Government of Canada working with Civil Society to Strengthen Defences against Online Disinformation

News release

Ottawa, Ontario, June 7, 2023  Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, announced further details regarding a $5.5 million investment to create the Canadian Digital Media Research Network (CDMRN).

The CDMRN will further strengthen Canadians’ information resilience by researching how quality of information, including disinformation narratives, impacts Canadians’ attitudes and behaviours and by supporting strategies for Canadians’ digital literacy.

In Canada, and around the world, democracy faces a growing threat from those seeking to weaken and undermine citizens’ trust in their institutions. The increasing presence of disinformation is driving the need to better understand the scale and scope of the challenge and identify appropriate responses.

The Media Ecosystem Observatory, a research initiative led by McGill University and the University of Toronto, will independently administer the CDMRN.

This initiative complements a series of measures announced by the Prime Minister on March 6, 2023 to combat the threat posed by foreign interference.

These efforts also build on the Government of Canada’s Plan to Protect Canada’s Democracy, which aims to enhance digital literacy, combat foreign interference, and safeguard our elections.

The work to protect Canada’s democratic processes and institutions requires a collaborative effort. Together, we will keep our democracy strong.


“The work being done by civil society organizations and academia to enhance Canadians’ digital literacy is key to ensuring our democracy remains one of the strongest in the world. Our government’s investment in the Canadian Digital Media Research Network will enable them to broaden the scope of their research and ensure more Canadians can benefit from their findings. By working together, we will be more effective at addressing the challenge posed by disinformation.”
– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

“Combatting misinformation and disinformation is one of the most pressing issues of our time. We might not all agree or have the same views, but we should all be working from the same set of facts. This is why we launched the Digital Citizen Initiative. The founding principle of the Digital Citizen Initiative is that the best defense against misinformation and disinformation is an informed and resilient population. We’re proud to collaborate with institutions like McGill University and the University of Toronto as we work to achieve this goal.”
– The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant

“The lives of Canadians are increasingly shaped by digital technologies. We are moving our politics, our economy, our relationships and our democratic engagement online, right at a time when the reliability of information flowing through our digital world is being eroded. It is therefore imperative that we better understand how our information ecosystem functions, how we as citizens share and consume online, and how the structure of our online world shapes our society. This is all the more urgent when faced with the growing threat of foreign interference in our democracy. We are thrilled that the Government of Canada has prioritized building a national community of researchers to help Canadians better understand and navigate their digital lives and strengthen our democracy.”
– Taylor Owen, McGill University

“There is a deeply imperfect understanding of how Canadians are responding to what they read, watch, and interact with online. The CDMRN is set up to produce a world-class research on the behaviours, attitudes, and desires of Canadians. That research should be seen as table stakes to effectively support Canadians in their use of digital media and to help Canadian governments respond in an informed and evidence-based way.”
– Peter Loewen, University of Toronto

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Digital Media Research Network (CDMRN) is receiving $5.5 million over three years: $1.5 million in 2022-23 and $2 million in 2023-24 and 2024-25.

  • In addition to further equipping academia and civil society with resources to increase awareness on how social media platforms operate, the CDMRN will:

    • produce and support the production of research into the dynamics of Canada’s information ecosystem and how this information affects Canadians’ attitudes and behaviours;
    • inform Canadians about the quality of information in the information ecosystem, including disinformation narratives; and
    • develop and support the implementation of broader strategies to build Canadians’ information resilience and digital literacy. 
  • The CDMRN is funded through the Digital Citizen Initiative, which was launched in 2019. The CDMRN will complement the new and immediate measures announced by the Prime Minister on March 6, 2023.

  • The government has a plan to protect Canada’s democracy and measures are being updated to meet constantly-evolving threats. These measures include the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol (CEIPP), the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force, the Digital Citizen Initiative, the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism and the Canada Declaration on Election Integrity Online.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Privy Council Office

Canadian Digital Media Research Network (CDMRN)

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