Letter to The Right Honourable Justin P. J. Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of businesses across the country and the millions of men and women they employ, we are writing with respect to your government’s efforts to bolster Canada’s cyber defenses.
Last December, you instructed several senior Cabinet ministers to implement the National Cyber Security Action Plan and develop a renewed National Cyber Security Strategy to “protect our national security and economy, deter cyber threat actors and promote norms-based international behaviour in cyberspace.” Canadian business leaders support these critical initiatives.
Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. Canadian businesses are investing billions to protect their operations, employees, and customers from cyber threats. Through organizations such as the Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange, they are also sharing threat intelligence with government and peers to enhance the resiliency of Canada’s digital networks and supply chains.
In addition, Canadian businesses have established research partnerships with post-secondary institutions, among others, to develop new defensive technologies and deliver training programs to ensure our country has all the skilled cyber security professionals that it requires.
Beyond these efforts, however, there is far more we can and must do to foster an even closer collaborative partnership between government and business on cybersecurity.
To that end, we are proposing that the development of the new National Cyber Security Strategy be undertaken as a joint initiative between public and private sector leaders. By approaching cybersecurity as an opportunity for collaboration and co-creation, we could more readily identify short-term solutions as well as longer-term initiatives to address future cyber threats.
The cybersecurity threat environment continues to evolve, and time is of the essence. A true partnership between government and business would improve our ability to combat emerging threats on an expedited basis and would allow government and business to share confidential information about possible threats and potential responses in a more secure fashion.
Conversely, if the federal government chooses to develop a renewed National Cyber Security Strategy in isolation, with private sector consultations occurring after the fact, Canada’s digital networks and critical infrastructure will be unnecessarily exposed to greater risk.
If your government accepts our proposal for a joint undertaking, we are prepared to convene a meeting of senior officials and senior business leaders in the weeks ahead. We feel strongly that, to succeed, any resulting joint working group would require, at minimum, the direct engagement of the Minister of Public Safety as the government’s lead on cybersecurity.
In closing, Prime Minister, the members of the Business Council of Canada share your commitment to building a stronger, more resilient, and more digitally secure country. Business leaders are ready to step up, share their expertise, and work collaboratively with your Cabinet to develop a renewed cyber strategy that safeguards Canada now and in the future.
Yours very truly,
President & CEO
Business Council of Canada
February 12, 2024
February 5, 2024