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The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) commends the Nova Scotia government for reviewing its Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act (the Act) and seeking public input for this review. Nova Scotia has been, and continues to be, a leader in Canada for its role in advancing innovative laws and supports for people targeted by technology-facilitated violence (TFV), digital abuse, and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images (NCDII). As these forms of harmful behaviour evolve and become better understood, it is important to revisit this legislation to assess whether it is providing meaningful and accessible responses to such serious social harms. This consideration is especially important for equality-deserving groups who often experience the brunt of abusive behaviour online.

LEAF recognizes that these forms of harms disproportionately impact historically marginalized communities. Women, girls, and gender-diverse people, particularly those with intersecting marginalized identities, including Indigenous, Black, people of colour, members of 2SLGBTQQIA communities, and people with differing abilities, face higher rates of targeted attacks that focus on their gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and ability. These attacks can have devastating consequences on the health and wellbeing of those targeted.

This submission provides recommendations on changes to Nova Scotia's Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act and its regulations, as well as recommendations on aspects of CyberScan. This submission relies on and builds on previous recommendations made in LEAF’s Deplatforming Misogyny report, the Uniform Non-Consensual Disclosure of Intimate Images Act, and Alexa Dodge’s Deleting Digital Harm: A Review of Nova Scotia’s CyberScan Unit report. Our recommendations focus on providing more expedient and direct supports to those experiencing TFV and NCDII; expanding the scope of the definition of intimate images and reconsidering the parameters of “public interest”; and broadening the scope of research and educational materials to ensure that they are survivor-centric and to cover the systemic and social context that results in digital abuse and NCDII.