April 25th, 2024

Health agency emphasizes tighter research security after firing of two scientists

By The Canadian Press on February 29, 2024.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has taken steps to bolster research security after two scientists lost their jobs over dealings with China.The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg is shown in a Tuesday, May 19, 2009 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

OTTAWA – The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has taken steps to bolster research security after two scientists lost their jobs over their dealings with China.

The agency, which is responsible for the top-security National Microbiology Laboratory, says it has established clear training and communication on security and employee accountability.

It also says international collaborations require review from a security perspective, and procedures are in place to vet and approve new collaborations.

Newly released records show two scientists at the high-security laboratory lost their jobs after reviews found they failed to protect sensitive assets and information.

The records say they played down their collaborations with Chinese government agencies.

More than 600 pages were made public Wednesday following a special all-party review of the documents.

The scientists, Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, were stripped of their security clearances over questions about their loyalty and the potential for coercion or exploitation by a foreign entity.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024.

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