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Bolstering Quebec’s cybersecurity ecosystem with the Multidisciplinary Institute for Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience

Google Canada's cybersecurity announcements

Cybersecurity concerns have never been more pressing. Organizations of all sizes are grappling with sophisticated threats and cyber criminals. In 2023 alone, 60% of Quebec small and medium-sized enterprises were targeted by cyber attacks, and in 2022, cyber attacks in Canada increased by 20%. At the same time, the demand for cybersecurity professionals in Quebec is at an all time high. Sixty five percent of small and medium-sized enterprises say their company does not have the qualified staff to implement a cybersecurity solution or monitor attacks.

Grow with Google Cyber Security Certificate

Marc Gervais, Executive Director, Multidisciplinary Institute for Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience speaks about their plans to address the growing cyber risks, to create a safer, more secure online ecosystem for Quebec, Canada and the world.

Cyber attacks have become increasingly more common. Can you give us a bit of context on the rise of cyber attacks, and how Canada, and Quebec specifically, are leading in tackling this global issue?

Cyber threats are indeed on the rise, and neither Canada nor Quebec is immune to this trend. We are all witnessing the impact of these threats and attacks on our personal and professional lives. Everyone is affected, from small and medium-sized businesses and large corporations, to public authorities and private citizens.

Canada has a well-established cybersecurity ecosystem, recognized internationally, with the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, numerous companies in the field and several leading university programs. Quebec is particularly well placed to become a major player on the international scene. The recent creation of the Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs bears witness to the importance attached to the subject by public authorities. Like Google Canada, many innovative companies are choosing Quebec to anchor their cybersecurity activities, taking advantage of the province's dynamism, the non-profit organization’s in the ecosystem (such as Cybereco and IN-SEC-M), and the many universities working to develop a skilled workforce and conduct cutting-edge research.

IMC2 was formed in 2023, can you let us know how it came to be and why the organization decided to form?

Polytechnique Montréal's Department of Computer and Software Engineering was the driving force behind the joint creation of IMC2 by Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal and HEC Montréal. The Institute was born of the desire to increase the impact of Quebec and Canadian academia on cybersecurity and cyber resilience in our society. To achieve this, we wanted to set up a structure that would break away from current approaches, unite the academic players in the field, and encourage cross-collaboration of multidisciplinary expertise to go beyond research and teaching.

In order to make an impact on society, IMC2 members will work in close collaboration with the industry, to solve complex problems connected to the needs of society, while developing our ability to anticipate challenges in the future. By working at the societal level, citizens will be at the heart of our concerns.

What is IMC2’s mission? What does the organization hope to achieve?

The Institute's mission is to address major societal challenges in cybersecurity, in collaboration with the entire ecosystem. The structure put in place to fulfill our mission is focused on genuine collaboration, multidisciplinarity, and strong societal impact. In fact, our actions are structured around four main pillars: research, education, public policy, and innovation.

Today, provided a grant to support your organization’s work. Can you let us know what the grant will go towards?’s grant provides IMC2 researchers with the means to carry out initiatives essential to the development of our vision of a cyber-resilient society. The project focuses on four areas: fostering a cyber-aware and responsible society, building a secure platform for sharing and using cybersecurity data, tackling an innovative cybersecurity challenge, and stimulating economic growth and employment opportunities in Quebec and Canada.

As part of the first component, the grant is helping to set up and investigate the operational aspects of a cyber-citizen volunteer service. This will give us the opportunity to test the operational implementation of a structure supported by trained volunteers ready to help citizens in the event of a technical cybersecurity incident. At the same time, we will be working to improve people's daily lives by developing a software solution for assessing their security posture and evaluating their exposure to the Internet.

The second component focuses on the research community, and’s grant will enable members of our multidisciplinary Institute to advance collaborative cybersecurity research by developing and implementing a secure inter-university data exchange platform.

In the third section, the grant is also supporting an exploratory study into the link between cybersecurity and sustainable development, focusing on the development of environmental assessment measures for cybersecurity solutions. This innovative research aims to ensure that our cyber resilience initiatives are aligned with the goal of an environmentally friendly future.

Finally, the fourth component of Google's grant reinforces IMC2's commitment to supporting and developing the entrepreneurial cybersecurity program offered by Propolys, Polytechnique Montréal’s technology start-up incubator.

For more information on today’s news, see the press release.