Government of Canada announces next steps in safeguarding research
March 24, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
New guidelines will help protect Canada’s major investments in science and research
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting a research environment that is open and collaborative while also safeguarding the integrity of Canada’s research enterprise, national security, and long-term economic competitiveness and prosperity.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, released a new policy statement on research security. The statement outlines the next steps that the government will take to balance openness and collaboration with appropriate safeguards for Canadian researchers’ knowledge, data and intellectual property.
The government has asked members of the joint Government of Canada–Universities Working Group to develop specific risk guidelines to integrate national security considerations into the evaluation and funding of research projects and partnerships. These guidelines will better position researchers, research institutions and government funders to undertake consistent, due diligence in assessing potential risks to research security.
These guidelines will complement the work already under way by the granting councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) as they review their security policies and procedures, with the goal of better integrating national security considerations into their activities.
Espionage and foreign interference activities by both human and cyber actors pose real threats to Canadian research integrity, intellectual property and business interests. Canadian research organizations should remain vigilant and ensure that they are applying best practices for securing their research and intellectual property, including employing strong cybersecurity and physical security protocols.
“Canada’s research excellence is driven by our world-renowned researchers and institutions. The strength of our research ecosystem is recognized globally, and this ecosystem needs to be protected. That’s why the Government of Canada is taking the steps needed to make sure Canadian researchers have the tools they need to mitigate potential risks and safeguard the knowledge and intellectual property they generate.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“There is a growing awareness of the potential security risks targeting scientific research, data and intellectual property. The Government of Canada is taking important measures to ensure Canadian researchers have the support necessary to identify and mitigate risks to their research. These measures will help safeguard Canada’s place as a world leader in multiple scientific and technology fields.”
– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“Research institutions across Canada are at the forefront of innovation and development. While we remain committed to open science, this initiative will help to safeguard our country’s research ecosystem.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health
The federal granting councils (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) and the CFI administer research grants through independent peer review processes.
A previous Policy Statement on Research Security and COVID-19 released in September 2020 called on organizations, in particular those involved in COVID-19 research, to remain vigilant and alert to potential security threats.
The Safeguarding Your Research portal, launched in September 2020, provides information to the Canadian research community on how to safeguard their research and innovations
Safeguarding Science sessions and workshops raise awareness within Canada’s scientific and academic communities of the risks of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat proliferation; the potential for the proliferation of dual-use technology; cybersecurity; and best practices for maintaining a security-conscious research organization.
The Government of Canada–University Working Group was established in 2018 with a mandate to collaboratively identify, share and promote best practices to minimize security risks, while protecting Canadian research data and intellectual property.
The Government of Canada has invested more than $10 billion since 2016 in science and research.
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Office of the Minister of Health
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Public Safety Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada
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