CIJA Welcomes Long-Awaited Online Harms Legislation

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|February 26, 2024

“Given the dramatic rise in antisemitism, this legislation has come at a time when it is needed most.” 

Ottawa, ON – February 26, 2024 – Today, the Government of Canada tabled bill C-63, Online Harms Act, their long-anticipated legislation to combat online hate.

“This legislation has come at a time when it is needed most. Antisemitism is at an all-time high in Canada, where it has reached, to quote the Prime Minister, “terrifying” levels,” said Richard Marceau, Vice President, External Affairs and General Counsel, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), who will join Minister Virani for today’s announcement. “Part of the solution lies in diminishing the level of Jew-hatred online because what happens online does not stay online. It affects our community, our children, in real life.”  

Statistics Canada data shows that, year after year, Jews are the religious minority most targeted by hate crimes and the second most targeted group overall. One of the main environments in which Jew-hatred flourishes, nearly unencumbered, is online. Recognizing that the virtual world is a playground for bad actors spreading hatred and those eager to radicalize others through hate – domestically as well as internationally – dealing with this growing threat has been a major advocacy priority for CIJA 

“Not only does hate take an emotional toll on its victims, as seen in attacks on Jewish communities in Pittsburgh, San Diego County, Jersey City, and Monsey, as well as on mosques in Christchurch and elsewhere, online threats can – and often do – lead to real-world violence,” said Marceau. 

Over the past several years, CIJA has worked intensively both domestically and internationally to ensure legislation addresses the hateful rhetoric, harassment, and intimidation Jewish and other vulnerable communities face online, as well as to target those who use the internet to prey on and radicalize individuals for terror. 

This video is part of 2021 CIJA project looking at online antisemitism and shows just a few examples found in a 60-minute period on Tik Tok.

“The radicalization and mobilization of people into the arms of terror groups happens online, often openly. The threat of terror in Canada isn’t hypothetical – two youths have recently been charged with planning a terror attack using explosives against Ottawa’s Jewish community. This example reinforces the recent threat assessment by the Integrated Terrorist Assessment Centre (ITAC), which predicted attacks could target Canadian Jews, and adds to the urgency for stronger measures to combat terrorism including online. 
“This legislation reflects many of the asks Canada's Jewish community has been making to the government to help combat the rising tide of online hate, antisemitism, and terrorism we have been facing. During the study in Committee, we will recommend ways to further improve this bill to ensure the Jewish community’s concerns are fully considered and that nuances of antisemitism and Jew-hatred are reflected in the legislation.” 


Additional Background

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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada. By clicking "Sign up," you consent to receive periodic updates from CIJA. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Le Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes (CIJA) est l'agence de représentation de Fédérations juives du Canada - UIA, représentant les fédérations juives à travers le Canada. En cliquant sur  «  Sign up , »  vous acceptez de recevoir des mises à jour périodiques de CIJA. Vous pouvez vous désabonner à tout moment.
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About CIJA
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada.