An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act and to make related amendments to another Act (hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech)

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

Sponsor

David Lametti  Liberal

Status

Second reading (House), as of June 23, 2021
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create a recognizance to keep the peace relating to hate propaganda and hate crime and to define “hatred” for the purposes of two hate propaganda offences. It also makes related amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

In addition, it amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to provide that it is a discriminatory practice to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech by means of the Internet or other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination. It authorizes the Canadian Human Rights Commission to accept complaints alleging this discriminatory practice and authorizes the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to adjudicate complaints and order remedies.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2022 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Madam Speaker, the Internet is an incredible invention. We have all the information in the world in the palm of our hands. Just as the creation of the printing press in the 1400s changed the course of history forever by allowing information to be disseminated to the masses, rather than just to the elites of society, bringing literacy to millions of people, so too has the Internet revolutionized how we exchange ideas and amplify our voices. It has brought freedom of knowledge and expression to billions of people.

Before the printing press, censorship of dangerous ideas by the elites was easy. All one had to do was round up the heretics who held fringe or unacceptable views, hang them high in town square and burn their handwritten notebooks. With the use of the printing press, dangerous ideas could be shared far and wide, leading to the Protestant Reformation, the scientific revolution, the French Revolution and the age of enlightenment, just to name a few.

Likewise, the Internet and social media have helped spark political revolutions and political movements. They have empowered brave resistance to foreign dictators, like our Ukrainian friends against Vladimir Putin and their courageous fight. Social media has helped empower that and allows for the exchange information at a rapid pace.

We really do live in extraordinary times. This is especially true for our online Canadian content creators. “Influencer” is now a career choice, and Canadian musicians, painters, bakers, commentators and do-it-yourselfers can access billions of people to share their ideas and creations with the click of a button. All one needs is an Internet connection and a smart phone.

Actually, one needs one more thing. They need a government that believes in their freedom to do so. Unfortunately, Canadians are experiencing a government that is trying desperately to control the Internet.

From the very wild and extreme online harms bill, to Bill C-18, the online news act, and now Bill C-11, the online streaming act, which we are debating today, Canada's Liberal government is really butting into every aspect of our online world. It is proclaiming it is here to help and that it will show those big, scary boss streaming services, such as Netflix and Spotify, who the boss is and save us all from the scary, dangerous ideas on the Internet.

In reality, these three Internet bills all have the same aim, which is to regulate what we see when we open our cell phone apps. Canadians may remember how Bill C-10 exploded in controversy last year, but it died on the Order Paper. It is back now in Bill C-11, and while the Liberals claim they have fixed the concerns we had with Bill C-10, Bill C-11 is really just a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The issue with Bill C-10 was its control of user-generated content, the posts and videos that we share and upload on social media. The Liberals say that issue was removed in Bill C-11, but experts do not agree. Notable communications law professor Michael Geist has pointed out that the CRTC has the power, with Bill C-11, to subject user-generated content to regulation, should it so choose.

If folks at home are asking what the CRTC is, it is the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which has heavily controlled what we have seen on TV and heard on the radio over the past 50 years. Bill C-11 essentially expands the CRTC's powers not only to streaming giants such as Netflix and Spotify, but also to the podcasts, audiobooks and news channels we consume online. It will not just control Canadian-produced versions of those things, but anything coming from anywhere in the world that Canadians want to consume online in Canada.

More than that, Bill C-11, in fact, provides the Liberal cabinet the power to tell the CRTC how to regulate streaming platforms, how to define what Canadian content is and the general policy direction of these Internet controls. It is important to note that cabinet does not have this power currently over TV and radio. This will be a new power. Under the existing law, the CRTC is not directed by cabinet. It is independent, so it can be free from political interference, which is very important. However, this will no longer be the case under Bill C-11. Cabinet will have power over what we see on Internet, which represents an unprecedented expansion of government power.

The bottom line is that Canadian creators have more freedom now, before this bill comes in, than they ever did before with TV and radio. One can become a YouTube star. It is far more accessible than trying to break into network television. Why would the Liberals want to impose the same CRTC regulations they have on TV and radio onto our online platforms? It really does not make sense if we are talking about boosting our Canadian content creators. We know that over 90% of those who are watching our Canadian content are from outside of Canada.

The number of influencers online in Canada earning $100,000 a year or more is rapidly increasing every single year. I really do believe the last thing our online content creators need is the Liberal government sticking its fingers into the regulation controls and messing around with the algorithms that have facilitated the ability of our homegrown creators to share their content with the world.

YouTube, in fact, has alerted the online community and has issued strong warnings to the Liberal government about the negative impacts of Bill C-11, warning that it risks downgrading Canadian content in other countries. If we artificially bump up Canadian content here, and if for whatever reason that Canadian content is not catching the interest of Canadians, the algorithm will actually downgrade that content abroad in competing markets, such as the United States, for example, which a lot of influencers in Canada depend upon.

I do feel that Bill C-11 is not the only thing we need to be worried about. It is worrisome, but there are two other bills as well. There is Bill C-18, which is the online news act, and it has some issues. It has been criticized as interfering in the independence of our news media because it controls how we share news articles on platforms such as Facebook by forcing these platforms to pay news agencies every time we share a news article. Lots of people share news on their Facebook platforms. It is odd this bill would be needed, because this practice is great for news agencies. When one shares their content, it takes us right to their website. It is free advertising.

Australia tried to do the same thing as what is proposed in Bill C-18. Facebook played hardball and banned all sharing of news articles on Facebook until it was able to negotiate something with the Australian government. There are serious issues here. Facebook raised in committee that it is not opposed to doing the same thing in Canada.

Bill C-18 is really just more control from government, but it is not even half as bad as the online harms bill. This is a very scary Internet control bill. In the last Parliament it was known as Bill C-36, and it died on the Order Paper when that unnecessary $600-million election was called, but the Liberals are trying to bring it back again.

It is important to say I welcome a conversation on how we can better fight terrorism organizing online and better enforce existing laws concerning things that are considered fraud, libel, inciting violence, and in particular, child pornography or the sharing of intimate images online without consent. Those are all very important conversations and legitimate issues that need to be addressed.

However, the online harms bill would create a government regulator of speech on the Internet that would decide what is harmful and must be removed. It would be very subjective, depending really on who is behind the curtain dictating what is harmful. Andrew Coyne, in the Globe and Mail, said the bill is “direct state regulation of [online] content”. This is pretty significant.

Twitter said this, which is really concerning:

People around the world have been blocked from accessing Twitter and other services in a similar manner as the one proposed by Canada by multiple authoritarian governments (China, North Korea, and Iran for example) under the false guise of ‘online safety,’ impeding peoples’ rights to access information online.

Twitter is literally comparing this online harms bill to China, North Korea and Iran. It is pretty shocking.

The Liberals are throwing around terms like “misinformation” and “disinformation” whenever they do not like something we say, and we know free speech is constantly under attack. Anything one says these days can offend someone. I am concerned about what bills like Bill C-11 and the online harms bill would do to our freedom of expression online.

Although society has evolved, before the creation of the printing press, the establishment would essentially murder heretics with unacceptable views and burn the books later on. We are not immune to authoritarian control of our freedom of expression.

We would also do well to remember rights and freedoms are not always eliminated in one fell swoop. Often governing authorities will just pick at them bit by bit under the guise of it being for our own good, telling us that they know better than us and they will keep us safe. We have seen this happen in China and it is happening in Hong Kong.

Considering that when he was asked which country in the entire world he most admires, our Liberal Prime Minister said China's basic dictatorship because of its ability to get things done, we should listen when the Prime Minister tells us who he really is. With these three Internet control and censorship bills, I do believe he has made his intentions quite clear. We should all be very, very concerned.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

May 5th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Madam Speaker, I am proud to be speaking on behalf of the constituents of Saskatoon West. We are a diverse group of citizens from many backgrounds and with a variety of different views. They have called me and emailed me over the past year, asking about stopping online censorship. They wanted to be free from government overreach back then, and they feel the same way now.

The people of Saskatoon West also want an end to the unscientific, job-killing NDP-Liberal federal mandates. Many have voiced their concerns on social media platforms. They are concerned that the government is going to block their voices.

Speaking of censorship, the current government has quite a history of shutting down opposing voices, even when it comes to members of its own caucus. We remember, of course, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott.

In the last Parliament, the government introduced its first attempt at regulating the Internet with its Bill C-10 and Bill C-36. These bills generated incredible feedback for me via telephone, written letters, emails and social media. It is safe to say that the overall response was extremely negative and many in the media, many consultants and many ordinary folks were very concerned by this legislation. I had hoped that, after seeing all of the opposition to those bills the last time around, the government would smarten up and rethink this flawed legislation. Unfortunately, smartening up is not in the wheelhouse of the current government, and instead it doubled down and reintroduced essentially the same thing.

Let us dive into Bill C-11. The minister stated that the goal of this bill was to target only big online streamers and exclude day-to-day users. It is supposedly about making Canadian content more accessible. The only problem with this argument is that Canadian content has always been accessible. Canadian producers have been able to jump onto various platforms, such as TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and showcase their content without a problem. Why is there the urge to regulate the Internet now?

The current government members think that the content available for users is not Canadian enough for their liking. This is where things start moving toward online censorship. Essentially, any content deemed unworthy by the NDP-Liberals would be bumped out of people's recommended feeds in exchange for government-approved content. Content that is not Canadian enough for the CRTC regulators would be sent to the back of the Internet, which leads to a question: Who reaps the benefits of this? It is the legacy media.

In this new age, where we get most of our information online, broadcasting companies such as the government's beloved taxpayer-funded CBC have been left in the dust. At the end of the day, they want their content promoted over everyone else's. They are the ones scrambling for advertising revenues. This will throw the remaining content, Canadian or not, to the side. Many experts have raised concerns about this bill being very similar to the NDP-Liberal government's original Internet censorship bill, Bill C-10, in the sense that it would still have the power to block Canadian freedom of expression online.

The former vice-chair of the CRTC, Peter Menzies, stated, “The biggest difference is that it is called Bill C-11 instead of Bill C-10.” He added, “It is unfortunate because they are giving the CRTC enormous powers, enormous powers, and it is not in the DNA of any regulatory body to not continue to expand its turf.”

The major criticism of Bill C-10 surrounded the issue of user-generated content: those pictures, audio files and videos that many of us share daily on social media. There was a clause in Bill C-10 that exempted this from regulation, but it was removed at committee, which created a firestorm of concern. At the very least, I had expected the government to address this issue. Instead, it added an exception to allow the CRTC to regulate user content. Michael Geist, the Canada research chair in Internet and e-commerce Law, stated:

...for all the talk that user-generated content is out, the truth is that everything from podcasts to TikTok videos fits neatly into the new exception that gives the CRTC the power to regulate such content as a 'program'.

In other words, user-generated content is not subject to regulation unless the CRTC decides it is subject to regulation, in which case it is subject to regulation. Are members confused yet? The truth is that the vague language in this bill opens the door for the government to abuse its power and regulate user-generated content. The Internet is our main go-to for information, and many Canadians are earning a good living by making entertaining or educational content on various platforms. The way this bill is currently written, it would limit this creativity and possibly censor a wide range of the content produced online.

Twitter issued these scathing words: “People around the world have been blocked from accessing Twitter [and other services] in a similar manner as [the one] proposed by Canada by multiple authoritarian governments (e.g. China, North Korea and Iran) under the false guise of ‘online safety’, impeding people's rights to access...information online.” It goes on to say that Bill C-11 “sacrifices freedom of expression to the creation of a government-run system of surveillance of anyone who uses Twitter.”

Members should think about that. Twitter was comparing this government to North Korea, and that was before Elon Musk bought it.

The NDP-Liberal government is doing what we have seen time and again: dividing Canadians and stripping away our rights and freedoms one by one. Now, the government is creating a three-headed dragon to take away freedom of expression online from Canadians. These three heads are the Internet censorship Bill C-11, the news regulation Bill C-18, and the expected return of Bill C-36, which would block online content that the government does not like.

If members do not think that this government wants to shut them down, they have not been paying attention. We have seen this government target law-abiding firearms owners by seizing firearms from normal, hard-working Canadians and at the same time reduce sentences for criminals who smuggle illegal firearms into Canada. We have seen it target energy workers who work day and night in our natural resource sectors that, by the way, allow the leader of the NDP to fill up his $80,000 BMW with gas every morning. We have seen it target western Canada's entire energy sector by threatening to shut it down, calling our oil and natural gas “dirty” and at the same time importing oil from countries with horrible human rights records and next to no environmental standards. The Prime Minister still cannot figure out why there is so much division in our country. He is creating it.

In February, when the minister tabled the bill before us, he said that cat videos and social media influencers would not be covered by it. However, this week, YouTube warned Canadians that this simply was not true. A Canadian Press story reported the following:

Jeanette Patell, head of government affairs at YouTube Canada, said the draft law’s wording gives the broadcast regulator scope to oversee everyday videos posted for other users to watch. She told the National Culture Summit in Ottawa that the bill’s text appears to contradict [the] Heritage Minister’s public assurances that it does not cover amateur content, such as cat videos.

I have heard back from many people across this country since last year about their concerns, from when the bill was called Bill C-10. Since then, the calls and emails have just amplified about Bill C-11.

I have a very hard time believing that the use of the bill would only target big online streamers, especially when I have seen first-hand how far this government will go to end criticism. If we flash back a few months to the Prime Minister's trip to Europe, many politicians in the EU called out the member for Papineau's actions during the convoy, and I tweeted about this. Gerry Butts, the former chief of staff to the Prime Minister, tried to dismiss it right away. He said, “If you're getting your news from news outlets—

March 4th, 2022 / 2:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

All right. Well, I'll try to ask my questions quickly.

Thank you to all the witnesses. I do have some quick questions.

Ms. Jay, you summed up very nicely the response of Bill C-36 to the Bedford decision by saying that the “exploiters are criminalized”. We do believe that this is exploitative. We heard from Ms. Stevenson about predation, about the exploiting and the exploiters. You summed it up by saying that the exploiters are criminalized and the exploited are not criminalized. I think that should be a goal that we all share.

Could you expand on that? You summed it up nicely, but could you expand on that a bit and about how PCEPA works?

March 4th, 2022 / 1:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would like to continue in the same vein and ask Ms. Clamen a question.

Ms. Clamen, I would like you to tell me about the impact on sex workers of the lockdowns that have taken place over the past two years due to the pandemic. Has Bill C‑36 had any influence on the impact of the pandemic or not? How could you summarize the situation for me?

March 4th, 2022 / 1:10 p.m.
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Jenny Duffy Board Chair, Maggie's Toronto Sex Workers Action Project

Thank you.

Maggie's Toronto Sex Workers Action Project is one of Canada's oldest funded sex worker justice organizations. For over 35 years, we've supported sex workers in Toronto through drop-in programming, harm reduction services, legal supports, food security efforts and more. Our work is in direct response to the harm caused by legislation like Bill C‑36.

The majority of sex workers we serve are from poor, working-class, racialized and indigenous communities, are members of the LGBTQ2S community and work as street-based sex workers. We've launched culturally specific services including the nation's first indigenous-led program for sex workers and emergency supports for Black sex workers who face compounded forms of violence as a result of criminalization.

Bill C‑36 claims to protect sex workers but in practice it isolates us from supports and facilitates violence. It recreates the impacts of the former unconstitutional laws for sex workers.

In 2017, one of our long-time community members, Alloura Wells, went missing. She was a 27-year-old Black and indigenous transwoman who attended our drop-in programming and navigated poverty, homelessness and police violence in the city. Following her disappearance, Alloura's father contacted Toronto Police Service to report her missing. He was told the case wasn't a high priority. Instead, police told her father that people like Alloura are transient, that they disappear and reappear all the time.

We formed our own search parties led by long-time activist Monica Forrester. Because of our public efforts demanding justice for Alloura Wells, five months after her initial disappearance, Toronto Police caved to the pressure and finally issued a missing persons report.

A short while later, a community member named Rebecca contacted Maggie's with news that she'd discovered a body in the Rosedale Valley and had actually contacted police months before. Police did not issue a news release when the body was reported and did not release details to the public, as they normally would. Rebecca followed up multiple times with Toronto Police to learn about developments, even reaching out to The 519 Church Street community centre, which promised to have staff investigate. The 519 did not follow up with Rebecca or our community.

After seeing media coverage about our search parties for Alloura, Rebecca reached out to us at Maggie's. Despite Alloura's father attempting to issue a missing persons report much earlier on, heavy news coverage of Alloura's disappearance and a community member notifying local service organizations, we had not been informed about this key development.

Only after following up with police about Rebecca's discovery did they agree to re-test DNA, and on November 23 they identified Alloura's body. They maintain that the cause of death can't be determined, but estimated that she died some time in July.

Toronto Police dismissed Alloura's disappearance because of her background in sex work, her race, gender identity and struggles with homelessness.

When laws like Bill C‑36 mark our communities as social problems to be eradicated, and instruct police to criminalize sex workers, our ability to access basic support and safety is undermined.

Indigenous women, Black and racialized women, transgender women, migrant women and people living through poverty are overrepresented in street-based sex work. The combination of the offences against communication and purchasing and the presence of police pushes street-based sex workers and their clients into remote areas. Working in poorly lit back alleys far from their homes, social services and their peers, the street-based sex workers we serve at Maggie's report increased difficulty screening their clients, detecting violent situations and negotiating consent.

Street-based sex workers at Maggie's have consistently disclosed about harassment from law enforcement and being forced to relocate around the city to avoid police. During our COVID-19 emergency support fund, one of the many indigenous sex workers who reached out for financial aid was a young Anishinabe street-based worker experiencing harassment and aggression from the police while struggling to work and survive at the height of the pandemic.

Bill C‑36 facilitates this violence and excludes us from solutions to improve our working conditions. One of the most devastating consequences of this law is that our communities are made responsible for the violence enacted on us. It's in this context that sex worker justice organizations like ours have been essential spaces to organize, support one another and continue fighting for decriminalization like the life and death issue that it is.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

June 23rd, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.
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LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalMinister of Justice