The federal government unveiled its plan to bolster Canada’s defences against nefarious online attacks and crime Tuesday, even as it acknowledged a shortage of skilled cyberwarriors to meet the country’s needs. Backstopped by more than $500-million in new funding over the next five years, Ottawa’s newly released cybersecurity strategy lays out a range of initiatives to help Canadians, business and the government better protect against cyberthreats. The strategy was the result of nearly two years of consultations with industry, academics and other experts, and updates the first such plan released by the Harper Conservatives in 2010.
It comes as the internet and digital technology play an increasingly important role in every aspect of life, making many functions easier and leading to new economic opportunities – but also opening the country and Canadians up to new risks.
And those risks appear to be increasing: The RCMP says that police services across the country received 24,000 reports of cybercrimes in 2016, which represented a 58 per cent increase over the previous two years.
There are also growing concerns about the threat posed by foreign states, terrorist groups and others who may try to target the country’s electricity grids, banking services, hospitals and election systems.