National Security

  • Overview
  • Who To Contact
  • Recent Developments

Canada’s national security regime protects Canada’s borders, citizens, businesses and infrastructure from physical, economic and cyber threats. National security is a dynamic area where legislation, regulation and legal practice must contend with the cross-border movement of money, intellectual property and technology, as well as increased personal mobility and the rise of complex transnational influences. In addition to the longstanding national security mandates of protecting critical infrastructure and identifying direct threats, modern national security laws have a broad application to Canadian life, including through aerospace initiatives, cybersecurity, public health, cultural exchanges, environmental agreements, immigration, and mergers and acquisitions.

The Canadian national security interests and legislative regime have broad application to businesses, governments and society. The evolving nature of the threats facing Canada, our institutions and businesses means that the applicability and application of these laws are growing and often uncertain. Businesses need strategic legal advisors who know the threats, know the laws and can provide advice to navigate these issues. The Aird & Berlis National Security Group provides pragmatic solutions to help companies, governments and individuals deal with the unpredictability and complexity of national security matters.

Our expertise includes:

  • National cybersecurity compliance and response for critical infrastructure
  • Foreign investment review under the Investment Canada Act and merger clearance under the Competition Act
  • National security clearances
  • Compliance with evolving national security laws
  • Advising on the opportunities and risks associated with artificial intelligence and its impact on national security concerns
  • Strategic advice regarding increasing national security concerns and issues impacting your business

Our work highlights include:

  • Negotiating cybersecurity and data security agreements for clients in the energy, transportation, telecommunications, digital technology, health care, supply chain and finance industries
  • Breach mitigation and response for critical infrastructure and government entities, including in relation to ransomware and ransomware negotiations
  • National security considerations of foreign investments into Canada or disposition or sharing of assets of national security significance with foreign players
  • Advising on national security impact of foreign-owned technologies and navigating the relevant regulations
  • Advising multinational companies working with the federal government on obtaining, maintaining and managing high-level security clearances
  • Categorization of business information according to national security sensitivity

Representative matters:

  • Advised one of Canada’s largest medical equipment and PPE suppliers in response to ransomware interrupting the delivery of needed PPE and medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Advised the buyers in several acquisitions of regulated technology enterprises in Canada where national security clearances were a significant and nuanced factor. 
  • Advised an oil and gas company in Northern Ontario in response to a cybersecurity and ransomware attack and helped negotiate agreements with threat actors.
  • Advised a Canadian enterprise in the aerospace industry on its security program and compliance with Canadian national security requirements.
  • Negotiated agreements involving cybersecurity and data security for financial institutions, including a Schedule 1 Chartered Bank and national insurance companies, involving information technology service providers delivering critical services, including core data processing activities undertaken domestically and internationally.
  • Negotiated agreements involving information technology, cybersecurity and data security for various health care institutions involving service providers delivering critical services, including core data processing activities undertaken domestically and internationally. 
  • Advised on national security considerations in a variety of international and domestic acquisitions and business transactions. 
  • Advised international businesses on compliance with export control laws involving technologies and other controlled goods and services.
  • Advised businesses working with governments on the obligations and restrictions required to work with top secret, secret and reliability standards with respect to protected information.
  • Advised on cybersecurity education and training to Ontario and Canadian critical infrastructure stakeholders, including those in the electrical, natural gas, telecommunications, gas and oil energy, transportation and financial sectors.
  • Advise national IT forensic entities and insurance companies when responding to third party incursions and other data breaches.
  • Advised national and international ransomware negotiators to assist clients when responding to ransomware attacks to mitigate damages.
  • Assisted clients to prepare for Canada’s Critical Cyber Systems Protection Act, changes to the Telecommunications Act and other legislation relating to national security matters.
  • National security review respecting foreign investment in a financial services business.

Members of our Aird & Berlis National Security Group are recognized across Canada and internationally for their expertise. They advise clients in the areas of Public Policy & Government Relations, Privacy & Data Security, Space Tech, Corporate/Commercial, Infrastructure, International Transactions, Municipal & Land Use Planning and Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment, and have a wealth of international, defence and national security experience. We are leaders in understanding the multi-faceted nature of national security, with a team that includes the Hon. Peter Van Loan, who was previously federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Minister of International Trade. Whether resolving an urgent problem or contributing to long-term planning, our expert and experienced counsel are prepared to advise clients on any matter involving national security.