The Canadian Security Sector: what are the current challenges and how good is the response?

Dec 9, 2022Webinars and Blogs

The webinar was followed by the 2022 Canada OSPAs

Around the world the security sector is facing a range of different security challenges. Amongst them, an unsettled world order, economic adversity, recruitment issues which includes treating DE&I seriously, and a perception the security sector is not an ideal place to work. In this webinar we explore the security context in Canada, what are the main challenges, what is the response like and what can we learn from the experiences that can improve practice? The webinar will discuss:

  • The key security challenges facing Canada
  • The key attributes of the security sector to respond effectively
  • The barriers to progress and how they can be overcome

Chair: Professor Martin Gill

Candyce Kelshall – President, CASIS Vancouver
Brine Hamilton, CHPA – President, IAHSS

Key points
Candyce Kelshall starts by highlighting the dangers posed by misinformation and disinformation serving to corrode social cohesion. Moreover, to be aware that the Russia and Ukraine war has far wider implications as the former conducts various forms of cyber-attacks against state interests around the world, you will see and hear Candyce providing more details. Her view, having moved to Canada later in life, is that Canadians have handled DE&I issues rather well, befitting from different communities sharing land and understanding the essence of collaboration over time. A main challenge for Canada is the violence associated with transnational social movements, white supremacy is identified, and soft violence online. This leads to an interesting discussion about the balance of freedom of speech against restrictions on liberty. On this issue Candyce stresses the importance of responsibility. Overall there has been an under investment in security and the sector needs to be better at presenting its case, it needs to set new benchmarks and focus on upskilling so that becomes the defining feature of security. 

Brine Hamilton has a career in security, most recently in healthcare and has direct experience of DE&I issues. He reflects positively on Canada’s approach to DE&I, certainly there have been issues for frontline workers at times but overall, on ethnicity and gender at least Canada has fared well. He notes rather interestingly that what attracted him to security was the comparatively attractive pay, he asks whether that would apply today. Certainly, the key to success in business is being able to generate revenue. The main challenges have been societal, mental health issues have not always been fully understood, although Brine stresses that the security sector should not be expected to take the lead on developing effective mental health management and response strategies. You will hear him discuss the threat posed by social media, a force for good and bad. And crucially that the image problem for the security sector has not been effectively managed and in times when there is more competition for the available labour that is a notable weakness. Finally, we are reminded of the benefits of mentorship and reminded that this does not necessarily have to be the old mentoring the young, the latter often have a lot to offer in their own right. 

Professor Martin Gill
8th December 2022

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