Public inquiry into foreign interference
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Among the 11 research areas of strategic importance are: #x27;artificial intelligence and big data technology, quantum science, as well as aerospace and satellite systems.
Ottawa is concerned that foreign adversaries are determined to acquire sensitive Canadian research and intellectual property by partnering on projects with academics in Canada.
Last month, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned of China's efforts in Canada for talent recruitment and technology transfer [which] may result in the diversion of Government of Canada resources and loss of proprietary and sensitive information.
These policies and plans aim to exploit the collaborative, transparent and open nature of Canada's research and innovation sector to serve the economic, security and military interests of the People's Republic of China, CSIS warned in a memo sent to all federal government departments.
During a media briefing, government officials said they did not have further details on the extent of the risk posed to the country's scientific community. They did not specify the number of Canadian research institutions which are currently collaborating with Chinese, Russian and Iranian institutions representing a risk to national security.
The new policy only applies to grant applications submitted to the federal granting councils − the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC ), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
But one of the officials speaking to journalists said that this new policy also aims to raise awareness among researchers and provincial governments so that ;they avoid any collaboration with foreign research institutes at risk.
The list of institutes drawn up by the government will be updated in the event of new threats , officials said.
This announcement comes as Ottawa is in the midst of a consultation process to create a registry whose objective is to prevent foreign interference. Under such a registry, individuals who act on behalf of a foreign state to advance its objectives would have to disclose their ties to the government that employs them to advance their interests.
The idea is to make these activities more transparent, with the risk of fines or even prison sentences being imposed in the event of non-compliance.
At the same time, within the framework of the commission on foreign interference in electoral processes and democratic institutions, judge Marie-Josée Hogue continues her work . Public hearings are scheduled to begin Jan. 29, and an interim report is expected in the spring.