Supporting Canadians to Think Critically About Online Health Information

News release

GATINEAU, April 7, 2020

Now more than ever, Canadians need reliable news and information. The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced today that the Government of Canada is investing $3 million in several organizations through the Digital Citizen Initiative’s Digital Citizen Contribution Program. This funding will help combat false and misleading COVID-19 information as well as the racism and stigmatization that are often the result.

This support will help fund activities, such as public awareness tools and online workshops, to help Canadians become more resilient and think critically about COVID-19 disinformation. Funded projects will reach Canadians on a national and local scale, online and offline, in minority communities, in both official languages and in Indigenous communities.

The following organizations are receiving immediate funding:

Upstream ($95,000)
Project: Information in the Age of COVID-19

MediaSmarts ($654,134)
Project: Critical Thinking in the Digital Age: Countering Coronavirus Misinformation

Société de l'Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick ($434,725)
Project: Portail de vérification des faits sur le COVID-19 / Fact-Checking portal on COVID-19

COVID-19 : Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec ($330,164)
Project: COVID-19 : Dépister la désinfo / COVID-19: Track the facts

Institute for Canadian Citizenship ($490,880)
Project: Supporting New Canadian Citizens: Dispelling Discriminatory Disinformation Around COVID-19

Digital Public Square ($679,176)
Project: Countering Disinformation Relating to COVID-19

Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic ($301,904)
Project: Empowering, Engaging and Equipping Canadians to Combat Anti-Asian Racism through Online Resources and Social Media: A Study to Advance Policy Development and Systemic Change

Asian Environmental Association ($64,660)
Project: Combating COVID-19 disinformation in Vancouver's Chinese and Vietnamese language communities

Quotes

“We want to remind Canadians to be careful when searching for online information about COVID-19 and to ensure the reliability of the sources. We must be critical news consumers and make informed decisions. And in the present context, there are very real concerns surrounding discrimination and a climate of hate and fear during this uncertain time. As Canadians stand together to defeat the COVID-19 virus, we must stand together to stop xenophobia, racism and misinformation.”

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Combatting false and misleading information online is critical, especially during this uncertain and challenging time. I am proud to support this important investment as part of my mandate to strengthen citizen resilience to online disinformation. These initiatives will help make sure that Canadians are better able to get the COVID-19 information they need to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their communities safe.”

—The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada

Quick facts

  • On March 13, 2020, Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Initiative launched a targeted call for proposals to support and amplify current efforts to counter COVID-19 disinformation.

  • Successful applicants will be rolling out their initiatives beginning this spring.

  • Before the last federal election, the Digital Citizen Initiative contributed $7 million over nine months to more than 20 projects that encouraged critical thinking about online disinformation and involvement in the democratic process.

  • The initiative supported new projects that raised awareness about news and digital media literacy through various sessions, workshops and learning materials. These projects reached more than 12 million Canadians.

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Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Camille Gagné-Raynauld
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
819-997-7788

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
pch.media-media.pch@canada.ca

Media Relations
Privy Council Office
mediacentre@pco-bcp.gc.ca
613-957-5420


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