Government of Canada announces measures to protect by-elections from foreign interference
Ottawa, Ontario, May 16, 2023 – The Government of Canada continues to strengthen and protect our democracy from threats posed by foreign interference.
Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, announced additional measures to protect the by-elections with votes to be held on June 19, 2023, from any potential foreign interference.
The Security and Intelligence Threats (SITE) Task Force will provide enhanced monitoring and assessing of foreign interference threats during the by-election period. These assessments will be provided to the Deputy Minister Committee on Intelligence Response, which will stand ready to brief and advise ministers with mandates to combat foreign interference and protect Canada’s democratic institutions.
Lines of communications will also be opened with designated representatives of political parties to ensure engagement should it become necessary over the course of the by-election period.
SITE will also produce both a classified and an unclassified report following the day of the vote, consisting of the Task Force’s assessment of any attempts at foreign interference identified during the by-elections. The classified report will be made available to the Prime Minister, relevant ministers, as well as to the Independent Special Rapporteur, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, and identified representatives of the parties with appropriate security clearances.
These measures are in line with our commitment to keeping Canadians informed about foreign interference in Canada. Building upon the Plan to Protect Canada’s Democracy, the Government of Canada continues to defend Canada’s democracy against interference and uphold Canadians’ confidence in our institutions.
“Since coming into office, our government has put robust measures in place to protect the integrity of our elections and ensure Canadians can continue to have confidence in their institutions. As the threats to our democracy evolve, so does our approach. The measures we are putting in place for the duration of these by-elections build on existing mechanisms, all with the goal of continuously reinforcing our defenses against foreign interference.”
– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
By-elections will be held on June 19, 2023, in the following four electoral districts:
- Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount, Quebec
- Oxford, Ontario
- Portage–Lisgar, Manitoba
- Winnipeg South Centre, Manitoba
The Security and Intelligence Threats (SITE) Task Force was established as part of the government’s Plan to Protect Canada’s Democracy in 2019. It is composed of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment, Global Affairs Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
On March 6, 2023, the Government of Canada announced a series of measures to take further action on foreign interference and strengthen Canadians’ confidence in our democracy. Other measures included:
- asking the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) to complete a review of the state of foreign interference in federal electoral processes;
- asking the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) to complete a review of how Canada’s national security agencies handled the threat of foreign interference during the 43rd and 44th federal general elections;
- launching public consultations to guide the creation of a Foreign Influence Transparency Registry in Canada to ensure transparency and accountability from people who advocate on behalf of a foreign government and ensure communities who are targeted by attempts at foreign interference are protected;
- establishing a new National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator in Public Safety Canada to coordinate efforts to combat foreign interference; and
- investing $5.5 million to strengthen the capacity of civil society partners to counter disinformation.
- on April 6, 2023, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and Janice Charette, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, delivered a report to the Prime Minister entitled Countering an Evolving Threat: Update on Recommendations to Counter Foreign Interference in Canada’s Democratic Institutions.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
Privy Council Office
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