Canada Free Expression Government Censorship Free & Open Internet

National Day of Action raises alarm against dangerous website blocking proposal

Today civil society and the public are speaking out across Canada to defend access to the internet

May 27, 2021 — Today civil society groups and concerned members of the public are taking part in a National Day of Action against the federal government’s proposal to block websites and disconnect Internet users in Canada. Participants are responding to the government’s Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Online Intermediaries, which closes May 31st.

The consultation’s policy paper proposes cutting legal liability protections that currently protect online intermediaries like ISPs from being sued by copyright holders for providing neutral service to the Internet, and requiring them to block user access to an evolving list of websites. The paper also suggests intermediaries should temporarily or permanently disconnect users accused of accessing copyright infringing material, and develop their own extrajudicial hearing and appeal mechanisms to arbitrate between Internet users and copyright holders. 

“This is a wildly overreaching proposal straight from Bell’s wishlist,” said OpenMedia Campaigns Director Matthew Hatfield. “It’s incredibly concerning to see the government now actively proposing a plan that has already been rejected multiple times, including by the CRTC. There’s nothing fair or proportionate about what’s being proposed through this copyright consultation, and today folks are asking our government to reject these ideas for good.”

Hatfield continued, “If these proposals go through, we’ll see legitimate content inappropriately blocked by overly aggressive copyright complaints, and higher Internet prices for us as users, as the high costs for this invasive blocking get passed on to us. Worst of all, they could lead to some of Canada’s most vulnerable folks — those who live in a community with only one choice of Internet provider— losing access to the Internet entirely. All of this is to ‘solve’ copyright infringement that research suggests solves itself when rights holders provide easy access to the content people want at a reasonable price.”

Throughout the Day of Action participants will be posting on social media and working to drive more comments from the public to the government’s copyright consultation. Nearly 13,000 members of OpenMedia’s community have already submitted their comments.

Fourteen organizations have endorsed a statement condemning the proposals, including representatives from libraries, civil liberties organizations, commercial interests and privacy rights groups. 

Those interested in learning more about the Day of Action or in submitting their comments to the consultation can visit the hub page at DontBlock.ca.

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet.

Learn More