No to Government Censorship

No to Government Censorship

Are you concerned by the federal government’s new online harms bill?


Use our letter template


And let the government know!

To: [email protected]
RE: Government’s proposed approach to address harmful content online

To the Digital Citizen Initiative.

I am responding to your request for written submissions on the proposed approach to online harms. I would like to outline some concerns I have about the proposed approach, which will be ineffective at combating online harm and instead will capture non-criminal content and limit free expression.

I support efforts to remove criminal content from the internet. But the proposed approach will not achieve this goal, and it is unbalanced because it does not reflect concern for the fundamental rights of Canadians.  

The proposed 24 hour takedown requirement will lead to platforms proactively removing non-criminal content in order to avoid massive financial penalties. This chilling effect is dangerous to free expression in Canada.

The mandatory police reporting proposal will result in the use of artificial intelligence to proactively monitor Canadian’s speech, and AI generated records are likely to include non-criminal speech. I oppose this proposal, which could result in computer generated records of non-criminal speech being proactively sent to police.

The proposal includes three new regulatory bodies, which is an enormous new bureaucratic undertaking. I oppose empowering these bodies to conduct broad inspections, including warrantless inspections of non-regulated businesses. This proposal is too broad, and may violate the right to be free from unreasonable search.

I am concerned by the proposal to allow the Digital Recourse Council to conduct secret hearings. This goes against the open court principle and basic notions of democracy. I am also opposed to the new proposed power that this regulator would have to block websites.

Instead of addressing criminal content, this proposal will drive the content underground to more obscure platforms. I am concerned that the impact of this proposal will be to silence non-criminal expression by everyday Canadians using these platforms.

Please take this plan back to the drawing board.

Yours truly,

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