Toronto (September 4, 2020) - This morning, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center's (FSWC) Director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, met with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Arif Virani, to discuss and provide recommendations regarding the federal government's strategy to address online hate.
The meeting followed the release of a series of recommendations for combating online hate by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Kirzner-Roberts communicated FSWC's support for many of the recommendations brought forth by the Committee, including increasing funding for training law enforcement, crown attorneys and judges about hate laws and the importance of combating online hatred as well as police services needing to improve the sharing of data and best practices for combating online hate.
"We commend Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti and Parliamentary Secretary Arif Virani for their clear commitment to addressing the growing challenge of online hate and efforts to seek consultation with the Jewish community," said Kirzner-Roberts, who provided three clear recommendations at the meeting: Amending 319(6) of the Criminal Code to remove the requirement of Attorney General consent for hate crime charges; placing online hate crimes under federal jurisdiction in order to streamline the process of reporting, investigating and collecting data on online hate; and developing a more clear and comprehensive conceptualization of illegal hate activities that will serve as a guideline within the justice system.
"With online hate on the rise, it is increasingly important for governments to look at ways to address and combat this issue and ensure minority communities feel safe online and are not the targets of hate speech," said Michael Levitt, president and CEO of FSWC. "We look forward to seeing the government put in place the necessary reforms to ensure our justice system can effectively confront the growing presence of hate online."