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Catalyst launches CyberStart Canada: a gamified cybersecurity youth learning experience

CyberStart Canada empowers girls, young women and non-binary students to explore cybersecurity in a fun, safe and collaborative environment.

September 6, 2022 (Brampton, ON) – Today, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, Toronto Metropolitan University’s national centre for training, innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity, launched CyberStart Canada. The new youth-focused learning experience seeks to increase cyber knowledge and safety among high school girls and close the gender gap in cybersecurity.

Funded by Public Safety Canada’s Cyber Security Cooperation Program, together with support from SANS Institute, Cyberstart Canada will use gamification to measurably improve cyber-related knowledge and skills, and increase interest in cybersecurity careers among an engaged community of girls and young women across Canada.

CyberStart Canada will engage 700 girls and non-binary students from Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia in 2022-23, and then nationally the following year. In addition to the CyberStart game, participants will gain access to cyber career talks, workshops and other engagement activities throughout the duration of the program.

“In addition to sparking interest in cybersecurity as a career, CyberStart Canada will focus on educating young women and girls on topics such as cyber respect and kindness, safe communication and digital citizenship,” says Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety. “CyberStart Canada will also be a key resource for teachers and educators, allowing them to bring cybersecurity into and outside of their classrooms, without needing any prior knowledge of cybersecurity or computer science.”

With women filling only about 21 percent of cybersecurity jobs in North America–and even fewer holding senior positions in the industry–it has never been more important to dispel myths about who can be a cyber professional. Similarly, youth, especially young women and girls, as well as LGBTQ2S+ youth are increasingly exposed to cyber-related risks and dangers as they live more and more of their lives online.

“We know Canada is facing an immense talent gap when it comes to the cybersecurity sector–across the country, there are over 25,000 unfilled cyber roles,” says Charles Finlay, Founding Executive Director of the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst. “It is clear that we need to encourage more women to enter the field–and that starts with giving girls the confidence that the cyber profession is for them. We are most grateful to Public Safety Canada and SANS Institute, whose support for CyberStart Canada will allow us to do just that.”

To learn more and sign up, visit: https://cyberstartcanada.com/

About Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst

Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst is Toronto Metropolitan University’s national centre for training, innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity. Headquartered in Brampton, Ontario, the Catalyst empowers individuals and organizations to seize the opportunities and tackle the challenges of cybersecurity.

Through its ground-breaking training and certification programs; unique commercial accelerator for cybersecurity start-ups and scale-ups; first-of-its-kind cyber range; wide-ranging public education programs; and influential policy development platform, the Catalyst helps drive Canada’s global competitiveness in cybersecurity.

For Media Inquiries

Jessica Leach
Toronto Metropolitan University