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February 27th Weekly Update

Message From Tony

Protect Kids. Stop Hate.

We work every day to keep our families, neighborhoods, and communities safe. We need to do the same for our online world. Online harms have real world impact with tragic, even fatal, consequences. We have rigorous toy standards to ensure that Canadian kids don’t get hurt while playing. The internet is the most complex and riskiest toy ever invented. It must have its own safety standards to protect kids from the harms embedded within social media platforms. Until now, there have been no safety regulations for online platforms. Parents and kids don’t know where to turn to get help when things go wrong online.

Yesterday, our government tabled the Online Harms Act. This legislation culminates years of expert and stakeholder consultation and fulfils a campaign promise from 2021. It proposes to hold social media and user-generated content platforms (think Meta, TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, Pornhub) accountable to follow safety standards. It will greatly improve the ability of children, and all Canadians, to safely explore and express themselves online, and hold social media sites more accountable for the content they host. This bill creates a baseline standard for online platforms to keep Canadians safe. It holds platforms accountable for the content they host.

What’s in the bill:

Online Safety Framework

  • 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 harms:
      • Content that sexually victimizes a child or revictimizes a survivor;
      • Intimate content communicated without consent, (so called “revenge porn”), including deepfakes;
      • Content that incites violent extremism or terrorism;
      • Content that incites violence;
      • Content that foments hatred;
      • Content that induces a child to harm themselves; and
      • Content used to bully a child.
  • Establishment of a Digital Safety Commission of Canada to enforce the rules and a Digital Safety Ombudsperson to support users and victims.
  • 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.

Coldest Night of the Year Walk 2024

My wife, Roxanne, and I have volunteered at Inn From the Cold for several years, and we’re proud to have participated in their Coldest Night of the Year Walk since it’s started in Newmarket. The Walk raises money to support local charities that serve people experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness.

I was pleased to see so many familiar and new faces joining us this past Saturday, including all of the members of Team Van Bynen. I was also pleased to see Inn From the Cold surpassing their goal of $90,000 before the event, reaching a total of $172,416 by the end of Saturday.

Inn From the Cold is a crucial organization in York Region that meets the needs of people who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. I am proud to support Inn From the Cold and look forward to supporting them in the years to come.

Last year, our government provided Inn From the Cold with over $7.4 million through the Rapid Housing Initiative. This funding will be used to help build a 3-story building with 44 beds for emergency and transitional housing at 17046 Yonge Street in Newmarket. This space would also include administrative spaces to provide full-time support services, as well as shared programming and amenity space for residents.

To Inn From the Cold, the volunteers, the walkers, sponsors, and anybody who donated, thank you.

Two-Year Anniversary of the War in Ukraine

This past Saturday, February 24th, marked the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

This act was an affront to the principles of freedom, democracy, and the Ukrainian people’s right to determine their future.

To date, our government has taken significant action to support and stand with Ukraine, including working with our allies to impose significant repercussions on the Russian regime.

We’re providing Ukraine with critical support, including:

  • $9.7 billion in military, humanitarian, and financial aid;
  • an additional $60 million to support Ukraine’s F-16 fighter aircraft;
  • supplying eight Leopard 2 main battle tanks; and
  • training new Ukrainian military recruits both overseas, and in Canada.

We’ve also announced additional support to:

  • launch the Declaration on the creation of the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children;
  • support demining operations efforts to ensure the safety of civilians;
  • address conflict-related sexual violence; and
  • pursue accountability through international institutions.

I wish to express my deepest sympathies for the families and individuals affected by the pain and suffering around the world.

Canada will always stand in solidarity with Ukraine and its people, as long as it takes. Slava Ukraini!

Black History Month 2024

MP Van Bynen at the Aurora Black Community’s Flag-Raising Ceremony
MP Van Bynen at the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association’s Flag-Raising Ceremony

As Black History Month comes to a close this week, it’s important to continue educating ourselves about the prevalent issues that Black Canadians face every day.

We must continue to honour the achievements of Black Canadians, past and present, celebrate Black culture, and reaffirm our commitment to building a more diverse, welcoming Canada for everyone.

I had a great time attending the events hosted by the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA) and the Aurora Black Community (ABC) Association. I encourage everyone to learn more about the resources they offer, how they support our community, and the events they host throughout the year.

Additionally, the Aurora Black Caucus provides resources to empower people of African ancestry, educate our community, and to elucidate the existential issues that they face.

We recognize Canada’s painful history of anti-Black racism and how it continues to impact communities throughout the nation. We can – and we must – do better.

To date, we’ve:

Our government will continue working to support Black Canadians, families, and businesses.

This month, and every month, let’s continue to stand up against hate, racism, and discrimination. We must continue to move forward to a better, fairer future for all Canadians. Happy Black History Month!

Federal support for auto theft investigations and stolen vehicles

MP Van Bynen with York Region Colleagues announcing $121 million for the Government of Ontario to continue protecting Canadians against auto theft

Vehicle theft is on the rise, affecting far too many Canadians – this calls for an all-hands on deck approach.

Earlier this month, our government hosted the National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft, working together with provincial, territorial, and municipal governmental officials, industry leaders, and law enforcement representatives to find solutions to this growing challenge.

We’ve been supporting police as they continue to tackle this issue through investments like:

  • $121 million to Ontario through the Initiative to take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence;
  • $28 million to support the work of CBSA and strengthen our borders against stolen vehicle export; and
  • $15 million to support police collaboration across jurisdictions, including internationally.

We will continue to work with partners across provinces and territories to find solutions to effectively combat vehicle theft and keep Canadians safe.

Tony Van Bynen

Member of Parliament for
Newmarket—Aurora

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