Ottawa, September 7, 2023 – With Members of Parliament set to return to the House of Commons amid a turbulent global landscape, a new report urges the Government of Canada to create a first-of-its-kind national security strategy that establishes economic security as a central pillar. 

“Canadian companies are in the crosshairs of state-sponsored actors seeking to advance their interests in ways that undermine Canada’s national and economic security,” according to the report released today by the Business Council of Canada. “Now is the time for Canadian policymakers to recognize this reality and to come together with Canadian companies to protect the economic vitality and resiliency of our nation.” 

Based on in-depth consultations with the leaders of Canada’s most innovative and successful companies, security experts, and former government officials, the report offers a series of recommendations organized around three themes: 

  • Strengthen Canada’s economic security architecture: A latticework of new and interconnected laws, policies, and programs will be required to improve Canadian companies’ ability to deter, detect, and disrupt economic security threats. This includes the Government of Canada amending the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to enable CSIS to proactively share threat intelligence with targeted businesses where it is in the public interest and subject to all necessary safeguards and oversight. 
  • Bolster Canada’s economic and innovative capabilities: To compete against foreign state champions who do not play by established economic rules, the Government of Canada will need to complement the economic and innovative capacity of Canadian companies with a modern industrial strategy. This strategy should incentivize high-risk, high-reward research in disruptive and emerging fields which are foundational to spurring economic growth and are essential to national security. Among other things, Canada should emulate the approach adopted by the United States’ Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. 
  • Expand and reinvigorate Canada’s international security partnerships: To uphold and strengthen the rules-based international order that has contributed to unprecedented levels of safety, security, and prosperity, the Government of Canada should expand and reinvigorate its network of security alliances and global partnerships. This includes spearheading measures to collectively counter weaponized trade, such as establishing a “NATO for trade.” 

“Many of Canada’s closest allies – including the United States, Germany and Japan – recognize that their national security is dependent on the economic strength of their nations and have developed integrated approaches to economic and national security,” says Goldy Hyder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of Canada. “Canada must also adopt an ‘eyes wide open’ approach to its economic and national security. It’s essential to protect our democracy, values, economy, and the wellbeing of all Canadians.”