The Government of Canada has unveiled plans to establish a Canadian Program for Cyber Security Certification (CPCSC) to bolster cyber security measures and protect Canada’s defence industry from cyber threats.

The program, expected to introduce mandatory certification requirements for select federal defence contracts by winter 2024, aims to enhance the resilience of supply chains critical to national security and facilitate international procurement opportunities for Canadian suppliers.

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, announced the government’s commitment to developing and implementing the cyber security certification program on behalf of the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

Working in partnership with Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Department of National Defence, and the Standards Council of Canada, the government aims to engage with the defence industry and other key stakeholders through upcoming sessions in late 2023 to shape the program’s development.

According to GlobalData’s “Canada Defence Market 2022-2027” report, Canada has a high-tech and digitized economy, which can be used against the country through cyberattacks by state and non-state actors.

To address the vulnerability of malicious cyber activities, the certification program is seen as imperative to secure critical supply chains. Failure to obtain certification could exclude Canadian suppliers from future international defence procurement opportunities.

The CPCSC seeks to alleviate the industry’s burden by pursuing mutual recognition between Canada and the United States. This mutual recognition would enable certified Canadian suppliers to be acknowledged in both jurisdictions.

By establishing trust in the resiliency of Canadian suppliers, the defence industry would benefit, opening doors to procurement opportunities with close allies.

François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, emphasized the significance of the certification program for protecting critical supply chains and securing Canadian suppliers’ participation in US defence procurement.

Minister Champagne stated, “With this new certification, we are protecting our critical supply chains and ensuring Canadian suppliers can continue to play a key role in the US defence procurement supply chains as it is critical to grow our industry and to create jobs and prosperity for workers across Canada.”

As part of Budget 2023, the Government of Canada has allocated $25 million over three years to establish the CPCSC for defence procurement.

The program aims to maintain Canadian companies’ access to international procurement opportunities with close allies and partners that require mandatory cyber security certification.

By verifying and strengthening cyber security measures taken by Canadian defence companies to protect their networks, systems, and applications, the program aligns with Canada’s National Cyber Security Action Plan and National Cyber Security Strategy goals.