Doug Ford Has Issued A TikTok Ban For All Ontario Government Devices & Here's What It Means

Ontario is also looking at TikTok’s impacts on schools.

TikTok app on smartphone. Right: Queen's Park in Toronto.​
Associate Editor

TikTok app on smartphone. Right: Queen's Park in Toronto.

Officials across Canada have started to crack the whip on the popular social media app TikTok, with Premier Doug Ford's government being the latest to join the bandwagon of implementing a TikTok ban.

The move comes almost two weeks after the federal government announced that TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, would be banned from some government devices due to the perceived risk to privacy and security.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said on Thursday that the province also has concerns about TikTok’s impacts on young students and that they are "seeking counsel" on steps to protect their privacy.

"I am troubled by the impact of this technology on young people in the school system from a safety perspective of their privacy, physical safety and mental health," he said in a press conference.

The current TikTok ban in Ontario will take place on all government-issued and personal devices for Ford and all Ontario PC Party caucus members.

They will be removing the app "effective immediately."

"The decision to block the TikTok application from government-issued and personal devices is a proactive and precautionary approach to ensuring the protection of government data and networks," Treasury Board President Prabmeet Sarkaria said in a statement.

As part of this ban, all government advertising campaigns on TikTok will be removed.

The Ontario government has also issued a warning to residents who use the app.

"The government encourages Ontarians to review the terms and conditions of any application they use to ensure they are making an informed decision about how those tools use information."

According to TikTok's privacy policy, the app can collect personal data like a user's date of birth, phone contact list and location, among other information.

TikTok states that, among other things, it uses your data to personalize the content you see, carry out data analysis, provide you with personalized advertising and inform its algorithms.

Officials at the federal and provincial levels have said that there is no evidence to suggest that using TikTok has compromised government or personal data.

They also haven't released any details or further information about the ban extending to residents.

TikTok has faced criticism worldwide on privacy concerns. It moved its headquarters from China to Singapore in 2020.

Rhythm Sachdeva
Associate Editor
Rhythm Sachdeva was an Associate Editor for Narcity Media Group based in Toronto.