Comments - 6. Healthy democracy


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Issue to be addressed

There is growing evidence that trust in public institutions is low and citizens are concerned about campaigns of false information and "fake news. These factors can present a threat to healthy democracy. It is critical for Canadians to have the tools and information to think critically about public policy, so they can participate more effectively in democratic processes.


The Government of Canada will build the resilience of Canadian democratic institutions in the digital age, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. We will:

  • strengthen democratic institutions in Canada through modernized election laws
  • strengthen international capacity to identify and respond to evolving threats to democracy
  • support a healthy and reliable news ecosystem in Canada
  • champion diversity of content, and quality and transparency of information online


6.1 Strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in Canada, both in advance of and following the 2019 federal election

6.1.1 Election laws are modernised to be more secure, transparent and accessible, including by:

  • modernizing Elections Canada and reinforcing the role of the Commissioner of Canada Elections
  • prohibiting foreign funding
  • increasing transparency around how Canadians are targeted by traditional and online and advertising

6.1.2 Government of Canada delivers on Budget 2018 commitment to support a new process that would ensure that federal leaders’ debates are organized in the public interest and improve Canadians’ knowledge of the parties, their leaders and their policy positions


6.2 Leverage the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to strengthen international capacity to identify and respond to a diversity of evolving threats to democracy, including through sharing information and analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated responses

6.2.1 The RRM is fully operationalized, and the coordination unit at Global Affairs Canada is established

6.2.2 The RRM Focal Points convene on a regular basis

6.2.3 The RRM will be tried and tested during its first year of operation


6.3 Leverage existing Canadian Heritage programs, including Youth Take Charge and Canada History Fund, to support a healthy democracy

6.3.1 Projects and initiatives are supported with a focus on digital, news and civic literacy for Canadians


6.4 Support a healthy and reliable news ecosystem

6.4.1 Government of Canada delivers on Budget 2018 commitment to provide $50 million to support local journalism in underserved communities

6.4.2 Work has been completed to better align the Canada Periodical Fund with the reading choices of Canadians and an increasingly digital world

6.4.3 New models are explored that enable private giving and philanthropic support for trusted, professional, non-profit journalism and local news

6.4.4 Media organizations are consulted to consider how the government can further support the transition to digital media


6.5 Champion international norms to support diversity of content, and quality and transparency of information online

6.5.1  The Government of Canada hosts a working session for experts on diversity of content in the digital age to advance the national and international conversation on principles that should guide action in this space



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