The government’s first proposal for addressing harmful content on Canada’s Internet was severely misguided and faced criticism from civil rights groups, groups representing marginalized communities, and academic experts in Canada and abroad.2.3 Rather than defending Canadians from illegal online content, it would have created a mass surveillance dragnet for all types of speech over every Canadian. Including forcing platforms to use faulty AI systems to remove thousands of our lawful posts and automatically report them to law enforcement.4
Critique was so fierce that the government went back to the drawing board, publishing a report documenting the feedback received and committing to an Expert Panel to reconsider the core issues at play around legislation dealing with online harms.5.6
Rebuilding public trust on these issues after the disastrous 2021 proposal is critical to passing effective and rights-respecting legislation. The government can’t assume they know what we think on an issue this sensitive; all of us will be impacted by this legislation and we need a chance to see what they have in mind and voice our opinion on it.
Once the proposal is introduced as legislation in the House, the conversation about it will become partisan, and policymakers will start backing their parties–not thinking through good policy. It’s an unfortunate truth that the real impact of a bill on ordinary people comes last once politicians start scoring political points.
This legislation is too important and too potentially dangerous to our rights to leave it to a partisan tug-a-war.
Canadians need and deserve a chance to see and speak out on the government's next proposal before it's introduced as legislation. Sign our petition to demand you get the chance to see and comment on the government’s online harms proposal and ensure it reflects your feedback!