Canada has announced a ban of Chinese telecoms equipment makers from working on its 5G networks. Francois-Philippe Champagne, the country’s industry minister on Thursday said that Huawei and ZTE had been banned to protect the safety and security of Canadians.
The move comes after a number of Western countries banned the Chinese telecommunications companies from working on their 5G gear. The countries which include UK, Australia, US, New Zealand and Canada make up an intelligence-sharing arrangement dubbed ‘Five Eyes’, which was established during the cold war as a mechanism for monitoring the Soviet Union and sharing classified information.
“Let me be very clear: We will always protect the safety and security of Canadians and will take any actions necessary to safeguard our telecommunication infrastructure,” Champagne said.
He added that the decision came after a full review by security agencies and consultations with allies.
“In a 5G world, at a time where we rely more and more in our daily lives [on] our network, this is the right decision.”
A spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, however said that the security concerns had been raised as a pretext for political manipulation. They accused Canada of working with the US to suppress Chinese companies.
US President Joe Biden signed legislation in November prohibiting corporations deemed as a security risk from acquiring new telecoms equipment licenses in the country.
It means Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies’ equipment is no longer allowed to be used in US telecommunications networks.
Mr. Champagne said that companies that had already installed equipment from Chinese manufacturers would be required to remove it.