Critical Infrastructure and Cyber-Security

Execute Programs and Develop Joint Products to Enhance Cross-Border Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience

From the Action Plan

We will implement the Canada-United States Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure, including by executing programs and developing joint products to enhance cross-border critical infrastructure protection and resilience. As part of this effort, we will conduct a regional resilience assessment program for the Maine-New Brunswick region, and create binational mechanisms for joint risk analysis…

What we are doing

  • We will complete a regional resilience assessment program (RRAP) for the Maine-New Brunswick region by December, 2013”.

Why this is important

Canada and the United States share a significant quantity of critical infrastructure assets and systems, including pipelines, the electric grid, and transportation systems. It is imperative that our countries work together to protect these assets. To effectively do this, our governments will require a close collaboration with the private sector, as they own much critical infrastructure in question. It makes sense to start with a pilot project, in this case New Brunswick-Maine, to learn how best to work together on each of the elements.

Top of page

Protect Vital Government and Critical Digital Infrastructure of Binational Importance

From the Action Plan

We will enhance our already strong bilateral cybersecurity cooperation to better protect vital government and critical digital infrastructure and increase both countries’ ability to respond jointly and effectively to cyber incidents.

What we are doing

  • Canada and the U.S. will cooperate on joint projects and operational efforts, including joint briefings with the private sector and other stakeholders. The objective is to explore areas where greater collaboration can lead to greater operational effectiveness.

Why this is important

Cybersecurity is an increasingly important challenge faced by our countries. Many of the core systems that underpin our economy and society are now enabled by information technology. While this has created tremendous benefit in terms of efficiency, it has also necessitated a more systematic approach to identifying and thwarting cyber attacks and cybercrime. As our cyber infrastructure is threatened we will need to move quickly – both bilaterally and with private sector owners of infrastructure. We need to be able to respond jointly and effectively to any attack and that takes expertise, preparation and cooperation. This is what we will be doing through this action item.

Top of page

Expand Joint Leadership on International Cybersecurity Efforts

From the Action Plan

We will strengthen cooperation on international cybersecurity and Internet governance issues to promote prosperity, enhance security, and preserve openness in our networked world. To achieve these goals, we will explore opportunities for improved engagement with third countries and in appropriate multilateral forums.

What we are doing

  • Canada and the U.S. will explore opportunities for improved engagement with third countries on cybersecurity.
  • Canada will accede to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime – a key international agreement in this area.
  • Canada and the U.S. will work closely together on cybersecurity in appropriate multilateral forums.
  • We will report back on how these efforts have translated into advancing our objectives on cyber issues in international forums.

Why this is important

In our networked world, cybersecurity is becoming one of the great challenges of our time. To effectively respond, Canada needs to work bilaterally with the U.S. and multilaterally through major international fora. In our tool kit, we need both formal legal instruments as well as less formal understandings with countries that share the same cyber challenges. Acceding to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime will give Canada significant new legal and operational tools for going after cyber bad guys. It also makes sense for Canada to work jointly with the United States in international organizations in pushing for the safeguarding of our infrastructure systems and economic platforms run by information technology.

Top of page

Managing Traffic in the Event of an Emergency

From the Action Plan

We commit to finalizing a guide that outlines best practices and considerations for border traffic management in the event of an emergency to support planning at individual border crossings. … We commit to collaborate at the regional level between countries to facilitate maritime commerce recovery following an emergency.

What we are doing

  • In the case of land border crossings, Canada and the U.S. will finalize a guide that outlines best practices and considerations for border traffic management in the event of an emergency. This will help planning efforts at individual border crossings.
  • As part of this, we will engage regional partners to support the development of regional cross-border plans. We also will do dry runs of these plans to test their effectiveness.
  • On the maritime front, Canada and the U.S. will collaborate at the regional level on recovery planning.
  • We will develop joint strategies, processes, or plans to facilitate the sharing of information and resources during emergencies.

Why this is important

As much as we try to guard against them, emergencies do occasionally arise at ports of entry. These can disrupt the flow of trade and travel. It makes sense for Canada and the U.S. to develop plans for managing these incidents and returning to normal operations. Advanced planning and test-running responses will greatly cut the time that the affected port of entry is out of service.

Top of page

Enhance Collective Preparedness and Response Capacity for Health Security Threats

From the Action Plan

We commit to develop a set of measures to reduce the impacts of shared health security risks. This initiative will be phased in over a period of two years, beginning with information sharing to explore how each nation determines health security risk and concluding with an appropriate arrangement that records measures for effective cross-border collaboration.

What we are doing

  • Canada and the U.S. will begin with sharing information about how each country determines what constitutes a health security risk.
  • We will then proceed to collaborative initiatives that result from the shared information.
  • Finally, Canada and the U.S. will develop memoranda of understanding and/or bilateral agreements in areas that make sense as a result of the earlier work.

Why this is important

Health security is now understood to be an integral part of national security. SARS, H1N1, and Avian Flu have clearly demonstrated the risks posed by pandemics and diseases to Canadians and our economy. In a world of unprecedented mobility, cooperation with international partners on health security issues is more important than ever. It makes sense for Canada to strengthen the dialogue and establish a framework for action with the United States – our neighbour and the country with whom we have the deepest trade and travel linkages.

Top of page

Establish Binational Plans and Capabilities for Emergency Management

From the Action Plan

We commit to establishing two new working groups to jointly improve our ability to prepare for and respond to binational disasters.

What we are doing

  • We will establish two new working groups to jointly improve our ability to prepare for and respond to bi-national disasters.
  • The first working group will focus on preventing, mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives) events.
  • The second working will focus on cross-border interoperability as a means of harmonizing cross-border emergency communications efforts.
  • The groups will begin their work, which will be completed within five years, in October 2012.

Why this is important

A catastrophic incident can happen in Canada or the United States. If it happens, the other country may be swiftly affected. If radiation, for example, leaks from a nuclear power plant, it will not stop at the border. It is imperative that our countries prepare for such incidents so that we can return to normalcy as quickly as possible. In doing so, it makes sense that Canada and U.S. plan out in advance how they will respond and work together, including how they will communicate.

Search form

Share this page:

Contact Information

PCO Border Action Plan Implementation Team
700-66 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A3
Email: border@actionplan.gc.ca
Fax: 613-992-2366

Features

Implementation report 2015