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Protecting the North American Electric Grid

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August 24, 2020

Just as we are all finding ourselves spending more time online during this global pandemic, the North American electric grid has seen increased digitalization, making it more susceptible than ever to attack. Utility companies are now reporting over three million cyber attacks each and every day. The security of our electric grid — upon which virtually every sector of our shared economy depends – is among the finest examples we have of an integrated Canada-U.S. security partnership.

Canada is a vital, reliable and dependable partner for the U.S. in grid security efforts. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS) is the single unified source of expert advice, guidance, services and support on cyber security for government, critical infrastructure owners and operations, the private sector and the public. In as little as eight minutes, this Centre shares actionable intelligence on existing and emerging threats with industry partners so that they are able to react in a timely manner. Threat information and intelligence is also shared with U.S. partners.

The security and stability of the grid depends on the continued cooperation and collaboration between government and industry in both our countries. Organizations like the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) and the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) are central to our collective grid security efforts. This collaboration includes crucial elements such as threat information sharing, joint simulation and tabletop exercises, research and development, and incident response and disaster recovery, to name a few.

Canada is also a secure and reliable supplier of key equipment and components required in the operation of the North American electric grid. In fact, Canada is a part of the U.S. National Technology and Industrial Base for national security, responsible for supplying defense critical materials and technology. This long standing defence partnership is vital to minimizing supply disruptions and helping to ensure the integrity of the grid, particularly during these challenging times.

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