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441-00253 (Media and telecommunications)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English


We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House to the following:


Vulnerable Persons (which may include: any individuals who are susceptible to mistreatment because of the individual's circumstances, as a result but not limited to the individual's age, physical or mental disability, illness, or otherwise, who cannot protect themselves from violence, abuse or neglect) may not be adequately protected on social media platforms on the Internet, and where some persons in Canada or abroad may have intentions to exploit, sexualize or otherwise harm others located in Canada;

Vulnerable Persons may be bullied, targeted, threatened, blackmailed or otherwise harassed by others on the Internet and in particular on social media platforms;

There are currently inadequate controls that exist within existing legislation to sufficiently mitigate the risk of harm to Vulnerable Persons on the Internet and on social media platforms;

Parliament recognizes that the harmful effects of unrestricted access to Vulnerable Persons on the Internet and on social media platforms may include: the creation of sexually explicit material of young persons, online bullying, the proliferation of fraud, child luring instances and long lasting mental effects for victims of these actions;

Parliament recognizes neglect of these issues may cause an increase in public health and public safety concerns;

Social media platforms on the Internet continue to introduce and provide more opportunity for harms to occur to Vulnerable Persons;

Online age-identity verification technology is increasingly sophisticated and can now effectively ascertain the age and identity of users without breaching their privacy rights;

Age-identity verification on social media platforms can significantly reduce: the creation or proliferation of child sex abuse materials, online bullying, instances of fraud and child luring; and

Social media platforms have a responsibility to control access to their platforms by Vulnerable Persons for the mitigation of harm reduction.

THEREFORE, we, the undersigned, call upon Parliament to:

1. Commit to protecting Vulnerable Persons from harm whilst using social media platforms;

2. Create, implement and enforce an Act, Statute, Legislation or Regulation to empower ISPs (internet service providers) to prevent access to social media sites or platforms that ignore or fail to implement reasonable systems to ensure the age and identity of all its users; and

3. Demand of creators of electronic device applications, social media websites or businesses to respect the citizens of Canada by encouraging appropriate restrictions, systems for verification, usage and rules of usage that reflect such regulations.

Response by the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Chris Bittle

The Government would like to thank the petitioners for expressing their concerns regarding protecting vulnerable persons online – a very important issue. The Government is committed to making the Internet a safer and more inclusive place for Canadians. As you know, the Minister of Canadian Heritage has been mandated to work with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to develop and introduce legislation as soon as possible to combat serious forms of harmful online content.

The Government is committed to getting this right. From July 29 to September 25, 2021, the Government of Canada held a public consultation on a proposed legislative and regulatory framework for harmful content online and released a What We Heard Report titled ‘The Government’s Proposed Approach to Address Harmful Content Online’ on February 3, 2022, outlining the key takeaways from the consultation. As a next step following the release of the report, the Government announced the creation of an expert advisory group to generate advice on a revised legislative and regulatory framework for harmful content online on March 30, 2022. The advisory group’s objective will be to provide the best advice to support the Government in developing legislation on online safety. Engagement with the expert group will be done in an open and transparent manner.

All Canadians should be able to express themselves online without being subject to hateful or threatening attacks. The Government will take some time to further engage with experts, stakeholders and interested parties to reframe the proposal.

Presented to the House of Commons
Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock)
March 23, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00253)
Government response tabled
May 6, 2022
Photo - Arnold Viersen
Peace River—Westlock
Conservative Caucus

176 signatures

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.