Projects launched to help strengthen Canadians’ resilience against harmful online disinformation
GATINEAU, July 21, 2022
Credible information is fundamental to a healthy democracy and a strong society. Canadians should have access to diverse and reliable sources of information so that they can form opinions; hold governments, public institutions, and individuals to account; and participate in public discourse.
The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, today announced over $2.4 million in funding for projects that will give Canadians the tools to identify online disinformation, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine.
Today’s announcement is the result of a special call for proposals launched in March 2022. These projects are citizen-focused activities and funded under Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Initiative (DCI). The Initiative promotes civic, news, and digital media literacy through funding third-party educational activities and programming to help citizens become resilient against disinformation.
Projects will create educational workshops, podcast documentaries, and learning materials for new educational resources, focused on countering Russian disinformation.
We are also announcing the annual call for proposals for the Digital Citizen Contribution Program. Applicants are encouraged to submit research proposals that focus on countering online disinformation and other online harms and threats. Funds received through this open call for proposals are for fiscal year 2022–23 and must be spent by March 31, 2023. The application deadline for this call for proposals is August 18, 2022.
Details on how to apply can be found on the DCCP webpage.
Investing in these projects will help Canadians critically assess what they see online; understand misinformation and disinformation; understand how algorithms impact a user’s online experience; recognize how and when bad actors exploit online platforms; acquire skills to avoid being manipulated online; and effectively engage in public debate and online discussions.
A list of the funded activities, including recipients, funding amounts and project descriptions, is available in the attached backgrounder.
“The best defence against Russian disinformation is Canadian citizens armed with facts. These projects will give Canadians skills and tools to tell fact from fiction online. We live and work better as a society when we have a common set of facts.”
—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage
“In Canada and around the world, democracies are contending with malicious actors seeking to weaken our institutions and undermine citizens’ trust in their government. Working with civil society, this program will give Canadians the tools they need to identify disinformation and strengthen our democracy.”
—The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
The Digital Citizen Initiative supports a community of Canadian researchers and civil society organizations that promote a healthy information ecosystem, to help Canadians and the government understand online disinformation and its impact on Canadian society, and in turn build an evidence base to identify potential action and develop future policy making.
The Digital Citizen Contribution Program supports the priorities of the DCI by providing financial assistance for research and citizen-focused activities. The Program aims to support democracy and social cohesion in Canada by enhancing and/or supporting efforts to counter online disinformation and other online harms and threats.
In Budget 2019, the Government of Canada invested $19.4 million to expand Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Initiative to create a new research program that supporting stronger evidence-based policy making in the countering of disinformation and other online harms in a Canadian context. Research is implemented through three main activities:
- a new Digital Citizen Contribution Program
- a joint initiative with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
- support to the Public Policy Forum’s Digital Democracy Project
The Initiative also supports digital media literacy and complements the multi-stakeholder International Engagement Strategy that developed guiding principles for the diversity of content online.
Through investing in digital citizen initiatives, the Government of Canada can help understand and mitigate the impact of online disinformation on Canadian society.
The Government of Canada is also working to develop a legislative and regulatory framework to confront the spread of harmful content online and has tasked an Expert Advisory Group on Online Safety to provide recommendations for the development of future policy.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
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