Edmonton

Alberta passes bill to protect cyberbullying victims

Bill 202, the Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act, creates the tort law needed for victims to sue for damages, and makes it illegal for anyone to profit from those images.

Bill 202 allows people whose intimate images are posted online to sue for damages

Scott Cyr was flanked by fellow Wildrose MLAs Angela PItt (left) and Leela Aheer when he announced his private member's bill in March. The bill passed third reading unanimously on Monday. (CBC)

The Alberta legislature has passed a bill that makes it easier for people to sue for damages if their intimate images are shared on the internet without their permission.

Bill 202, the Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act, also makes it illegal for anyone to profit from such images.

The bill, introduced by Scott Cyr, the Wildrose MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake, unanimously passed third reading Monday afternoon with support from Wildrose, NDP, Progressive Conservative and Alberta Party MLAs.

Cyr said he looked to a similar bill in Manitoba while drafting the legislation. But his act goes further, as it allows school boards to suspend or expel students caught sharing intimate images of other students.

The bill will create consistency across Alberta schools that currently doesn't exist, Cyr said.

"My concern is, by not having some uniform system, or a law that is being broken, that we don't identify the real true source of the problem here, which is sharing of pictures that should never have actually been put on the internet," he said.

When he introduced the bill in March, Cyr said lawsuits launched by victims were rarely successful. The bill creates the tort law necessary to make it easier for people to sue. 

Cyr said he was inspired to introduce the bill after having a discussion with his 11-year-old daughter about the dangers of taking intimate images and sharing them with others.

He said during the discussion, his daughter asked why people were allowed to post such images. That inspired the MLA to see what he could do legislatively. 

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