cybersecurity of network of connected devices and personal data security, concept on virtual interface with consultant in background

The federal government will be investing $507.7 million during the next five years — and $108.8 million per year thereafter — to fund a new national cybersecurity strategy that aims to preserve and promote cybersecurity as well as protect Canadians’ privacy.

To do this, the government is planning to spend the money in three distinct areas, according to Budget 2018 documents. The first is a commitment to spend $155.2 million during the next five years, and $44.5 million per year thereafter, to create a new Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity that aims to protect Canadians and their sensitive personal information.

The new centre intends to consolidate the federal government’s cyber expertise under one roof by establishing a single, unified source of unique expert advice, guidance, services and support on cybersecurity operational matters. The new centre will then provide Canadians and businesses with a trusted source of cybersecurity advice.

The government will introduce legislation to allow various government cybersecurity functions to consolidate into the new centre. Federal responsibility to investigate potential criminal activities will remain with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

To that end, the government will also provide $116 million during the next five years, and $23.2 million per year ongoing, to the RCMP to support the creation of a National Cybercrime Co-ordination Unit.

“[The unit] will create a co-ordination hub for cybercrime investigations in Canada and will work with international partners on cybercrime,” according to Budget 2018 documents. “The unit will also establish a national public reporting mechanism for Canadian citizens and businesses to report cybercrime incidents to law enforcement.”

In addition to funding the creation of the Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity and the National Cybercrime Co-ordination Unit, Ottawa proposes to provide $236.5 million over the next five years, and $41.2 million per year thereafter, to further support the National Cybersecurity Strategy.

Specifically, the strategy intends to:

  • Enhance the government’s ability to investigate cybercrime, develop threat assessments, keep critical infrastructure safe and work in collaboration with the financial and energy sectors on bolstering their cybersecurity.
  • Create a voluntary cyber-certification program to support work-integrated cyber learning placements for students and help businesses improve their cybersecurity.
  • Advance cybersecurity in Canada by working closely with provincial, territorial, private-sector and trusted international partners.

The strategy aims to be of benefit to Canadian businesses by creating a trusted source of cybersecurity information; increasing cybersecurity guidance to small and medium-sized enterprises; and providing tools and resources to improve cyber resilience.