Wildrose bill aims to protect cyberbullying victims

A Wildrose MLA is introducing a bill Tuesday that would make it easier to people to sue if their intimate images are shared or put on the internet without their permission.

Bill would make it easer for victims who have had intimate images shared online to sue for damages

Scott Cyr was flanked by fellow Wildrose MLAs Angela PItt (left) and Leela Aheer to announce his private member's bill on Tuesday. (CBC)

A Wildrose MLA will introduce a bill Tuesday that would make it easier for people to sue if their intimate images are shared on the internet without permission.

"This bill would give victims of these crimes new tools to seek justice and protect from future exploitation," said Scott Cyr, Wildrose MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake.

Bill 202, the Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act, would create the provincial tort law for victims to seek damages.

Currently, it is difficult for such lawsuits to be successful, Cyr said.

The bill would also add the sharing of intimate images to the Education Act, which would mean students could face suspension and further punishment.

Cyr said he has asked Education Minister David Eggen to include lessons about the dangers of sharing intimate images in school curriculum.

"I think we need to make sure that everybody's educated, both men and women, on the fact that this is destroying people's lives," he said.

Cyr said Manitoba and Nova Scotia have passed similar laws.

The Cyber-Safety Act, passed after the suicide of 17-year-old Rehteah Parsons, was struck down by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in December 2015.

The court deemed the bill a "colossal failure" and ruled that it infringed on charter rights. 

Manitoba's Intimate Image Protection Act came into effect in January 2016. Under the law, victims can sue for damages in civil court.