Critical infrastructures are the large-scale, reliable and essential products and services which support our society. In Canada, under the National Security Policy (NSP) there are 10 National Critical Infrastructure (NCI) sectors. Federal, provincial and territorial governments are collaborating to provide policies, directive, knowledge, and funds to protect these 10 NCIs, as a disruption to them will have a severe impact on national security. However, the education sector is not listed as an NCI, which leaves education sector and significant portion of Canadians under protected.
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Furthermore, this ‘omittance’ is antithetical to the main mission of Public Safety Canada (PSC) by keeping streets and communities safe (Public Safety Canada, 2013).
The education sector should be protected adequately, considered as an NCI and afforded the same seriousness as any of the other NCIs
Scope of the Paper
The paper will explore the impacts of the education sector on national security by analyzing the general and agreed upon definition of the “education sector” between Canada and the U.S.A. How the threats and risks associated with the education sector affects national security. Afterward, the paper examines three specific impacts; social, economic and physical impacts, then conclude with a list of recommendations.
The functional attributes of the education sector can be considered as a services as well as products. In order to assess the impact of the education sector on national security, a qualitative and quantitative approach is used to evaluate its impacts on national security.
What Comprises the Education Sector in Canada?
For the purpose of this paper, the educational sector is described in terms of service and industry, in order to qualify and quantify its impact to national security.
The education in Ontario-Canada is mostly provided publically, within provincial jurisdictional under either the Ministry of Education (EDU) for elementary and secondary schools, or the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for post-secondary education. Both ministries are responsible and accountable for the oversight requirements and strategic government policies in all levels of education in Ontario Canada. From the ‘service” perspective, there is not an agreed upon definition of the ‘Education Sector’ between the two ministries. From an ‘Industry’ perspective, Industry Canada does not have a definition of the ‘Education Sector’ that can be mapped into Canadian context. However they utilize the definition of the North American Industry Classifications System (NAICS 61), which is a descriptive text about the functions of the educational sector. Furthermore, the NAICS code was designed to facilitate the classification and categorization of collected statistical data for each business entity from business perspective, not to identify any business entity as a critical infrastructure as it does not fall under their mandate (Industry Canada, 2011).
The “National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure” issued by PSC and recently modified on 4th of March 2014, does not mention educational service (Public Safety Canada, 2014). However the recent “plans and priorities report” issued by PSC for the period of 2014-2015, stated:
Department will continue to support the implementation and evaluation of crime prevention projects and will work toward better integrating effective crime prevention within government, institutional and community health, social services and education systems where children, youth...