PROVINCE MARKS FIRST STOP CYBERBULLYING IN ONTARIO DAY

Published on June 18, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga East-Cooksville, Kaleed Rasheed’s Bill 154 legislates day of awareness and action against Cyberbullying.

MISSISSAUGA – Today the Ontario government marks, for the first time, June 18 as Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day. This important and timely recognition stems from the work of Kaleed Rasheed, Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga East-Cooksville, who championed Bill 154, the Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day Act, 2019.

Going forward, the third Friday in June of each year will now be recognized as Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario Day, which aligns the province with the internationally recognized date to stop cyberbullying..

“Cyberbullying is one of those unexpected 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,” said MPP Rasheed. “I hope that the ongoing conversation to Stop Cyberbullying in Ontario starts today and continues in households and workplaces until we put an end to this horrible practice.”

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 raise 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.

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, 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.
  • Ontario has seen an increase in cases of cyberbullying. Stop Cyberbullying Day in Ontario raises awareness of the problem of cyberbullying and will help lead to its prevention.
  • Info Sheet: Cyberbullying from Public Safety Canada: “[studies] found that victimization rates ranged from 2.3% to 72%, with the average being 21%. Among the studies that included offending behaviours, 1.2% to 44% of teens reported cyberbullying others, an average of 15%. Overall, approximately one out of every five teenagers has been the target of cyberbullying, and one out of every six has been a cyberbully at some point in their lifetimes.”
  • Insights on Canadian Society: Cyberbullying and cyberstalking among Internet users aged 15 to 29 in Canada, Statistics Canada, released on December 19, 2016. indicates that: “In 2014, about 17% of the population aged 15 to 29 (representing about 1.1 million people) that accessed the Internet at some point between 2009 and 2014 reported they had experienced cyberbullying or cyberstalking.”
  • Ontario’s Ministry of Education Online Resource on Bullying: Bullying – we can all help stop it
  • How to Stay Safe from Cyberbullying – KidsHelpPhone: https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-info/cyberbullying-how-stay-safe/

Supportive Quotes

“The safety of students remains our top priority,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Cyberbullying can have serious repercussions on our youth and their mental health. Under MPP Rasheed’s leadership, we are raising awareness to cyberbullying with a focus on prevention, as we build a safe, respectful and inclusive education system where all children can realize their full potential.”

 “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.” Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones

“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

“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.” Laura Zilney, CEO of Hope 24/7.

“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.” Carol Reist, Executive Director of The Dam.

The President of the Police Association of Ontario (PAO), Bruce Chapman, also spoke in support of the bill. “At its 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 Friday 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.”

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MEDIA CONTACT
Kasia Kaminska
Legislative Advisor for Kaleed Rasheed, MPP
[email protected]

BACKGROUNDER

Bill 154: Stop Cyberbullying Day in Ontario Act, 2019

  • 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.
  • Read the Bill
  • Info Sheet: Cyberbullying from Public Safety Canada