Announcing the findings from the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression and the Citizens’ Assembly on Democratic Expression


In light of the steep growth in social and democratic harms online, the Public Policy Forum established the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression to study and provide informed advice on how to reduce harmful speech on the internet without impairing free speech. The Commission comprised seven eminent Canadians, including The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, while the Assembly brought together a randomly selected body of 42 Canadians representing every province and territory as well as the breadth of perspectives and diversity of Canada.

The Reports:

The Commission has set out an integrated program of six practical steps that rejects a policy of aggressive takedown of content in favour of a citizen-centric approach that places responsibility for hateful and harmful content firmly on the shoulders of platforms and its creators.

  • The 2020-21 Report of the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression; Harms Reduction: A Six-Step Program to Protect Democratic Expression Online, authored by the Commissioners.

Read the Commission report

  • The 2020-21 Report of the Citizens’ Assembly on Democratic Expression; Recommendations to Strengthen Canada’s Response to New Digital Technologies and Reduce the Harm Caused by their Misuse, authored by a representative body of 42 Canadians

Read the Citizens’ Assembly report

About the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression: 

The Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression is a three-year initiative led by the Public Policy Forum to examine and provide informed advice to the Canadian government on how to maximize the democratic potential of the internet while mitigating ‘threats’ that decrease participation, openness, accuracy – features at the very core of democracy.

The Commission will highlight a new challenge relating to digital democracy each year, beginning in April 2020. The Commission will be supported in its annual deliberations by a Citizens’ Assembly of 42 Canadian volunteers led by MASS LBP and an original research program led by the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University.

About the Commissioners: 

The 2020-21 Commissioners are seven eminent Canadians who bring a range of perspectives and skills and have extensive experience in the areas of law, media, technology, citizen participation, and politics.

About the Citizens’ Assembly: 

Working with MASS LBP, 42 randomly selected Canadians served to form the Citizen’s Assembly.  to contribute their perspectives and experiences. More than 400 Canadians volunteered to participate, from among 12,500 households which were randomly selected to receive an invitation. Visit the Citizens Assembly website to learn more.