The budget announced by the federal government
yesterday promises action on a long standing commitment to improve
and enhance cybersecurity in Canada. The new initiatives,
including investment to secure cyber infrastructure and the
introduction of new cybersecurity legislation imposing
cybersecurity obligations on operators of "vital cyber
systems", should change the cybersecurity landscape in Canada
for years to come.
The budget documents detail the commitment of $58 million over 5
years to protect essential government cyber systems and critical
infrastructure, including Internet network pathways and
connections, from cyberattacks. This investment will focus on
maintaining and improving the government's ability to detect
and repel cyber attackers from gaining access to these critical
Of interest to clients and businesses will be the further $36.4
million has been committed over 5 years to protect "vital
cyber systems" that Canadians rely on daily and are critical
to national security. The scope of "vital cyber
systems" is not yet clear, but it is widely expected that the
legislation will focus on large companies in the telecommunications
sector and Internet service providers.
The budget papers foreshadow the tabling of legislation that
will require operators of these vital cyber systems to:
meet network security standards and implement cybersecurity
meet "robust" security outcomes for their systems;
report cybersecurity incidents to the federal government.
This also represents the first glimpse into the Protection
of Canada's Vital Cyber Systems Act, a piece of
legislation that the government has been working on for almost a
These measures are a timely implementation of Canada's
Cyber Security Strategy, announced in 2010, and a response to
a recent RCMP cybersecurity report supporting new
policing measures and engagement with public and private sector
organizations to keep pace in the digital era.
In documents recently tabled in the House of Commons, it was
noted that data breach incidents are becoming more commonplace,
with federal departments and agencies reporting more breaches:
almost 4,000 in the 10 months between April 2013 and February
2014 alone, compared with just over 3,000 in the previous 10
The 2015 budget signals the significant role that cybersecurity
will play in the remaining months of this government's
term. However, an assessment of the impact of this
cybersecurity policy on businesses will have to wait until the Bill
is tabled before Parliament.
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