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Ryerson to launch Brampton cybersecurity catalyst in the spring

By Daniel McIntosh

Ryerson University is preparing to launch a pilot innovation hub in Brampton this spring, according to President Mohamed Lachemi.

This catalyst will be a platform for collaboration in cybersecurity. Programs will include teaching, applied research, development and policy development in cybersecurity, said Lachemi

“I think there’s something to be done about public awareness of cybersecurity. All of us can be affected by cyber attacks.”

Lachemi said the cybersecurity catalyst would have a number of partners and would be seeking funding support from the federal government as well.

In a statement, the City of Brampton said the extension would be the first step toward, “Advancing the post-secondary initiative in downtown Brampton.” Currently, Brampton is the only one of Canada’s ten largest cities without a university, according to Statistics Canada.

The city said staff are collaborating with Ryerson to run a one-day symposium in April or May on the topic of cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing.

The Ontario government cancelled its $90 million commitment to Ryerson’s Brampton expansion in October, saying they were “no longer in a position” to fund it.

The prospective hub—Ryerson’s first outside of downtown Toronto—was originally announced in April 2018, as a joint venture with Sheridan College.

When the government announced that they would cancel their funding, Lachemi told The Eye he still had a “big vision” for Ryerson’s presence in the city.

“Sheridan is keen to be involved, and we’re doing all we can to make sure our resources are brought to the table and that it represents a good opportunity for the community,” said Jeff Vallentin, Sheridan’s vice president of external relations.

In January, Ryerson began offering two cybersecurity courses out of Brampton City Hall, the beginning of what Lachemi said would become a national centre for cybersecurity. The courses are offered through Ryerson’s Chang School.

“Brampton doesn’t have a vibrant downtown neighbourhood,” said first-year Nicholas Klymciw.  

Klymciw, an urban planning student from Brampton said a Ryerson expansion would bring up Brampton to the standard it should be at, given that so many people live there.

“To see that [premier Doug Ford] was cancelling funding for the project was very disappointing to me for multiple reason,” he said. “The first being that there was already money invested into the planning.”

An announcement on the City of Brampton website says they are open to “continuing discussions on solutions to bring a Ryerson and Sheridan campus to Brampton.”

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