Canadians Urged to Take Action Against Access to Deadly Online Forum

Toronto, Canada – An online forum, labeled as a “dedicated suicide promotion website” by mental health organizations, continues to be accessible to Canadians. The platform, known for discussing suicide methods and encouraging individuals to take their own lives, remains unrestricted on the internet in Canada, despite being blocked in countries like Australia, Germany, and Italy. Reports from coroners, mental health advocates, and grieving families have highlighted the concerning nature of this forum, which has been linked to numerous deaths in the country.

Users on the website, often engaging anonymously, utilize coded language like “CTB” or “catch the bus” to discuss suicide methods. The platform, which receives about 10 million page views per month, has come under scrutiny for its harmful impact on vulnerable individuals contemplating suicide. Families, mental health organizations, and coroners have raised concerns about the forum’s role in facilitating suicide and the lack of action taken to restrict access to it.

Recent cases, including that of a Toronto-area man charged with aiding multiple suicides, have further emphasized the urgency of addressing the issue. Despite calls from mental health organizations to block the online forum, little action has been taken by authorities at the federal level. The Canadian Mental Health Association and Children’s Mental Health Ontario are among the organizations urging government officials to intervene and protect individuals, especially children and youth, from the harmful effects of the forum.

Efforts to restrict access to the website have faced challenges, with the CRTC stating that it does not have the jurisdiction to order internet service providers to block specific sites. Telecom companies have also cited restrictions on controlling content without approval from regulatory bodies. The lack of concrete action has raised concerns about the continued harm caused by the forum and the need for legislative measures to address online safety and harmful content.

In addition to concerns about the forum’s impact on vulnerable individuals, connections to individuals like Kenneth Law, who was charged with counseling or aiding suicide, have further highlighted the forum’s role in facilitating access to harmful substances and services. Families who have lost loved ones to suicide through the forum have shared their experiences, emphasizing the lack of support or intervention from other users on the platform. The disturbing nature of the forum’s discussions and the lack of safeguards to protect individuals from harm have underscored the need for immediate action to address the issue.

Efforts to address the online forum’s impact on mental health and safety continue to face challenges, with questions about the limits of free expression and the responsibilities of online platforms in preventing harm. As authorities grapple with the complex issues surrounding online content and its real-world consequences, the need for proactive measures to protect vulnerable individuals and prevent tragedies remains a pressing concern.