Combatting foreign interference

Backgrounder

Foreign interference poses a growing threat to Canada’s political systems. New technologies and advances in how we consume information may potentially allow adversaries to use cyber-enabled means to influence Canada’s democratic processes.

We are working across government to safeguard Canadians’ trust in the Government’s capacity to protect Canadian democratic institutions. This work includes combatting foreign interference, enhancing citizen preparedness, improving organizational readiness and expecting social media and digital platforms to act.

Canada’s security and intelligence organizations are at the frontline of Canada’s effort to combat foreign interference campaigns against our democratic institutions. These organizations are:

  • The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS);
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP);
  • The Communications Security Establishment (CSE); and,
  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Together, these agencies form the newly-established Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force.

The SITE Task Force is working to prevent covert, clandestine, or criminal activities from influencing or interfering with the electoral process in Canada by:

  • Building awareness of foreign threats to Canada’s electoral process; and,
  • Preparing the Government to assess and respond to those threats.

At the G7 Summit in Charlevoix last summer, nations agreed to create a Rapid Response Mechanism to better coordinate the identification of and responses to evolving threats to our democracy. As the international lead of the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism, Canada will manage, triage, share information and identify opportunities for a joint G7 response to threats to democratic processes.

The Government of Canada will:

  • Analyze foreign social media activity to look at trends and identify Canadian vulnerabilities; and,
  • Share knowledge and coordinate international responses through the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism.

Canada has shown strong leadership in coordinating and responding to diverse and evolving threats to our democracy.

The Government will continue its work to combat foreign interference:

  • CSE will continue to protect Government systems and networks, as well as offering cyber advice and guidance to Elections Canada and political parties;
  • CSIS will continue to actively monitor and report threats to the Government and provide classified briefings to political parties on potential threats; and,
  • A dedicated RCMP investigative team will continue to detect and disrupt attempted foreign interference activity and investigate criminal activity related to interfering with or attempting to influence Canada’s electoral processes.

Additionally, the Elections Modernization Act (Bill C-76), which received Royal Assent December 13, 2018, prohibits the use of funds from foreign entities and includes heightened transparency measures. For instance, it prohibits the use of foreign funds by third parties for partisan advertising and activities. It also clarifies offences related to false statements and foreign interference.


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