Collaborating to Grow the Canadian Cyber Talent Pool

Julie Bryski

Posted by Julie Bryski on July 18, 2019

More on the House of Commons report: Cybersecurity in the Financial Sector as a National Security Issue.

In June 2019, the Canadian House of Commons delivered a Report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, entitled, Cybersecurity in the Financial Sector as a National Security Issue.   

The cybersecurity skills shortfall was addressed in the report, with insights from other jurisdictions (Australia and Israel) and some samples of good work being done in Canada to help alleviate the cyber skills shortage. Toronto Finance International’s (TFI’s) own report, The changing faces of cybersecurity:  Closing the cyber risk gap, completed in partnership with Deloitte, was referenced, as a source to quantify the magnitude of the skills shortage.  Our research indicates that Canada will need to fill 8,000 cybersecurity roles between 2016 and 2021.

The Cybersecurity in the Financial Sector as a National Security Issue report references some collaborative talent work currently underway in Canada:

  • The Rogers Cybersecurity Catalyst, recently announced by Ryerson University, with support from government and industry partners.
  • Financial institutions’ partnerships with Canadian universities to support cybersecurity labs and research.
  • Cyber-focused education programs in New Brunswick - to amplify the province’s quest to become a national cyber hub.
  • Supporting youth cyber skill development though the Federal Government CanCode program. To date, this program has reached 1.3 million students and 61,000 teachers.

The need to create a national cyber skills and training strategy was captured in recommendation #5 in the Standing Committee report (page 32):

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada develop a comprehensive cybersecurity skills and training strategy that will instil ethical and secure coding practices early on and create a cybersecurity workforce that leverages diverse backgrounds, meets internationally recognized standards, and is prepared for the cybersecurity challenges of today and tomorrow.

TFI launched a Coordinated Cybersecurity Talent Strategy for the Financial Services sector in 2017. The first project was the TFI/Deloitte talent assessment report referenced above. This research outlined seven personas to describe roles within cybersecurity, capturing the critical skills of each.
Cyber Report Feature Image

The report offers recommendations to attract, grow, and retain professionals with these sought-after skill sets.

The second project in our Coordinated Cybersecurity Talent Strategy is currently underway - an industry/academia partnership to tailor a post-graduate certificate that aligns learning outcomes and skills-building to the needs of Financial Services employers, and that attracts more talent to our sector. Our employer working group, consisting of nine TFI member organizations, is collaborating with Seneca College, under TFI’s leadership, on this initiative. The expected launch date of the new Cybersecurity and Threat Management Graduate Certificate is January 2020. Stay tuned for more information about the program launch and opportunities to engage with students.

TFI welcomes the government’s recommendation to develop a national skills and training strategy

TFI welcomes the government’s recommendation to develop a national skills and training strategy.  All access points into the talent ecosystem represent an opportunity to target the growth of skills needed to keep our industries, governments and citizens safe. To achieve the goal of being “prepared for the cybersecurity challenges of today and tomorrow”, we - industry, academia, and government - must all work together across the talent spectrum to build a more robust pool. From introducing cyber concepts and building cyber awareness earlier in elementary and secondary schools, to cross-disciplinary coverage of cybersecurity topics at post-secondary institutions and upskilling and re-skilling current employees across all sectors, there are opportunities to raise awareness and influence skill development.

For more information on TFI’s Coordinated Cybersecurity Talent Strategy and how you can get involved, please contact Julie Bryski, Senior Director, Talent Initiatives.

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