.

In the strategy is rooted in five principles:

  • Protect the safety and security of Canadians and our critical infrastructure
  • Promote and protect rights and freedoms online
  • Encourage cyber security for business, economic growth, and prosperity
  • Collaborate and support coordination across jurisdictions and sectors to strengthen Canada’s cyber resilience
  • Proactively adapt to changes in the cyber security landscape and the emergence of new technology.

The government still has to create action plans to execute the strategy.

The strategy should also be considered in part with the just-announced update to the federal government’s ongoing action plan for securing critical infrastructure.

Cyber security is increasingly driving innovation and economic activity in Canada, the strategy notes. It already contributes $1.7 billion to Canada’s GDP and consists of over 11,000 jobs. “With the global cyber security industry forecasted to grow by 66 per cent by 2021, thousands of additional jobs could be created for Canadians in the years ahead. Governments, academia, and members of the private sector can work together to create new opportunities, drive investment, and foster leading-edge research and development.”

By supporting advanced research, fostering digital innovation, and developing cyber skills and knowledge, the federal government will position Canada as a global leader in cyber security, the strategy vows.

“The Government of Canada will work with partners to drive investment and foster cyber research and development. The Government will focus on emerging areas of Canadian excellence, such as quantum computing and blockchain technologies. The federal government is already making progress in this regard, with Budget 2017 announcing the creation of a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy for research and talent.

Together, we will explore initiatives to ensure that Canadian companies can bring their products to a global market. The Government will explore initiatives to drive domestic demand for cyber security technologies and services.”

Ottawa will also explore new ideas for making businesses and Canadians more cyber secure, the document says, in part by programs such as such as coding education for kids.

“The federal government is aiming for national cyber security excellence. Reaching this target will involve enhancing and growing cyber security capabilities in government and industry. It will entail supporting Canada’s leading edge research and development, as well as the range of organizations and businesses that do not have strong cyber security measures in place. Private sector leaders will have a central role to play, as a collaborative effort is needed to ensure that all Canadians are as equipped as possible to prevent and respond to cyber threats.”

More to come



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