OTTAWA - The federal government is moving to tighten its policy on bankrolling research with foreign entities that might pose a risk to national security.

The government says “a sensitive research area” will not be funded if a person on the project is affiliated with a university, research institute or laboratory connected to military, national defence or state security entities of foreign powers considered to be a risk.

In a statement late Tuesday, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the new policy applies to the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Canada's federal research granting councils.

They include the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The ministers say the policy will be implemented quickly and in close consultation with federal departments, national security agencies and the research community.

The statement does not mention particular countries, but Canadian security officials have openly warned for years that Russia and China target Canada's advanced technology.

The ministers said the government has also written to Universities Canada and the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities urging them to follow similar guidelines for all their research partnerships, particularly ones involving sensitive research.

“We will work closely with our university-sector colleagues to ensure these additional steps are implemented effectively,” the statement said.

Canada needs to engage with the world with “eyes wide open,” Champagne said Wednesday. “When it comes to sensitive research, I think we all need to do more,” he told reporters.

When asked about the target of the latest steps, he allowed that they were about “China and others.”

“But you know what? We need to make sure that this does not occur with any other states that could be conducting research that would be harmful to our national security,” he said.

“That could be with Russia as well.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2023.