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British Columbia’s New Intimate Images Protection Act: Obligations and Penalties to Be Aware of

The B.C. government has made an order that the Intimate Images Protection Act (the “Act”) and the Intimate Images Protection Regulation (“Regulation”) will take effect on January 29, 2024. The Regulation provides for significant administrative penalties of up to $100,000 for a failure to comply with a take-down order or de-indexing order under the Act. In this blog post, we highlight several obligations and penalties that internet intermediaries operating in British Columbia should be aware of.

Intimate Images Protection Act

The Act aims to protect against non-consensual distribution of intimate images, and covers nude or near-nude photographs, videos, livestreams, and digitally altered images and videos.[1] The Act provides a process for removing these intimate images from digital spaces and creates a civil process for seeking relief. The publication of intimate images without consent is already an offence under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the Act addresses the issue from a civil perspective.

An individual whose intimate images have been distributed without their consent may seek relief under the Act. An individual may seek relief without notifying the alleged distributor and must prove that (1) the image is an intimate image depicting the claimant; and (2) a person other than the claimant distributed (or threatened to distribute) the image without the claimant’s consent.[2]

The Act allows individuals to seek relief from the Civil Resolution Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) or from the B.C. courts. The Tribunal and the courts both have the power to order the immediate removal of intimate images and to make other orders, including orders requiring a person to:

  • destroy or delete all copies of the images;
  • ensure the images are unavailable to others;
  • remove the images from all electronic forms and platforms; and
  • de-index the images from any search engines.[3]

Orders may be made not only against individuals who distribute intimate images, but also against “internet intermediaries”, which are defined as organizations that host or index third-party content through an online platform.[4] This definition would include technology and social media companies that operate online platforms where third parties may post images or videos.

If an internet intermediary fails to comply with a court order under the Act, it could face serious consequences, such as administrative penalties and orders to pay damages.[5] However, the Act provides that an internet intermediary is not liable if it has taken reasonable steps to address the unlawful distribution of intimate images in the use of its services.[6]

Intimate Images Protection Regulation

The accompanying Regulation provides additional guidance on how the Act will operate. Among other things, it sets the maximum administrative penalties for non-compliance. For internet intermediaries, the penalty is a maximum of $5,000 per day that the internet intermediary fails to comply with the order, up to a total maximum of $100,000.[7] Moreover, if the failure to comply continues after an administrative penalty has been imposed, additional administrative penalties may be imposed for each day the contravention continues.[8]

How We Can Help

Internet intermediaries operating in British Columbia should be aware of the Act and review their internal operations to ensure they have an efficient and effective way of identifying and removing unlawful intimate images when needed. The B.C. government has already notified certain tech and social media companies of the Act and their responsibilities under it.

Our Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group regularly represents technology and social media companies. If you have questions about our practice or how we can help you achieve and maintain full compliance with the Act, please contact a member of our Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group.


[1] Act, s. 1.

[2] Act, s. 3.

[3] Act, s. 5.

[4] Act, s. 1.

[5] Act, s. 6.

[6] Act, s. 12.

[7] Regulation, s. 9(1).

[8] Regulation, s. 9(2).



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