Friday, November 25, 2011

Bullying- Words of wisdom and request for feedback

Jasmine Attfield is JFCY's newest Board member, a PLE team member and also a member of JFCY's new PLE subcommittee on cyberbullying. She wrote this post about her experiences being bullied and JFCY's new project:

For 8 years, I was bullied. To be honest, I don't think about it much anymore. It's hard now to think back and remember that I once allowed other people to make me feel that, maybe, life wasn't worth living or that there was something wrong with me that made me unworthy of love and friendship.

Since then, I went to university, I found a job that I love, I’ve made lifelong friendships, and I've even found a partner to share my life with. Other things have happened since I left school too: I got a Facebook account, a twitter account, and a smartphone. In the past 4 years, I have seen how technology has also made bullying easier as well as how it has revealed to the world the realities of school and bullying for young people. However, technology hasn't changed what is hurtful about bullying: social isolation, brutal criticisms, public humiliation, and out-of-control rumors.

Of course, when I was being bullied, I never believed that my parents could understand or help me, but they could and they did. I want to list for you here some of the things that people told me, which proved to be true and helped me get through the hardest years of my life:

- People get nicer. I lived this for myself when, after graduating high school, a boy who had bullied me for years ran into me and apologized for how he had treated me. Most people eventually develop a conscience, and they will come to regret how they treated others in the past and try to avoid being mean in the future.

- Find something that makes you feel good about yourself. You can't control who's mean to you, but you can stop letting them define how you feel about yourself. Keep busy; try new things or work on some goals, like running a marathon or raising money for charity. You will feel better about yourself when you are filling your time productively.

- School is really nothing like real life... at all. When you look back on it, school will be such a small and weird part of your life story, and the people who were mean to you in school will represent a tiny fraction of all the people you will meet. Being “cool” or “nerdy” or “fat” or “awkward” in school will have NO bearing on the rest of your life. I can honestly tell you that I have completely forgotten the last names of most of the people who used to bully me, because in the grand scheme of things, they never mattered to me at all except for the short amount of time when I gave them the power to influence how I felt about myself. 

- You will become more like yourself. One of the things that I found hard in school is that I knew what was "cool", but I was never any good at it. I tried SO HARD to do exactly what was expected of me, but I always came off as SO AWKWARD. Then I realized: I was trying to be someone else, not myself... so then the question became: who am I? I had to work to figure that answer out, and I still have to work every day to not fall into the trap of doing what's "cool" so that someone will like me instead of thinking about whether or not it is actually something that I want to do. Also, by the way, you WILL find people who love you for who you are and those people will make you happier than you ever thought possible, they will make your life so much easier, and you will feel great knowing that you make those people happy in return.

It's amazing to think how much being young has changed in such a short period of time, after so little had changed for so long. Hopefully though, some of that same advice that I got can be helpful to you. The problem is that I don't know whether or not that advice is still useful, so now I have to ask for your help. I need you to tell me: what has changed? do you have any advice to offer other victims of bullying? what kinds of different advice or help would be useful to you?

The world has gotten more complicated since I was your age, and people my age need your help to better understand it. But I am confident that if young and older people work together, we can find solutions to the problem of bullying."

Jasmine, being herself and having a blast!
JFCY's cyberbullying subcommittee would like your feedback on Jasmine's post, on today's forms of bullying, and on what kinds of resources and information you'd like to see about bullying.  Send us an email at, post to our Facebook wall, or leave a note in the blog comments!  If you don't want your comment published on the blog, just say so in your post, since we moderate comments before posting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

JFCY Newsletter: Shopping Malls

Hot off the presses, here is the JFCY Winter 2011/12 Newsletter on Shopping Malls.

The newsletter has info about legal issues that can arise for youth at malls, as well as some JFCY staff and volunteer profiles, among other interesting stuff.  Check it out!

Here are some comics and photos that were intended for the newsletter but did not make it in because we ran out of space!

Homer, the Security Guard at 415 Yonge Street
PLE Team actors for Civil Recovery Video

Special thanks to all of the PLE Team and other volunteers who contributed to our newsletter: Jesse, Julia, Laura, Cydney, Arif, Bianca, Erill, Larissa, Martha, Bilal, Tamarah, Daniel, Qasim, Andrea and last-but-not-least, Terence Chen, who did the amazing design and layout.

Feel free to let us know what you think of the newsletter and what issues you would like us to cover in the future!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Other Kids of 311 Jarvis

-by Niamh Harraher, Staff Lawyer and Jeffrey Rosekat, Chair of JFCY Board of Directors

The prevailing wind of federal government policy and much media discourse seems focused on presenting youth as dangerous, out of control and in need of a highly punitive justice system. David Bruser’s series on the kids of 311 Jarvis Street which ran over four days in the Toronto Star (Oct. 28-31) seems to have been blown by this wind. The articles painted a grim picture of a decaying courthouse and a system that is failing the public woefully. The portrayal was one-sided, but the sentiments expressed will undoubtedly resonate with many whose only experience with the youth criminal justice system is what they read in the newspapers. Those of us who work in the youth criminal justice system know there is a different story that needs to be told.

Mr. Bruser sat in 311 Jarvis Court for four months and during his time there saw some terrible cases of serious criminal misconduct by young people. He saw cases involving appalling violence; youth who have shown utter contempt for their fellow human beings through their actions. We learned some of the facts of those terrible cases through his articles and he reminded us that young people need to be held accountable in a meaningful way for what they have done. Serious crimes should invite serious consequences. The public needs to be kept safe.

But are those cases really representative of the vast goings on at that Court? The simple answer is that they are not. Mr. Bruser gave us his opinion on some of the things he saw during the four months he observed some of the workings of 311 Jarvis. The articles did not tell us about the far less serious crimes which represent the majority of crimes prosecuted at 311 Jarvis and the consequences to those young people involved. He did not talk about the programs that are offered often with great success to rehabilitate young offenders. He does not talk about the judges’ expertise in dealing with young people.

As any parent of a teenager can tell you, young people can be sullen and disrespectful. They do things they are supposed to and they sometimes lie. In this respect they are not unlike many adults. They are different, however, in the way they make decisions, assess risk and weigh consequences. Teenagers--almost all teenagers--make some unwise choices. Choices that if exposed to the full glare of the law could have easily resulted in criminal sanctions. Whether those choices involve, underage consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs, taking a car without permission, or getting into a fight most teenagers engage in unlawful behaviour. Few adults can truthfully say they escaped their teenage years without breaking the law in some way.

The youthful marijuana smokers or shoplifters barely get a mention in Mr. Bruser’s series. Mr. Bruser did not mention the shoplifter who writes a letter of apology to the store, completes an anti-theft program and has his charges withdrawn or the school yard brawler who sits across from the person she punched in the face in a restorative justice circle. These stories do not make for sensational headlines or melodramatic stories in the same way as committing a rape, dealing crack cocaine, or being involved in a gang might. But they are great stories all the same, and are stories that need to be told.

These are the stories of 311 Jarvis which should be told, because they are by far the majority of the youth who walk through the door. According to the federal government’s own statistics, over 71% of young people charged with criminal offences in 2009 were charged with property-related or other non-violent offences. These youth of 311 Jarvis frequently stand in front of Justices of the Peace on their first appearance with their heads bowed. They are ashamed and scared. If they giggle it is not out of defiance but from nervousness. Their families are upset, their lives are disrupted by court appearances and bail conditions. A young person who gets into a fist fight at school and is charged with assault is not allowed to return to that same school until the case is over because of the standard bail conditions. Before the Court even gets to them they have had their day-to-day lives completely changed. Many of the youth of 311 Jarvis want nothing more than to put their youthful transgressions behind them and move on. And large numbers of them do.

The majority of young people who have contact with Canada's youth courts are one-time offenders, according to a study jointly conducted by the University of Waterloo and the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada. The study traced the criminal "careers" of 59,000 young people released in 2005. The study found that the majority of these young people were referred to court on only one occasion, shattering the notion that most youth who come into contact with courts become chronic offenders.

One thing Mr. Bruser did get right is that, more often than not, the kids of 311 Jarvis come from communities that are racialized, poor and have a large police presence. They are therefore much more likely to come into contact with the police and to get caught when they offend. The kids of 311 Jarvis are not, for the most part, the kids of Forest Hill, Rosedale, Lawrence Park, Leaside or the Annex. These kids and the crimes they commit reflect the growing economic inequality of our city. Once in a while one will see a young person from the “right side of the tracks”  at 311 Jarvis--dressed in a suit and with a lawyer paid for by their parents--but this is not the norm. Children of affluence are simply not policed in the same manner, and they therefore do not end up in conflict with the law in the same way as their poorer and more heavily policed peers.
Whether we like it or not, the time when a young person comes into conflict with the law, whether for a serious or less serious crime, gives us an opportunity to make sure that this is the one and only time in their lives that it happens. The alternative, advocated by Mr. Bruser, is simply to lock them up and throw away the key, write them off and forget about them.  This is a very expensive and largely ineffective solution. With the rarest of exceptions, youth placed into custodial sentences will one day be back in the ranks of society with the only difference being that they are now hardened by the time they spent in custody.

Mr. Bruser’s articles also missed the fact that young people, even the ones who have transgressed in fairly significant ways, can be and are often rehabilitated with the right type of response. For instance, the story of a seventeen year old who repeatedly stole from his employer. Upon being charged with theft he was kicked out of his parents’ home and slept on his friend’s couch for a year. Between the time he was charged and the time he received his sentence he changed his life entirely. He got two new jobs, got himself into drug counselling regarding marijuana, volunteered twice a week at the hospital, maintained good attendance at school and got involved in extracurricular activities. He pleaded guilty on the basis of a joint submission between the Crown and his defense lawyer and received a conditional discharge which included terms that he continue along the path he had laid, and required that he pay restitution. A year later, he has his own apartment, is working and is about to start college.

In short, it is not uncommon for people to offend in their youth and never do it again as an adult. Many kids change. They grow up, and they learn from their mistakes.

Indisputably, some of the kids of 311 Jarvis are dangerous, embedded in a life of crime and well on their way to the adult penitentiary. Attempts to rehabilitate them are failing. These are the kids we hear about all the time. These are the kids that make great sensational stories for the media, and these are the kids that feed public outrage.

The judges, prosecutors, and defence lawyers at 311 Jarvis work very hard to make sure that kids who make mistakes both understand the serious nature of those mistakes, and get a chance to make amends and change their lives for the better. And while the culture of fear will always prefer the sensational minority to the boring minority, the fact is that 311 Jarvis and Canada’s youth criminal justice system, while undoubtedly imperfect, does work.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Leaving Home (legal info for youth in Ontario)

Scenario by PLE Team Member Inez Leutenegger, legal info by JFCY
To her peers, Lukie has appears to have had a typically ‘normal’ teenage life. Just having turned sixteen two months ago, she has recently received her driver’s permit. She is in grade 11 and enjoys being a part of the school’s cross country and soccer teams. Her friends are a tight knit group who enjoy spending time together. Lukie has always been laid back and easy going, the life of the party who, at the same time, is able to maintain solid grades in her classes at school. 

Image from:

Lately, though, Lukie’s friends and teachers have seen a change in her academic, athletic and social life. She has been skipping classes, neglecting her homework and doing bad on tests. As a result, her overall marks are starting to slip, and her teachers are concerned. She seems to be distracted at practices, and her commitment to the sports teams at school seems to be faltering.  She is also becoming increasingly withdrawn and distant from her tight knit group of friends. 

Since her parents’ divorce two years ago, Lukie's home life has been tough. She lives with her mother who  recently lost her job. Money is tight. Her mother’s boyfriend has been living in their home for the past six months, and his violent nature has resulted in the physical abuse of both Lukie and her mother. Lukie has not had contact with her biological father since his parents have separated. 

Lukie is slowly beginning to feel as though her home life is becoming unbearable and does not think she can wait another two years until she has graduated high school to move out. Lukie has been contemplating leaving home and living on her own, but the thought is scary and there are so many questions that run through her head.  She has confided her desire to move away from home to her best friend Brian and his parents, who seem willing to help Lukie in her situation. Lukie must weigh her options before making the big decision to live away from home.

Can Lukie leave home?
Lukie is 16.  According to Ontario law, people who are 16 and older can withdraw from parental control and leave home.  They do not need anyone's permission to do this. However, if youth leave home voluntarily (ie in the absence of abuse, neglect or serious conflict) their parents do not have to support them financially. It can get complicated. Lukie should talk to a family law lawyer about whether her parents owe her a legal obligation to provide her financial support if she leaves home. 

What can Lukie take with her?
Lukie can take all of her personal property with her.  That includes things like clothes or school supplies that only she uses.  It doesn’t matter whether Lukie bought those things or if she received them as a gift.  Lukie should take all of her identification: her health card, birth certificate, and passport, for example. She will need her ID in order to be safe and to access support programs and services.

How can Lukie balance school and work?
Lukie is required to attend school until she is 18 or graduates from high school.  She can get a job – lots of people have jobs in high school – but she cannot work during school hours and the kind of workshe can do might be limited.  For example, she is too young to serve alcohol in a restaurant.  She can also be paid a reduced minimum wage as long as she is in school and working fewer than 28 hours per week.
To learn more about laws relating to youth and work, check out this blog post.

How Else Can Lukie Support Herself?
Lukie may be eligible to receive social assistance through Ontario Works, which is available to 16 and 17 year-olds in special circumstances.  Since Lukie has been a victim of abuse in the home, she should qualify to receive Ontario Works, as long as he is enrolled in full-time school. She may need someone else, such as a Guidance Counselor or social worker, to verify the abuse.

Where can Lukie go to live?
Since Lukie is 16, there are no legal restrictions to her living with Brian’s family. In fact, if Lukie is staying with them long-term then they can ask to have the Child’s Tax Benefit and Ontario Child Benefit paid to them to help support her.  This money is supposed to be paid to the adult who is housing and caring for a minor.  It cannot be paid directly to the minor. Lukie can also rent an apartment to live in by herself.  Because Lukie is sixteen who has withdrawn from parental control, the Ontario Human Rights Code makes it illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to Lukie just because she is young. 

For more legal information about leaving home, check out this JFCY publication
Leaving home is not easy. There are many social and legal issues that arise for young people. If you are planning to leave home, or you have been forced to leave home, you can call JFCY for legal advice at 416-920-1633.
Leaving Home comic by Adrianna Pahuta, PLE Team Member

Youth Leaving Care Hearings - Nov. 25, 2011

On Fri. Nov.25th, at 10:15 a.m., JFCY lawyers will make submissions at the hearings at the Provincial Legislature, proposing recommendations for child welfare reform. 

JFCY's efforts are led by Staff Lawyer, Niamh Harraher and Street Youth Legal Services Lawyer, Johanna Macdonald.

Niamh and Johanna will be joined by young people who are former Crown Wards and kids who lived in foster care.  

These youth will be sharing their experiences and ideas for how to improve Ontario's Child Welfare system, specifically with respect to the law and issues around youth leaving care as they get older. This is the first time that Canada has had youth-led hearings on these issues.

For more info, check out the official event website, produced by youth organizers from the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. 

Also, check out this article from the Toronto Star, where some of the young people involved share their stories. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Late Night Swims in Public Pools: Legal?

Scenario by PLE Team volunteer Stefan Vernier (perhaps dreaming of summer days...)
Photo used with permission from Alyssa Katherine Faoro, 
On a warm summer night, three friends are hanging out in the parking lot of their local pizza shop. After spending a couple of hours talking to each other, Todd, who is 15, says that he’s getting bored. He suggests that the three of them head down to the park near their community centre, where they can pass around a soccer ball. Kyle and Thomas, who are also 15 years old, agree that they’d have a much better time playing soccer at the park.

When they arrive at the park, they realize that the street lights that illuminate the soccer field have already been turned off. “We’re too late guys,” says Kyle. “The city turns off the lights at 12 a.m.”

Slightly disgruntled, they stare at each other for a few seconds, hoping that the other person would think of something else that they could do to pass the time. Suddenly Todd speaks up. “Hey, you know what would be really fun?” He pauses for a moment, making sure that Kyle and Thomas are listening to what he has to say. “What if we took a swim in the community centre’s outdoor swimming pool, just for a bit?”

Intrigued by the idea, Thomas shouts ecstatically, “Yea, let’s go for it!” 

Kyle, on the other hand, did not share the same excitement. “But they close the pool after 10 p.m. There’s a lock on the front gate for a reason you know,” he says. “I don’t want to get in trouble, guys. The sign on the fence says that we can’t enter when the pool is closed and that we could be fined if we get caught.”

“Okay, suit yourself then,” says Todd, as he and Thomas climb the fence and jump into the pool, which is run by their city’s Parks and Recreation department. The two of them spend another half-hour playing in the pool, while Kyle stands idle outside the fence.

Suddenly, a police car pulls up outside the community centre. An officer walks out and notices the boys swimming.


Trespass to Property Act
Ontario has a law that makes trespassing illegal.  A trespasser is someone who is on or is using land that doesn’t belong to them without permission of the person or people who are responsible for and who control that land.  Todd and Thomas are clearly trespassing according to Ontario law, because the locked gate and fence make it clear that the pool shouldn’t be accessed without permission. The signs also make this clear.

Todd and Thomas could be charged with trespassing ("enter premise where entry prohibited").  Since they are breaking provincial law, the section of the Provincial Offences Act that applies to people under age 16 would apply if they were charged.  (This is different from being charged with a criminal offence, where the Youth Criminal Justice Act applies to people under 18.)  There are a number of differences between the treatment of adults who are charged with provincial offences and young people who are charged with the same offences.  One difference is that young peoples' identities are protected from publication.  Another is that there is a limit on penalties for offences:  the maximum a person under age 16 can be fined is $1000, whereas the maximums for adult fines can be much higher. But remember, provincial offences are different than criminal offences (that is a whole other topic!).

We’ve covered the curfew issue on the blog before: The Child and Family Services Act says that parents of children under sixteen cannot permit their children to be without an authorized adult in public places between midnight and six am.  Kyle, Todd, and Thomas all fall under this Act, since they are 15.  They shouldn't have been at the swimming pool or even at the park at this time of night. If caught, the police may be take these boys home or even bring them to a children's aid society.

Municipal Bylaws
The sign outside the swimming pool probably refers to the municipal bylaws that regulate public swimming pool access in Todd’s city.  (We explained municipal bylaws previously here!) For example, in Toronto, municipal bylaws say that people must not use public swimming pools outside designated times, and that they must obey the signs posted in or adjacent to the pool.  The police officer can tell Todd and Thomas that they must leave the pool.  The police could also charge these youth with breaching a municipal by-law and the end result could be that they must pay a fine.  As in trespassing, the rules about young people under Provincial Offences Act would apply.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Your Legal Rights - website launch

JFCY thinks you should check out this new website that helps you find answers to everyday legal questions.

Today, Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) has launched "Your Legal Rights" – a new online source of legal information for people across Ontario.

Read below for info from CLEO:
"For tenants who don't know what steps to take when they have repair problems their landlord refuses to fix, parents who are separating and have questions about custody and access, or workers worried about what will happen to their benefits while they're on pregnancy leave, Your Legal Rights has free, practical, and easy-to-find legal information.

New features include Common Questions to help direct people to the information they need and an interactive map of key legal and social services throughout the province. Still available are the popular news and events listings on legal issues and access to justice.

If you work at a community organization, check out the Training section for a wide range of legal education webinars. And keep your clients and communities up to date on legal issues by adding content feeds from Your Legal Rights to your organization's website.

You can follow Your Legal Rights on Facebook and Twitter or sign up for the e-mail bulletin.

Your Legal Rights is a project of CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) and is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.  For close to 40 years, CLEO has worked to help people who face barriers to participating in Ontario’s justice system by providing them with the information they need to understand and exercise their legal rights."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Skipping School and Smoking Pot

Fourteen year-old Rachel had never really thought about skipping class before. She knew her friends skipped once in a while, but she had never done so herself. Then, one fall day, during lunch hour, Emily and Mike asked Rachel if she wanted to skip the next period, get something to eat, and hang out until the next bell rang. Rachel wasn’t too keen on the idea, but it was November of grade nine and she was still trying to make friends. Rachel agreed and off the three went.

Emily and Mike led Rachel behind the school parking lot, and sat down behind a wall that blocked them from being seen. Rachel was a little confused but went along with it. Mike then pulled out a joint from his pocket. Rachel had never tried marijuana, but she was curious, and she didn’t feel comfortable saying no. The three students smoked the joint in the back parking lot.

Mr. Smith just pulling his car into his parking space in the school lot when he noticed the three students from his science class walking out from behind the wall. He noticed that they smelt of marijuana and he also knew they were supposed to be in class. Mr. Smith immediately took the three students to the principal’s office.

Rachel couldn’t help but feel shocked by the situation that she had gotten herself into. She wasn’t sure what the implications of her actions would be – she knew that she had used the marijuana, but could say with honestly that it wasn’t hers to begin with. Rachel was worried and unsure of the consequences she was about to face…

The Law: Was Rachel allowed to skip school?
The Education Act is the Ontario law that covers education issues, including attendance.  It requires everyone over the age of six attend school until they graduate or reach age 18.  There are some exceptions to this rule.  For example, if a student is sick or it is a religious holiday, absences are excused.  

Every school has a school attendance counsellor who is responsible for following up when students miss school.  The counsellor at Rachel’s school will contact Rachel’s parent or guardian to let them know that she skipped class.

If you are interested in learning more about mandatory attendance in the Education Act, you can check it out online. Sections 21 and 26 contain the rules mentioned in this blog post, and Sections 30 and 31 discuss the consequences of being absent from school regularly without a legally valid excuse.  If you are under age 16, you can actually be charged with a provincial offence and made to attend court for skipping or "being habitually absent" from school! These laws have actually been changed to make the magic age 18, however, they have not yet been "proclaimed" by the government and thus the old rule of age 16 still stands. 

The Law: What about smoking marijuana?
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is the federal law that deals with drugs. Cannabis (marijuana) is a schedule II drug under the Act.  It carries criminal consequences for youth who are found guilty of possession, trafficking, exportation and/or production. There are no age parameters with regards to illegal drug use – anyone found with cannabis will be in violation of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and may charged and must attend court.  Rachel and her friends could be charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Youth who are under age 18 when alleged to have been charged with committing a criminal offence are dealt with under a separate legal system from adults.  This system, and the various rights that youth are entitled to, is outlined in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.  For more info on youth charges, check out JFCY’s Know Your Rights pamphlet.

Scenario by PLE Team volunteer Claire Bogomolny; Legal Info by PLE Team Lead Leora Jackson (a UofT law student from PBSC) and JFCY lawyer

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Criminalization of Homelessness

Can I See Your ID? 
The Policing of Youth Homelessness in Toronto

A report was released this week that explores "the relationship between homeless persons – in particular, street youth - and law enforcement officials". 

Authors of the report: O'Grady, Bill |  Gaetz, Stephen |  Buccieri, Kristy
JFCY Street Youth Legal Services lawyer, Johanna Macdonald, is quoted extensively throughout the report.

For more info, check out The Homeless Hub website or read the full report.   Let us know what you think.

Friday, November 4, 2011

JFCY annual Benefit Night!

There are only three weeks until JFCY's annual benefit!  This year's benefit will be held on Friday, November 25 from 7 pm to midnight at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto.  Featuring comedian Elvira Kurt and and a range of talented musical performers, the benefit will also involve food, fun, and both a live and silent auction.  We will also be presenting the 2011 Street Youth Advocate award.

Funds raised from the benefit go to support programs like Street Youth Legal Services and youth engagement at JFCY.

Tickets are $40, or $15 for students, in advance or at the door.  You can call JFCY at 416-920-1633 to purchase your ticket in advance!

Check out the Facebook event page or the event website for more information!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sexting and the law

- By Arif Hussain, PLE Team Member (with legal info by UofT law student Leora Jackson)

“Sexting” – combining text + sex – has become a new cultural product in modern society.  Sexting can involve sending sexually related text messages or images between cell phones.

Even though sexting can seem fun and exciting, and can come out of genuine good feelings and intentions, there can be negative consequences to sexting.  Sometimes, teens will share a picture with another person because they trust them.  However, sometimes those pictures get shared with third parties without the owner’s permission.  That can be embarrassing for the person who sent the picture, and it might be hard to take action or to tell someone else what has happened.  This is why one of the most important things to remember about using digital media is that once something has been emailed, messaged, or posted to someone else, it is almost impossible to maintain control over it, even if you later remove the posting or ask the recipient to delete their copy.

This Toronto Star article talks about some cases related to sexting and provides the comments of legal academics in Canada

In Canada, there  are important legal issues involved around sexting, including child pornography and privacy.  This information sheet has information about sexting in Canada, things to consider when you are thinking about sending sexual texts and images, and statistics about the frequency of sexting among Canadian teens and how likely they are to forward or share sexually explict messages that they have received from friends.

JFCY is in the process of creating a series of legal info publications around sexting and other issues related to cyberbullying and ‘tech-bullying’.  Stay tuned to this blog in the coming months for more legal info on these issues.

Arif Hussain is a student at U of T Scarborough.  He's also an active member of the PLE Team, and wrote the script for our Civil Recovery Demands YouTube video