Canada Privacy Privacy Deficit Free & Open Internet

Business Leaders pen an open letter warning the government that Bill C-51 will cause serious damage to Canadian businesses

60 leading businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors warn that “unbalanced” legislation will undermine operations and international trust in Canadian businesses

Phillip Djwa, Agency Principal at Agentic Digital Media, said: “As business people, we are very concerned about how this legislation will undermine international trust in the integrity of Canada’s technology sector. Bill C-51 has the potential to cause irreparable harm to our digital economy, and it makes no sense for the government to ram it through Parliament. We’re asking Stephen Harper to go back to the drawing board and withdraw this bill.”

Michael Tippett, Founder, wantoo and NowPublic, said, "One of Canada's most prized assets is its legal system and the rights it provides its citizens.  Consumers and business people rely on these rights to conduct commerce, grow the new economy and connect with each other. Any legislation that weakens this asset depreciates our value as a country and must be drafted with the utmost care. As experts have pointed out, to the contrary Bill C-51 includes vague and reckless language putting our rights at risk. The government should shelve Bill C-51 and go back to the drawing board."

Susan McLennan, President, Reimagine PR Inc., said: “This isn’t the time to be taking the country or our economy backwards. This bill will crush ingenuity and innovation, causing people to invest elsewhere. Why would anyone want to do business in a country that actively threatens our growing tech sector, the future of our economy?”

Steve Anderson, OpenMedia Executive Director, said: “These companies, representing billions of dollars in economic value and countless jobs, are key to Canada’s future economic success. It’s heartening to see them join Canadians from every walk of life in speaking up about how this reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible legislation will harm our society and our economy. With the decline in resource-oriented stocks we simply can’t afford to create red tape for some of Canada’s most successful businesses.”

Notable signatories include:

  • Ryan Holmes is the Founder and CEO of HootSuite, which is valued at over 1 billion dollars and known for closing one of the largest venture capital funding rounds in Canadian history. Hootsuite and co-signatory Vision Critical are anticipated to announce IPOs in the next couple years where they are expected to raise $50 million each according to analysts.

  • Tim Bray is the Principal of Textuality Services Inc. and co-founder of OpenText, Canada’s largest software company.

  • Stewart Butterfield is the President & Co-founder of Slack, one of the world’s hottest web companies valued at 2.8 billion dollars. Stewart also co-founded popular photo sharing service Flickr.

  • John Ruffolo is the CEO of OMERS Ventures, one of the largest institutional investors in Canada.

  • Tobi Lütke is CEO of Shopify, which just filed for an initial public offering last week. The company has 632 employees and generated more than $105-million in revenue in 2014.

The letter outlines a series of concerns the business community have with Bill C-51, including:

  • By undermining international trust, the legislation will stifle Canada’s businesses and damage the overall economy.

  • By criminalizing free expression and allowing for the takedown of websites, the legislation will harm Canadians’ online services and businesses ability to conduct commerce online.

  • By granting the Communications Security Establishment a mandate to conduct domestic spying, the legislation will damage Canada’s reputation as a trustworthy international partner.

  • By making it easier to place people on a no-fly list, the legislation will cause problems with ‘false positives’, harming international travel and commerce.

  • By undermining Canada’s reputation for data security, the legislation will force many businesses to host their online presence elsewhere, such as in the European Union which has stronger data security safeguards.

Businesses, entrepreneurs and investors are encouraged to sign the letter found at: OpenMedia expects more businesses will continue to join the letter up until the government agrees to scrap the legislation.

Over 198,000 Canadians have added their name at:



The following individuals and companies have signed the letter:

Ryan Holmes, Founder and CEO, HootSuite Media Inc.

Stewart Butterfield, President & Co-founder, Slack Technologies Inc.

Tobi Lütke, CEO, Shopify Inc.

Tim Bray, Principal, Textuality Services, Inc. (Co-founder of OpenText, and former employee of Sun Microsystems and Google)

Ryan Dochuk, Co-founder, TunnelBear Inc.

Will Anderson, CEO, PPM 2000 Inc.

Luke Aulin, CEO, RTOWN Communications Inc.

Marc Baumgartner, Founder, Codename Design

Jeff Booth, CEO, Technologies Inc.

Chris Breikss, President, 6S Marketing Inc.

Matt Buie, Financial Advisor, Assante Capital Management Ltd.

Graeme Bunton, Manager, Public Policy, Tucows Inc.

Frank Christiaens, Managing Partner, CrossPacific Capital Partners

David Crow, Co-Founder, StartupNorth

Mo Dhaliwal, Director of Strategy, Skyrocket Digital Inc.

Phillip Djwa, President and CEO, Agentic Digital Media

Lindsay Eason, Co-Founder, GreenStep Solutions Inc.

Dan Eisenhardt, Founder & CEO, Recon Instruments

Lee Feldman, Founder & Partner, THNK School of Creative Leadership

Jim Fletcher, Director , Vision Critical Inc.

Mike Gifford, President, OpenConcept Consulting Inc.

Michael Goodman, President, Tri City Capital Corp.

John F. Gray, Co-founder/CEO, Mentionmapp

Daryl Hatton, CEO,

Colleen Hardwick, CEO, PlaceSpeak Inc.

Mack Hardy, President, Affinity Bridge Consulting Ltd.

Gideon Hayden, Senior Associate, OMERS Ventures

Peter Henry, CEO, GrowthLogic Inc.

Brent Holliday, Founder & CEO, Garibaldi Capital Advisors Ltd.

Robert Humpleby, Owner, R.H. Services

Amir Javidan, SVP Operations, Tio Networks Corp.

Aiyana Kane, Owner/Operator, Bandidas Taqueria Restaurant

Kevin Kimsa, Managing Director, OMERS Ventures

Chad Kohalyk, Customer Experience, Predicative Inc.

Richard Lau, Co-Founder,

Glyn Lewis, Co-Founder, New Mode Consulting Inc.

Michael Litt, CEO, Vidyard

James Lochrie, CPO, Wave Accounting Inc.

Adam Lorant, Partner , Magellan Angel Partners

Tara Mahoney, Creative Director, Gen Why Media

Boris Mann, Managing Partner, Full Stack Foundry GP

Colin Mansell, Managing Partner, Drive Digital Inc.

Susan McLennan, President, Reimagine PR Inc.

Qasim Mohammad, Analyst, OMERS Ventures

Jennifer North, President, North Accounting Services Inc.

Rick Perreault, Co-Founder & CEO, Unbounce Marketing Solutions Inc.

Dennis Pilarinos, CEO, BuddyBuild

M Hassaan Rahim, Managing and Relations Partner, MRKS Media

Andrew Reid, Founder - President, Vision Critical Communications Inc.

Steve Rio, CEO, Briteweb Inc.

Danny Robinson, Founder/CEO, Perch Communications Inc.

Steve Rogoschewsky , CEP, BlackSun Inc.

John Ruffolo, CEO, OMERS Ventures

Kirk Simpson, CEO, Wave Accounting Inc.

Joel Solomon, Chairman, Renewal Funds

Josh Stuart, President, cStreet Campaigns Inc.

Michael Tippett, Founder, wantoo

Matt Toner, President, Zeros 2 Heroes Media Inc.

Ray Walia, CEO, Launch Academy Inc.

Boris Wertz, Founding Partner, Version One Ventures


About OpenMedia

OpenMedia is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.

Through campaigns such as and, has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.




David Christopher

Communications Manager, OpenMedia


[email protected]

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