Canada to introduce a new law aimed at tackling online bullying
The federal government is planning to introduce legislation that would make it a crime to use a look-alike or impersonate someone online to harass, threaten or harm another person.
The Criminal Code Act would make online harassment a criminal offence and anyone found guilty would face up to two years in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The move was made in a budget speech on Tuesday, days before the annual Parliament resumes.
The government is proposing changes to the Criminal Code that will make it an offence to impersonate a person who is a public servant, employee, minister or member of the public.
This could include the impersonation of a federal minister, a federal parliamentary secretary or a federal official who is not a minister or official.
Anyone who violates the law could be fined up to $2.50, jailed for up to one year or both.
The proposed legislation is not expected to be passed by Parliament before the summer, but the measures will give Canadians more time to react to online bullying.
The bill would also create a new offence of threatening to harass or harm an individual online.
The Harper government’s move is aimed at addressing the growing online bullying problem, and it comes as online services have been grappling with a surge in cyberbullying.
According to a report by the University of Ottawa, the number of online attacks on Canadian institutions has tripled in the past year, and online harassment has tripled, from just under 1,000 attacks in 2015 to nearly 11,000 in 2017.
According the report, the increase in attacks has also coincided with a steep rise in threats to universities.
The Liberals’ plan to tackle online harassment was a major theme of the 2016 federal election campaign, with the Conservatives promising a “law to protect Canadians from online bullying” in their platform.
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to make changes to federal legislation to tackle cyberbulling, which included measures aimed at cracking down on people using “fake identities.”
While the Liberals’ bill is unlikely to pass in its current form, the measures announced by the federal government on Tuesday would make Canada one of the first jurisdictions in the world to implement a law that will criminalize the use of look-a-like or impersonation to harass others online.
While it is unclear how many people will face criminal charges under the new legislation, experts said it is an important step.
“This is a first step towards making Canada a world leader in tackling online harassment,” said Daniel Turek, a professor of cybercrime law at Queen’s University.
“It would make Canadian law the world’s first that criminalizes online harassment.”
While some cyberbullies will probably avoid the new laws, experts believe that they will become a more common occurrence.
“The potential impact of this will be to make the problem worse and more prevalent,” said Richard Lutz, a senior lecturer in the department of cyberlaw at the University at Buffalo.
“If you’re trying to prevent it, you need to do more to deal with it.”
In the U.S., for example, the U,S.
Department of Justice has a list of online harassment and hate crimes, and the Department of Homeland Security has an online hate crimes report that includes incidents from Canada.
The U.K. has also adopted legislation similar to Canada’s, but its online hate crime report does not include Canada’s laws.
Canada has been criticized for not taking action on cyberbullishing, and its legislation has been criticised for failing to take the issue seriously.
“We’re trying our best,” Trudeau said on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to say that we’ve done a great job of responding, but we’ve taken a lot of steps, particularly online.
We’ve got a lot more work to do, but I’m very encouraged that we’re making progress.”
Tureke believes that Canada has a much more aggressive approach to tackling online cyberbulliness than the U., U.J.S. and U. K. “Canada has been pretty quiet, but Canada has done a lot,” he said.
“You have to take action.
This is a good first step.”
The Harper Liberal government has already announced changes to its legislation.
Earlier this month, the government announced that it would introduce a bill that would criminalize acts that threaten the safety or security of the Canadian public.
The Conservatives also announced on Tuesday that they would introduce legislation to make it easier for Canadians to report online harassment.
“Internet harassment is a real and growing problem that we must combat,” Liberal MP David McGuinty said in a statement on Tuesday night.
“A number of our communities have experienced cyber bullying in the last few years and these efforts will continue to address these challenges.”