5Rights welcomes draft initiatives for child online privacy and safety in Canada

Legislation on the table for privacy and online safety in Canada has the potential to ensure Canadian children benefit from the highest global standards for their protection and empowerment online. The bills should be firmly anchored in the established Rights of the Child and align with international best practices.

5Rights Executive Director Leanda Barrington-Leach and International Advocacy Manager Marie-Ève Nadeau were in Canada in May at the invitation of local partners to discuss how two bills currently before Parliament - the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (C27) and the Online Harms Act (C63) - can learn from international best practice and deliver for children.

“There is a genuine commitment from Canadian legislators and regulators to implement children’s rights in the digital environment,” said 5Rights ED Leanda Barrington-Leach following the trip. “We also see strong demand from children, as well as from parents, schools and mental health professionals, for change and for companies to be held accountable. There is a strong body of international best practice and experience that Canada can draw on to ensure Canadian children’s rights are upheld.”

The Canadian privacy bill aims to update data protection regulation, aiming among others to align with the global standard set by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The core principles of the GDPR, implemented in conjunction with children’s rights, underpin the UK AADC and other international best practices for children’s data protection.

The Online Harms Act would introduce an overarching duty on companies to protect children, with a Commission established to draft an implementing regulatory code.