On September 25, 2021, LEAF provided a submission to Canadian Heritage on the Federal Government’s proposed approaches to address harmful content online.

In the submission, LEAF supported the development of a federal regulatory framework to address the growing issue of technology-facilitated gender based violence (TFGBV), which disproportionately impacts historically marginalized communities, including women, girls, and gender-diverse people.

However, LEAF did not support the federal government’s proposed “online harms” framework as drafted. The framework posed serious concerns from a substantive equality and human rights perspective. It also risked exacerbating existing inequalities, particularly because it purports to deal with five very different “online harms” with a single approach.

LEAF stated that, in order to deal effectively with the growing issue of TFGBV, the government needed to allocate resources to create a regulatory framework dealing exclusively with it as a particular harm.

LEAF urged the government to:

  1. Revise the regulatory framework to explicitly recognize substantive equality and human rights as guiding principles;
  2. Provide more immediate and direct support to victims experiencing TFGBV;
  3. Provide alternative remedies to those provided through law enforcement and the criminal justice process;
  4. Recognize forms of TFGBV that are not currently captured by the criminal law; and
  5. Ensure responses are tailored to and account for the specific harms of TFGBV.

You can read and download the submission below.