Canada is stepping up its regulation of online services, partly to keep pace with regulatory reform in other countries. The following are three active areas for reform.
- Amending the Broadcasting Act to regulate online services – including social media services where they upload AV and audio programs – as “broadcasting undertakings”.
- The government’s primary objective is to “level the playing field” between regulated broadcasters, and online services that have been formally exempt from almost all regulation since 1999.
- Canada is watching and following Australia, France, and other countries as models for reform.
Bill C-10: Canadian Heritage summary
- Amending the Copyright Act to adjust online services’ safe harbour protections, and corresponding obligations to act when their platforms are used for infringing content.
- The government’s objective is to re-balance various rights – copyright, users’ rights, freedom of expression, and privacy – without impeding “a flourishing digital market”.
- Canada is watching the US (consultation phase) and the EU (Directive already in place) on these issues.
Government Consultation (closed May 2021)
Online Harmful Content
- Amending the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to impose a new framework for social media platforms and other online services with respect to hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech.
- Bill C-36 was introduced in June to make communicating hate speech online a new form of human rights discrimination, and to add a new Criminal Code definition of “hatred”.
Bill C-36: at First Reading as of June 23, 2021
Bill C-36: Government press release
- The Government called for written submissions on its proposed approach to make social media platforms and other online services more accountable and transparent when it comes to combating harmful content online.
Government Consultation on how to regulate online services (closes September 25, 2021)