National Security and Cyber Security Branch Overview

Branch Background

The National Security and Cyber Security Branch (NCSB) aims to ensure that Canada is prepared for, and can respond to, a range of national security and cyber security threats by:

  1. Supporting and coordinating prevention, detection, denial, response and recovery efforts of the Public Safety Portfolio, and other government departments and agencies, on matters relevant to cyber and national security;
  2. Working with operational and policy partners to provide the Government with strategic advice on rapidly evolving and often sensitive issues;
  3. Assisting the Minister and Deputy Minister in fulfilling key statutory obligations;
  4. Identifying and closing gaps in Canada’s ability to address national security threats; and
  5. Coordinating, and developing policies and implementation processes related to issues such as cyber security, foreign investments, critical infrastructure, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, hostile state activity and counter terrorism (e.g. the listing of terrorist entities, radicalization leading to violence, travel abroad for terrorism related purposes).

Key Files and Responsibilities

The Branch is comprised of five (5) Directorates: National Security Policy, National Cyber Security, National Security Operations, Critical Infrastructure and National Economic Security.

The National Security Policy Directorate supports the Minister in coordinating key national security issues. Key files include the Passenger Protect Program, implementation of the National Security Act, 2017, Returning Foreign Fighters, Terrorist Financing, Counter Proliferation, Intelligence and Evidence, Lawful Access, Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act Operations, Transparency, Gender Based Analysis+ in National Security, Cloud Act, the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act, and the Five Country Ministerial.

The National Cyber Security Directorate supports the Minister in coordinating the Government’s overall policy approach on cyber security.  Key files include Critical Cyber Systems Initiative, Fifth Generation (5G) Technology and the National Cyber Security Strategy.

The National Security Operations Directorate coordinates and leads activities to prevent individuals and entities who pose threats to national security from operating in Canada. Key files include Terrorist Listings, Hostile State Activity, the Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, National Security Operations Incident Management, Investment Canada Act, Canadian Extremist Travelers and hostage cases.

The Critical Infrastructure Directorate is responsible for supporting the Minister in leading an overall national effort to enhance the resilience of Canada’s critical infrastructure against all hazards.

The Task Force on Economic Security analyzes and provides policy options on Canada’s suite of tools to respond to economic-based threats to national security.  [Redacted]

As of July 2019, NCSB has a total of 200 FTEs with a current salary budget of approximately $14.6M and an O&M budget of $3.8M.

Key Partners

Given the diversity and depth of the branch, key partners can greatly vary. The branch regularly works with the Portfolio entities, other government departments, the provinces and territories, private and public sector critical infrastructure owners. Key international partners are the Five-Eyes alliance and the G7.

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