Canadian cybersecurity news and thought leadership


The changing Canadian cybersecurity landscape – cause for hope and concern

After recently releasing our CyberTowns top 10 cities to live and work in in Canada and doing the accompanying research as we get ready to launch our CyberTowns 2024 report, the Canadian Cybersecurity Network came across a few very interesting facts we wanted to share ahead of the report.

The Canadian Cybersecurity Network (CCN) if you have not heard of us is Canada’s largest technology membership organization in Canada with close to 41,000 members. Our goal is to increase cybersecurity talent, businesses, and cybersecurity awareness in Canada.

A few major things jumped out at us while doing the research.

First, we always think of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Kitchener Waterloo when we think of the major tech centres in Canada but things, they are a changing as some like to say. Sure, those communities still have a ton of tech talent, great entrepreneurial hubs, high end universities but are they the very best places to live and work in Canada? Yes and no is the short answer. The long answer is more complicated but let’s try to answer it, although we will tackle it in more detail in our upcoming final report on June 4th.

Most technology centre surveys in the past are either all about size or about popularity contests. We decided to look at the facts by looking at liveability data and feedback from our members on their thoughts about their community.

Guess what, Edmonton and Calgary come out as #2 and 3 in the country. Winnipeg was 4th, Victoria was 8th, Moncton was 12th and Saskatoon, yes Saskatoon was 13th. So, what is going on here, as not many of these communities would be considered technology centres to the average Canadian?

The number of cybersecurity resources has grown exponentially in these communities due to a need to protect infrastructure operations, like oil and gas, heating, hydro, forestry, transportation, fisheries, etc. Covid and remote work also allowed many experienced resources to move to other locations, where lifestyle is considered better than the big city, where affordability is higher, the business environment more relaxed and flexible and where in many cases taxes are lower. Our CCN membership data actually proves the point as these communities have seen huge cybersecurity member growth over the last two years (Edmonton and Winnipeg being two key communities where growth has skyrocketed). It also seems like many of these smaller communities are well on the way to developing cyber and business hubs, engaging entrepreneurial programs and funding opportunities to attract start-ups and businesses.

Cybersecurity is a little different than most technologies in one specific way. To be successful in putting in place an effective cybersecurity solution against all threats it takes collaboration. Some communities and when I say communities, I mean cities, provinces and the federal government tend to work together better than some others and therefore make cybersecurity work and collaboration between private, educational institutions, governments and individuals goes much more smoothly. Remember education is provincial, funding and business programs for the most part are also part of provincial jurisdictions. Communities that collaborate on education, business programs, joint funding initiatives, events are tending to attract more cybersecurity resources as it makes it easier to access great talent, funding and to run a business. Communities and cities that collaborate better also get their business priorities and programs in place faster to support their communities.

Some communities  avoid working together, they may on the surface say they want to collaborate but ultimately they have their own interests at heart, making it very hard to make joint decisions and get resources to work together on a common project or goal. Most of our higher ranked communities have found a way to work amongst themselves, not perfectly by any means but holding collaboration to a higher level. This is a large part of their success. Smart people and businesses want to work in an environment where communities make it easy for them to access resources and funding.

The cybersecurity talent dynamics are changing. For better or for worse is yet to be seen but it’s exciting to see some communities making change, being aggressive and collaborating on education and business priorities. Hopefully we will be seeing this change manifest itself across the whole country, as cybersecurity solutions will be grounded in finding common purpose, goals and objectives, not fighting amongst ourselves while the enemy is in our midst. 

CyberTowns 2024 report comes out on June 4th. Communities or businesses who want to sponsor the report by purchasing an ad, or media who wants to discuss the report can contact us here.