April 24th, 2024

In the news today: Liberals to create digital safety commission via Online Harms Act

By The Canadian Press on February 27, 2024.

A mother identifying as Jane Doe to protect her child tells her daughters story as Arif Virani, Minister of Justice, and Attorney General of Canada, right, reacts as they hold a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa regarding the new online harms bill on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

Online harms: Liberals seek to create digital safety commission, new ombudsperson

The Liberal government plans to create a new digital safety regulator to compel social-media platforms to take action against online harms and remove damaging content _ including child sex-abuse material and intimate images shared without consent _under penalty of millions of dollars in fines.

Justice Minister Arif Virani tabled the long-awaited Online Harms Act on Monday, along with a suite of other amendments to the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Known as Bill C-63, the legislation ushers in the creation of a “Digital Safety Commission of Canada,” along with a new ombudsperson to advocate for users who have concerns about online safety.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long promised to better protect Canadians, especially youth, from online harms _ including a vow to table legislation within 100 days of his re-election in 2021.

Inquest into killer’s death enters second day

A Saskatchewan coroner’s inquest will hear more details today about how a man who killed 11 people and injured 17 others during a stabbing rampage died in police custody.

Myles Sanderson had been on the run for several days when police caught up to him on Sept. 7, 2022, and during the first day of the inquest Monday, jurors were shown video from RCMP dashboard cameras of a high-speed police pursuit.

A Mountie used her vehicle to ram into the truck Sanderson was driving.

The vehicle lost control and went into a ditch on a highway north of Saskatoon, and the inquest heard Sanderson had a medical emergency while he was taken into custody and died in hospital.

Here’s what else we’re watching …

Toronto area worries shootings will revive stigma

For a Toronto community once notorious for crime and the influence of organized gangs, two shootings this month targeting innocent victims at the same spot, less than 24 hours apart, were more than just a chilling outbreak of indiscriminate violence.

The shootings that killed a newcomer to Canada supporting four children in Ghana and critically injured a 16-year-old boy also marked a setback for the neighbourhood around Jane and Finch, which community workers and experts say has made progress in addressing its reputation as one of Toronto’s most troubled areas.

Police have said that gun violence in the northwest Toronto area “was at a 10-year low” last year.

Pensions still moving too slow on climate: report

A new report by an advocacy group says Canada’s largest public pension funds are showing modest improvements on climate action but are moving too slowly overall.

The progress report from Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health notes that four of the 11 pension plans it examined still don’t have emissions reduction targets for 2030 or 2050.

It says many of the pension funds are still not being transparent about their fossil fuel holdings, and none have acknowledged the need to phase them out.

Shift says there were some improvements, including the first climate plans out of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan.

Ontario euthanizes raccoons, charges rehabber

Ontario has euthanized 84 raccoons and laid dozens of charges in its investigation of a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Mally’s Third Chance Raccoon Rescue in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, is outraged and demanding accountability from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry over its handling of the animals.

Mally’s helps rehabilitate injured and orphaned raccoons and returns them to the wild once they are able.

Court documents show the owners of Mally’s, Derek Zavitsky and Barbara Zavitsky, collectively face more than 40 counts laid under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Why so many of Canada’s discount airlines fail

Now-defunct Lynx Air is the latest in a long line of discount carriers that failed to take off.

Stiff competition, high fees and Canada’s vast geography make it hard for airlines to succeed in the long term.

Lynx, which filed for creditor protection Thursday, is at least the eighth budget airline to take off and then fizzle out since 2000.

It joins the ranks of shuttered carriers such as Roots Air, CanJet and Swoop.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2024.

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