Improving organizational readiness

Backgrounder

Malicious foreign actors seek to undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security. Their multi-faceted and ever-evolving tactics constitute a serious strategic threat. Government institutions have and will continue to work together to prepare and respond to threats of foreign interference. We have taken the necessary steps to understand the possible threats to our democratic institutions, where they come from, and how they could affect our electoral processes. We have furthered research and engagement, and have improved the government’s ability to anticipate, recognize and respond to these threats.

The Government will continue to detect and respond to foreign interference, and will:

  • offer technical advice, including online security measures and internal security practices, to Canadian political parties and election administrators to help them better protect their own cyber systems;
  • sensitize decision-makers to the nature of foreign interference; and,
  • provide classified threat briefings to key political party leadership.

On an ongoing basis, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) are working with Elections Canada to identify threats, emerging tactics and systems vulnerabilities. CSE has been providing advice and guidance to Elections Canada, leveraging the Government’s cyber security expertise in support of Elections Canada’s own significant security efforts. Further, CSE provides cyber security advice and guidance to the House of Commons, and provides services and tools to Members of Parliament travelling abroad.

Federal departments and agencies carry out simulations and table-top exercises on a regular basis to validate plans, training, and information-sharing procedures. The Government will continue to organize exercises where various departments walk through potential incidents or scenarios to plan for and respond to potential threats to the 2019 General Election. In advance of the next election, whole-of-government exercises have already been conducted, including in the areas of cyber security and disinformation campaigns, and still more exercises are planned.

In addition to participating in some Government of Canada exercises, Elections Canada is also undertaking its own internal simulations. Upcoming exercises will focus on emergency management as well as Canada’s response to security threats related to the election. The results of these exercises are used to further refine our approach and enhance our preparedness.

Together these initiatives will work to strengthen internal security practices and build resilience against foreign interference activities in Canada.


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