It is now possible, in Nova Scotia, for the targets of
cyberbullying to make an application for a protective order to a
justice of the peace. If the target is a minor, the minor's
parent may make an application.
The Cyber-safety Act defines cyberbullying as:
means any electronic communication through the use of
technology including, without limiting the generality of the
foregoing, computers, other electronic devices, social networks,
text messaging, instant messaging, websites and electronic mail,
typically repeated or with continuing effect, that is intended or
ought reasonably be expected to cause fear, intimidation,
humiliation, distress or other damage or harm to another
person's health, emotional well-being, self-esteem or
reputation, and includes assisting or encouraging such
communication in any way
If an individual is found to have engaged in cyberbullying, the
justice of the peace may make orders such as restricting or
prohibiting communication with the target or using the
Internet-enabled devices for a period of up to one year.
If the identity of the alleged cyberbully cannot be determined,
the justice of the peace may make orders necessary to assist in
identifying the alleged cyberbully. For example, the justice of the
peace may order any person having custody or control of
information respecting the ownership or use of any electronic
device or use of any Internet Protocol address, website, username
or account, electronic-mail address or other unique identifier,
identified as being used for the purpose of the
cyberbullying, to disclose information to assist in
identifying the alleged cyberbully.
The provisions of the Cyber-safety Act creating
the new statutory tort of cyberbullying have also been proclaimed
into force. A court may award damages (including general, special,
aggravated and punitive damages) to compensate the target of
cyberbullying, as well as issue injunctions and any other order the
court considers just and reasonable in the circumstances.
Parents of a cyberbully who is a minor may be parties to the
tort if they know of the the minor's activity, know or ought
reasonably to expect the activity to cause harm to the target and
fail to take steps to prevent the activity from continuing.
Even if parents are unaware of the minor's activities, they
may be jointly and severally liable for damage awards unless they
satisfy a reverse onus to demonstrate that they exercised
reasonable supervision over the minor who engaged in the
cyberbullying and made reasonable efforts to prevent or discourage
the kind of activity that resulted in the loss or damage.
Other provisions of the Cyber-safety Act, including
those dealing with creating a unit to investigate
cyberbullying complaints are not yet in force. However, the
government announced it is hiring and invited applications.
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