IssuesPublic Safety & National Security

Public Safety & National Security

First Published: Oct 02, 2019
Last Updated: Oct 02, 2019
Monitored by: Hugues Théorêt


In 2018, half of all advanced democracies holding national elections have had their democratic process targeted by cyber threat activity. This represents about a three-fold increase since 2015 and CSE expects the upward trend to continue in 2019. The Government of Canada recognizes that the country is not immune to cyber threats.

Public Safety Canada put in place a framework to guide the Government of Canada in helping to protect citizens and businesses from cyber threats and take advantage of the economic opportunities afforded by digital technology.

The National Cyber Security Strategy was informed by the results of the 2016-18 Cyber Review and was designed to adapt to meet the goals of the Government of Canada, even as technologies and cyber threats continue to evolve.

Current Status

On January 30, 2019, Minister of Democratic Institutions, Karina Gould, along with Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, and Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan announced a Plan to safeguard to Canada's democracy and combatting foreign interference. The plan encompasses the creation of a taskforce of 5 senior bureaucrats to improve awareness of foreign threats and support assessment and response. Additionally, it will include $7M federal cash earmarked for digital, news and civic literacy programs, ahead of the fall election.

To strengthen the cyber security of Canada’s critical infrastructure, Budget 2019 proposes $144.9 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, including $22.9 million from within existing Communications Security Establishment resources. To support response and recovery efforts in the wake of large-scale natural disasters, Budget 2019 also proposes to provide $260 million over two years, on a cash basis, starting in 2019–2020.

To promote collaboration between Canadian cyber security centres of expertise, Budget 2019 proposes to provide $80 million over four years, starting in 2020–21. Finally, to further strengthen and safeguard Canada’s democratic institutions, Budget 2019 proposes to invest $30.2 million over five years to implement a number of new measures to protect Canada’s democratic institutions from cyberattacks.

The Trudeau government has announced its intention to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. It wants to build up to 18 new large ships at a cost of $15.7 billion. The estimated amount includes construction, logistics and support, contingencies, project management and infrastructure. Ottawa will disclose the cost of each vessel after contracts have been negotiated with the appropriate partners.

Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards and Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax will be responsible for building these large vessels, as these two companies are the sole partners in the federal government's National Shipbuilding Strategy. Seaspan will be responsible for building up to 16 multi-purpose vessels while Irving Shipbuilding will be busy building two new Arctic and offshore patrol vessels.

The Davie shipyard in Lévis, Quebec, received a contract from the federal government for nearly $7.2 million to refurbish the Canadian Coast Guard's largest icebreaker. Davie Shipyard also wants to be a player in the federal government's national shipbuilding strategy. As part of this multi-billion dollar, long-term project, Ottawa has so far awarded contracts to build dozens of new ships to competing shipyards in Halifax and Vancouver.


The LPC want to create an all-party committee to monitor and oversee the operations of every government department and agency with national security responsibilities.
The Government is assigning $7M towards digital, news and civic literacy programming. The Government will support skills development, awareness sessions, workshops and learning material for Canadians. These activities would help citizens to:

  • Critically assess online news reporting and editorials;
  • recognize how and when malicious actors exploit online platforms; and,
  • acquire skills on how to avoid being susceptible to online manipulation.

LPC want to renew the fleet of the Canadian Coast Guard by ordering 18 new ships at a cost of $15.7 billion. Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards would build 16 multi-purpose vessels while Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax would build two Arctic patrol vessels.


Cost-share new anti-gang law enforcement initiatives with provinces and territories.

Create a Police Infrastructure Grant program.

Make sure that information on guns found at crime scenes is given to the right authorities.

Ensure that the Canadian Firearms Program has what it needs to conduct rigorous and effective background checks.

Increase the funds available for the Youth Gang Prevention Fund by 25% to ensure continued support for counselling, skills development, and other important programs.

Conduct an audit of all correctional services programs to make sure inmates are ready to rejoin society upon their release.

Ensure that anyone who is knowingly in possession of a smuggled gun is sent to federal prison.

Ensure that anyone found to divert legally purchased guns into criminals’ hands will face serious consequences, including prison time and a lifetime ban from owning firearms.

Create a Canada Border Services Agendy Firearms Smuggling Task Force, which will oversee an increase of frontline officers, deployment of new technology, and further use of criminal intelligence. They will also be authorized to work with law enforcement counterparts on both sides of the border to identify smuggling routes, and ensure that smugglers and those employing them are put behind bars where they belong.

Ensure that any firearms owner detained under provincial mental health legislation will immediately have their firearms seized. They will be able to apply, after a period of time, to have their property returned if they can demonstrate that their condition has stabilized.

Make lifetime firearms bans mandatory for all serious personal injury offences and gang crimes.

Ensure that individuals who knowingly provide a firearm to an individual who is subject to a gun ban face serious prison time, and that they themselves will be prohibited from owning a firearm for life.

Encourage firearms manufacturers to improve traceability, require the submission of ballistic data on crime guns, and ensure that the RCMP crime lab is appropriately resourced.

Make sure that arrested repeat gang offenders will be held without bail.

Create and maintain a list of proven criminal organizations which will help law enforcement prosecute gang members faster.

Require those on parole to cut ties with gangs.

Bring in mandatory sentences in federal prison for directing gang crime.

Create new offences for committing and ordering violent gang crime and attach mandatory sentences in federal prison for each.


New Democrats will make sure that communities have access to funding for anti-gang projects that help deter at-risk youth from joining gangs.

NDP will address radicalization by focusing on preventing youth from falling prey to violent extremism.

A New Democrat government will restore the independence of the judiciary by reducing reliance on mandatory minimums and allowing trial judges to have greater discretion in sentencing.

New Democrat government will work with the provinces, territories, and Indigenous governments to support innovative models of community policing.

New Democrats will deal with threats to our national security, including foreign interference and espionage, terrorism and cybercrime.

Green Party

No specific proposals yet.

People's Party

Replace the Firearms Act and supporting legislation with new legislation that will prioritize effective measures to improve public safety and fight crime in Canada.

Replace the costly and burdensome licensing system with an efficient lifetime certification system for firearms owners following mandatory vetting, safety training and testing. To avoid criminalizing legal gun owners and guarantee their property rights, this system will legalize simple possession of firearms for certified Canadians as long as they use their firearms lawfully and don't commit some other crime which would disqualify them from firearms ownership.

Require that all firearms categories be based on function, not on looks or arbitrary political whims, and remove ineffective restrictions which unfairly target sport shooters, but have no deterrent effect on criminals.

Mandate that all future changes to firearms regulation be completed through Parliament only. This means that neither the RCMP nor cabinet will be able to move the legal goalposts for legal firearms owners without the approval of Parliament.

Bloc Quebecois

No specific proposals yet.

October 2, 2019
Roberto Chavez

On Sept. 29, the NDP promised a $100-million fund aimed at keeping youth out of gangs.

Liberals in contrast announced in their campaign platform that they would invest an additional $50 million each year, for five years, to continue to fight gang-related violence “in a dedicated funding stream to help municipalities meet the needs of communities at risk”, and work to expand successful diversion programs to keep at-risk youth out of the criminal justice system.

October 2, 2019
Roberto Chavez

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said if his party were to form government, he will give municipalities the authority to ban handguns in their communities.

Liberals would also ban all military-style assault rifles, including the AR-15, and will take other steps to keep people safe from gun violence, including: introducing a buyback program for all military-style assault rifles legally purchased in Canada, with fair market prices for owners and more resources for law enforcement to administer the program.

September 23, 2019
Roberto Chavez

During a stop in Gatineau, Que., Jagmeet Singh pledged to add $2.5 billion to the federal government’s disaster mitigation fund. He said the idea is to help people — like those in west Quebec who recently faced severe flooding — avoid disasters and be able to stay in their current homes.

The national Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund has already set aside $2 billion to support large-scale infrastructure programs that help communities better manage such risks.

The federal government says an increasing number of Canadian communities have experienced significant weather-related events and disasters triggered by natural hazards such as floods, wildland fires and droughts _ calamities that are becoming more frequent due to climate change.

Singh said “we can’t just close our eyes” to the prospect of more weather-related disasters.

September 5, 2019
Roberto Chavez

The Liberal government is finalizing millions of dollars in funding to the provinces to bolster measures against gun violence and gangs as a call for the October federal election looms.

Toronto MP Bill Blair, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s designated cabinet minister for the initiative stemming from 2015 Liberal election promises, made public an agreement with the Nunavut territorial government last week.

The deal promises $2.25 million, to be spread over five years, for a range of programs tailored to the specific problems faced by Arctic communities in the vast north. It brought the total value of funding for provinces and territories with which Ottawa has reached agreements to $73.9 million.

The government had budgeted a total of $214 million – to be allocated over a five-year period – but the first agreement was announced only last March.  That’s when Blair, minister for border security and organized crime reduction, unveiled a $5.3-million agreement with the government of British Columbia, to be spent fighting gang and gun violence in selected communities and promote violence prevention.

Though subsequent agreements were reached and announced with seven other provinces and two territories, including Yukon, whose deal was announced nearly seven months before the one announced with Nunavut on Aug. 27, agreements with Quebec and Prince Edward Island are still being negotiated, a spokesperson for Blair said Monday.

August 26, 2019
Roberto Chavez

The federal government is amending its search for a third shipyard to add to its multibillion-dollar national shipbuilding strategy.

The move follows a complaint last week from an Ontario shipyard to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal that the government was unfairly stacking the deck in favour of Quebec's Chantier Davie yard.

Heddle Marine of Hamilton specifically alleged several of the requirements the government wants shipyards to meet to qualify for consideration as the third yard were not legitimate or reasonable — and would disqualify virtually every yard but Davie.

The federal government has not directly responded to the complaint or allegations, but today says it is correcting an "inconsistency" in one requirement Heddle had flagged as a problem.

The government also says it is providing interested companies with more information about two other requirements Heddle had raised as a concern.

It is also extending today's deadline for shipyards to apply for consideration as a third yard until the end of the week.

July 23, 2019
Hugues Théorêt

On July 2nd, 2019, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, announced the launch of a National Security Transparency Advisory Group, and the appointment of its 11 members. The group will advise the Deputy Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada on the implementation of the National Security Transparency Commitment. The diversity of perspectives and expertise of the members of the National Security Transparency Advisory Group will be instrumental as the government works to increase transparency in a way that enables democratic accountability while protecting our safety and security.

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