Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

May 21, 2015 09:34 ET

Minister Peter MacKay and Parliamentary Secretary Bob Dechert Discuss Measures to Address Cyberbullying With Local Middle School Students

Federal legislation now in force to help protect young Canadians from cyberbullying

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 21, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay, accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary Bob Dechert, met today with students of Philopateer Christian College to discuss the dangers of cyberbullying and to raise awareness of measures the Government has taken to help keep Canadians safe from online crime.

New legislation, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, which came into force in March, makes it a criminal offence to share an intimate image of a person without their consent. The new measures will help law enforcement officials better protect young Canadians from cyberbullying and other forms of online exploitation.

To raise awareness of the tremendous harm cyberbullying can cause, the Government also launched the anti-cyberbullying campaign Stop Hating Online in January 2014. This is a comprehensive resource for youth and parents that includes information, advice, and tools to help identify, prevent, and stop cyberbullying. In addition, the Government launched a video to demonstrate the profound impact that words can have: an interactive YouTube experience, #WordsHurt.

The Government of Canada has introduced several measures to stand up for victims of crime and help ensure the safety of all Canadians, especially those who are most vulnerable. This includes introducing Bill C-26, the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act; passing Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights Act, and bringing forward a new law to make the reporting of child pornography by Internet service providers mandatory.

Quick Facts

  • Recently enacted legislation makes it an offence to share an intimate image of a person without their consent.

  • This legislation also empowers a court to:

    • Order the removal of intimate images from the Internet;

    • Order forfeiture of the computer, cell phone or other device used in the offence;

    • Provide for reimbursement to victims for costs incurred in removing the intimate image from the Internet or elsewhere; and

    • Make an order to prevent someone from distributing intimate images.

  • The Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act provides police with the necessary tools to investigate crime and keep Canadians safe in today's high-tech environment, while maintaining judicial checks and balances to protect privacy.

Quotes

"Raising awareness on cyberbullying and its potentially devastating effects on individuals, especially youth, is critical to keeping Canadian families and communities safe. We are pleased to be at Philopateer Christian College to discuss ways of putting an end to some of the most harmful forms of cyberbullying. Through recently enacted legislation, our Government is demonstrating its commitment to the protection of our children and youth, and providing law enforcement with the tools they need to stop acts of cyberbullying and other forms of online exploitation. We will continue to take measures to make our communities safer and stand up for victims of crime."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Cyberbullying can be devastating for young people - affecting their reputations, their self-esteem and their mental health. We have seen how cyberbullying has devastated too many young people across the country. That is why our Government has taken important steps to better protect Canadians, in particular our youth, against this type of vicious behaviour."

Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary

Related Products

- Backgrounder: The Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act

- Backgrounder: Myths and Facts Bill C-13

- Fact sheet: Privacy Protection and the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act

Associated Links

- See www.canada.ca/cyberbullying for information on the Protecting Canadians Against Online Crime Act

- For more information on Bullying Awareness Week, visit www.bullyingawarenessweek.org

- To report online sexual exploitation of children and to seek help for exploitation resulting from the sharing of sexual images, visit Cybertip.ca and NeedHelpNow.ca

- For information on protecting yourself and your family against online threats, including cyberbullying, visit GetCyberSafe

Follow Department of Justice Canada on Twitter (@JusticeCanadaEn), join us on Facebook or visit our YouTube channel.

BACKGROUNDER

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act

Provisions in the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act came into force on March 10, 2015 and include:

  • Prohibiting the non-consensual distribution of intimate images;

  • Empowering a court to order the removal of non-consensual intimate images from the Internet;

  • Permitting the court to order forfeiture of the computer, cell phone or other device used in the offence;

  • Providing for reimbursement to victims for costs incurred in removing the intimate image from the Internet or elsewhere; and

  • Empowering the court to make an order to prevent someone from distributing intimate images.

Other concrete measures undertaken by the Government of Canada since 2006 to keep young Canadians safe in their communities include:

- Increasing penalties for sexual offences against children and creating two new offences aimed at conduct that could facilitate or enable a sexual offence against a child;

- Strengthening the sex offender registry;

- Increasing the maximum penalties for luring a child;

- Increasing the age of protection, also known as the age of consent to sexual activity, from 14 to 16 years;

- Enacting legislation to make the reporting of child pornography by Internet Service Providers mandatory;

- Strengthening the sentencing and monitoring of dangerous offenders;

- Investing $14.2 million a year to protect children from predators through the National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet;

- Launching, in January 2014, the anti-cyberbullying national awareness campaign, Stop Hating Online, to raise awareness among Canadians of the impact of cyberbullying and how this behaviour amounts to criminal activity. The campaign's website Canada.ca/StopHatingOnline, is a comprehensive resource for parents and youth that includes information, advice and tools needed to identify, prevent and stop cyberbullying.

- Launching the third phase of the anti-cyberbullying awareness campaign in September 2014. This phase of Stop Hating Online featured a "Consequences" advertisement on television, in cinema and online. Our Government has also launched #WordsHurt, an interactive YouTube experience that demonstrates the profound impact that words can have; and,

- Supporting the development of a number of school-based projects to prevent cyberbullying as part of $10 million in funding that was committed in 2012 toward new crime prevention projects.

Other important initiatives that the Government supports to address cyberbullying include:

- The RCMP Centre for Youth Crime Prevention, which offers resources such as fact sheets, lesson plans and interactive learning tools to youth, parents, police officers and educators on bullying and cyberbullying; and,

- The Canadian Centre for Child Protection's NeedHelpNow.ca website, which Canadians can use to report online sexual exploitation of children and seek help from exploitation resulting from the non-consensual sharing of sexual images.

Contact Information

  • Clarissa Lamb
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations Office
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207