Statement from Minister Champagne, Minister Holland and Minister LeBlanc on new measures to protect Canadian research
January 16, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, made the following statement:
“Canadian research is at the forefront of discovery, and today’s work is driving solutions to humanity’s most pressing challenges. While Canadian-led research is defined by its excellence and collaborative nature, its openness can make it a target for foreign influence, increasing the potential risks for research and development efforts to be misappropriated to the detriment of national security.
“That’s why, today, our government is taking a key step in protecting Canada’s world-class research. We are introducing a series of measures to safeguard it, which include implementing the new Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern, launching Canada’s new Research Security Centre, as announced in Budget 2022, and supporting post-secondary institutions with a total investment of close to $50 million through the Research Support Fund.
“The Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern will provide alignment across the federal research ecosystem when it comes to research grant applications submitted by a university or affiliated research institution to the federal granting councils—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)—and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). We are releasing two lists that provide clear, defined and transparent guidance so that researchers can quickly and efficiently determine if these new requirements apply to the scope of their research and to their grant application.
“First, the Government of Canada is publishing a list of sensitive technology research areas that support the development and advancement of new technologies. It will allow researchers to self-assess whether their proposed research is within the scope of this new requirement. Research that will merely use an existing technology is not within the scope of this policy.
“Second, the Government of Canada is publishing a list of named research organizations (NRO) connected to military, national defence or state security entities that may pose a risk to Canada’s national security. This list was developed by Public Safety Canada, together with experts from across the federal government, using a risk-based approach.
“Let’s be clear: research grant and funding applications submitted to the federal granting councils and the CFI that fall within research that advances a sensitive technology research area will not be funded if any of the researchers involved in activities supported by the grant are affiliated with, or in receipt of funding or in-kind support from, a university, research institute or laboratory connected to military, national defence or state security entities that pose a risk to Canada’s national security.
“Recognizing that threats evolve and can come from anywhere in the world, both lists will be regularly reviewed to keep pace with the latest developments in research. More detailed information and procedures will be provided in the coming months.
“Although the policy will come into effect in Spring 2024, the Government of Canada may immediately take research affiliations into account as part of research funding decision-making processes, should risks be identified. In particular, research affiliations will be considered as part of the national security assessment of any research grant applications that are subject to the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships.
“We encourage researchers and institutions to continue to exercise due diligence in all of their research partnerships and to make full use of other research security tools available to them, including those provided on the Safeguarding Your Research portal. We also continue to encourage Canadian universities to implement a similar enhanced posture for all research partnerships and collaborations in sensitive technology research areas.
“To appropriately protect Canada’s research ecosystem, the Government of Canada will continue to work in close collaboration with Canada’s research community, universities, provincial and territorial government partners, and like-minded international partners. By working together, we can ensure that our groundbreaking research and discoveries support Canadian innovation, while also protecting our national security.
“Protecting Canadian research is our top priority.”
- To support researchers and provide clear, defined guidance, the Government of Canada published a list of sensitive technology research areas and a list of named research organizations with which researchers should not have ongoing affiliations if they are interested in applying for Government of Canada funding. The lists will be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure Canada continues to address risks to our national security. Researchers should keep in mind that institutions that are not currently included on the list of named research organizations may still pose a risk to Canadian research. Researchers are encouraged to apply due diligence practices to mitigate risks that may be associated with any collaboration or partnership in a sensitive technology research area.
- The enhanced research security policy was developed in close consultation with the relevant departments and agencies, the federal research granting councils—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada—the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and Canada’s security and intelligence agencies. The research community also provided input into the policy through the Government of Canada–Universities Working Group.
- The enhanced policy will come into effect in early 2024 in order to provide institutions and researchers with sufficient time to understand and to implement the new measures.
- The Research Security Centre was announced in Budget 2022 as part of an investment of $34.6 million over five years, starting in 2022–23, and $8.4 million ongoing to enhance the government’s ability to safeguard research.
- Also announced in Budget 2022, the research security funding stream through the Research Support Fund would provide $125 million over five years, starting in 2022–23, and $25 million ongoing. It is available through the Incremental Project Grants and has been extended to institutions receiving $2 million or more in eligible research funding.
- Researchers can visit the Safeguarding Your Research portal to access free research security training courses and guidance on conducting open source due diligence. These resources, among others, will help to ensure a better understanding of Canada’s overarching research security framework.
- Link to news item for Research Support Fund
- Progress Report on the Implementation of Canada’s National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships and Supporting Research Security Efforts
- Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern
- List of sensitive technology research areas
- List of named research organizations
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Office of the Minister of Health
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic Leblanc
Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs
Public Safety Canada
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