I’m proud to announce the Legislative Assembly of Alberta has unanimously passed Wildrose’s Bill 202: The Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act.
The impact of sharing intimate images can have detrimental social, mental, and physical effects. Now those affected by these actions will have recourse should they be subject to harassment or humiliation after a relationship ends.
Intimate images sent during the course of a relationship between two individuals should not be used to humiliate anyone after a relationship ends. Now, with Bill 202, individuals who are considering using these pictures or videos against someone will hopefully stop themselves because of how easily they can now be made to pay a price.
In some cases these images are posted along with the victim’s personal information including their full name, address and social media profiles. This is especially the case with youth across Alberta and it can have devastating effects going as far as suicide.
Alberta will now have law to correspond with the ease at which these images can be distributed through technology. Albertans will be able to sue those who share or threaten to share intimate images without their consent.
The Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act creates the provincial tort law necessary to sue another individual who distributes intimate images without consent. The Bill creates a process where the student that has distributed the images is recommended for expulsion.
The Bill will work as a tool victims of non-consensual distribution of intimate images can use to seek damages for harm inflicted. The Bill legislates firm protection for students in their schools from their perpetrators and promotes security of that person, as well as prosecuting offenders who use these images to turn a profit, and award the monies earned to the victim.
On the federal level the government introduced Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, which came into force on March 9, 2016. That act amended the Criminal Code to provide for a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images as well as additional amendments to authorize the removal of such images from the Internet.
The federal Bill also brought in amendments to authorize the recovery of expenses incurred to obtain the removal of such images and the restriction of the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender.
In Manitoba the Intimate Image Protection Act required the government to make the appropriate supports available to assist people who have had an intimate image distributed without consent or who believe that their intimate image is about to be distributed without consent.
Two years ago Microsoft and Google announced policies to remove the non-consensual sharing of intimate images from their search engines if the victim fills out a form and requests it.
With the federal government and provincial government in Manitoba bringing in legislation addressing the non-consensual distribution of sexual imagery and video, and private companies taking action as well, Alberta has now done the same.
With the assistance of such legislation there will no longer be cases such as those as Reteah Parsons or Amanda Todd. Both suicides were directly related to the distribution of non-consensual images.
As a father, I’m proud to see that the legislature as ensured the protection of Alberta’s son and daughters. With this action, hopefully never again will those victimized by the non-consensual distribution of intimate images result in the taking of one’s own life.
Scott Cyr is the Wildrose Shadow Justice Minister and Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA