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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 18, 2021

How can social media be more transparent and accountable for Canadians?

Unique Commission and Citizens’ Assembly on democratic expression convene for the first time in Ottawa 
 Interview opportunities:
  • Former Supreme Court Justice, The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Co-Chair of the Commission
  • Taylor Owen, Co-Chair of the Commission, Public Policy Forum Fellow and Associate Professor in the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University
  • Commissioners of the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression
  • Members of the Citizens’ Assembly
(Ottawa, ON) – For the first time in Canadian history, experts and Canadian citizens are convening to discuss what democratic expression online should mean and what policies, if any, should exist to regulate it. The meetings are taking place this week, between Nov.17 and Nov.22, in Ottawa.
 
The Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression is a three-year initiative aimed at responding to the democratic risks of digital technologies. This project is led by the Public Policy Forum (PPF) and funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the McConnell Foundation. It is composed of a Commission, a Citizen’s Assembly, and an independent research program led by the Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill University.
 
Nine eminent Canadians have agreed to serve as Commissioners in 2021-22. They all bring a range of perspectives and skills, and have extensive experience in the areas of law, media, technology, citizen participation and politics. The Commission is co-chaired by the former Supreme Court Justice, The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, and McGill professor and PPF Fellow Taylor Owen.
 
The Citizens’ Assembly comprises 42 Canadians, who are selected by a randomized civic lottery. They represent all provinces and territories.
 
The Commission is examining how to make social media platforms more transparent and accountable for Canadians. The Citizens’ Assembly is focused on a specific piece of that overarching question – they will explore whether there should be legal or other consequences for those who knowingly spread disinformation online with the intent to cause harm and, if so, what they should be. The recommendations by the Commission and the Assembly will be informed by the testimony from international experts and a range of Canadian stakeholders. Their joint findings will be shared with the Minister of Canadian Heritage next year.
 
The Assembly and the Commission published the first of three annual reports in January 2021. The next set of reports will be published in January and March 2022 respectively.

 
For further information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Hannah Yakobi
Vice-President, Marketing, Communications and Events
Public Policy Forum
hyakobi@ppforum.ca 
613-800-5546

ABOUT PUBLIC POLICY FORUM 

The Public Policy Forum builds bridges among diverse participants in the policy-making process and gives them a platform to examine issues, offer new perspectives and feed fresh ideas into critical policy discussions. We contribute by conducting research on critical issues, convening candid dialogues on research subjects and recognizing exceptional leaders. PPF is an independent, non-partisan charity, whose members are a diverse group of private, public and non-profit organizations. 



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