Session Eight: Disinformation

What is a Worksheet?

Each advisory group session will be supported by a worksheet, like this one, made available to the group in advance of each session. The goal of these worksheets is to support the discussion and organize feedback and input received. These worksheets will be made public after each session.

Each worksheet will have a set of questions for which the group members will be asked to submit written responses to. A non-attributed summary of these submissions will be published weekly to help conduct the work in a transparent manner.

The proposed approach in each worksheet represents the Government’s preliminary ideas on a certain topic, based on feedback received during the July-September 2021 consultation. It is meant to be a tool to help discussion. The ideas and language shared are intended to represent a starting point for reaction and feedback. The advice received from these consultations will help the Government design an effective and proportionate legislative and regulatory framework for addressing harmful content online. Neither the group’s advice nor the preliminary views expressed in the worksheets constitute the final views of the Department of Canadian Heritage nor the Government of Canada.

Discussion Topic

Should the Government’s legislative and regulatory framework for harmful content online address disinformation?


  1. Obtain views on the Government’s role in addressing disinformation. Disinformation is a growing and serious concern. Like other online harms, it is driven and exacerbated by new digital technologies. But it is different from other forms of harmful content online partly because of the way in which it implicates freedom of expression. Disinformation cannot likely be addressed in the same way as other online harms.
  2. Explore new ways to address and mitigate the effects of disinformation. There is a range of possible responses to disinformation, including legislation and regulation, programs, policy, funding, convening, strategic communications and norm-setting.

Starting Points

Overview of Proposed Approach

Supporting questions for discussion

  1. Obtain views on the Government’s role in addressing disinformation
    1. Is there a role for the Government to play in helping Canadians manage the effects of disinformation in their lives? Is there a legislative response? If not in legislation, how else might the Government respond to disinformation?
    2. How could the Government define disinformation in a legislative context?
      1. If a required element of a definition is a potential for harm, to what extent would legislation need to define harm?
      2. How might a definition for online disinformation handle the challenge of assessing intent in the digital space?
      3. Should a legislative definition of disinformation include things like phishing scams, fraud or leaks?
  2. Explore new ways to address and mitigate the effects of disinformation.
    1. What are the policy benefits of including disinformation in its legislative framework to address harmful content online? What are the risks of excluding it?
    2. Is the principle of “falsehood” that is characteristic of disinformation too subjective or undeterminable to be placed in legislation?
    3. How would the benefits of transparency and reporting requirements on disinformation outweigh the potential risks to privacy and freedom of expression, if at all?
    4. What measures other than transparency and reporting for disinformation could be considered regarding additional regulatory obligations related to disinformation?

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