Have your say on harmful online content!

New legislation on illegal and ‘harmful’ content is coming to Canada VERY soon. But Canada’s first online harm proposal was a disaster, filled with overreaching proposals that trampled over our freedom of expression and privacy.1

Canadians deserve the chance to see and comment on the government’s next shot at online harms legislationBEFORE it is proposed as the law of the land.

But unless enough of us speak out, we won’t get that chance. Sign our petition: ordinary Canadians must get a say on whether the next harmful content proposal is fit to task.

To: Minister of Canadian Heritage Pascale St-Onge

Click here to see petition text

I am calling on you to commit to a full public consideration of the government of Canada’s next proposed online harms framework before it is introduced as draft legislation. 

The government’s initial 2021 proposal was a profoundly misguided attack on privacy and freedom of expression that drew criticism from across the political spectrum and the world. Legislation that could infringe on these sensitive rights can easily backfire and must be thoroughly critiqued and gotten right. 

I urge you to give members of the public, academics, and civil society experts an opportunity to comment on your revised proposal before it is introduced as a bill and discussion becomes partisan and politicized. A public consideration will give time and space to ensure a more thoughtful, measured approach to addressing illegal and harmful content online.

This campaign is hosted by OpenMedia. We will protect your privacy, and keep you informed about this campaign and others. Find OpenMedia's privacy policy here.

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.

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 partiesnot 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! 


  1. Failure to Balance Freedom of Expression and Protection from Online Harms: My Submission to the Government’s Consultation on Addressing Harmful Content Online - Michael Geist
  2. A First Look at Canada’s Harmful Content proposal - OpenMedia
  3. The Rest of the Online Harms Consultation Story: Canadian Heritage Forced to Release Hundreds of Public Submissions Under Access to Information Law - Michael Geist
  4. See 2
  5. What We Heard: The Government’s proposed approach to address harmful content online - Government of Canada
  6. The Government’s commitment to address online safety - Government of Canada

Image credit: Digital campaign vector created by gstudioimagen on Freepik, and modified by OpenMedia

Press: Matt Hatfield | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0  | [email protected]