Media Releases Dec 07, 2021

At least 540 million reasons cybersecurity needs action from Ottawa: Canadian Chamber of Commerce


December 7, 2021 – (OTTAWA) – Today the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Senior Director for Digital Economy, Technology & Innovation, Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, released the following statement regarding the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’s report of a 151% increase in global ransomware cyber-attacks in the first six months of 2021:

“Globally, the number of cyber-attacks increased by 151% in the first six months of the year, compared to 2020. 2021 has also included the largest ransoms and largest payouts. According to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the average cost of a data breach is $6.35 million per breach. The average cost of a ransomware attack specifically, including payout and recovery, is $2.3 million per attack in 2021 – more than double the average amount last year.

It’s a rather disturbing fact that there have been 235 known Canadian ransomware attacks so far in 2021. Given the average cost per attack, this will hurt the economy a minimum of $540 million this year alone. More concerning, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security notes that most ransomware attacks have gone unreported, which makes the $540 million a minimum of the true total cost of ransomware attacks.

The increasing number of attacks and higher costs begins to explain why Canadians are more worried about falling victim to a cyber-attack than COVID and climate change, according to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer. And who can blame them? Cyber criminals have successfully and repeatedly targeted our critical infrastructure including our hospitalsschoolstransit systems, and local and federal governments causing significant disruptions to essential services.

These sorts of attacks have been going on for years, with precious little being done to fundamentally secure Canada’s public and private IT systems, and Canadians are saying enough. According to a recent Angus Reid Institute survey, 92% of Canadians say the federal government needs to prioritize investments in cybersecurity. The federal government’s chief of Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Shelly Bruce, has gone on record stating that cybercrime is the ‘most prevalent, most pervasive threat to Canadians and Canadian businesses.’

Budget 2021 provided no funding to protect businesses with only modest investments for select government infrastructure, and cyber security was absent from last month’s Throne Speech.

Cyber-attacks present a threat from both national security and economic standpoints. But if we get to work, securing our country also presents a tremendous economic opportunity for Canadians. That’s why members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Cyber. Right. Now. campaign are urging the Government of Canada to undertake immediate actions to ensure that our infrastructure is resilient to cyber-attacks and that our economy and workforce can continue to grow as one of the world’s most innovative, vibrant and secure places to do business. It’s time for government action with adequate investment in the sector so Canada can be one of the most cyber secure countries on the planet. Right. Now.”

A full suite of recommendations from the Canadian Chamber’s Cyber. Right. Now. campaign are available here.

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.


For more information, please contact:
Emily Walsh