moved for leave to introduce Bill C-355, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cyberbullying).
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce this private member's bill, seconded by the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe. The bill was developed with the aid of the Canadian Teachers' Federation. It would amend the Criminal Code to clarify that cyberbullying is an offence.
Cyberbullying is the use of electronic devices to harass, libel and send false messages, and is a major problem in Canadian schools. In a recent University of Toronto survey of high school students in the greater Toronto area, 50% of students reported that they had been bullied online in the last three months. Cyberbullying results in physical and psychological harm and, in some cases, even suicide.
My bill would provide a clarification of the application of existing criminal law to cyberbullying. It would amend three sections: section 264, dealing with criminal harassment; section 298, dealing with inflammatory libel; and section 372, subsections 1 to 3, dealing with false messages.
This clarification of cyberbullying as an offence, in conjunction with a campaign of public awareness that focuses on appropriate use of computers and prevention of cyberbullying, could do a great deal to minimize the harm to many young people today.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)