The province is working on new legislation to protect Nova Scotians of all ages from the harmful effects of cyberbullying.
“We all know that sharing hurtful and malicious posts online can have long lasting and devastating impacts on an individual – no matter their age. In our new digital world, bullying has gone well beyond the playground,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Diana Whalen. “We must continue our efforts to protect victims of cyberbullying.”
In December, 2015, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia struck down the existing CyberSafety Act. The Department of Justice accepts the court’s ruling that the definition of cyberbullying in the former act was overly broad and will not appeal the court’s decision. Instead, a new act will be drafted that addresses the court’s concerns and ensures Nova Scotians have a high level of protection when faced with cyberbullies.
“We have work to do over the next several months to gather the legal expertise and input needed to make sure the new act is strong, protects the public and addresses the concerns raised in the court decision,” said Ms. Whalen. “We want to get this right and that means finding a balance between the important right to freedom of speech and the protection of victims of cyberbullying.”
Targeted consultations will be conducted over the next several months. The earliest the new legislation will be introduced is in the fall.
The CyberSCAN unit will continue to educate students on cyberbullying while new legislation is drafted. CyberSCAN has helped hundreds of Nova Scotians since its introduction in 2013 and conducted over 800 presentations in schools across the province.