• - 2012-03-14 -

    UPDATE: For the latest details on this event, please visit
    On March 30th, CIPPIC and the Creative Law Society will host a Creative Commons Salon on the theme of "Open Data". This event is free and everyone is invited to participate. We have an exciting line-up of speakers for you!

    With the Open Data movement exploding, this is an opportune time to find out more about it and discuss it. Most major cities in Canada now have open data portals where municipal governments openly and freely release public sector data, such as maps, statistics and other government documents. The federal government is making open data the central focus of is Open Government Initiative in order to increase transparency and citizen participation. Come join us to learn more about this movement!

  • - 2012-02-16 -

    After receiving immense public pressure to make amendments to new online surveillance legislation that the government re-introduced on Tuesday, Prime Minister Harper announced today that these proposals could change as the bill makes its way through Parliamentary debate. The legislation will be referred to legislative committee prior to second reading, leaving room for significant changes in principal as opposed to minor changes of a technical nature.

    The proposed legislation at issue is Bill C-30, An Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts -- it is otherwise known as the "lawful access" legislation. If this name sounds familiar, it's likely because the government unsuccessfully tried to introduce similar legislation in 2009 and again in 2010. Heavily criticized by the federal and provincial privacy commissioners -- as well as by civil society and the public -- these past efforts never made their way to a legislative committee. Nevertheless, the new bill remains largely unchanged from these earlier attempts.

    Reprisals against this bill have been pouring out from across all party lines. However, we strongly encourage everyone to keep up the pressure. The government has not yet commited to any specific amendments or improvements.  We encourage you to talk to your M.P. and sign the petition now.

  • - 2012-02-10 -

    CIRA is hosting its second annual Canadian Internet Forum -- a venue to discuss pressing and upcoming issues in the digital world. CIF 2012 will bring together experts and individual Canadians from across the spectrum of stakeholders in order to discuss the pressing Internet governance issues of our day. Last year, issues ranged broadly, covering concerns over the need to enhance ditigal literacy in Canada,  challenges for innovative ventures in Canada, to the need to implement IPv6 and DNSSEC and to ensure Canada has world-class Internet infrastructure.

    The forum represents a unique opportunity for Canadians to voice their concerns on Internet governance and related issues. This is particularly salient following the apparent demise of the government's digital economy strategy. Only two days remain to provide into the agenda, so take a few minutes and fill out CIRA's online form and tell them what you would like to hear discussed at CIF 2012 (dealine for comments is February 12, 2012)!

  • - 2012-02-08 -

    CIPPIC co-hosted a Public Forum on Internet Surveillance in Ottawa today, with the objective of discussing issues arising from the government's lawful access legislative agenda. The Public Forum, which was held at St. Paul University, kicked off with a book launch for "The Internet Tree: The State of Telecom Policy in Canada, 3.0". This book launch was followed by screenings of two mini-documentaries: "(Un)Lawful Access: Canadian Experts on the State of Cyber-Surveillance" & "Moving Toward a Surveillance Society", each exploring different elements of the online spying debate. Finally, the event closed with two panels:

    • Lawful Access: Legal & Technical Questions. Moderator: Roch Tassé. Panelists: Stephen McCammon, Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario; John Lawford, Public Interest Advocacy Centre; Kirsten Embree, Fraser, Milner, Casgrain; Christopher Parsons, PhD Candidate, University of Victoria;
    • Lawful Access: Policy Roundtable. Moderator: Dr. Michael Geist. Panelists: Charlie Angus, MP (NDP); Elizabeth May, MP (Green Party); Charmain Borg, MP (NDP)
  • - 2012-01-19 -

    If you visited our website yesterday, you most likely noticed the following black-out page covering the entire site:

 joined countless other websites in going entirely dark, or at least notionally censoring, our web pages for the day.  This action was part of a worldwide protest against the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA). The black-outs aimed to give web users a feel for what the internet could become under the purview of the proposed U.S. legislation -- that is, an internet where you might attempt to visit your favourite website, only to find that it was censored and blocked on the basis of aggressive U.S. content policies.
  • - 2012-01-16 -

    The federal government is presently seeking input from the public on their "Open Government" initative. This consultation covers open data, open information, and open dialogue. The comments from the public will help the government define a new strategy to improve these important facets of an open and transparent government. Today is the last day to submit comments; thus, if you have not already done so, we strongly encourage you to participate in this consultation now. You can simply step through the government's question-by-question online form at

    You can view CIPPIC's own suggestions for the government here.  We encourage the government to:

    • release all data on the portal under a Creative Commons license, or place it into the public domain;
    • mandate that each government department immediately releases at least several high-value datasets;
    • create a searchable full-text database of all responses to access to information requests;
    • move towards a practice of releasing all public sector data and information as the default policy (and holding back information only where there is a legitimate security of privacy risk); and
    • place all released government documents, reports and other information in a centralized repository and under an open license.
  • - 2011-12-12 -

    Last week, at climate action talks in Durban, Environment Minister Peter Kent complained of a "lack of commitment" on the part of other countries. However, a new Ecojustice report puts Canada's own commitment into serious question with respect to environmental law enforcement.

    Most disconcerting to us at CIPPIC, the author of the report, Will Amos, describes the available compliance information on environmental protection laws as a "hodge podge of incomplete data". Many of the key findings in the report point to a critical failure of the government to comply with principles of open government and open data . In fact, even though the Canadian federal government emphasized a commitment to open government in September and agreed to join the Open Government Partnership (which it has not yet done), many of the problems to which EcoJostice points directly relate to non-compliance with this partnership's Open Government Declaration (which Canada still has not yet signed)...

  • - 2011-12-05 -

    All too often, the crux of a legal case becomes an argument between large organizations over minute points of law. However, make no mistake about it: the copyright cases before the Supreme Court of Canada tomorrow will directly impact the everyday activities of most Canadians.  Our interns produced several excellent videos to illustrate the ramifications of these appeals:

  • - 2011-12-02 -

    Next Tuesday, CIPPIC will make oral arguments in the "Copyright Pentalogy", a set of five copyright case that the Supreme Court of Canada will hear from December 6-7.  These cases are likely to have a major impact on the scope of your fair dealing rights, as well as on how much you will pay in the future for online music, videos, and video games.  You can watch CIPPIC's oral arguments online on Tuesday at the Supreme Court of Canada's live webcast.

    The Supreme Court already granted CIPPIC leave to make written submissions on these important issues. CIPPIC provided the Court with advice in the following factums...


  • - 2011-10-19 -

    The Supreme Court of Canada ruled this morning that the online posting of a hyperlink does not constitute a publication of a defamatory statement.  This unanimous decision in Crookes v. Newton upholds online free speech rights, maintaining that an online link will only be defamatory if it actually repeats defamatory material.

    In its decision, the Court largely concurred with CIPPIC's arguments at the hearing that a hyperlink merely identifies the location of an article, but does not incorporate the text or in any way adopt it.  Links among websites create the fabric of the web and play a pivotal role in social media as users rapidly share links amongst each other.  The threat of liability for the mere posting of a link would unnecessarily chill the further development of online media and social spaces.  The S.C.C.'s ruling importantly permits internet users to continue sharing links without looking over their shoulders.