In Ontario, children learn about Internet safety as part of the Health and Physical Education curriculum from grade one onwards. The Ministry of Education has licensed one of the Media Awareness Network’s tutorials for use in schools as an additional resource.
2010 - The Ontario Ministry of Education approved changes to the health and physical education curriculum for elementary students to include sections on Internet safety and racial hatred online.
2012 - The province’s Education Act was amended to strengthen schools’ abilities to deal with cyberbullying.
2014 - The Ministry published a fact sheet for parents about how technology will be implemented in the learning process.
Ongoing - The Ontario Ministry of Education licensed Media Awareness Network’s digital literacy tutorials Passport to the Internet for all publicly funded schools, has a list of resources about cyberbullying and a fact sheet for parents about online safety and sexting.
Ontario Ministry of Education
The Ministry is responsible for all publicly funded primary and secondary education across the province. It aims to promote an education system with high levels of student achievement and increased public confidence in publicly funded education, among other goals.
Send This Instead
This website is part of a campaign and app which aim to empower teens to resist feeling pressured into sharing explicit pictures of themselves with others and was produced by the Ontario Provincial Police’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit.
TVO, Ontario’s public educational media organization, is supported by Ontario’s Ministry of Education and offers resources on Internet Safety for parents and children are available on the TVO Web site, including videos and articles.
Internet Safety in Southern Ontario Schools (2005)J. Barnett
This article reports on a survey conducted with preservice teachers about their perceptions of Internet safety in schools in southern Ontario.
This section contains details of the province’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
Legislation relating to criminal law is controlled at a federal level in Canada. All laws detailed in the Legislation section of the Canadian Federal government page would apply within Ontario.
At the end of July 2014, the Ontario Provincial Police’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit launched Send This Instead: an app designed to help teens respond to requests for explicit pictures. The app contains images which can be sent in response, as well as safety tips and advice to those affected by sexting. Resources are available on the project’s website, to be used as a teaching resource for schools and community groups. In addition, the app contains reporting links for suspected illegal content. The app’s launch has been accompanied by some videos promoting it.
In 2004, the Government of Ontario launched a series of initiatives as part of its Provincial Strategy to Protect Children From Crimes on the Internet. These included introducing CYBERCOPS software for Grade 7 and Grade 8 students in Ontario schools, which helps cyber-proof children against cyber-stalking, Internet luring, ID theft and cyber-bullying. In addition, support materials, including an Internet luring training package for police and Crown attorneys, were developed through the Attorney General’s Task Force on Internet Crimes Against Kids. It also called on the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to abolish conditional sentences for child pornography crimes. (When Federal Bill C-2 was passed, and came into force in November, 2005, it created minimum sentences for sexual offenses involving children, which had the effect of making conditional sentences unavailable.) Finally, it provided $500,000 to the Kids’ Internet Safety Alliance (KINSA), a group dedicated to eliminating the online sexual exploitation of children.
In 2006, the Government of Ontario announced a further, comprehensive, five-part, multi-million dollar strategy to combat Internet child pornography and luring. The CDN$5-million strategy included a dedicated child-victim tip line and referral service, set up through the established Crime Stoppers program, to support victims and prevent re-victimization. It would also fund an online undercover team of municipal police officers to conduct on-line child-luring investigations to identify suspects and victims, and prevent further victimization. Another initiative funded by the strategy was the provision of dedicated support for child victims and families to offer emotional support, referral to appropriate community services and practical assistance. To find out more go to http://www.ontla.on.ca/house-proceedings/transcripts/files_pdf/2006-04-20_pdfL063.pdf