The Government of Canada has announced a large step in combating the spread of misinformation and disinformation online. Pascale St-Onge, minister of Canadian heritage, today issued a call for proposals amounting to nearly $7 million under the Digital Citizen Initiative (DCI). This initiative, rooted in the Digital Citizen Contribution Program (DCCP), aims to provide Canadians with the necessary resources and critical thinking skills to navigate the digital realm safely.
The DCI, designed to support civil society organizations and researchers, will finance evidence-based projects. According to the government, these projects will hopefully enhance digital media and civic literacy among Canadians, assist in identifying content generated by artificial intelligence, create resources to counter online violence and cyberbullying, and bolster the country’s capacity to combat disinformation and other online threats.
“We see the digital landscape evolving quickly. There are many tactics used every day to mislead the public,” said St-Onge. “As a government, we support projects that will help people tell the real from the fake online, because we believe that an informed and resilient population is the best defense against disinformation and harmful content online.”
The DCI builds upon the foundation laid by the DCCP, which has allocated over $21 million since January 2020. The DCCP has supported third-party organizations engaged in research, public awareness campaigns and online workshops.
The Canadian government is also implementing other initiatives to counter online disinformation. These include the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism and the development of safeguards like the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol. Additionally, the Community Resilience Fund is actively working to build resilience against multiple forms of harmful content online.
Canadians seeking more information on how to identify misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation can access resources available through these initiatives.