ONTARIO GOVERNMENT PASSES LEGISLATION ON DAY OF ACTION TO STOP CYBERBULLYING IN ONTARIO

Published on September 24, 2020

Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga East-Cooksville, Kaleed Rasheed’s Bill 154 passes third reading, receives Royal Assent.

TORONTO – Kaleed Rasheed, Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga East-Cooksville, has been championing the Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day Act, 2019, which proclaims the third Friday in June of each year as Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day. The internationally recognized date to Stop Cyberbullying is currently not recognized in the province of Ontario, and MPP Rasheed seeks to bring the Province up-to-speed on raising awareness and combatting stigma on this important day.

Bill 154 passed third reading with the unanimous consent of the house on September 14th. The Stop Cyberbully in Ontario Day Act received Royal Assent, formalizing it into law, on September 24th.

“I am overwhelmed by the support of my colleagues in the house and the positive feedback from the community regarding Bill 154,” said MPP Rasheed. “It can be very challenging for parents and individuals to remain aware of all the critical issues impacting our communities at all times. Cyberbullying is one of those insidious things that can occur right under our noses. Taking the time to set aside a day to bring the very real challenge of cyberbullying into the spotlight will help raise awareness that resources exist to assist those struggling with it.”

Cyberbullying can have significant and lifelong physical and mental health effects on children and adults, as well as many other personal and social consequences for both victims and perpetrators. In extreme circumstances, the effects of cyberbullying can cost a life.

Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day aims to awareness and encourage discussion in schools and workplaces which will provide individuals of any age with the tools they need to protect themselves from cyberbullying.

Laura Zilney, the CEO of Hope 24/7 said, “Hope 24/7 enthusiastically supports private member Kaleed Rasheed’s Bill, Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day Act, 2019. Women and girls continue to experience the physical and psychological impacts central to the non-consensual creation, distribution and consumption of intimate images. We are happy to support the province in taking the first step in eliminating this form of violence against women.”

“Cyberbullying is so common that it often isn't recognized, leaving the victim to suffer silently. Awareness is a step towards prevention in starting the conversation on how we want to treat each other online.” Said Carol Reist, Executive Director of The Dam.

The Police Association of Ontario (PAO) also spoke in support of the bill. “At it's extreme, cyberbullying can be responsible for someone taking their own life. This is appalling and intolerable, and real change needs to occur to put an end to it. The known statistics may not accurately reflect the number of children and adults that are cyberbullied. Many are afraid to tell their parents, friends or a person in a position of authority such as a teacher or police officer. The PAO is, therefore, very supportive of the Ontario Government’s announcement that the third Thursday in June will now be recognized as Stop Cyberbullying Day in Ontario. We hope that this new awareness day will contribute to the development of much-needed action to create cyberbullying awareness and prevention tools, and will serve as a positive step forward in decreasing and altogether eliminating cyberbullying in Ontario.”

The Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce commended MPP Rasheed on his legislation and said, “we are working together to strengthen oversight, enforcement, training, and education to ensure our students remain safe from the classroom to the family room.”

“We know that in Ontario, about 14 percent of high school students reported having seriously contemplated suicide in the past year and about 4 percent reported having attempted suicide,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Cyberbullying and suicide continue to affect many people and families across Ontario every year – including far too many young people and students in communities throughout the province.”

 “All of us play a part in ensuring that young people remain safe in our increasingly digital world.” Said the Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones, thanking MPP Rasheed for his leadership in raising awareness about cyberbullying.

“Cyberbullying can occur suddenly, cause endless suffering and leave victims feeling hopeless and powerless. Our government is determined to stand up against cyberbullying at every opportunity and to support victims of this senseless behaviour.” Attorney General, Doug Downey.

Quick Facts

  • Cyberbullying consists of electronic communication that, directly or indirectly, causes or is likely to cause harm to another individual’s physical and mental health or wellbeing.
  • It can include intimidation, threats and harassment and can have significant and lifelong negative effects on children and adults.
  • Ontario has seen an increase in cases of cyberbullying. Stop Cyberbullying Day in Ontario will create awareness of the problem of cyberbullying and help lead to its prevention. It will help bring awareness to children and adults of the tools they need to protect themselves from cyberbullying by encouraging discussion in schools and workplaces.
  • Overall, approximately one out of every five teenagers in the province have been the target of cyberbullying, and one out of every six has been a cyberbully at some point in their lifetimes.
  • In their recent and comprehensive synthesis of research on cyberbullying found that victimization rates ranged from 2.3% to 72%, with the average being 21% in Canada.

About Kaleed Rasheed, MPP

Kaleed Rasheed is the Member of the Provincial Parliament for Mississauga East-Cooksville. MPP Rasheed has lived in Mississauga East-Cooksville for over 15 years.

MPP Rasheed is a long-time community advocate, passionate about his involvement with local organizations and causes. He is keen on bringing his technological background into his work as an MPP, to help create policies that will protect Ontarians online.

-30-

MEDIA CONTACT
Kasia Kaminska
Legislative Advisor for Kaleed Rasheed, MPP
Kaleed.rasheed@pc.ola.org

BACKGROUNDER

Bill 154: Stop Cyberbullying Day in Ontario Act, 2019

  • Cyberbullying consists of electronic communication that, directly or indirectly, causes or is likely to cause harm to another individual’s physical and mental health or wellbeing.
  • It can include intimidation, threats and harassment and can have significant and lifelong negative effects on children and adults.
  • Cyberbullying can have significant and lifelong physical and mental health effects upon children and adults, as well as many other personal and social consequences for both victims and perpetrators. In extreme circumstances, the effects of cyberbullying can cost a life.
  • Our world today heavily relies on the internet and social media, so the number of cyber-bullying cases have been on the rise. Many times these cases are unreported.
  • Bill 154 will help bring awareness to children and adults about the tools they need to protect themselves from cyberbullying by ensuring it is being discussed in our schools through awareness campaigns, as well as in workplaces.