Components include efforts to fight cyber crime and encourage innovation
The federal government has released a new National Cyber Security Strategy based in part on a Cyber Review with public consultations conducted in 2016 and first announced in Budget 2018. The strategy calls for $507.7 million in funding for the next five years and $108.8 million annually thereafter to create a national security agency that will bring together several government efforts to fight cybercrime and protect personal information.
The government has earmarked $155.2 million for five years and $44.5 million per year thereafter for the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security to coordinate federal operations, expertise and guidance for cyber security. There is also $116 million over five years and $23.2 million per year afterwards in the Budget for the National Cybercrime Coordination Unit within the RCMP that will be the hub for cybercrime investigations.
While the strategy is broad – encompassing almost everything from national security to enforcement – there’s also a component to encourage research and innovation. The strategy noted that while cyber threats are growing more sophisticated, there is potential for Canadian innovation around cyber security.
“For researchers and academics in the cyber security field, the Strategy will support advanced research, fostering innovation and developing cyber skills and knowledge,” the press statement reads.
By focusing on advanced research and innovation and working with partners, Canada is positioning itself as a leader in the field. The feds said they have already invested in technologies, such as quantum computing, blockchain and artificial intelligence, that will drive R&D and innovation in cyber security. The government has also committed to invest in talent and skills development, even coding for kids.
The National Research Council (NRC) tells R$ that its research on cyber security, through its Digital Technologies Research Centre and its participation in the Innovation Supercluster Initiative (ISI), supports the National Cyber Security Strategy. The NRC conducts relevant research and collaborates with partners in academia and industry through its expertise in machine learning, machine translation, information extraction and entity recognition, summarization, sentiment and emotion analysis, natural language processing, big data mining and analytics, aberration and trend detection, and human factors. For the ISI, NRC says it is supporting superclusters where cyber security, digital technologies, and big data are the focus.
“Through our research and collaborations, we will also support the development of a cyber innovation ecosystem in Canada to position Canadians and Canadian industry to succeed in a rapidly evolving digital society,” NRC said in a statement to R$.
The National Cyber Security Strategy also notes the importance of working with and supporting businesses to drive innovation. The strategy recognizes that investing in cyber security spurs innovation and economic activity, contributing $1.7 billion in the GDP and employing more than 11,000.
The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), an industry group advocating for more support of Canada’s scale-up sector, says it looks forward to working with government on the strategy. However, the group wants a more substantive role for the technology sector.
"It's disappointing to see lack of commitment to build Canada's cyber sector. Cyber is the fastest growing ICT sector in the world and domestic innovators present an opportunity for our government to grow our economy and deploy world-class technology solutions for protecting Canada’s digital borders,” says Benjamin Bergen, CCI executive director, in an email response to RE$EARCH MONEY. “Canadian cyber innovators hope the new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security will provide an opportunity for our members to work closely with the Government and together advance both our national security and prosperity,”
While the national strategy supports how businesses can protect themselves from cyber crime, particularly for small and mid-sized companies, there are few details about industry innovation, except that government will work with collaborators in cyber innovation.