Internet foreign policy issues

The Internet is transforming the way we work, interact and innovate, both in Canada and abroad. It is a key driver of economic development, innovation and growth, and its openness makes it a powerful tool for social connection and for the advancement of human rights and democracy.

Canada believes the Internet should remain an environment where individuals’ rights and freedoms are protected; information and ideas flow freely; networked technologies continue to generate prosperity and spur innovation; and information and digital infrastructure are protected.

The following principles encapsulate the key tenets of a free, open and secure environment in which the Internet can function.

A Free Internet

Promoting and Protecting Human Rights – Respect for human rights, including expression, association, and privacy-related rights is essential for promoting and preserving a democratic society. The same rights apply equally online as they do offline.

Universality – Access to information on the Internet should be universal and non-discriminatory.

Rule of Law – Laws, regulations and policies applicable to the Internet should be transparent and based on the rule of law. International law and other traditional norms of behaviours that govern state relations, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law, apply online as they do offline.

An Open Internet

Inclusive Multistakeholder Decision-Making – Stakeholders from across the global Internet community, including Internet users, business, expert technical organizations, and governments should develop policies collectively and make decisions based on consensus in a transparent and inclusive manner.

One Global Internet – Canada is committed to the Internet as a single, interoperable and unfragmented technology in order to allow Internet users to innovate, share ideas, and capture social and economic benefits.

Fostering Innovation and Economic Growth – The Internet should promote rather than constrain dynamism and human creativity. Internet governance must be undertaken in a way to encourage innovation and promote economic growth and development. Reinforcing an open and decentralized Internet will bring economic benefits to all.

A Secure Internet

Promoting Security – Internet users must be confident of their safety and security online and not be subject to malicious cyber activity. All stakeholders have a role to play in improving the security of digital networks that support economic prosperity and social development.

Stable, Secure and Resilient – The security, stability and resiliency of the Internet is of paramount importance and all stakeholders must work together to ensure that it is preserved.

External Partners and Key Links

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada engages with partner departments at both the bilateral and multilateral level on Internet-related issues. The list below links to relevant external partners.