The Manitoba government is promising to strengthen a law that protects people who have had intimate images shared online without their consent.

Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Monday that they plan to introduce amendments that will strengthen protections under the Intimate Protection Act (IIPA) and put the onus on the defendant to prove they had received consent prior to posting an image or video. 

“Manitobans have the right to privacy and to consent to the distribution of their intimate images,” said Goertzen. “The unwanted distribution of an intimate image can have lifelong negative impacts. Strengthening the Intimate Image Protection Act makes it clear that no one should distribute an intimate image of another person without informed consent.”

The act would require the government to make appropriate supports available to assist people who have had an intimate image distributed without consent or believe their intimate image is about to be distributed without consent. The supports would include assistance in having an image removed from the internet and information on legal remedies and protection for people concerned about their intimate images being distributed.

“In the last six months alone, has seen a 100 per cent increase in reports concerning intimate images. As technology and offending tactics evolve, such as the creation of altered images to coerce and control victims, it is imperative that our laws keep pace,” said Signy Arnason, associate executive director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “Manitoba has been a leader in addressing the non-consensual distribution of intimate images and we welcome this important review to ensure citizens have options beyond the criminal justice system to deal with this form of online sexual violence.”

These amendments would bring the IIPA in line with Manitoba’s Privacy Act, which establishes the tort of violation of privacy. Under this legislation, the defendant would carry the burden of proof to show that the person consented.


With some files from The Canadian Press