#CyberFLASH: Canada needs cyberbullying laws that allow for non-criminal solutions: professor

keyboardCanada needs cyberbullying laws that curb unwanted sharing of sexual pictures without always requiring police investigations, a law professor said Tuesday.

Nova Scotia had a Cyber Safety Act – the first in Canada – from the fall of 2013 until the legislation was struck down by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia near the end of 2015, when a judge ruled that it infringed on charter rights of freedom of expression. 

During a meeting of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law in Halifax, several experts said that since the law was struck down, victims of online harassment have to turn either to complicated police investigations or expensive civil court suits.

Wayne MacKay, who teaches human rights law at Dalhousie University, said in an interview he’s eager for the province to follow up on a promise to amend and reintroduce its cyberbullying law and bring an investigative unit back into action.

He says the new law should allow for informal requests to swiftly take down offensive words and images, and allow for civil court actions that would hold people accountable for distributing intimate images.

“I think there’s some degree of urgency,” said the former chair of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying, during an interview after a seminar at the conference.

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