Protections against online hate messages removed from the Canadian Human Rights Act notwithstanding rising concern over cyberbullying

Jane Bailey presents at the Senate Committee

It’s possible that, like many Canadians, you had no idea the Federal government was in the process of removing section 13, which provides redress for online “hate messages”, from the Canadian Human Rights Act. Bill C-304 An Act to amend to the Canadian Rights Act (protecting freedom) received Royal Assent on June 26, 2013 after a year of delay in the Senate.

On Tuesday June 25th, three feminist voices were invited to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, to share their expertise in this area. Professor Jane Bailey presented alongside Professor Kathleen Mahoney (University of Calgary) and Jo-Ann Kolmes on behalf of LEAF. Together, these three made a compelling argument that removing section 13 altogether (as a response to its alleged shortcomings), is a retrograde step that widens existing gaps in our human rights protections, leaving some groups especially vulnerable. (For example, women and disabled persons are not protected by Criminal Code hate provisions.) We invite you to read Professor Bailey’s submission and LEAF’s submission to learn more.

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