Liberal government officially introduces bill banning Huawei from 5G/4G

The federal government has introduced new legislation it says will protect critical Canadian industries from cyberattacks and hacking, following Ottawa’s announcement last month that it would ban Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE of the country’s 5G and 4G networks.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino introduced Bill C-26 in the House of Commons on June 14, saying it aims to protect vital sectors from cyber threats, including finance, energy, transport and telecommunications.

“Ransomware attacks, spying, cyber attacks, foreign interference, the conduct of hostile State actors and their proxies are everything part of the national Security landscape,” Mendicino told a press conference.

“This legislation will protect Canada’s cybersecurity by strengthening partnerships between government and the telecommunications sector, federal regulators, improve support for sectors of the economy that are critical to national security and public safety, and provide new tools to protect Canadians when it comes to cyber security.

The bill, titled An Act Respecting Cyber ​​Security, seeks to amend the Telecommunications Act to add the security of Canada’s telecommunications system as a policy objective.

This would give the government the legal authority to order telecoms to improve their systems against cyber attacks and cyber espionage, and to impose any action necessary to secure the country’s telecommunications system. It also establishes an administrative monetary penalty to increase the compliance of telecommunications companies with the regulations.

The proposed legislation comes after Mendicino announced last month that the federal government would ban Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE from the country’s 4G and 5G networks. Canadian companies using equipment from these Chinese companies will be required to remove equipment already installed.

At the June 14 press conference, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the bill would give the government legal authority to ban these Chinese companies from 4G and 5G networks, as well as than repel future threats.

“This [bill] goes way beyond Huawei and ZTE because we want to at have legislation this will be cover the future,” he said.

Champagne told reporters that the ban on Huawei and ZTE equipment would not cover smartphones or other devices.

“What we’re targeting is critical infrastructure, the network, not phones or other types of equipment that companies might decide to sell in Canada,” Champagne said.

The Canadian Center for Cyber ​​Security said in its 2020 National Cyber ​​Threat Assessment that devices such as smartphones and personal computers are vulnerable to espionage activities such as unauthorized data collection.

Compulsory declaration

The second part of Bill C-26 seeks to enact the Critical Cyber ​​Systems Protection Act which aims to create a regulatory body that would require companies in four key industries to report cyberattacks and ransomware to the government.

When asked why the mandatory reporting regime imposed on designated industries does not include a public oversight mechanism for Canadians to see what data has been collected, Mendicino defended his bill by pointing out “a wide variety of mechanisms that exist beyond this legislation” that allows oversight of “anything that overlaps with national security”.

He did not respond directly when pressed about the bill’s lack of transparency and said the legislation was intended to “support Canadians as they integrate new 5G and cyberspace technologies into their lives.” “.

He also said that certain provisions of his bill would allow the government to protect trade secrets, competitive information and other sensitive information of relevant industries.


Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.

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