B.C. introduces new legislation: Intimate Images Protection Act
On March 6, 2023, the B.C. government introduced Bill 12, the Intimate Images Protection Act. The Province announced this legislation as part of its initiative against gender-based violence.
The purpose of this new legislation is to provide stronger protections to people who have their intimate images shared without their consent and a faster process for removing these images than may be available under B.C.’s Privacy Act or other litigation claims.
The proposed legislation covers intimate images, videos, livestreams and digitally altered images in which an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy. If passed, the legislation will create a new, expedited process resulting in legal decisions and orders designed specifically to stop the distribution of intimate images without consent.
These orders can be directed at the “wrongdoer” or a third party intermediary who can be directed to remove, delete or destroy the image and de-index it from any search engines. In addition, the decision maker can make any other order they consider to be just and reasonable in the circumstances. The proposed legislation allows greater protection for minors (of an age to be prescribed by regulation) to make an application on their own behalf.
An important provision in the legislation is that any individual who may previously have consented to the distribution of an intimate image has the right to revoke that consent at any time.
B.C. is following in the footsteps of other Canadian provinces with this approach. For example, Nova Scotia was the first Canadian province to enact legislation in this area with the Intimate Images and Cyber-Protection Act in 2018.