On March 19, 2019, the Canadian government released its budget (“Budget 2019”), which included several measures aimed at bolstering Canada’s cyber security. These measures build on the federal government’s commitment to improving cyber security from its 2018 budget (“Budget 2018”) and its comprehensive National Cyber Security Strategy, which was derived out of the objectives set out in Budget 2018.
A summary of the cyber security-related proposals in Budget 2019 is provided below.
Critical Cyber Systems Framework
A commitment of $144.9 million over five years (starting in 2019-20) to help protect Canada’s critical cyber systems used in the country’s finance, telecommunications, energy and transport sectors, by:
- introducing a new critical cyber systems framework through new legislation and amendments to existing federal legislation; and
- supporting the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security in providing advice and guidance to critical infrastructure owners and operators.
University-Affiliated Cyber and Information Security Centres
A commitment of $80 million over four years (starting in 2020-21) to support three or more university-affiliated cyber and information security networks to expand their cyber security research, innovation and talent development, and to develop strategic partnerships between Canadian academia and businesses. The networks will be chosen through a competitive process.
Protecting the Canadian Democratic Process
A commitment of $30.2 million over five years (starting in 2019-20) to protect against foreign influence and disinformation campaigns stemming out of social media and new technology, which will include following measures:
- providing cyber security guidance to Canadian political parties and election administrators;
- coordinating the joint development of the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism unit for identifying, preventing and responding to threats to G7 democracies; and
- launching a new “Digital Democracy Project” to support research and policy development on the online Canadian disinformation to ensure that Canadians have access to a wide range of transparent, high-quality information.
A commitment of $67.3 million over five years (starting in 2019-20), and $13.8 million per year ongoing, directed towards developing resources and tools that protect against economic-based security threats (such as the theft of Canadian-developed intellectual property and technologies) and encouraging foreign investment, trade and economic growth.