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UNICEF Canada Applauds the Senate Committee for Report on Cyberbullying


      UNICEF Canada Applauds the Senate Committee for Report on Cyberbullying

TORONTO, December 12, 2012. UNICEF Canada applauds the report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, Cyberbullying Hurts: Respect for Rights in the Digital Age. If the 6 key recommendations are implemented, they would go far in ensuring that children across Canada are protected from online harm.

“More children are online than ever before”, says Marv Bernstein, UNICEF Canada’s Chief Policy Advisor. “UNICEF Canada continues to hold the view that the best way to deal with cyberbullying is to stop it before it happens, by building upon strong preventive and rights-respecting educational initiatives.  This report supports that view.”

UNICEF Canada submitted a written brief to the Standing Senate Committee as part of its study on cyberbulling and is pleased to see the brief reflected in today’s report. In addition to the 6 main recommendations, the report also highlights a number of additional issues that would protect children’s rights.  These included the establishment of a national Children’s Commissioner, which the Committee emphatically states “should be implemented without further delay”   and the use of a Child Rights Impact Assessment when considering new legislation.

The submission was one of a range of activities UNICEF Canada has been involved in to promote online child safety.  In 2011 UNICEF released a report, Child Safety Online, global challenges and strategies, which reviewed global evidence and practices to determine what risks children face online and how best to mitigate that risk.

Most Recently, UNICEF Canada intervened in the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark cyberbullying case of A.B. v. Bragg Communications Incorporated et al. which ruled that children’s privacy rights should be protected when addressing cyberbullying through the court system.

 “The advancement of the internet, mobile phones and other digital media bring an increased risk of cyberbullying ,” says Mr. Bernstein.  “Children must understand the risks they face and make informed and responsible choices when they use digital media. Even after the fact, children can benefit from targeted education initiatives, whether as victim, bully or bystander.”

To this end, UNICEF Canada supports children’s rights education through its Rights Respecting Schools initiative, which uses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to develop a culture of inclusiveness and respect in schools and promotes meaningful participation and active citizenship among students.  Today’s report references the  importance of the Rights Respecting School model as an effective means of preventing cyberbullying by teaching digital citizenship education.


UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230,
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806,