SHOP responds to the Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Digital Citizen Initiative”

The Canadian government is proposing a new legislative approach to deal with “harmful” online content, one that is dangerously broad, over-reaching, and includes an over-reliance on law enforcement. This will inevitably target sex worker safety, 2SLGBTQIA content, BIPOC advocacy and content, community-based harm reduction information, and online sexual education and speech.

“Digital harms are a serious concern, but we must be extremely cautious to avoid generating new egregious and discriminatory harms through attempts to address that concern. The proposed Digital Harms framework has grave potential to hurt sex workers, 2SLGBTQ+ folks, BIPOC communities, and other marginalized populations. We implore the Canadian Government to reconsider these measures and to heed the experiences and expertise of these communities in drafting safe and effective alternatives.” – SHOP

The Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Digital Citizen Initiative” put out a call for comment in September 2021 in response to this proposed legislation framework and many sex workers and allies have responded. Read SHOP’s full letter of submission here.