Canada's Liberal Government has made a strong move in condemning online child pornography.

In an announcement yesterday, MP and Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale revealed that significant funding would be invested by the Liberal Party of Canada in preventing and addressing the issue of child sexual abuse online.

$22.2 million over the next three years was pledged by the Liberal Government to continue the work of combatting online child pornography.

Goodale called the extension and expansion of the strategy "very important to law enforcement and child protection in Canada."

The National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet was first launched in 2004 to enhance the ability of the Canadian Government to protect victims through an increased capacity of investigating online predators, enhancing public awareness, and supporting further research pertaining to child sexual exploitation.

Funding and resources to non-governmental organizations and police forces through the strategy, "to tackle the insidious problem of the vile images of children being abused and conveyed over the internet.

"This is a horrendous crime. It results in victimization that goes on for years and years ... the consequences for the victims are absolutely horrible."

Technology, as it is ever-moving, has exacerbated the problem of child sexual abuse through its existence online. The capacity for wide-spread distribution of explicit images makes it difficult to track both where images have gone and where they originated from, let alone removing or preventing such content.

The Minister called the problem of child pornography in Canada "serious," with an increase of 288 per cent from 2010 2017 seen in police-reported instances of child pornography. In 2010, there were about 5 cases per 100,000 in the population, and by 2017, that had jumped to 18 per 100,000.

"We know that this kind of event is notoriously underreported, so the real number is probably much higher than that, and it accelerates with technology."

Goodale says that the funding that has been allocated for the purposes of combatting online child pornography will assist law enforcement by providing tools to aid in investigations and assist them in laying charges against perpetrators.

"It's a massive challenge and it's not just in Canada; because of technology it is worldwide," Goodale said.

In 2017, $6 million was invested by the Liberal Party into the strategy, focusing on raising awareness on the issue of child pornography and aiding in the development of Project Arachnid, an automated system designed to "crawl" the internet, identifying online child sexual abuse images and websites.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP) based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has also been instrumental in identifying instances of child sexual abuse online, particularly through the online reporting too Cybertip.ca, and through operating Project Arachnid.

Through Project Arachnid, over 12,000 online images are scanned every second in its detection of child sexual exploitation images. Service providers are then notified to remove the content.

Goodale says that since 2016, over 80 billion images have been processed and 4 million notices have been dispatched regarding the removal of explicit content.

Another $19 million was added to the strategy in 2018 to go towards the RCMP's National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, assisting national law enforcement in coordinating efforts to address online child sexual exploitation.

The newly-pledged funding will continue these efforts, with $15 million allocated to provincial and municipal police forces across Canada to assist in their efforts to combat child pornography online, as well as to "better inform and upgrade" the work of prosecutors who are bringing such cases to court.

Goodale's passion for this issue comes from his experience interacting with those who deal with this issue on a daily basis. "To see the work that they do ... the horrible damage that is done to children in such a brutal way," said the Minister, "you can imagine the horrific consequences."

While the problem persists, however, Goodale is pleased with the level of collaboration and efforts put forward to combat the issue.

"Internet service providers, while they're not doing enough yet, at least they're at the table," says Goodale, while he applauded the efforts put forward by the CCCP, as well as the work of governments and police services around the world.

"The fight just goes on and accelerates all the time. We cannot slack it off one second."

"Nothing more than a re-announcement"

Across the aisle, Candian Conservatives see Goodale's announcement as more of a repeat event.

"What's interesting is that this is nothing more than a re-announcement in the dying days of a scandal-plagued government that offers nothing to victims of crime," said Glen Motz, Conservative MP for Medicine Hat, Cardston, and Warner, and deputy shadow critic for public safety, national security, and emergency preparedness.

Motz says that the Conservative Party maintains a strong commitment to fighting child abuse, referring to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's announcement in May 2019, where he promised to impose mandatory minimum sentences of five years for any individual found guilty of child abuse in the event of his election.

"That policy will put the safety of children first and share that those who seek to harm them will face the full weight of Canada's justice system," said Motz.

"We want to ensure that victims voices are heard and that sentences for sexual crimes against children take into account many things, such as the length and severity of abuse, as aggravating factors."