Some of the earliest discussion about the internet in Canadian federal political discourse began in 1993-4, when the Liberal Party discussed what was then referred to as the information highway (or information superhighway) in one of its pre-election policy books. The so-called Red Book set the stage for parliamentary discussions about the information highway that began in 1994. Parliamentarians were eager to connect Canadians—and especially Canadian youth—to the information highway, seeing the new technology as an important economic tool, and the key to future growth and prosperity. Youth, in particular, were seen as the drivers of a new information economy, with the information highway serving as an important hub for communication and commerce.
The Canadian government made several early investments in Canada’s high-tech future in the mid-1990s. The Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research Industry and Education (CANARIE) was founded in 1993 to promote Canada’s knowledge and innovation infrastructure. In April 1994, the federal government appointed the Information Highway Advisory Council to develop plans and review policies relating to the internet. Industry Canada launched the Community Access Program (stylized C@P) in 1994 to connect people in rural locations to the information highway and provide internet access at community locations, such as libraries. SchoolNet, a program designed to link all Canadian schools to the internet, was also established in 1994 with a goal to connect all schools by March 31, 1999.
In Parliamentary debates, SchoolNet was touted as “vital in keeping Canada globally competitive” and “providing youth with the technological skills which will soon be considered mandatory to doing business throughout the world.” Moreover, getting Canadian youth connected quickly was considered particularly important on the world stage, especially for ensuring that Canada beat targets set by the United States. In fact, Canadian youth turned out to be very early adopters of the internet from a global perspective, which has made Canada a country of interest for study about the internet and its impacts on the international stage.
By the late 1990s, the Canadian policy focus had expanded to include the negative consequences of digitized communications. This was despite a pervasive (though misplaced) sentiment painting Canadian youth as technology savvy “digital natives” with little or no need for adult support. Although policymakers introducing these issues into debate were often careful to continue to attest to their commitment to the internet as a lynch pin for Canada’s economic future, issues relating to online hate speech, luring, online child pornography, and more recently, sexting and cyberbullying, soon began to make their way into Canadian policymaking and debate.
A variety of legal responses have been proposed and adopted to address these issues at the federal, and the provincial and territorial levels. These have included criminal, human rights, civil, and education law approaches. While some responses to online issues have been based on pre-existing laws, regulations, and policies, others have been created directly in response to internet-related developments. This non-comprehensive overview focuses on key legal approaches and developments related to cyberbullying.
Part I begins by discussing “cyberbullying,” online hate propagation, and cyberviolence, including the relationships among them. Part II focuses on current legal responses, including human rights, education, civil, administrative/regulatory, and criminal law approaches. The Conclusion argues that the complexity of these issues—and the underlying equality issues often at stake—necessitate adopting a multi-pronged approach. Furthermore, when these issues affect young people, responses ought to be weighted more strongly in favour of human rights and educational approaches, rather than criminal law responses.
 Liberal Party of Canada, Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada (Ottawa: Liberal Party of Canada, 1993).
 See House of Commons Debates, 35th Parl, 1st Sess, No 115 (27 October 1994) at 7318 (Hon Art Eggleton): “Some $27 million of infrastructure money is going into high technology infrastructure mainly in our school systems in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. It is not only helping in terms of better communications but it is helping to improve the education system to help prepare our young people for the future.”
 See generally CANARIE, “About Us” (undated), CANARIE, online: <www.canarie.ca/about-us>.
 See generally Health Canada, “Canada’s Health Infostructure: Information Highway Advisory Council”, Health Canada (1 October 2004), online: <www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/ehealth-esante/infostructure/ihac_ccai-eng.php>.
 See Industry Canada, “Final Evaluation of the Community Access Program (CAP)” (14 May 2010), online: <www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ae-ve.nsf/eng/03127.html>.
 SchoolNet, “What is SchoolNet?” (archived from original on 12 December 2002), online: <http://web.archive.org/web/20021216040750/http://www.schoolnet.ca/home/e/whatis.asp>.
 House of Commons Debates, 35th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 18 (21 March 1996) at 1031 (Derek Wells).
 See House of Commons Debates, 35th Parl, 1st Sess, No 137 (5 December 1994) at 8640 (John Manley): “a continuation of the SchoolNet program […] will see all of Canada's 16,500 schools and 3,400 libraries connected to the information highway by 1998, a full two years before the target set by vice-president Gore for the United States.”
 See generally Jane Bailey and Valerie Steeves, “Will the Real Digital Girl Please Stand Up?” in Greg Wise & Hille Koskela, eds, New Visualities, New Technologies: The New Ecstasy of Communication (Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2013).
 See House of Commons Debates, 35th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 121 (3 February 1997) at 7598 (Werner Schmidt): “To put this into the context of a child, ask this question: What is technology to a kid? One of the Apple people, Alan Kay, once said that technology is technology only for people who are born after it is invented. Twelve-year-old Niki Tapscott would agree. […] When asked if she would participate in a consumer of the future panel at a technology conference she lectured her father: ‘Okay, Dad. I will do it if you want me to, but I do not understand why you adults make such a big deal about technology. Kids use computers to do stuff. We do not think of them as technology. Like a fridge does stuff. It is not technology. When I go to the fridge I want food that is cold. I do not want to think about the technology that makes the food cold’”; House of Commons Debates, 35th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 121 (3 February 1997) at 7601 (John Williams): “We of the older generation have a hard time catching up and keeping up with the young folks. At the same time this government has a hard time keeping up with the changing world we live in. The changing world is a competitive world”.
 See generally Hannah Draper, “Canadian Policy Process Review 1994−2011” (March 2012), eGirls Project, online: <www.egirlsproject.ca/research/research-memosbackgrounders/2013-policy-discourses-jurisdictions/#CdnFed>. House of Commons Debates, 35th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 18 (21 March 1996) at 1031 (Derek Wells).