Conservatives set to introduce cyberbullying legislation

Video: The federal government will introduce new legislation aimed at cracking down on cyberbullying. Global National Jacques Bourbeau has more.

The Conservative government is set to introduce legislation Wednesday to crack down on cyberbullying, Global News has learned.

The legislation will change the Criminal Code to make it an offence to distribute images without the consent of the person being depicted, according to a senior government source.

The Conservatives promised action in the recent throne speech following the suicides of teenagers Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd.

“Bullying has led to the tragic suicide of too many young Canadians. This type of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable and must have serious consequences. The Harper government will take action to ensure that playgrounds, the Internet and our communities are safe for all Canadians, particularly for those who are most vulnerable – our children,” said the source.

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Vancouver teenager Todd was 15 when she took her own life after posting a YouTube video detailing harassment she endured for more than two years.

Parsons was taken off life support following a suicide attempt in April that her family says was prompted by months of bullying.

They say the 17-year-old girl from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia was tormented after a digital photograph of her allegedly being sexually assaulted in November 2011 was distributed around her school.

Last spring, Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Parsons’ family and at the time, Justice Minister Peter MacKay promised her family changes were coming.

Those changes will include introducing new penalties for anyone who posts sexual images online without a person’s consent.

With files from Jacques Bourbeau and The Canadian Press