Online harms bill soaks taxpayers, further balloons bureaucracy

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2024/07/04

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is criticizing the government’s online harms bill following today’s Parliamentary Budget Officer report showing it will cost taxpayers $201 million. 

“Today’s PBO report shows the online harms bill will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions and further balloon an already bloated bureaucracy,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “The government must go back to the drawing board.”

The PBO estimates the online harms bill will add 330 bureaucrats and cost taxpayers $201 million over five years. The federal bureaucracy has already increased by nearly 100,000 employees under the Trudeau government. 

For the cost of the online harms bill, the government could instead pay the salary of about 375 new police officers, according to the RCMP’s website

“We found that the RCMP’s cybercrime investigative teams experienced ongoing challenges in recruiting and retaining staff with the needed technical skills, which affected the RCMP’s capacity to address cybercrime,” according to a 2024 Auditor General Report. “We estimated that 30 per cent of positions were vacant.”

“Instead of hiring hundreds of bureaucrats to snoop around social media, the government could hire hundreds of police officers to actually go after criminals,” Terrazzano said. “If the government wants to keep Canadians safe and avoid trampling on free expression, the solution is simple: hire more cops, not online hall monitors.” 

An open letter signed by 16 public-interest groups warns the online harms bill will “risk creating a serious chilling effect on lawful speech and debate.”

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Franco Terrazzano
Federal Director at
Canadian Taxpayers

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