Federal Budget 2023: Millions to fight foreign interference, threats and covert activities

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The federal government’s proposed budget includes more than $61 million to fight foreign interference, threats and covert activities, although it is unclear how much of the effort will go to combating online activity.

Announced Tuesday, the proposed budget includes giving Public Safety Canada $13.5 million over five years starting in 2023-24, and $3.1 million a year after that, to establish a national counter-foreign interference office.

The budget did not detail how that office would operate, such as whether it would look into online disinformation and misinformation.

The country has been shaken in recent weeks With news from the Globe and Mail and Global News on China’s efforts to interfere in Canadian elections.

The budget includes $48.9 million for the RCMP over three years, starting this fiscal year, to protect Canadians from harassment and intimidation, increase their investigative capacity and engage more actively with communities at higher risk of being targeted There is also an offer to give.

The budget does not clearly state how that money will be spent. The mountains have the budding National Cyber ​​Crime Coordination Center (NC3), Which won’t be fully operational until next year. It involves RCMP officers and civilians who work with law enforcement and other partners to help reduce the threat, impact and victimization of cybercrime in Canada.

The budget document states that Canada is a target for hostile states seeking to gain information and technology, intelligence and influence to advance their interests.

“This includes foreign actors working to steal information from Canadian companies to benefit their domestic industries, enemies threatening migrant communities in Canada because of their beliefs and values ​​or seeking to infiltrate Canadian public and research institutions intelligence officers involved.

“Authoritarian regimes, such as Russia, China and Iran, believe they can act with impunity and interfere in the affairs of democracies – and democracies must act to defend themselves. should never be threatened, and Canadian businesses and Canadian public institutions should be free from foreign interference.

Separately, the budget proposes greater efforts at the domestic level to fight money laundering. These include yet-to-be-seen changes to the Criminal Code and Proceedings of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) to strengthen the ability of federal and provincial agencies to investigate suspicious activity as well as share information.

Among other things, the planned changes will give prosecutors and police the ability to freeze and seize virtual assets with suspected links to crime; improving financial intelligence sharing between law enforcement and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and law enforcement and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC); Initiate a new offense around structuring financial transactions to avoid FINTRAC reporting; and set out financial sector obligations to report sanctions-related information to FINTRAC.

taking into account the needs of Proceedings of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA), the federal government will launch a parliamentary review of the Act this year. It will look at how different levels of government can collaborate more closely and close regulatory gaps.

Last year, the government provided $2 million to Public Safety Canada to establish a new Canadian Financial Crimes Agency (CFCA). It will become the country’s premier enforcement agency against financial crime. Public Safety Canada is working with the provinces and territories on its framework. The budget promises more details in the fall economic and fiscal update.

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