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Keeping kids safe and protecting Canadians online

We work every day to keep our families, neighbourhoods, and communities safe. We must do the same for our online world.

Online harms have real-world impact with tragic, even fatal, consequences. Our government is taking action to ensure that kids, families, and individuals

That’s why, last week, our government tabled the Online Harms Act, which proposes to hold social media and user-generated content platforms accountable to follow safety standards.

Through this bill, platforms must fulfil three core duties: 1) Act responsibly; 2) Protect children; and 3) Remove content that sexually victimizes a child or revictimizes a survivor, and intimate content shared without consent, including deepfakes.

These duties apply to seven types of harm: 

    1. Content that sexually victimizes a child or revictimizes a survivor;
    2. Intimate content communicated without consent, (so called “revenge porn”), including deepfakes;
    3. Content that incites violent extremism or terrorism;
    4. Content that incites violence;
    5. Content that incites hatred;
    6. Content that induces a child to harm themselves; and
    7. Content used to bully a child.

Online content perpetrating harms 1 and 2 (Content that sexually victimizes a child or revictimizes a survivor, and intimate content communicated without consent) are required to be taken down from platforms upon being flagged by users or following a complaint to the Digital Safety Commission within 24 hours.

For content perpetrating all other types of harms, users will have the ability to flag content related to these harms and to block other users. Platforms will need to develop their own policies to fulfil their duties in relation to these harms, which could include takedown. There is no legally required takedown.

The bill does not apply to private communications. When consulted on this legislation, we heard from Canadians and experts that the government should not require platforms to monitor all private messages. If platforms want to introduce special age-appropriate messaging features to keep children safe, we commend them.

All Canadians deserve to be safe in all aspects of their lives — including online.

Tony Van Bynen

Member of Parliament for
Newmarket—Aurora

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