Canada-Winning the fight for Data Sovereignty could be our last chance in a world-class innovation economy

20th July 2021

Data sovereignty has become a topic known to Canadian policy makers for some time. However, implementing strategies to secure the data produced in Canada has not been prioritized by the government. The European Union and the United Kingdom are leading the Data sovereignty charge, and Canada should be following suit. However, policymakers have prioritized having data-hungry companies from the United States set up branch offices in Canada, which has created a lost opportunity to establish Canadian data sovereignty while bidding up the price of our labor pool for domestic innovators.

There is a strong Data Sovereignty effort among like-minded countries in the Commonwealth and the European Union, including GAIA-X and the International Data Spaces Association. However, the last five years have established that we cannot carve our own path, so we should look to leadership from other countries with similar interests and similar situations.

The United States of America is our number one and strongest ally. Furthermore, we are fortunate to do business with our neighbors to the south across the world's most open border. However, our economic interests around innovation align with economies that share secondary positioning behind the United States.

The former ambassador to the United States is now working for a military intelligence and data harvesting organization. It is time that Canadians take the economic imperative to control the value of data they produce or risk hemorrhaging valuable Canadian data to foreign organizations.

We have domestic companies that produce cybersecurity infrastructure able to manage this threat to our economic future. However, we need a government that is open to procuring from local companies.