The next federal election is just weeks away, and this is our best chance to shape the next government’s vision for pro-Internet policies. From updating the laws that shape our Internet, to facing global threats to encryption, the next government is going to shape policies that will affect the Internet and our digital rights for years to come.

Here you’ll find OpenMedia’s pro-Internet platform for the 2019 election, put together using crowd-sourced priorities from our community, and in consultation with experts. It’s a collection of the policies we believe will defend our digital rights, and keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free.


Everyone in Canada deserves to go about their lives without fear of being spied on through their own electronic devices.


  • 1. Get a Warrant: Forbid law enforcement and government agencies from spying on the private communications and activities of law-abiding residents of Canada, whether domestically or through international partners, without a warrant issued by an open court.
  • 2. End Mass Surveillance: Put an end to blanket surveillance and the bulk collection of metadata, by governments or private companies.
  • 3. Embrace Accountability Stronger oversight for government spy agencies, and increased transparency for government, political, and corporate surveillance activities.

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1. Get a Warrant

  1. Require a warrant to search cell phones and other digital devices.
  2. End legal immunity for ‘voluntary’ warrantless disclosure of personal information.
  3. Strengthen transmission data warrant thresholds to “reasonable belief”.
  4. Mandatory reporting of subscriber data requests, and notification of surveillance targets.
  5. Require greater transparency from companies sharing information with external agencies or companies.
  6. End the use of drones and IMSI-catchers to conduct warrantless mass surveillance.
  7. Safeguard privacy in emergency situations.
  8. Update the rules that govern how digital devices are treated at Canada’s borders:
    1. Searches of electronic devices must have a dedicated legal basis that is distinct from searches of other types of goods;
    2. End searches of digital devices without reasonable grounds to believe there is a customs and immigration contravention; and
    3. Develop clear, transparent CBSA policies, and mechanisms for recourse.

2. End Mass Surveillance

  1. End all suspicionless mass surveillance, including the bulk collection of metadata.
  2. Champion our right to safe and secure encryption and prevent other countries from imposing 'back doors' on secure global platforms.
  3. End our spy agencies' ability to disrupt important Internet platforms.
  4. Require judicial, not political, authorization for surveillance.
  5. No future expansion of surveillance without a verifiable need.
  6. Prevent government agencies monitoring what Canadians say on social media.
  7. Proactively address security and privacy risks associated with the Internet of Things.
  8. Implement a federal moratorium on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement and government agencies.
  9. Protect Canadian data when it crosses borders:
    1. Review data-sharing agreements and reassess what personal information is made available to U.S. agencies;
    2. Make sure that the highest privacy and human rights standards are respected in agreements to facilitate cross-border data sharing for law enforcement purposes; and
    3. Encourage peering at Canadian IXPs wherever possible, to prevent Canadian data from crossing borders unnecessarily.

3. Embrace Accountability

  1. Bring Canada’s decades-old privacy laws into the digital age with a review and reform of PIPEDA and the Privacy Act, incorporating strong feedback from civil society and privacy experts, as well as digital consultations with people in Canada.
  2. Ensure new privacy-impacting laws and reforms abide by the Necessary and Proportionate Principles.
  3. Give the Privacy Commissioner of Canada the power to enforce compliance, and issue fines to any organizations which abuse private data.
  4. Make political parties subject to federal privacy law.
  5. Ensure that oversight keeps pace with spy agency capabilities and powers.
  6. Rein in the steep costs of excessive government surveillance.

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Everyone in Canada should have unrestricted access to affordable, world-class, high-speed Internet regardless of where they live.


  • 1. Boost Choice: Open up our networks by creating fair rules that ensure people in Canada enjoy unrestrained choice from more affordable independent Internet providers.
  • 2. Expand Access: Implement a national broadband strategy that ensures sufficient investments to provide every person in Canada access to high-speed, affordable Internet services. Empower local communities to build community broadband.
  • 3. Promote Innovation: Enshrine clear common carriage principles to ensure an equal playing field for innovators on all platforms.

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1. Boost Choice

  1. Mandate Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) access for Canada’s wireless sector to enable smaller providers to provide more affordable service to Canadians.
  2. Break up Big Telecom through structural separation to enable choice in the wired and wireless broadband markets.
  3. Wireless spectrum policies must include set-aside for open access including:
    1. use-it-or-lose it clauses;
    2. continued support for spectrum set-aside for non-incumbent providers; and
    3. strict rules preventing transfer of additional spectrum licenses to entrenched incumbent providers (The Big Three).
  4. Prioritize opportunities and funding to support non-incumbent ISPs and IPTV providers, municipalities, community access programs and non-profit service providers to deliver services to Canadians.
  5. Maintain foreign investment rules that prioritize investment in new independent telecom startups to increase choice for Canadians.

2. Expand Access

  1. Implement a national broadband strategy and devote significant investments to promote faster, cheaper next-generation Internet services across the country, including community broadband initiatives.
  2. Ensure 100% of Canadians have access to a range of world class, affordable Internet services at speeds on par with our international counterparts.
  3. Urgently provide open access to fibre wholesale at fair rates.
  4. Access to Canadian content should be promoted through fair wholesale pricing arrangements – ensuring that content owned by vertically-integrated incumbents is affordable for other distributors.
  5. No additional taxes shall be placed on the cost of connectivity to subsidize other industries (e.g. Internet tax, Netflix tax, copyright taxes on devices)

3. Promote Innovation

  1. Enshrine Net Neutrality in Canadian law and provide the CRTC with the resources and mandate to ensure it is observed and enforced on all platforms.
  2. Bring in proactive audits for Internet service discrimination across wired and wireless broadband networks including:
    1. Traffic management practices;
    2. Average speeds;
    3. Billing practices;
    4. Congestion; and
    5. Regional broadband speed levels (See: broadbandmap.fcc.gov.
  3. Include broader stakeholder and citizen engagement in appointing CRTC Commissioners:
    1. Show how all new CRTC appointments ranked in the overall scorecard based on the must-have and should-have criteria listed in the job postings. The criteria should include significant experience in the public interest or consumer advocacy community.

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Free expression

Everyone in Canada deserves to be able to share, collaborate, and express themselves freely online.

Key Recommendations

  • 1. Respect Creators: Protect the public domain and empower creators of all types to remix, reuse, and recycle content into new works.
  • 2. Prioritize Free Expression: Digital policies should promote access to knowledge and culture, enable online commerce and oppose censorship.
  • 3. Embrace Democratic Processes: Copyright rules and other digital policies should be produced through participatory, democratic and transparent processes.

Read full policies

1. Respect Creators and Foster Innovation

  1. Promote and protect Creative Commons licensing.
  2. Support Open Government initiatives and remove copyright protection from government works made available to the public.
  3. Ensure clear process for creators to dedicate their works to the public domain.
  4. Embrace fair dealing exceptions for transformative commercial remixes, and copyright exemptions for amateur and non-commercial remixes.
  5. Ensure reasonable copyright terms that focus on compensating creators during their lifetime, and enriching the public domain thereafter.
  6. Mitigate the negative effects of copyright term extensions under new USMCA, by adopting an optional registration process to make the additional 20 years on top of the 50 years after the death of the author optional, as recommended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
  7. Support content creation, sharing, and interaction for the digital age by enabling an open and affordable Internet through our Access recommendations.

2. Prioritize Free Expression

  1. No additional intermediary liability for content created by third parties, ensuring all laws and reforms abide by the Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability.
  2. Improve Canada’s notice-and-notice system by requiring all notices follow a mandatory template.
  3. Support the circumvention of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Technological Protection Mechanisms (TPMs) for legal uses of content.
  4. Ensure that DRM and TPM rules do not prevent people from tinkering with or repairing the devices that they own.
  5. No website blocking and retain Internet safe harbour rules.

3. Embrace Democratic Processes

  1. Craft copyright and other expression-impacting policies through open, transparent and democratic processes.
  2. Copyright rules should be clear, and designed to be accessible to the people they are intended to serve.
  3. Make a commitment to protect democratically-developed laws on copyright from being undermined by closed undemocratic processes like the USMCA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  4. When updating legislation, government policy, or regulations that will impact free expression, commit to consulting with a broad range of stakeholders, including public interest groups, academics, artists, creators and civil society.

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