The Government of Canada Releases What We Heard: The Government’s Proposed Approach to Address Harmful Content Online
GATINEAU, February 3, 2022
The internet and online platforms help us stay connected, share information with one another and stay informed on important issues. That is why, now more than ever, we need to ensure that Canadians can share information and communicate with one another online in a safe and respectful space, free from harm. We need to take action to stop the spread of harmful content.
From July 29 to September 25, 2021, Canadian Heritage consulted with Canadians, social media platforms, stakeholders, industry, academia, civil society and others to explore the issues and challenges in developing a legislative and regulatory framework to manage the proliferation of harmful content online.
Today, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, released the report What We Heard: The Government’s proposed approach to address harmful content online.
The report highlights that the overwhelming majority of respondents agree the Government of Canada needs to take action to confront harmful content. However, respondents raised concerns around the complexity of this issue and warned about unintended consequences if a thoughtful approach is not taken. In the coming weeks, the Department of Canadian Heritage will engage a group of experts whose mandate will be to collaborate with stakeholders and Canadians, in order to provide the Government with advice on how to adjust the proposal. This work will be carried out in a transparent and expedited manner, and the Minister will propose a revised framework as soon as possible. The Government of Canada is committed to getting this right and to doing so as quickly as possible.
“We are committed to ensuring that online platforms provide safe and respectful experiences for Canadians to engage and share information with one another. This is a very important and complex issue. I want to thank everyone who participated in this consultation and provided their input on the proposed framework. We will continue to engage stakeholders and Canadians in order to get this right.”
—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage
“Canadians expect that their government will protect them from harmful content online. The consultation held over the summer was an important step toward creating a safer and more inclusive online environment for all Canadians. The report being released today will help us develop a new framework for addressing harmful content online, while respecting freedom of expression in a free and democratic society.”
—The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Harmful content online is a real concern for Canadians, and it’s imperative that the government works with online platforms to eliminate such content and help keep Canadians safe both online and off. We’re going to push forward with this important work and take meaningful action to protect Canadians while also protecting our fundamental freedoms.”
—The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
Harmful content, such as hate speech, sexual exploitation of children and incitement to violence, is published online every day. There are no broad regulatory requirements in Canada that apply to platforms regarding their responsibilities in relation to such content.
As outlined in the 2021 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada is committed to fighting harmful content online by working toward a more equitable and safer Internet.
On July 29, 2021, the Government of Canada launched a public consultation seeking Canadians’ views on a detailed technical discussion paper that outlined a proposal for regulating online platforms and combating certain types of harmful content online.
The release of What We Heard: The Government’s proposed approach to address harmful content online is based on 422 unique responses and 8,796 individual submissions. This is an important step in identifying gaps in order to develop a legislative and regulatory framework to address the issue of harmful content online in the near future.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
- Date modified: