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The federal government is proposing legal changes in an attempt to crack down on online hate speech in Canada.
The new bill — known as Bill C-36 —would make it easier for victims of hate speech to file complaints against those publishing offensive material online.
Canadians posting hate speech could also be ordered to pay victims up to $20,000, or they could face fines of up to $50,000 if they refuse to stop.
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Today, I introduced Bill #C36 to help tackle hate speech and hate online. Online spaces are public spaces. Like our… https://t.co/IxngCWvSwP— David Lametti (@David Lametti) 1624490543.0
What does Bill C-36 propose?
On June 23, the Liberals introduced Bill C-36, which proposes an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The proposed change would make the definition of online hate speech clearer and officially list it as a form of discrimination, according to the feds.
It would update the Canadian Human Rights Act to reinstate Section 13 — a section about online hate speech that was repealed in 2013.
The Criminal Code and Youth Criminal Justice Act would also be amended.
Those in favour of Bill C-36 say the changes will make it easier for victims of hate speech to file complaints against those publishing offensive material on the internet.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti said the move is designed to "target the most egregious and clear forms of hate speech that can lead to discrimination and violence."
What is hate speech?
The proposed bill says that offensive language and content that "discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends" others will not necessarily automatically be considered hate speech.
Instead, hatred is defined more specifically in Bill C-36 as an "emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain."
Lametti told reporters, per CBC News, that the update will not target "simple expressions of dislike or disdain that pepper everyday discourse, especially online."
Private conversations are also exempt from the proposed changes.
What are the penalties?
While posting hate speech online would not be considered a criminal offence under the proposed update, it would be a violation of Canada's Human Rights Act.
Canadians found responsible for sharing offensive material that "is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals" will be ordered to stop expressing hate speech.
Those who continue to post hate speech online could then be ordered to pay penalties of up to $50,000.
If there is a victim in an individual case, the person responsible could be ordered to pay the victim up to $20,000.
*This article's cover photo is for illustrative purposes only.