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Results: 1 - 15 of 17
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Just from your experience, and learning from cases of fraud, we know that some of them may have my social insurance number. They may have my email address, as well as my civic address. It could be a very convincing case for them to pretend that they're either a government official or from some type of financial institution. What would you advise Canadians on the best way to protect themselves?
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Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:36
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With any mass fraud campaign, whether it be tied to an instance like this or just in general, people need to have a strong sense of skepticism and take action to protect themselves. There are many resources under the Government of Canada, with such organizations as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Get Cyber Safe, that provide a list of advice for Canadians. It simply comes down to protecting your information and having a good sense of doubt when somebody is calling you. If it's a bank calling, call your local branch and use your local number. Don't respond to the number they provide and don't immediately call back the number they provide. Go with your trusted sources to validate any questions that are coming in.
I have experienced calls similar to yours. I had a very convincing call from my own bank. I contacted my bank and they gave me the advice that it was not legitimate. It was interesting, because in the end it turned out to be legitimate, but we all felt very safe in the fact that the appropriate steps were taken. I would rather risk not getting a service than compromising my identity or my financial information.
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Elise Boisjoly
View Elise Boisjoly Profile
Elise Boisjoly
2019-07-15 14:48
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
My name is Elise Boisjoly, and I am the assistant deputy minister of the integrity services branch at Employment and Social Development Canada. I am joined by Anik Dupont, who is responsible for the social insurance number program.
Thank you for the opportunity to join you today. My remarks will focus on the social insurance number, or SIN, program. Specifically, I will clarify what the social insurance number is and provide information on its issuance and use; inform the committee on privacy protection related to the SIN; and provide information on our approach in the case of data breach.
What is the SIN? The SIN is a file identifier used by the Government of Canada to coordinate the administration of federal benefits and services and the revenue system. The SIN is required for every person working in insurable or pensionable employment in Canada and to file income tax returns.
It is issued prior to your first job, when you first arrive in Canada or even at birth. During the last fiscal year, over 1.6 million SINs were issued.
The SIN is used, among other things, to deliver over $120 billion in benefits and collect over $300 billion in taxes. It facilitates information sharing to enable the provision of benefits and services to Canadians throughout their life such as child care benefits, student loans, employment insurance, pensions and even death benefits. As such, the SIN is assigned to an individual for life.
The SIN is not a national identifier and cannot be used to obtain identification. In fact, it is not even used by all programs and services within the federal government; only a certain number use it. The SIN alone is never sufficient to access a government program or benefit or to obtain credit or services in the private sector. Additional information is always required.
While data breaches are becoming increasingly commonplace, the Government of Canada follows strong and established procedures to protect the personal information of individuals. My colleague mentioned the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which is being administered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. They provide the legal framework for the collection, retention, use, disclosure and disposition of personal information in the administration of programs by government institutions and the private sector, respectively.
As my colleague mentioned, on November 1, 2018, a new amendment to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act came into force, which requires organizations that experience a data breach and that have reason to believe there's a real risk of significant harm to notify the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the affected individuals and associated organizations as soon as it's feasible. Violating this provision may result in a fine of up to $100,000 per offence.
At Employment and Social Development Canada, we have internal monitoring strategies, privacy policies, directives and information tools for privacy management, as well as a departmental code of conduct and mandatory training for employees on protecting personal information. We believe that any security breach affecting social insurance numbers is very serious and, in fact, we ourselves are not immune to such a situation. For example, in 2012, the personal information of Canada student loan borrowers was potentially compromised. The breach was a catalyst for further improvements to information management practices within the department.
Preventing social insurance number fraud starts with education and awareness. This is why our website and communication materials include information that can help Canadians better understand the steps they should take to protect their social insurance numbers. Canadians can visit the department websites, call us or visit us at one of our Service Canada centres to learn how best to protect themselves. It is important to note that protecting the information of Canadians is a shared responsibility among the government, the private sector and individuals. We strongly discourage Canadians from giving out their social insurance numbers unless they are sure that doing so is legally required or necessary. Canadians should also actively monitor their financial information, including by contacting Canada's credit bureau.
A loss of a social insurance number does not necessarily mean that a fraud has occurred or will occur.
However, should Canadians notice any fraudulent activity related to their social insurance number, they must act quickly to minimize the potential impact by reporting any incidents to the police, contacting the Privacy Commissioner and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and informing Service Canada. In cases where there is evidence of the social insurance number being used for fraudulent purposes, Service Canada works closely with those affected.
Despite ever larger data breaches, the number of Canadians who have had their social insurance number replaced by Service Canada due to fraud has remained consistent at approximately 60 per year since 2014.
That being said, we understand that many Canadians have signed a petition asking Service Canada to issue new social insurance numbers for those impacted by this data breach. The main reason we do not automatically issue a new social insurance number in these circumstances is simple: getting a new social insurance number will not protect individuals from fraud. The former social insurance number continues to exist and is linked to the individual. If a fraudster uses someone else's former social insurance number and their identity is not fully verified, credit lenders may still ask the victim of fraud to pay the debts.
In addition, it would be the individual's responsibility to provide their new social insurance number to each of their financial institutions, creditors, pension providers, employers—current and past—and any other organizations. Failing to properly do so could put individuals at risk of not receiving benefits or leave the door open to subsequent fraud or identity theft.
It would also mean doubling the monitoring. Individuals would still need to monitor their accounts and credit reports for both social insurance numbers on a regular and ongoing basis. Having multiple social insurance numbers increases the risk of potential fraud.
Active monitoring through credit bureaus as well as regular reviewing of banking and credit card statements remain the best protection against fraud.
In closing, protecting the integrity of the social insurance number is critical to us, and I can assure you that we will continue to take all necessary action to do so, including reading this committee's report and considering advice from this committee and others on how to best improve.
Thank you for your time. I'd be happy to answer your questions.
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View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ruby Sahota Profile
2019-02-20 16:39
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We've had those conversations, as well, when it comes to private companies. Many people are not revealing the breaches that are occurring due to public scrutiny or shame.
When it comes to our democratic institutions, do you think we should be trying, through the Five Eyes at least and through other democracies, to work together in order to lessen the potential threats, and how so?
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Jill Slay
View Jill Slay Profile
Jill Slay
2019-02-20 16:39
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We should be and I think we are. There is probably a lack of under-reporting publicly, but I'm pretty sure that within international organizations, within governments, there is also a lot of sharing. My experience is that there is a lot of sharing, whether it's law enforcement or whoever. I don't think we're necessarily constrained by those things.
It might be smaller companies that don't want to acknowledge they have been breached. However, particularly in Australia, there is more of an openness now to talk about it, particularly since before Christmas, the government, Alastair MacGibbon, the deputy secretary, the prime minister's adviser, did made it very clear that many companies have been breached, and there is more openness, more willingness to accept that because there's just so much of it.
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Kimberly Taplin
View Kimberly Taplin Profile
Kimberly Taplin
2016-09-26 15:30
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Madam Chair, members of the committee, let me first thank you for inviting the RCMP to appear at your committee meeting today.
My name is Inspector Kim Taplin, and I'm the director of the RCMP's national aboriginal policing and crime prevention services. I am joined today by Inspector Peter Payne, and it's Peter's mandate as the officer in charge of the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre to reduce the vulnerability of children to Internet-facilitated sexual exploitation by identifying victimized children, to investigate and assist in the prosecution of sexual offenders, and to strengthen the capacity of municipal, territorial, provincial, federal, and international police agencies through training, research, and investigative support.
Youth is a strategic priority of the RCMP, and we are ever mindful of the rapidly evolving role the Internet and technology play in the daily lives of Canadian youth. Recognizing that education and prevention are key to eliminating exploitation and violence, I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the range of important cybercrime prevention programs and initiatives that the RCMP supports through the RCMP national youth services Centre for Youth Crime Prevention.
The Centre for Youth Crime Prevention is the RCMP's main online, youth-related hub providing support for persons working with youth, as well as youth themselves, parents, and front-line police officers. The website contains a variety of tools and resources to effectively engage youth on crime and victimization issues, and highlights the four main youth priority issues of the RCMP national youth strategy. These are bullying and cyber-bullying, intimate partner violence, drugs and alcohol abuse, and youth radicalization to violence.
These priority issues were identified after we analyzed annual youth crime statistics, reviewed detachment performance plans and priorities, consulted with our partners, conducted a scan of high-profile media stories involving youth, and, most importantly, consulted with youth themselves.
For each of the priority issues, lesson plans, presentations, fact sheets, self-assessments, videos, and interactive games are developed. They are created using youth-appropriate language and are designed to attract the attention of youth.
The RCMP works closely with its partners to ensure that the information shared is accurate and reflective of the current social environment. Each year, several social media campaigns aimed at youth audiences are delivered. These campaigns are designed to provide education and awareness, and to empower youth to take action in their communities.
With respect to cyber-violence, offences of cyber-violence include a range of sophisticated crimes that exploit technology through computer networks, such as cyber-bullying and online child sexual exploitation. As people increasingly live their lives connected to the web, this greater connectivity has allowed for greater anonymity, increased opportunities to engage in risky online behaviours, and decreased accountability. The Internet, an expanding technological innovation, puts children at greater risk as it often lowers inhibitions online and provides offenders greater access to unsupervised children.
To give you some idea of scale, in 2015, the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre received 14,951 complaints, reports, and requests for assistance—a 146% increase since 2011. As of September of this year, the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre had already received over 19,000 reports.
Compounding the ever-increasing volume of reports, is the challenge to law enforcement of increasing technological sophistication among offenders. Offenders are often one step ahead when it comes to technology, as they use encryption and anonymization techniques, for example. Using these tools, offenders can often evade police more successfully, significantly complicating investigations.
The Centre for Youth Crime Prevention approaches cyber-violence by focusing on providing education and awareness of cyber-bullying, and promoting the development of positive and healthy relationships. As I previously mentioned, the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention leads and supports several social media campaigns annually.
This past February, the RCMP partnered with the Canadian Women's Foundation to support the #HealthyLove campaign. This month-long social media campaign encouraged young people to publicly recognize one of the 14 principles of a healthy relationship. These included, for example: I will share my feelings; I will be truthful; I will be open to compromise. This campaign promotes the idea that healthy relationships should always be free of violence. In addition to #HealthyLove, a public service announcement with NHL hockey player Jordin Tootoo was recently released, encouraging young men and boys to end violence against women.
The RCMP also currently runs a campaign called BullyText. Launched during last year's Bullying Awareness Week, BullyText is a tool to engage youth using text messaging. The tool features a variety of bullying scenarios. The choices youth make while texting on a cellphone determine how the scenarios play out with their friends and others in the game. By simply texting the word “BULLY” to 38383, one can launch the tool. To date, it has been used by teachers, police officers, and others working with youth. If there is time afterward, and you would like, I can you walk you through this game.
One of the main goals of the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention is to reach youth in classrooms, grabbing their attention while they are in a learning environment. Since our school resource officers are often asked to do presentations to classrooms on a variety of youth-related topics, the RCMPTalks initiative was developed. RCMPTalks is a series of 90-minute live and interactive video conferences that offer advice and guidance on important issues, such as bullying, cyber-bullying, and healthy relationships. Each conversation allows students from up to six different classrooms across Canada to participate. Students are encouraged to interact with one another via a secure virtual classroom and on social media. A motivational speaker leads the conversation with his or her personal story, and empowers student to take action and stand up to the issues at hand. To date, we've hosted six RCMPTalks sessions.
One of the main strengths of the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention is a vast network of subject-matter experts and partnership organizations with which it is connected. The RCMP works very closely with a variety of organizations whose mandates focus on youth-related issues, including violence toward women and girls. These valuable connections assist us in delivering evidence-based products and services. Due to the impressive connections we have developed over the years, we are able to maintain the Ask an Expert tool on our website. Ask an Expert provides the opportunity to ask a police officer or a person in a police-related role questions on youth crime and victimization issues anonymously, via email. Though Ask an Expert is not a reporting tool, we do connect youth who have victimization concerns to their local police department or RCMP detachment, and encourage them to speak to agencies like Kids Help Phone or to report child exploitation concerns to Cybertip.ca.
With all the activities that are delivered by the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention, we recognize that it is valuable to hear the youth perspective. Since 2010, the RCMP national youth advisory committee, composed of youth from across Canada between the ages of 13 and 18, has provided us with insight into what youth are thinking and feeling on issues they are facing, including those of cyber-violence and intimate-partner violence. Connected via a private Facebook group, youth are engaged on a bi-weekly basis to provide their thoughts on activities, projects, and ideas of the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention. The responses feed into our national youth strategy, as well as other RCMP policies, programs, and procedures that may impact youth. On a quarterly basis, we publish an internal “Youth Trends Report”. The “Youth Trends Report” is a collection of open-source information of the most up-to-date trends that youth are engaging in. This may include the latest smartphone apps, popular online lingo, or the coolest movies, songs, or videos that are influencing youth.
Thank you once again for inviting me to speak today, and I welcome any questions you may have.
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Shanly Dixon
View Shanly Dixon Profile
Shanly Dixon
2016-09-26 15:40
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Thank you so much for inviting me to speak today. It's really an honour to be here with you.
One of the basic things we do at the Cyber-violence Prevention Project is to try to get schools and institutions to define cyber-violence, and to implement a policy with clear procedures and processes in place, as well as resources. When we try to get people to name cyber-violence and put it into their anti-harassment policies or student handbooks, and so on, we often hear “Well, it happened online, so it's not really real” or “It didn't happen on campus, so it's not our problem.” We need to begin with the acknowledgement that cyber-violence directed at girls and young women is inextricably linked to off-line violence.
For many of us today, and particularly for youth, there's no divide between online and off-line. Virtual spaces pervade every aspect of life as we are continuously connected to the Internet, to our online communities, and to each other. As a result, the physical, psychological, emotional, and financial consequences of an online experience can be profound. They are experienced both online and off-line. In relation to this, online violence normalizes off-line violence. Being immersed in a digital culture that portrays sexualized violence, misogyny, the objectification of women, hypersexualization of girls, and discrimination against LGBT-plus and gender-nonconforming people as normal, as entertainment, or even as humour makes those representations or beliefs seem mainstream, palatable, or even acceptable in off-line environments.
The online environments and communities we interact in are important, and they have profound implications for our off-line lives. Defining cyber-violence and policy may seem like such a basic thing, but just having that definition in a student handbook or a policy allows women to use it as a tool to get help and to say “This is happening to me. It's not acceptable. I need help to address it.”
As technology becomes more pervasive in our everyday lives, and as designers and developers seek to make online interactions more powerful, meaningful, and realistic, it's critical to engage in concrete, effective initiatives to ensure that those technologies are developed and integrated into our lives in ethical ways.
Cyber-violence is similar to other forms of violence in that it exists along a continuum, from the very broad social impacts to the more personal, individual impacts. At one end of the continuum, there might be the hypersexualization and objectification of girls and women in online spaces through popular culture, video games, and pornography, and then more individually focused acts of violence, such as threats and harassment, victim-blaming, revenge porn, stalking, luring, and grooming. The manifestations go on and on. In our research and our work with young people, we see them.
While all manifestations of cyber-violence have negative impacts, it's crucial to engage in research that will contribute to drafting strategies that are nuanced and focused enough to be effective. Specific interventions need to be developed, depending upon where along the continuum you're choosing to target. For example, an intervention that brought video game industry and ICT communities together to discuss preventing and eliminating hypersexualization and objectification of women, or the gratuitous representation of sexual violence for entertainment would be addressing a different end of the continuum than would knowledge mobilization with girls around grooming and luring, or providing policies, resources, and support to girls who are experiencing cyber-violence.
This entails making decisions about where we need to implement legislation, where we need policy, where we need educational initiatives or knowledge mobilization, and where we need to provide support and resources for those experiencing cyber-violence.
To do all of this, we need to engage in more qualitative research to create strategies that both are effective and make sense to the young people who are on the front lines of the issue. As someone who has worked on research projects both within academia and in community, I can say that those things are very different approaches when you're working with girls and digital culture, with academics, or with community projects.
I think we need to create opportunities to combine the strengths of both those perspectives, bringing academia together with community organizations and law enforcement, to engage in research, and to develop strategies collaboratively, while focusing on and getting the voices of girls and the people who are on the front lines of those issues.
Cultural and socio-economic divides are emerging in response to digital divides. Through our digital literacy initiatives, I have gone into a wide range of schools and community organizations in varied cultural, social, and economic contexts. I have begun to realize that the Internet is not the same for everyone. In organizations where there's a strong component of high-quality digital literacy education, young people seem to be better able to recognize gendered cyber-violence, and they're better able to navigate the situations in which they find themselves. They still experience cyber-violence. They still struggle with it. They don't like it. They don't necessarily understand it, but they recognize it as a social problem and a systemic issue rather than as a normal, acceptable behaviour that's simply an aspect of everyday life online.
I found that in schools and community organizations where young people have had no, or very limited, digital literacy education, they often spoke about the limits or risks of online spaces rather than the inherent opportunities. We need extensive comprehensive digital literacy education at all levels that denormalizes cyber-violence through a curriculum that helps us understand the economic, social, political, and ethical aspects of digital culture. That might mean incorporating it across disciplines into many aspects of education.
We sometimes see a gap between the ways in which adults see young people's engagement with digital culture and the reality of what young people are experiencing. I include myself in this category. This gap results in challenges with regard to crafting strategies that make sense to young people, as well as in developing and implementing policy and legislation. When young people engage with misogynistic or highly sexualized content, it's typically hidden away from researchers, from parents, and from teachers, and because of the potentially controversial content, it's kept private or secret. When young people run into problems, they often don't go to adults, because they are afraid of being blamed, or they are worried that maybe adults will intervene in ways that would make the situation worse for them.
Girls often express that they feel pressure from the hypersexualization of online culture. We often feel that misogyny is very intensified, and we wonder why this is. One of the things we've noticed in our work is that people who are vulnerable off-line also often seem to be vulnerable online. We notice that young people whose off-line worlds are limited, who are at risk for undereducation and underemployment, and who are confined in their neighbourhoods, are also often confined in their online worlds.
An example of this is that if we consistently access online content that's highly misogynistic or sexually violent, then we risk creating filter bubbles. Our search engine will give us what it predicts we want based upon our previous clicks. In this way we create our own bubble that filters out the information or world views we aren't particularly interested in. This happens not only through algorithms, but also through the individual choices we make, both online and off-line, and the power of our peers to influence the content we consume and produce.
The problem is that filter bubbles tend to isolate us from opposing ideas and broader world views, and we tend to interact with people and communities that share our interests. They echo our perspectives back to us. Sometimes it can become intense, and someone with limited life experience tends to think that this is all there is and there's no way out.
How can we address this issue? We need to increase the skills of those people who lack digital literacy, and work on using technology to help young people consciously seek out varying and divergent world views, to help them critically evaluate information. When I work with communities of at-risk youth who've had adults helping them denormalize gendered cyberviolence and learn to access and then critically evaluate information that interests them, not only are they better able to navigate the online landscape, they're also usually engaging in developing solutions. They're talking about discussing interventions like the bystander approach, how to denormalize gendered cyber-violence, and how to support peers experiencing cyber-violence.
I think we also have to educate industry. There's a potential for change through educating industry about the implications of the spaces they create and engaging developers in conversations about design affordances and the ethical implications of design choices. I think we have to think forward about where technology is going. With the emergence of new technologies, and potentially new manifestations of cyber-violence, no one can predict where it's going or how people are going to adapt to it. With the development of virtual reality technologies, which are becoming increasingly immersive and realistic, we could be facing a whole new set of challenges around gender-based cyber-violence.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
That's fantastic.
To what degree do the RCMP education measures actually curb cyber-violence or bullying? If you're looking at that group of children between the ages of 13 and 18, do you actually have anything that shows any results or statistics on the positive effects? We see the increase in reporting, which is very positive, but do you see more discussion as well, among our youth saying “yes, this is an issue”?
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Kimberly Taplin
View Kimberly Taplin Profile
Kimberly Taplin
2016-09-26 16:21
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We don't have any hard statistics on the impact of the education on cyber-violence. What we are finding is that these youth are talking about it; they are coming forward; and they're openly discussing it, so that's promising. They're working with us to create education and prevention initiatives that they feel will best educate similar youth of that age group.
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Dee Dooley
View Dee Dooley Profile
Dee Dooley
2016-09-21 16:45
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Thank you.
Good afternoon, Madam Chair, honourable committee members, and my brilliant colleagues from the Battered Women's Support Services.
Thank you so much for this invitation to address the Standing Committee on the Status of Women and to discuss an issue that's both deeply personal and professionally concerning, that is, cyber-violence against women and girls.
I remember quite clearly the shift to online and social media-based communication and the rise of the Internet. When I was in sixth grade, ICQ and MSN Messenger became the norm in communication with friends and peers. As well, this opened up a whole new world of access. It also became a platform to widely share rumours, gossip, and hateful comments with such a large audience.
When I was in grade 10, LiveJournal rose in popularity. This platform allowed for increased expression through online journaling and blogging and a place to connect with people with similar interests across the globe, but it also opened the door to public bullying, increased judgment, and intimidation. In the first year of my undergraduate degree, Facebook was launched. Facebook offered a space to connect with peers, share photos, and keep in touch with friends in different places around the world, but Facebook continues to lead to increased breaches of privacy and the failure to take reports of harassment and violence seriously.
The Internet and social media present a very complicated landscape for young people to navigate. While advances in technology offer extended opportunities to engage with the world, a whole new realm of tools to perpetuate and cover up violence are at the fingertips of every single one of its users.
Cyber-violence and cyber-misogyny are pervasive issues in the technologically advanced culture we live in, but to be quite clear, the patriarchal surveillance of women and girls took place long before the Internet and social media facilitated its ease. Not only do women, trans people, and other marginalized genders live in fear in their homes, workplaces, public spaces, schools, and the institutions meant to protect them, educate them, heal them and deliver justice, now they—we—live in fear in cyberspace too.
Cyberspace is increasingly where people work, shop, connect with each other, play, and learn, and violence and oppression can and do happen there quite often. Much of the violence that happens online is sexualized and rooted in misogynistic gender norms, racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and colonial violence. Not surprisingly, cyber violence is often directed to and experienced specifically within the spaces that are created by these populations to speak out against and share their experiences of violence and oppression and social justice advocacy.
My understanding of cyber-violence and cyber-misogyny comes from my work as youth programs coordinator at YWCA Halifax and my involvement with YWCA Canada's Project Shift advisory team. Through this role, I manage Safety NET, a provincial strategy to address cyber-violence against young women and girls. We spoke to over 200 young people and 20 service providers across the province to learn directly from them what violence looks like when it happens online, how we can better support survivors of online violence, and how we can contribute to lasting systemic change.
In the aftermath of Saint Mary's University's rape chants going viral, Dalhousie school of dentistry's “Gentlemen's Club”, and the assault and subsequent death of Rehtaeh Parsons, cyber-violence is a particularly pressing issue for us to address in our region.
Although cyber-violence, particularly against women and girls, is a pervasive problem, it is not well understood by the general public, service providers, and policy-makers. I'm so pleased to share what we have learned from our Safety NET project and promising practices that can help prevent and address online gender-based violence as identified primarily by youth.
I will preface this by saying that radical ideas lead to radical change. To truly address online violence and all forms of gender-based violence, we need to work towards cultural shifts that will fundamentally change the way that we see and the value that is placed on women, trans people, and other marginalized genders.
We need a sustained and long-term investment and true engagement from all stakeholders, including a willingness to change systems that aren't working.
I feel so hopeful that we are on the right track with the federal strategy to address gender-based violence that was launched this summer, and through this committee's study on violence in the lives of women and girls.
Four key recommendations came through the Safety NET needs assessment:
The number one thing that was identified in the province was the need for youth-led cyber-violence education and community programming. This means truly valuing the experiences and perspectives of youth, and young women specifically, and centring these voices in community-based grassroots programming, as well as talking explicitly about the systemic issues that drive cyber-violence.
In my opinion, much of cyber-violence education is failing specifically because it does not do these things. Young people need the space to discuss and learn among themselves, and teach each other about staying safe online while still actively engaging in the culture and all it has to offer. Public education, awareness, and research about what cyber-violence is specifically, its prevalence, its impacts, and its consequences were also identified as key needs.
Both youth and community partners spoke of the need to work with key stakeholders, especially in justice and education, to develop trauma-informed systems of responses for survivors of cyber-violence. In particular, victim-blaming responses and reactions that advocate for simply disengaging from technology and social media should be avoided because they cause so much harm.
Last, governments and community organizations should work with social media and media-based outlets to develop guidelines and protocols that offer better protection for users. Sustained advocacy that develops buy-in from these companies is a necessary component to building safer online communities.
Again, many thanks for the invitation to engage in this conversation with you about cyber-violence. I look forward to our discussion, and I very much appreciate that online violence is being recognized in such a formal way as an inhibitor to equity for women and girls.
I will end my comments with the sentiment that while the Internet may be an instrument used to maintain and facilitate oppressive violence, it is also a tool that can help us fight against it and advocate for a safer and more empowering world for women and girls in all of their intersecting identities.
Thank you.
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
To our friend in Halifax, Ms. Dooley, I wonder if you could share what tactics you recommend for moderating or mitigating cyber-violence towards young women and girls. When we as a committee are looking at what tactics we could use, do you have any suggestions for us that you've seen work well?
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Dee Dooley
View Dee Dooley Profile
Dee Dooley
2016-09-21 16:55
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As I mentioned before, the number one thing that came directly from youth recommendations is the need for community-based education. At least in Nova Scotia, there is curriculum that addresses cyber-violence, but a community-based approach is something that they identify as really necessary for their learning. I think creating a safe space that's free of shame is really important. So much of the education that they're receiving around cyber-violence is telling them not to engage with social media and that their behaviours are the problem. I think it's really important to address that the problem is systemic and it's not individual.
I think the root causes need to be addressed. I think this government has done an amazing job on that. I had the privilege of attending some of the consultations this summer, and I think there's a real effort to address the systemic causes of violence. I think that would be a really important tactic. I think long-term and sustainable funding is another thing. As someone who is writing a lot of grant applications for our organization and working with a lot of community partners in similar situations, I know that long-term and sustainable funding is a huge issue.
Our Safety NET project is a two-year project through which we're able to address that issue for a limited time, but what happens after that? Unless we're able to find more funding, we're leaving the youth we're supporting without access to community supports after the project is done.
I think those two things are key issues that many not-for-profits struggle with, not just related to cyber-violence but in all forms of their work addressing oppression.
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View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you all for an excellent presentation including the ones that we had earlier. Altogether, this is certainly very comprehensive.
Ms. Dooley, my first question is to you. You talked about the systemic challenges around cyber-bullying. I identified three areas and maybe you can help me see if I am heading in the right direction. One is school policies. We tend to have school policies that are one size fits all. If a student comes forward to report cyber-bullying or bullying in the classroom, there is generally one way that the school is accountable and responsible for responding.
Two, you had mentioned curriculum and certainly again, that is typically centralized and not individualized curriculum.
The last area is one I would like to discuss with all of you, and that is budgeting. I know it really doesn't seem to fit in. I'm wondering whether you see that often it is easy to get a line put into a budget for technology in a school curriculum, which I know from being in education for almost twenty-five years, whereas there is no money or very little money put in for mental health or for the general health of students.
I'm wondering if Ms. Dooley could respond to that first, followed by her colleagues here.
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Dee Dooley
View Dee Dooley Profile
Dee Dooley
2016-09-21 16:58
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Thank you for bringing that up. I think budgeting is actually very closely connected to all of the work we're doing, and I think it has to do with priorities. When policy is being developed and implemented, what are the priorities? Why is allocating funding for technology more important than funding for mental health supports? I think we need to be engaging in a conversation with all the people who are involved, particularly youth. They'll be the first to tell me and you what they need, and I think that, again, that has to do with priorities and with listening to the people who are directly impacted, students in schools and youth who are without the supports they need.
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View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks, Chair.
Thanks to both of your organizations on the coasts. You're doing amazing work on the ground that we're really going to benefit from. I applaud, too, your participation in the “Blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls”.There''s a strong New Democratic Party commitment to push for a national approach.
I'll ask either of you about the underlying causes of violence, which in this case is expressed as cyber-misogyny. I'm interested in your perspective on the network of supports across the whole country, those that get at the root causes of violence—poverty, affordable housing, and so on—as well as the responses, which tend to be provincial. How can we tie those together in the absence of a national approach?
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