Cybercrime

Overview

The internet has become an invaluable tool for Canadian governments, businesses, and individuals. Just as cyberspace is constantly evolving, so too are the cyber threats to our security, prosperity and quality of life. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canadians from the threat of cybercrime.

Cybercrime is generally defined as a criminal offence involving a computer as the object of the crime (hacking, phishing, spamming), or as the tool used to commit a material component of the offence (child pornography, hate crimes, computer fraud). Criminals can also use computers for communication and document or data storage.

Domestic Initiatives

All government departments (including the Department of Justice, the RCMP, and Public Safety Canada) work together to protect Canadians from the threat of cybercrime. Partnerships have also been developed between International, Federal and Provincial law enforcement agencies. One example of this type of coordination is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, a joint effort of the RCMP, OPP, and the Competition Bureau of Canada to combat internet and mass-marketing fraud.

On October 3, 2010 the Federal Government launched Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy to enhance protection from cyber threats for Canadian individuals, industries, and governments from coast to coast to coast.

On March 10, 2015, The Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act came into force.. This legislation provides law enforcement agencies with new, specialized investigative powers to help them take action against Internet child sexual exploitation, and disrupt on-line organized crime activity.

International Initiatives

Canada is a signatory and strong supporter of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.  Also known as the Budapest Convention, this document is the only binding international instrument designed specifically to combat cybercrime. The Budapest Convention serves as a guideline for developing comprehensive national legislation against cybercrime and as a framework for international cooperation between State Parties.

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada also coordinates Canada’s active participation in international initiatives to combat cybercrime. This work takes place in a number of fora, including the G7, the UNODC, and the OAS.  It has also funded capacity building initiatives to help other countries better to protect themselves and the Internet from criminality that easily transcends borders and often threatens Canadians from abroad.

For more information on Canada's broader approaches to the Internet, please see Internet Foreign Policy Issues.