Session One: Subjects of Regulation

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

What types of entities would be regulated under the online harms legislative and regulatory framework?


  1. Assess the viability of proportionate regulation organized by categories. The legislation could establish categories of regulated services, based on the variability of user base, content volume, and risk of harmful content across these services. Each category would have its own set of regulatory obligations that the services would need to fulfill.
    1. Specifically, evaluate if there should be a separate category for adult content services. Adult content services pose a heightened risk for child sexual exploitation material and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images or media. These services could be filtered into their own category, which could have separate or additional obligations placed on their services.
  2. Determine the range of services to exclude from the framework. Excluded services would be those that the framework does not intend to regulate, and for which it would seek to pre-empt any confusion about their being within the scope of the framework. They would include Telecommunications Service Providers, the core infrastructure of the internet (e.g., Domain Name Server providers) and private communications.

Starting Points

Overview of Proposed Approach

Supporting questions for discussion

  1. Assess the viability of proportionate regulations organized by categories.
    1. Should there be different types of regulatory obligations on categories of online communication service providers or categories of services based on the size and risk of harm on their platforms?
      1. Should the relative maturity or development of a service or platform (e.g., a more recent service like TikTok versus a longer-standing service like Facebook) factor into how an entity is scoped into regulation?
      2. Should platforms’ nature, design attributes, and overall risk of harm be considered when creating categories and imposing obligations, regardless of their size?
    2. How many graduated categories should there be and what parameters would differentiate each category?
    3. How should services that include both public and private communications services be scoped in?
    4. Should adult content services have their own category with additional obligations imposed on these services?
  2. Determine the range of services to exclude from the framework.
    1. What parameters should be laid out in legislation or regulation to exclude a service from regulatory obligations?

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