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Sask. bill allows victims to sue over intimate images shared without consent
Published Tuesday, October 31, 2017 2:55PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, October 31, 2017 5:18PM CST
The Saskatchewan government has introduced legislation that would allow people whose intimate images have been shared without their consent to sue the person responsible.
The Privacy Amendment Act also shifts the onus of proof to those who distribute intimate images without consent. It would require the person responsible to show that they had a reasonable basis to conclude consent had been granted.
“This Bill sends a strong message that this callous, criminal behaviour has consequences, and that the Government of Saskatchewan stands with the victims of this type of attack,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said in a news release Tuesday.
In addition, the amendments would remove the requirement that a lawsuit under the Privacy Act proceed only in Court of Queen’s Bench. Plaintiffs would have the option to choose the quicker and less-expensive small claims court process, when claiming damages under $30,000.
The government says the proposed changes would complement and support amendments made to the Criminal Code in 2015 to address the distribution of intimate images without consent.
Interim NDP Leader Nicole Sarauer said the Opposition just got the legislation Tuesday and needs time to review it.
However, Sarauer said it is time to modernize the law in Saskatchewan to deal with the serious problem.
"It's important because the civil burden of proof is much lower than the criminal burden of proof, that there is that avenue for individuals who are victims of this situation to have an avenue of repercussions outside of the criminal court," she said.
Shannon Lea of the No Touchy Campaign in Saskatchewan said the legislation could force someone to think twice about trying to exact revenge on the internet.
"I think it's huge for people, even in intimate relationships, who have had this happen to them to be able to do something about it instead of sit back and continue to be victimized," Lea told radio station CKRM.
The No Touchy Campaign aims to raise public awareness of the extent of sexual assault in Canada.
With files from The Canadian Press