Canadian Heritage funds projects to strengthen Canadians’ resilience against harmful online disinformation

News release

GATINEAU, January 11, 2023

Our democracy relies on a common set of facts, reliable sources of information, and the ability for citizens to express themselves freely. The increase in harmful content online, including misinformation and disinformation, is a threat to freedom of expression and democratic values.

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced more than $1.2 million in funding for 16 research projects that help to counter and educate about online harms, misinformation, and disinformation. These projects were selected following an annual call for proposals that was launched in July 2022 by the Digital Citizen Contribution Program (DCCP).

The DCCP is one component of Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Initiative (DCI), which promotes civic, news, and digital media literacy through funding third-party educational activities and programming to help citizens become resilient against disinformation.

Minister Rodriguez and Minister LeBlanc also announced today a new $1.5-million targeted DCCP call-for-proposals to fund projects that will raise awareness about tools and services offered by non-government organizations and online platforms and services to counter online harms against kids and more generally hate speech, incitement to violence, child sexual exploitation material, and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

More information on how to apply in the future can be found on the DCCP webpage.

A list of the funded activities, including recipients and project descriptions for the 2022 funding cohort is available in the backgrounder.

Quotes

“The rise of harmful content online, including misinformation and disinformation, is one of the most pressing issues of our time. This is why programs like the Digital Citizen Contribution Program are essential in helping fund important research to address this problem. In order to make informed decisions in our democracy, Canadians need to have access to the tools to identify disinformation and be able to express themselves freely without the fear of violence. These projects work toward achieving this goal and we will continue our work to make the Internet a safer and more inclusive space for everyone.”

—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Civic engagement increasingly takes place online, but the rise of online disinformation and harmful online content works to discourage it. Through this investment, our government is taking proactive steps to ensure that Canadians have the tools they need to counter disinformation, remain engaged in Canada’s democracy, and ensure it continues to be one of the most vibrant in the world.”

—The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Quick facts

  • The 16 funded projects will evaluate the efficacy of efforts by platforms to counter disinformation and other online harms, understand the role of non-news and alternative media sources of disinformation, or identify the behavioural and psychological underpinnings of the spread of disinformation and other harmful content in the Canadian context.

  • 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 DCCP 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 the November 2022 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada extended the DCI, announcing a total investment of $31 million over four years.

  • The special targeted call for applications will fund projects that address harmful content online by:

    • Bringing attention to tools and services offered by non-Government organizations to help Canadians recognize, report, and deal with harmful content online.
    • Raising public awareness of the tools used by social media platforms and other online services to reduce harmful content online.
  • The Government of Canada is also working to develop a legislative and regulatory framework to confront the spread of harmful content online. This new policy is expected to be tabled in early 2023.

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Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
laura.scaffidi@pch.gc.ca

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
343-574-8116
jean-sebastien.comeau@iga-aig.gc.ca

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

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