September 17, 2018

Legislation To Support Victims Of “Revenge Porn” Takes Effect

Legislation has come into force creating new legal options for people whose intimate images have been shared without their consent.

“Our government wants to take strong steps to protect people who have been victimized by having intimate images shared without consent,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said.  “This legislation will provide those victims with the ability to take direct court action against perpetrators.”

The amendments to The Privacy Act allow a person whose intimate image has been distributed without their consent to sue the person who distributed the image.  It will also shift the onus of proof to the person that circulated the image, requiring them to show that they had a reasonable basis to conclude consent had been granted to do so.

Additionally, the legislation removes the requirement that a lawsuit under The Privacy Act proceed only in the Court of Queen’s Bench.  Plaintiffs will have the option to proceed with an action in either Small Claims or the Court of Queen’s Bench.  This will permit plaintiffs in these cases to choose the less expensive and quicker small claims process, where they are claiming damages less than $30,000.

These amendments complement and support amendments made to the Criminal Code in 2015 to address the distribution of intimate images without consent, and ensure that victims have equal opportunities for redress in both the criminal and the civil spheres of the justice system.

The Victims Services Branch has been working with police-based victim services units and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc. to educate the public about the options available to them in the event their intimate images are shared without consent.

More information can be found at

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc. operates, which provides a variety of information and resources to those who have been victimized through the sharing of intimate images.  Their website can be found at

An intimate image is a visual image, including photos or videos, in which a person is nude, partially nude, or engaged in explicit sexual activity, that was made in circumstances that implied a reasonable expectation of privacy.