Summary of Canada’s Policy on Cryptography

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The Government is implementing a cryptography policy that:

  • supports the growth of electronic commerce;
  • allows Canadian producers to export their products globally within the framework of international arrangements; and
  • contains measures to maintain the capability of law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety.

Support for Electronic Commerce

  • Canadians are free to develop, import and use whatever cryptography products they wish.
  • The Government will not implement mandatory key recovery requirements or licensing regimes.
  • The Government encourages industry to establish responsible practices, such as key recovery techniques for stored data.
  • The Government will act as a model user of cryptography through the practices of the Government of Canada Public Key Infrastructure (GOC PKI).
  • The Government encourages and supports industry-led accreditation of private sector certification authorities.

Export / International Agreements

  • Canada will continue to implement cryptography export controls in keeping with the framework of the international Wassenaar Arrangement.
  • Canada will take into consideration the export practices of other countries and the availability of comparable products when rendering export permit decisions.
  • The export permit application process will be made more transparent and procedures will be streamlined to ensure the least regulatory intervention necessary.

Public Safety

The Government proposes amendments to the Criminal Code and other statutes as necessary to:

  • criminalize the wrongful disclosure of keys;
  • deter the use of encryption in the commission of a crime;
  • deter the use of cryptography to conceal evidence; and
  • apply existing interception, search and seizure and assistance procedures to cryptographic situations and circumstances.

For more information on the development and implementation of this policy see the Public Discussion Paper on Setting a Cryptography Policy Framework for Canada and notes from the Minister's presentation to the National Press Club on Canada's Cryptography Policy.