Expert: Canada’s new online harms bill 

Published: 4 March 2024

The Liberal government is proposing heavier sentences, new regulatory bodies and changes to a number of laws in new legislation to tackle online abuse. The Online Harms Act proposes to police seven categories of harmful content online. Those categories include content used to bully a child and content that encourages a child to harm themselves. They also include hate speech, content that incites violence or terrorism, content that sexualizes children or victims of sexual violence, and sexual content that is posted without consent. (CBC News

Here is an expert from McGill University who can provide comment on this topic: 
Ignacio Cofone, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law 

“The motivation and aims of the Online Harms Act are helpful. For example, the duty to act responsibly to minimize the risk of exposure to harmful content is productive in making a safer internet. The duty to make certain content inaccessible is helpful for victims of nonconsensual distribution of intimate images. But the bill should remove its criminal law provisions, as we don't have evidence that longer prison sentences lead to safer practices.” 

Ignacio Cofone is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law and the Canada Research Chair in AI Law and Data Governance. His areas of expertise include artificial intelligence policy, information privacy, and human rights. 

ignacio.cofone [at] (English, Italian, Spanish)  

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