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Cyberbullying and Digital Harassment Conflict, Consequences, Citizenship [11-12] - Handout 11-12.3

Consequences of Cyber Bullying & Digital Harassment

Criminal Law - Rules that Govern all of Canada

Criminal Code of Canada

  • Criminal harassment (section 264):  consists of causing someone to feel threatened (does not need to be intentional), including repeatedly communicating with someone, causing them to feel threatened, unsafe, or fear for the safety of others, and such things as uttering threats and stalking. 
  • Defamatory libel (section 298): consists of publishing an untrue statement that is likely to injure someone’s reputation, such as writing something that is designed to insult or hurt someone by exposing them to hatred, contempt or ridicule.
  • Mischief (section 430):  includes manipulating, destroying, or altering data.
  • Corrupting Morals (section 163): includes making, printing, publishing, distributing, circulating, or possessing for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation any obscene written matter, picture, object, or indecent show.
  • Child Pornography (section 163.1): consists of forbidding the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography, covering the visual and written depictions or representations of sexual activity or anything sexually suggestive by persons (real or imaginary) under the age of 18 years.

Canadian Human Rights Act

  • Violations as it pertains to posts or messages that spread hate or discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or disability.

Civil Law- Represents a Conflict between People and is Focused on Compensation

  • Defamation (slander and libel): Typically includes negative statements made by one person about another person, communicated or published, whether false or true. The requirement is that the spoken (slander) or published (libel) statement is false and damages the reputation of the party involved.

Specific Statues - Legislation Created by Specific Provinces to Target Bullying

  • Ontario's Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Education Act: Clarifies the roles and responsibilities of school officials and allow teachers and school boards greater powers such as suspension and expulsion to discipline and respond to cases of harassment and bullying.

Other Considerations - Moral, Ethical, Emotional, Social Ramifications of Bullying

  • Other considerations include: intentional infliction of emotional distress; privacy violations; suspension; expulsion; notes on school records or transcripts; lawsuits; difficulties getting jobs or getting into post-secondary school; participation on teams or in clubs; declined scholarships and bursaries; embarrassment; ridicule; problems with friendships and relationships; issues with mental health, etc.

Adapted from, and

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