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Canada Mulls New Regulator for Online Harmful Content, Justice Minister Plays Coy

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Sakchi Khandelwal
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Canada Mulls New Regulator for Online Harmful Content, Justice Minister Plays Coy

Canada's Justice Minister, Arif Virani, has remained guarded on the matter of whether the federal government is contemplating the inception of a new regulator. This entity would be charged with holding online platforms accountable for safeguarding users from harmful content. The responsibility for drafting the proposed legislation has shifted from the Canadian Heritage Department to the Justice Department after a cabinet reshuffle in July.

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(Read Also: Canada’s GDP Contracts 1.1% in Q3: Unraveling the Causes and Implications)

Government's Stance on Online Accountability

Virani's statement comes in response to a letter published recently, urging the federal government to swiftly introduce a bill to address 'harms posed by digital platforms.' The letter pointedly highlights the risks faced by Canadian children, who are increasingly exposed to severe privacy breaches, harassment, extortion, and cyberbullying on daily use platforms. However, Virani refrained from divulging specific details about whether the establishment of a new regulator is under consideration.

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Proposed Legislation and its Implications

The anticipated legislation, formerly known as Bill C-11, is slated to modernize federal law. This would mandate digital platforms to contribute to and promote Canadian content. Experts believe that the proposed law could empower a regulator with the authority to investigate and audit online platforms, command remedial measures, and impose penalties.

(Read Also: Public Opposition Challenges Bank of Canada’s Digital Currency Initiative)

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International Best Practices and Collaboration

In his address, Virani emphasized that the government is extensively reviewing consultations and studying how other countries have tackled similar issues. He also mentioned that the government is working closely with online companies and examining best practices from around the world in a bid to frame effective and comprehensive legislation.

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