Parliamentary Committee Notes: Threats to the Ukraine Diaspora in Canada


April 25, 2022



Proposed Response:

Background :

Canada monitors the international information ecosystem for indicators of hostile state sponsored activities, including foreign interference and disinformation. Canada is aware of Russia’s long-running disinformation campaigns and it’s use of disinformation to create the pretext for its illegal invasion of Ukraine. Russia continues to manipulate information to blur the facts and try to build support for its illegal invasion.

Canada is working with a range of partners across industry, civil society, and academia, to support ongoing efforts to identify and counter Russian disinformation around the crisis and build societal resilience to disinformation in Ukraine and globally.

Canada is a reliable and long-standing partner of Ukraine. In 1991, Canada became the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence and the relationship between the two countries has been strengthened by deep people-to-people ties, rooted in the Ukrainian-Canadian community, and by our shared belief in democracy and the importance of the rules-based international order. The Ukrainian diaspora community in Canada has been taking steps to increase resiliency; protect themselves from the impact of Russia’s interference; and support those under attack in Ukraine. Since Russia’s invasion, the Ukrainian community has mobilized through nationwide protests, food and supply drives, drafting letters to MPs and MPPs demanding further Russian sanctions, and raised millions through grass roots and government-led initiatives. On Sunday, February 27, an estimated 30,000 people protested the Russian invasion in Toronto, with similar shows of support across the country. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, who represent the Ukrainian Canadian community before the people and government of Canada, have run virtual webinars on how to spot Russian disinformation in the past, and have been reminding followers on Facebook that this is an “information war” too and that people should be critical of information before sharing it.

The G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (G7 RRM), established in 2018 and led by Canada on an ongoing basis, is an important international forum for addressing foreign threats to democracy, including state-sponsored disinformation. We are also collaborating with international partners through a host of other forums, including NATO, the Media Freedom Coalition, and the Freedom Online Coalition. Through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs), Canada supported over $4.2M in programming between 2019 - 2021 to build Ukrainian capacity to strategically communicate and enhance the resilience of Ukrainian communities to disinformation. 

The RCMP is mandated by legislation (Section 2 of the Security Offences Act (SOA) and Ministerial Direction) and RCMP Policy (Operational Manual Section 12) to investigate threats to the security of Canada defined in Section 2 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act; breaches of security defined in the SOA; and any other criminal offence, federal statute, or Criminal Code offence that may have a national security dimension. The RCMP also works with its security and intelligence partners to conduct engagement and outreach with targeted sectors and communities to build up resilience against, and raise awareness of, foreign interference.

National Security criminal investigations of suspected foreign interference are conducted by Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) and National Security Enforcement Sections (NSESs), strategically located in Divisions across Canada. The RCMP’s Federal Policing (FP) Program provides oversight, guidance, and support to foreign interference-related criminal investigations. The RCMP also engages with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to help inform Police of Jurisdiction (POJs) of the foreign interference threat and to establish mechanisms for reporting foreign interference. Officials from FP participate in several interdepartmental efforts to combat FAI and the RCMP works with international partners – including the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group – to detect, investigate, prevent, and raise awareness of foreign interference in Canada.


Prepared by: NSOD / NCSD

Approved by: Dominic Rochon, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, National and Cyber Security Branch, 613-990-4976

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