• By: Dan Donovan

BCC Report Calls for Action –Says “Economic Security is The Foundation of National Security”

The Business Council of Canada (BCC) has published a report titled, Economic Security is National Security, that stresses the pivotal role that economic stability plays in safeguarding Canada’s security. It says that “Canadian companies are in the crosshairs of state-sponsored actors seeking to advance their interests in ways that undermine Canada’s national and economic security.”

The report is the result of extensive consultations with many of Canada’s most innovative and successful enterprises, business leaders, seasoned security experts, and former government officials. It examines the threats facing Canadians, explores the consequences of inaction, and recommends measures to address the most glaring gaps in Canada’s economic security posture.

The BCC report unveils the stark threats confronting Canadians, spells out the dire consequences of complacency, and prescribes pragmatic measures to shore up Canada’s economic security posture. It notes that vulnerabilities in financial systems can pose significant risks to a nation’s well-being, concluding that safeguarding Canada’s prosperity is a key marker in protecting Canada’s national security interests. It says a robust economy is the cornerstone upon which a country’s security apparatus is built. Without a potent national security environment, Canada’s economic engine could falter and leave the country exposed to many risks.

The study says that “Many of Canada’s closest allies recognize this “mutually reinforcing link” and have developed integrated approaches to economic and national security that seek to enhance their prosperity, safety, and sovereignty in a period of heightened geopolitical risk. Canada has not. For decades, successive Canadian governments have overlooked, taken for granted, or ignored the principle that economic security is national security.”

The BCC says this inaction has come at a cost, and the report urges the government of Canada to work with Canadian businesses to forge a comprehensive national security strategy that places economic security as a central pillar.

“In an age marked by resurging global rivalries, strategic threat actors with ulterior motives are increasingly targeting Canadian companies. Their actions endanger our national interests and undermine our economic stability. The consequences of such threats are profound, ranging from mass layoffs resulting from intellectual property theft to crippling cyberattacks disrupting our daily lives and weaponized supply chains driving up the cost of everyday essentials.”

The in-depth report identifies five key areas of concern.

• Economic Resilience: The report highlights the importance of building economic resilience to withstand shocks, both internal and external. It points out that a strong economy can better weather crises, providing resources to support national security efforts.

• Innovation and Technology: A thriving economy is dependent on innovation and technological advancement. The article underscores the report’s call for strategic investments in research and development to maintain a competitive edge on the global stage.

• Global Trade: Trade relations are at the heart of economic security. The article underscores the report’s emphasis on diversifying trade partners and reducing dependency on single markets to mitigate economic risks.

• Skills and Workforce Development: A skilled workforce is an asset to national security. The report urges investments in education and workforce development to ensure a skilled labor force that can adapt to changing economic landscapes.

• Infrastructure Investment: The article highlights the report’s recommendation to modernize infrastructure, enhancing a nation’s economic and security resilience.

• Collaborative Approach: Economic security cannot be achieved in isolation. The report calls for collaboration between government, industry, and other stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy for national security.

• Cybersecurity: In the digital age, cybersecurity is paramount. The article emphasizes the report’s call to strengthen cybersecurity measures to protect critical economic and security infrastructure.

• Energy Security: Ensuring a stable and diverse energy supply is vital for both economic and national security. The report advocates for a balanced energy policy that addresses both economic and environmental concerns.

Key Conclusions of the report

Canadian companies are in the crosshairs of state-sponsored actors seeking to advance their interests in ways that undermine Canada’s national and economic security.

Successive governments have been slow to respond to a new geopolitical reality that poses an unprecedented national security threat to the economic well-being of all Canadians.

Canada should follow the path of many of its closest allies by integrating economic security considerations into a national security strategy that helps identify and mitigate strategic threats.

An integrated Canadian security strategy should strengthen economic security architecture, bolster innovative capabilities, and expand international security partnerships.

The BCC “Economic Security is National Security” report underscores the critical importance of a strong and resilient economy as the foundation of a nation’s security. It advocates a holistic approach that involves government, industry, and society in safeguarding a nation’s economic well-being and, by extension, its national security.