New National Security Measures Critical to Canada's Economic Growth
January 25, 2006

Ottawa, January 25, 2006… CATAAlliance, Canada's largest high tech industry association, has called upon the new government to expand public/private sector collaboration on national security issues as a cornerstone to the nation's long-term economic growth.

Jacques Shore, Partner in Gowlings and adviser to CATA's Public Safety and Security Forum, commented, "Protecting our national security is a task for which government has primary responsibility. It is the role of government to do its best to protect its citizens ,however it cannot do so by itself. But neither can the private sector. Improving our collective security is a joint public sector/private sector venture."

CATAAlliance President, John Reid, noted, "Confidence in the economy and in our long-term economic growth demands even greater cooperation to ready a comfort zone of optimal national security. Without a "secure economy," businesses will struggle to grow and earn profits and the revenues for governments will be at risk."

National Security Priorities

CATA, is reinforcing Mr. Shore's national security recommendations based on his extensive consultation and research and is calling for the optimization of national security through enhanced private sector security, with a government focus on:

  • Establishing sector-specific Information Sharing and Analysis Centres which, similar to such centres in the U.S., provide warnings of possible threats, computer viruses and software vulnerabilities, or other sector specific threats that could impact on day-to-day business operations;
  • Motivating industry to develop industry specific security standards along the lines of total quality management (TQM), a privately led standards movement;
  • Encouraging public-private collaboration on risk assessments involving threat, vulnerability, and probability assessments by engaging key industry sectors which have been identified to collaborate with government in such risk assessment exercises;
  • Ensuring the protection of voluntarily shared critical infrastructure information by amending the Access to Information Act to make it absolutely clear that such information is exempt from disclosure;
  • Easing the cost of complying with new security requirements by providing reasonable compliance assistance to the private sector (to optimize national security through enhanced private sector security;
  • Working with international bodies to harmonize security standards;
  • Passing legislation similar to the U.S. Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002;
  • Fostering private sector risk management for terrorism risks through government involvement in terrorism insurance (i.e., The U.S. Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 is a temporary program by which the federal government and private insurers share the risk of any terrorism losses of more than $5 million incurred through December 31, 2005. The Act is under consideration currently for reauthorization);
  • Monitoring business practices and supporting programs designed to foster development and dissemination of public safety and critical infrastructure security best practices industry wide;
  • Providing tax incentives to promote private sector security investments which will stimulate this part of the economy too;
  • Creating the position of a Public Safety and Security Auditor General that would report to Parliament annually on the success or lack hereof of government efforts re public safety, critical infrastructure protection and public/private sector collaboration towards this end.

Reid concluded, "It is in our national interest to get national security right. Governments must establish an environment in which the public and private sectors collaborate towards reducing risks to our national security. This is best done by providing the right mix of program incentives and penalties to optimize national security through enhanced private sector security."

In late March, CATA and its industry and government partners are addressing the dramatic changes in aviation security at a major Conference entitled, "The Canadian Aviation Security Conference Leading Change: Aviation Security Today and Tomorrow".

++ Action Item:
Please contact johnreid@attglobal.net if you have suggested additions to CATA's National Security Platform.