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Cybercrime policies/strategies

The National Cyber Security Strategy: Canada's Vision for Security and Prosperity in the Digital Age was published by the Canadian government in 2018. Cyber security is understood in the sense of: the protection of digital information and the infrastructure on which it resides. The vision of a secure cyber space, as presented through the cyber security strategy, is focused on three themes: Security and Resilience; Cyber Innovation; Leadership and Collaboration.

The Canadian NCSS is based on the findings of a 2016 launched Cyber Review that received responses from a variety of stakeholders: federal government cyber community, cyber security experts, business leaders, government officials, law enforcement, academics, and engaged citizens. The Cyber Review revealed three main trends:

  • There is support for law enforcement's efforts to address cybercrime while protecting privacy in cyberspace: Canadians acknowledge that law enforcement faces challenges addressing cybercrime, and are concerned by the rising threat of cybercrime for individuals, private and public sector organizations, and governments.
  • There is a wide ranging need for improved cyber security knowledge and skills;
  • There are calls for strong federal leadership on cyber security.

The strategic context acknowledges the importance of Cybercrime and Advanced Cyber Threats. The Government of Canada proposes several measures it would take to efficiently combat cybercrime, including: collaborative action with partners and enhanced cyber security capabilities; enhance law enforcement capacity to respond to cybercrime - support coordination across law enforcement agencies and with federal, provincial, territorial, and international partners; enhance cybercrime investigative capacity and make it easier for Canadians to report cybercrime.

The National Cyber Security Strategy: Canada's Vision for Security and Prosperity in the Digital Age also announced the creation of a National Cybercrime Coordination Unit “to expand the RCMP’s capacity to investigate cybercrime”.


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cybercrime Strategy presented in 2015 for the period 2015 – 2020 (and beyond) pursues the vision of reducing the threat, impact and victimization of cybercrime in Canada. It clearly defines cybercrime as falling into two categories:

  • “technology-as-target - criminal offences targeting computers and other information technologies, such as those involving the unauthorized use of computers or mischief in relation to data, and;
  • technology-as-instrument - criminal offences where the Internet and information technologies are instrumental in the commission of a crime, such as those involving fraud, identity theft, intellectual property infringements, money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, organized crime or terrorist activities, child sexual exploitation or cyber bullying.”

The 10 specific actions proposed by the strategy are the following:

Action Item #1: Create a new investigative team dedicated to combat cybercrime (dedicated investigative capacity to address cybercrime)

Action Item #2: Establish a governance structure for cybercrime priorities and operations. (The RCMP's cybercrime governance structure will fall under RCMP Federal Policing Criminal Operations. Other oversight mechanisms will be in place for the RCMP's specialized services that support)

Action Item #3: Create a dedicated intelligence unit to identify new and emerging cybercrime threats. (RCMP will establish a dedicated cybercrime intelligence unit within the RCMP National Intelligence Coordination Centre (NICC)

Action Item #4: Improve digital evidence capabilities for cybercrime investigations.

Action Item #5: Expand cybercrime investigative training opportunities for Canadian law enforcement (RCMP will develop and implement new courses on digital and mobile device analysis, and Internet-based open source and online covert investigative technique delivered through Canadian Police College, Technological Crime Learning Institute (TCLI).

Action Item #6: Examine ways to more effectively recruit cybercrime investigators and other individuals with technical skills to combat cybercrime.

Action Item #7: Strengthen public-private partnerships and other liaison efforts in combating cybercrime.

Action Item #8: Examine ways to enhance the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) as a trusted data and intelligence source on financially-motivated cybercrimes.

Action Item #9: Examine ways to improve the collection and analysis of suspicious cybercrime incidents involving Canada's critical infrastructure and other vital cyber systems. (CMP will examine ways to improve its collection and analysis of suspicious cybercrime incidents involving Canada's critical infrastructure and other vital cyber systems. This initiative will consider the RCMP National Critical Infrastructure Team (NCIT) and its analysis of cybercrime threats to critical infrastructure and other vital cyber systems)

Action Item #10: Improve the intake and triage of reported cybercrime incidents. (RCMP will also examine its international networks involving reported cybercrime incidents and foreign requests for law enforcement assistance, including INTERPOL, G7 and the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime 24/7 networks)

Action Item #11: Examine integrated enforcement models for combating cybercrime. (An emphasis will be placed on examining national law enforcement coordination and deconfliction measures for technically complex and multi-jurisdictional cybercrimes)

Action Item #12: Expand international collaboration with close allies to better understand and combat cybercrimes that are transnational in character. (Bolster its international role in combating cybercrime, such as playing more active and leadership roles in shared international threat assessments and prioritization activities against cybercrime. This work may include international law enforcement activities involving the RCMP, such as: the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group, Cyber Crime Working Group; the Europol's Cyber Crime Centre, Joint Cybercrime Taskforce; the G7 Roma Lyon Group, High-Tech Crime Subgroup; the NCFTA International Task Force; and the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation.)

Action Item #13: Examine ways to further inform Canadians and industry of emerging cybercrime threats.

Action Item #14: Continue to support the modernization of Canada's legal and policy tools to keep pace with technological change.

Action Item #15: Continue to work with the broader Canadian law enforcement community to devise a 'national' picture of - and response to - cybercrime.

(Source: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cybercrime Strategy)

Specialised institutions

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Technical Investigation Services (TIS) provides technical digital forensic services in cyber investigations throughout Canada.

The RCMP Integrated Technological Crime Units (ITCUs) also provide technical support and digital evidence analysis, nationally and internationally.

The RCMP National Intelligence Coordination Centre (NICC) assists the fight against cybercrime through the collection, analysis and dissemination of cyber threat and criminal intelligence.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is Canada's trusted source for reporting and mitigating online mass marketing fraud. It is a partnership among the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Competition Bureau.

The RCMP National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) works with law enforcement partners, government agencies, non-government organizations and industry stakeholders across Canada and internationally to combat the online sexual exploitation of children. The NCECC also works closely with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, an organization that operates Canada's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

Jurisprudence/case law

R. v. Weir, 1998 8 WWR. 228 – allegation of privacy breaches, involving a defendant charged with possession of child pornography, whereby the defendant’s ISP reported and passed suspect material within his email box to the police.

R. v. Cuttell, 2009 ONCJ 471 – involves an allegation of privacy breaches by the defendant, whereby child pornography was obtained by the police from the defendant’s ISP without a warrant.

R. v. McNeice, 2010 BCSC 1544 – involved the defendant, accused of child pornography offences, attempting to quash the search warrant authorising the search of the accused’s home and computer.


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