Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

November 24, 2009 11:13 ET

Department of Justice: Government of Canada Introduces Legislation to Help Protect Children From Internet Sexual Predators

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 24, 2009) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P. for Megantic-L'Erable and Minister of Public Works and Government Services, today announced the introduction of legislation to assist in the fight against sexual exploitation of children by requiring suppliers of Internet services to report Internet child pornography.

"The creation and distribution of child pornography are appalling crimes in which children are brutally victimized over and over again," said Minister Nicholson. "A mandatory reporting regime across Canada will strengthen our ability to protect our children from sexual predators and help police rescue these young victims, and prosecute the criminals responsible."

In September 2008, Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers responsible for Justice agreed that Canada's response to child pornography could be enhanced by federal legislation requiring those whose services could be used to facilitate the commission of Internet child pornography offences to report suspected material.

The proposed Act would apply to suppliers of Internet services to the public, e.g. Internet access, electronic mail, content hosting and social networking sites. It would require them to:

- Report, to a designated agency, tips they receive regarding Web sites where child pornography may be available to the public; and

- Notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an Internet service that they provide.

Failure to comply with the duties under this Act would constitute an offence punishable by graduated fines: up to $1,000 for a first offence; $5,000 for a second offence; and for subsequent offences the possibility of a fine up to $10,000 or six months imprisonment; or both for sole proprietorships. If a corporation fails to comply with its duties under this Act, the graduated fine scheme would be up to $10,000, $50,000 and $100,000.

"Our Government remains committed to protecting Canadians - particularly our children - from crimes being committed in today's technological environment," said Minister Paradis.

"A mandatory reporting regime will further enhance collaboration between the Internet service industry and law enforcement which will result in greater protection for our children from online sexual exploitation."

In June 2009, the Government also introduced Bill C-46, the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act and Bill C-47, the Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act. These proposed pieces of legislation would help ensure that law enforcement and national security agencies have the additional tools they need to fight crimes such as child pornography in today's high-tech environment.

For an online version of the legislation, visit www.parl.gc.ca.

(Version francaise disponible) Internet: www.canada.justice.gc.ca

BACKGROUNDER: Mandatory Reporting of Internet Child Pornography

In September 2008, Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers responsible for Justice agreed that Canada's response to child pornography could be enhanced by federal legislation requiring any agency whose services could be used to facilitate the commission of online pornography offences to report suspected material.

The Government of Canada has proposed legislation that would help enhance Canada's capacity to better protect children against sexual exploitation by making it mandatory for those who supply an Internet service to the public to report online child pornography. The legislation would help safeguard children by improving law enforcement's ability to detect offences and reduce the availability of child pornography on the Internet.

Under the proposed legislation, suppliers of Internet services to the public would be required to:

- report, to a designated agency, tips that they might receive regarding websites where child pornography may be available to the public.

- notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an Internet service that they provide.

The legislation was carefully tailored to achieve its objectives while minimizing the impact on privacy. Suppliers of Internet services would not be required to send personal subscriber information under this statute.

Failure to comply with the duties under this Act would constitute an offence punishable by graduated fines of: up to $1,000 for a first offence; $5,000 for a second offence; and for subsequent offences the possibility of a fine up to $10,000 or six months imprisonment; or both for sole proprietorships. If a corporation fails to comply with its duties under this Act the graduated fine scheme would be up to $10,000, $50,000 and $100,000.

Child Pornography

Child pornography constitutes a serious form of child victimization. Not only are children sexually abused and exploited, but the continuing demand for production and use of child pornography objectifies all children as sexual objects for the sexual gratification of adult predators.

The World Wide Web provides new and easier means for offenders to make, view and distribute child pornography, resulting in a significant increase in the availability and volume of child pornography. There are also reports of an increased demand as well as an increase in material with violent content and/or showing children who are very young.

The Criminal Code's existing child pornography provisions prohibit all forms of making, distributing, making available, accessing and possessing child pornography, including through the use of the Internet.

Children are also protected from sexual exploitation through provincial and territorial child welfare legislation, which permits the voluntary reporting of child pornography. The provincial approach adopted in Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia requires all citizens to report all forms of child pornography. The new federal legislation being proposed would provide for a uniform mandatory reporting regime across the country, one that would complement provincial and territorial efforts under their child welfare legislation.

ISPs and other providers of Internet services

The legislation covers more than just "Internet service providers" or "ISPs", terms that are commonly used in relation to those who provide access to the Internet. The legislation would apply to all persons who provide an Internet service to the public. While this does include ISPs, it also includes those who provide electronic mail services, Internet content hosting services and social networking sites.

Contact Information

  • Department of Justice Canada
    Media Relations
    613-957-4207
    or
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    Pamela Stephens
    Press Secretary
    613-992-4621