New cybersecurity hub takes collaborative approach to increasing safety in our digital world

Recipient: Ryerson University
Region: Brampton
Stream: Regional Innovation Ecosystem
Total funding allocated: $10 million

Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst aims to change the cybersecurity landscape by making it accessible to all Canadians
Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst aims to change the cybersecurity landscape by making it accessible to all Canadians.

In this modern era, technology has transformed our lives and unlocked numerous advantages for our society. Technological innovation fuels digital transformation and drives international competitiveness, all while revitalizing existing industries and opening up new markets. But as we embrace new and emerging technologies for their tremendous benefits, we face new challenges in the form of cyber threats, including privacy breaches, data misuse and cybercrime, costing Canada more than $3 billion in economic losses each year.

The Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst was created with the goal of empowering Canadians and Canadian businesses to seize the opportunities and tackle the challenges of cybersecurity. Owned and operated by Ryerson University, the Catalyst was established with $10 million in funding from FedDev Ontario and contributions from founding partners: the City of Brampton, Rogers and RBC. As one of Canada’s fastest growing cities and immersed within North America’s second largest technology cluster, Brampton is the ideal location to foster a cybersecurity ecosystem.

Driven by collaboration from its very inception, the Catalyst focuses on building partnerships to boost Canada’s economic security and global competitiveness in cybersecurity. It also compliments the Government of Canada’s continuous efforts to enhance cybersecurity in Canada, as demonstrated by dedicated funding totalling close to $1 billion in recent federal budgets, as well as the launch of the Digital Charter and the National Cyber Security Strategy.

With Canada facing a critical shortage of skilled cybersecurity workers, the Catalyst has opened its doors to an intensive training and certification program, supporting accreditation for women in cybersecurity, displaced workers as well as new Canadians. “Cybersecurity is crucial to our national security and is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors globally,” said Charles Finlay, Executive Director of the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst. “There is an acute lack of trained cyber professionals. This training program will open the cyber sector to under-represented groups and those who need this training the most—changing lives while helping to protect Canadians and the Canadian economy.”

The project also involves the creation of Canada’s first technology accelerator program focused solely on cybersecurity scale-ups. Through significant engagement with industry partners, these companies will benefit from access to investment, mentorship and support to take their operations to the next level. The program will be delivered in collaboration with the DMZ at Ryerson University—now ranked as one of the world’s top university-based incubators—and will accept its first cohort of businesses in early winter 2020.

The Catalyst is creating an infrastructure to support cybersecurity initiatives across Canada, while developing a global footprint. “Cybersecurity is a national priority but it requires global collaboration,” says Trish Dyl, Director, Partnerships. “Our hope is to develop awareness and engagement around cybersecurity essentials for all digital citizens around the world.”

As cyber attacks continue to threaten our personal, social and economic safety, this type of collaboration between academia, industry, government and thought leaders is an essential step forward in addressing this global challenge.

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We are extremely grateful to FedDev Ontario and to all of our founders for their generous support for the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst. We look forward to working with them, and with collaborators across industry sectors and in many other post-secondary institutions, to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities of cybersecurity in this fiercely competitive global economy.
Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University