Minister Morneau announces new certification program and talent development pilot to enhance cyber security among Canadian businesses

News release

Program to protect small and medium-sized businesses from cyber threats and increase consumer confidence

August 12, 2019 – Fredericton, New Brunswick

As Canadians embrace digital technologies for their tremendous benefits, they need to be able to rely on the integrity, authenticity and security of the services they use so that they can feel safe online. Taking the proper steps to enhance cyber security can help prevent monetary losses, keep valuable intellectual property safe, and protect the privacy of consumers and businesses.

Today, the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, launched the CyberSecure Canada certification program. The Minister made the announcement at the University of New Brunswick’s Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Minister Morneau also announced funding for TechImpact, to help the organization with a talent development pilot for the cybersecurity sector.

CyberSecure Canada is a voluntary cyber security certification program that will help small and medium-sized organizations achieve a baseline level of cyber security, giving their customers greater confidence and providing these organizations with a competitive advantage.

The CyberSecure Canada program, an initiative under the National Cyber Security Strategy, also supports Canada’s Digital Charter, specifically the “Safety and Security” principle focused on ensuring the security of Canada’s digital and data platforms and on keeping Canadians safe in the digital world.

The talent development initiative will focus on cybersecurity, in partnership with educational institutions and the private sector, and is expected to create up to 70 highly skilled jobs. Through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Government of Canada is providing $997,000 to Tech Impact to develop and deliver the project.

The Government of Canada believes that trust is the foundation for economic growth and innovation. When Canadians have confidence that their data and transactions are safe and their privacy is respected, it makes room for the kind of innovation and a strong economy that works for everyone.


“There’s so much Canadians can do online—from connecting with friends and family, to personal shopping, to building a business. This online activity is good for our economy and helps create good, well-paying jobs. At the same time, it’s critical that Canadians feel confident about the security of their interactions and information. Today’s announcement is an investment in skills, in businesses and in the future of our economy.”
– The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

“We are building a Canada where citizens have confidence that their data is safe and their privacy is respected, unlocking the kind of innovation that builds a strong economy that works for everyone. With these investments, our government is helping small and medium-sized businesses protect themselves against cyber threats, increase consumer confidence, and promote broader trust in the digital economy.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“As the Government of Canada’s authority on cyber security, and as part of the Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security has over 70 years of experience protecting Canada’s most sensitive information and networks. Canadian businesses are being, and will continue to be, targeted by cyber threat actors. Many of the most common cyber threats can be mitigated through awareness and best practices. CyberSecure Canada will help raise the cyber security bar for small and medium organizations across Canada and build confidence in our digital economy.”
– Scott Jones, Head, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security

“As Canada’s national accreditation body, SCC will rigorously assess the experts who certify organizations under this important program. Small businesses drive Canada’s economy, and we are pleased to be part of this effort to protect their data and digital systems.”
– Elias Rafoul, Vice-President of Accreditation Services, Standards Council of Canada

Quick facts

  • According to, 71% of data breaches happen to small businesses and nearly half of all small businesses have been the victim of a cyberattack.

  • Businesses interested in being certified can visit the CyberSecure Canada website to learn more.

  • CyberSecure Canada is a collaboration between Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

  • CSE, through its Cyber Centre, is the technical authority for the program. CSE has defined a basic set of cyber security controls—drawn from the best international practices—designed to protect small and medium organizations against the most common and prevalent cyber threats, with minimal burden on those organizations.

  • ISED is responsible for program implementation, oversight and evaluation. This includes designing the documentation and framework for certification, establishing and managing the certification brand, encouraging the participation of SMEs across all sectors, and maintaining information on SMEs’ participation in the program.

  • SCC is responsible for accrediting certification bodies. Certification bodies will be accredited to evaluate an SME’s implementation of the security controls using specific audit criteria designed in collaboration with both partners.

  • Once an SME is in compliance with all audit criteria, it will be deemed certified by the certification body. The certification will be valid for a defined period. Initially, this will be a pilot period. ISED will distribute the certifications and retain an inventory of valid certifications.

  • The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s contribution to Tech Impact is being made under the Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program.

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Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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