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Liberal’s online hate enforcement regime will cost taxpayers $200m: PBO

By Clayton DeMaine, True North Wire

Canadians can expect to shell out at least $200 million on the Liberal government’s “online harms” enforcement regime, which critics have blasted for violating freedom of expression.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer made the estimate in a recent report on Bill C-63, also known as the Online Harms Act. Taxpayers funds will be used to establish its new full-time 330-person bureaucracy, if the bill, which mandates the creation of a Digital Safety Commission, passes.

The government’s independent budget analyst estimated that the total operating cost of establishing the bureaucracy proposed by the censorship bill would be $201 million over the next five years.

“The costs may be higher if the Digital Safety Commission, Ombudsperson or Office decides to employ significant external legal, IT or consulting services after reaching their full capacity,” the PBO said.

According to the report, the bureaucracy could have the capacity to reduce this cost through potential “administrative monetary penalties, fines, or regulatory charges it collects.”

Multiple parties have criticized Bill C-63 over its potential to limit freedom of speech through, among other aspects, the introduction of an online hate speech offence under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

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