Rapid Response Mechanism Canada - Protecting Democracy

In June 2018, the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) was announced at the G7 Charlevoix Summit to respond to efforts of foreign actors seeking to “undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security.” G7 leaders committed to strengthen coordination to prevent, thwart and respond to malign and evolving threats to G7 democracies by sharing information and threat analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated responses. A coordination unit was set up within Global Affairs Canada, which serves as a permanent secretariat to the RRM. The unit is responsible for consolidating and disseminating international lessons learned related to foreign threats to democracy.

RRM Canada

In addition to the secretariat, RRM Canada undertakes focused research to understand any potential foreign threats against Canada and identify tactics and trends. Much of this research focuses on social media analysis with a particular interest in understanding the disinformation landscape. Research is also shared across the Government of Canada and the G7 to contribute to lessons learned. The research focuses on emerging subjects of interest and is supported through open-source data analysis.

Safeguarding the 2019 Canadian federal election

In January 2019, the Government of Canada announced its plan to protect the 2019 Canadian federal election against threats to our democratic institutions. To combat foreign interference, Canadian security agencies will work together under the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force.

RRM Canada is a member of the SITE Task Force. Leading up to the 2019 Canadian federal election in October, SITE is working to prevent covert, clandestine or criminal activities from influencing or interfering with the electoral process.

As a member of SITE, RRM Canada aims to share international lessons learned to ensure their timely integration into national processes. RRM Canada also acts as an early warning system by providing open-source data analytics pertaining to threats to democracy, and leveraging the G7 RRM network, in terms of information exchange and the potential response.

Ethical and methodological framework for open-source data analytics

RRM Canada’s open-source data analytics are subject to an ethical and methodological framework to ensure that they respect and reinforce human rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy, the right to freedom of expression and the right to equality. The framework anchors the analytical activities in an existing policy, legal and regulatory context and is intended to provide transparency and accountability to Canadians when it comes to the work that RRM Canada does.

Resources

As part of its commitment to transparency and to increase awareness of foreign threats to democracy, RRM Canada will publish the following documents:

Open-source data analytics reports

RRM Canada produces open-source data analytical reports to enhance the RRM’s understanding of contemporary threats to democratic systems of governance in the digital context. The reports are based on primary open-source data research and draw on secondary sources in order to identify emerging trends and tactics related to foreign interference in democratic processes and institutions.

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