In a letter to the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada, Goldy Hyder calls for an amendment to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) legislation to further protect Canada’s economic security.
Dear Prime Minister,
Recently Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister observed that our country’s security “is built on our economic security, and if our economic security is threatened all our of security is threatened.” The members of the Business Council of Canada fully agree. Indeed, we were encouraged when your government directed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) earlier this year to make “organizations working in sensitive domains . . . aware of current and emerging economic security threats.”
Threats to Canada’s economic security emerge unexpectedly and evolve unpredictably. As such, intelligence-sharing between public and private sector organizations is critical. When business leaders have timely access to threat intelligence, they can take appropriate action to protect their employees, their customers, and all Canadians.
To that end, we urge you to give CSIS the authority to proactively share threat intelligence with companies that are targeted by hostile actors.
In 2019, Parliament authorized the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to proactively share threat intelligence with stakeholders outside government. On several occasions this has enabled companies in strategically important sectors to mitigate risks and build resilience against cyber-attacks.
In effect, we are asking that CSIS be given the same authority that Parliament previously gave to CSE. In our view, this would be a proportionate response to a worsening threat environment. It would help keep Canadians safe, protect our national economic security, and preserve the ability of Canadian companies to serve domestic and international customers.
Prime Minister, Canada’s closest allies recognize the value of intelligence-sharing between the public and private sectors. Our Five Eyes partners have empowered their security agencies to work closely with stakeholders in the private sector. We note that Canadian companies with operations in those countries often receive better access to threat intelligence from allied governments than from their own.
Empowering CSIS to share threat information in prescribed circumstances for the protection of Canada’s economic security would require only a simple and straightforward amendment to CSIS’s enabling legislation – one that could easily be included in Budget 2023.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this important issue.