BPC Bulletin: The Canadian Government Moves to Suppress "Harmful Online Content"

News Reports and Commentary Selected by Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.


In Ottawa, the federal Liberal government is drafting a bill that would suppress “harmful online content,” including hateful expression, on the internet.

The bill is intended to replace Bill C-36, which Justice Minister David Lametti introduced in the House of Commons in June 2021. Bill C-36 died when the government called the election of 2021.

On March 30, 2022, Justice Minister Lametti and Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez announced that an advisory panel would help draft the new bill.

While some organizations welcomed the prospect of suppressing “harmful” expression, others — including members of sexual minorities, the Indigenous population and racialized groups — expressed concerns.


Read the Canadian government’s announcement of March 30. It lists the people on the advisory panel:

Government of Canada announces expert advisory group on online safety (newswire.ca)


Marie Woolf of the Canadian Press reports:

LGBTQ, Indigenous and racialized groups fear online hate bill may curtail rights - National | Globalnews.ca

In the National Post, Anja Karadeglija reports:

Liberals' proposed online harms bill slammed in 'secret' submissions from tech companies, telecoms | National Post

In the National Observer, Marc Fawcett-Atkinson reports:

Feds inch closer to making social media less toxic | Canada's National Observer: News & Analysis

Rachel Gilmore of Global News reports:

After missing 100-day deadline, Liberal online harms bill still months away - National | Globalnews.ca

In The Peterborough Examiner, Raisa Patel reports:
Ottawa unveils expert panel that will help fight online hate | ThePeterboroughExaminer.com

Rachel Aiello of CTV News reports:

Harmful content online: Feds ask for expert help | CTV News

In The Lawyer’s Daily, Cristin Schmitz reports:
Feds seek experts’ help in bid to tackle cutting-edge legal issues posed by online harmful content - The Lawyer's Daily (thelawyersdaily.ca)

Marie Woolf of the Canadian Press reports:

Liberals to reintroduce anti-hate bill ‘as soon as possible,’ minister says - National | Globalnews.ca

Raffy Boudjikanian of the CBC reports:



Konrad von Finckenstein and Peter Menzies write for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute:

Free speech vs. safe Internet: We can have both? | Macdonald-Laurier Institute (macdonaldlaurier.ca)

The editorial board of the Toronto Star comments:

Hateful tweet shows crackdown on online harms is overdue | The Star


The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.