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 Canada launched a strategy that will enhance protection from cyber threats for Canadian individuals, industries, and governments from coast to coast to coast. Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy delivers on the Government’s 2010 Speech from the Throne commitment to boost Canada’s cyber security against the growing threat of cybercrime.

On November 1, 2010 the Minister of Justice introduced the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act. This legislation would provide law enforcement agencies with new, specialized investigative powers to help them take action against Internet child sexual exploitation, disrupt on-line organized crime activity and prevent internet terrorism.

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 and International Trade Canada also coordinates Canada’s active participation in international initiatives to combat cybercrime. This work takes place in a number of fora, including the G8, the UNODC, and the OAS.

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