Research Security Policy Statement – Spring 2021


March 24, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canada’s world-class research, and its open and collaborative research environment, are increasingly targeted by espionage and foreign interference activities. These activities pose threats to the integrity of Canada’s research enterprise, as well as our country’s national security, long-term economic competitiveness and prosperity.

For these reasons, the Government of Canada is encouraging all members of the research community – including those in government, academia, and the private sector – to take extra precautions to protect the security of their research, intellectual property, and knowledge development. All organizations, in particular those involved in COVID-19 research, should remain vigilant and alert to potential threats, as outlined in the September 14, 2020 Government of Canada Policy Statement on Research Security and COVID-19.

Researchers, research organizations and government all have a role to play in safeguarding Canada’s research ecosystem.  The Government of Canada is working closely with academic partners to balance openness and collaboration with appropriate safeguards for Canadian researchers’ knowledge, data and intellectual property.

The Government of Canada has asked the members of the Government of Canada - Universities Working Group to develop specific risk guidelines to integrate national security considerations into the evaluation and funding of research partnerships. These guidelines will better position researchers, research institutions and government funders to undertake consistent, risk-targeted due diligence of potential risks to research security. The Working Group will also provide recommendations for complementary tools and measures to ensure researchers and research organizations – working with national security partners -  have the capacity and resources necessary to implement this guidance. We have asked that these guidelines be provided to the Government of Canada for consideration by June 25, 2021.

Furthermore, the Granting Councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation are currently reviewing their security policies and procedures, with the goal of better integrating national security considerations into their activities. These steps are necessary to further safeguard Canada’s research enterprise and ensure that the Government’s significant investments in research maximize benefits to Canada.

As the review is underway and the guidelines are under development, it is important that all stakeholders in Canada’s research ecosystem work collaboratively to identify and mitigate risks in research partnerships by utilizing existing tools available through the Safeguarding Your Research portal, and Safeguarding Science’s workshops. A critical piece of this effort includes carefully conducting due diligence, and seeking guidance from Government partners when appropriate, on potential research partnerships to ensure an effective and integrated review of potential risks and mitigation measures.

The Government of Canada encourages all members of the research ecosystem to be aware of the potential risks to their work and to remain vigilant in taking appropriate measures to protect their knowledge and innovations. Government, researchers and research organizations must work together to ensure the strength and integrity of Canada’s world-leading and collaborative research ecosystem.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health

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