Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

March 03, 2011 17:02 ET

Parliament Passes Legislation to Protect Children From Online Sexual Exploitation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 3, 2011) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today welcomed the passage by Parliament of Bill C-22, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service. The legislation will help protect children from online sexual exploitation.

"The creation and distribution of child pornography is an unspeakable crime which will not be tolerated in Canada," said Minister Nicholson. "Our legislation will assist police in tracking down Internet sexual predators, and rescuing children from sexual exploitation."

In September 2008, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial ministers responsible for Justice agreed that Canada's response to child pornography could be enhanced by federal legislation establishing mandatory reporting of online child pornography by providers of Internet services.

Bill C-22 applies to suppliers of Internet services to the public, including those who provide electronic mail services, Internet content hosting services, and social networking sites. It requires 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 the legislation will constitute an offence punishable by graduated fines. For individuals (sole proprietorships), the maximum penalty is a fine of $1,000 for a first offence; $5,000 for a second offence; and for third and subsequent offences $10,000 or six months imprisonment, or both. For corporations and other entities, the maximum fines are $10,000 for a first offence; $50,000 for a second offence; and $100,000 for third and subsequent offences.

"We all have a role to play in the protection of children from sexual predators," said Minister Nicholson. "This legislation will improve the collaboration between internet service providers and police to better protect children from online sexual exploitation."

An online version of the legislation is available at www.parl.gc.ca

Internet: www.canada.justice.gc.ca  

(Version française disponible)

Backgrounder: Protecting children from online sexual exploitation

Bill C-22, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, enhances Canada's capacity to protect children against sexual exploitation by making it mandatory for those who supply an Internet service to report online child pornography. The legislation helps safeguard children by improving law enforcement's ability to detect offences and reduce the availability of child pornography on the Internet. In September 2008, Federal/Provincial/Territorial ministers responsible for Justice agreed that Canada's response to child pornography could be enhanced by federal legislation.

Under the new legislation, suppliers of Internet services are required to:

  • report, to a designated agency, tips that they might 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.

The legislation was carefully tailored to achieve its objectives while minimizing the impact on the privacy of Canadians. Suppliers of Internet services are not required to send personal subscriber information under this statute. The legislation was also tailored to limit access to child pornography and avoid creating new consumers of this type of material. Hence, nothing in this legislation requires or authorizes a person to seek out child pornography.

Failure to comply with the duties under this legislation would constitute an offence punishable by summary conviction with a graduated penalty scheme. For individuals (sole proprietorships), the maximum penalty is a fine of $1,000 for a first offence; $5,000 for a second offence; and for third and subsequent offences $10,000 or six months imprisonment, or both. For corporations and other entities, maximum fines are $10,000 for a first offence; $50,000 for a second offence; and $100,000 for third and subsequent offences.

Child Pornography

Child pornography constitutes a serious form of child sexual exploitation. Not only are individual children abused and exploited in the making and viewing of child pornography, but the supply of and continuing demand for child pornography exploits and endangers all children by portraying them as objects for sexual gratification.

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.

ISPs and other providers of Internet services

The new 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 applies 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

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