(OTTAWA) – June 29, 2021 – As hackers increasingly target pipelines, power grids, email accounts, and businesses, Canada is losing its tech leadership position.
And time is of the essence. Recent data from the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions shows that 1 in 5 Canadian organizations experienced cybersecurity incidents in 2020. This includes 6.6% that experienced more cybersecurity incidents in 2020 compared to 2019. Further, 1 in 4 organizations reported that adopting technologies was “somewhat” or “extremely” challenging.
Canadians are concerned too. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 65% of Canadians are worried about falling victim to a cyber-attack. This is the second highest worry, behind only a fear of job loss (75%). Cyber-attack is an even bigger worry than COVID (60%) and climate change (63%). This concern extends to business leaders as well: PwC Canada reports that 80% of Canadian CEOs say they are concerned about cybersecurity as a threat to growth.
“Canada’s digital expansion has been accelerated by COVID at a pace unimaginable before the pandemic. There is a very significant opportunity to seize the moment of soaring global demand and solidify Canada’s position as a global cybersecurity leader. Canada’s diminished fiscal health means we simply cannot afford to miss this economic opportunity. Businesses are ready to do their part, but they need government to make it easier for them do get the job done,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The OECD has also raised a red flag regarding Canada’s lagging science and technology progress. While the majority of the OECD is increasing R&D investment – being led by the United States, Japan, Germany and Korea – Canada is one of only a few countries where R&D investment in science and technology is “stagnant”. With orders of magnitude more investments being made by Canada’s competitors, we are now at risk of being left behind.
“There are three key areas Canada must improve upon,” explained Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, Senior Director, Digital Economy, Technology & Innovation Policy at the Canadian Chamber. “First, investment in innovation; second, workforce and talent pipeline expansion and diversification; and third, Canada’s global competitiveness. The remote work fuelled by COVID means Canada will be competing with every country in the world for these highly sought-after skills and technologies, and we need to be much better prepared for these challenges. The time to do this is now!”
To help address these challenges, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is today launching the Cyber. Right. Now. campaign, a concerted effort, led by the Canadian Chamber and supported by a broad range of 28 leading tech organizations of all sizes from across Canada. Together they are set to raise awareness and propose solutions to government to empower Canada to lead the global cybersecurity future.
About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.
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