Canada-United States Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure - Background

Building on a longstanding tradition of emergency management cooperation, the United States Government and the Government of Canada have set out, for the first time, a cross-border approach to strengthening the resiliency of critical infrastructure. The Canada-United States Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure (Canada-U.S. Action Plan) promotes an integrated approach to critical infrastructure protection and resilience by enhancing coordination of activities and facilitating continuous dialogue among cross-border stakeholders.

The purpose of the Canada-U.S. Action Plan is to strengthen the safety, security and resiliency of Canada and the United States by establishing a comprehensive cross-border approach to critical infrastructure resilience. It is based on the principle that Canada and the United States will work together to better prevent, respond to, and recover from critical infrastructure disruptions. The Canada-U.S. Action Plan identifies specific deliverables to support joint critical infrastructure objectives. It provides a framework for Canada and the United States to better manage risks to strengthen the resiliency of critical infrastructure in both countries. It also supports regional cross-border relations by promoting awareness of common critical infrastructure issues, and encouraging cooperation among State, Provincial, and Territorial authorities.

Critical infrastructure refers to the assets, systems and networks that are essential to the security, public health and safety, economic vitality, and way of life of citizens. Critical infrastructure disruptions can result in catastrophic losses, including human casualties, property destruction, economic effects, damage to public morale and confidence, and impacts on nationally critical missions. The risks are heightened by the complex system of interdependencies among critical infrastructure, which can produce cascading effects far beyond the initially impacted sector and physical location of the incident.

Critical infrastructure disruptions can have direct impacts on businesses and communities on both sides of the Canada-United States border. With refineries, nuclear facilities, large manufacturing operations, and other infrastructure located in close proximity to the border, as well as energy, critical supply and transportation networks that cross the border, impacts from disruptions can and do cross international jurisdictions. Given the interconnectedness of our critical infrastructure, we must work in collaboration to manage risks through joint planning, information sharing, and exercises to evaluate and strengthen plans.

The Canada-U.S. Action Plan will allow Canada and the United States to more effectively address a range of cross-border critical infrastructure issues and work together to share information/best practices, identify interdependencies, and conduct joint exercises.  Ultimately, this plan allows the Government of Canada and the United States Government to work together in a more integrated manner to address critical infrastructure protection issues and strengthen the safety, security, and resiliency of both countries.

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