Skip to main content
Workshops & seminars

World Children's Day: How to Protect Children Online

Date & time
Monday, November 20, 2023
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Registration is closed


This event is free



J.W. McConnell Building
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.

Wheel chair accessible


Today’s children are growing up in an increasingly digital world. In any scenario, safety of children is an utmost priority. How children can be adequately protected amid a complex and constantly shifting cyberspace?

To know more, join us for this panel discussion on World Children’s Day, moderated by public scholar and doctoral candidate Azfar Adib, as we engage in a conversation with the lawmakers, social activists, and regulatory experts leading this arena. Panelists Senator Julie Miville DechêneMP Arnold ViersenKeith Jansa, MP Karen Vecchio, and Penny Rankin will discuss about the legislative, technological and social aspects of child online safety in Canadian context.

The event will feature artwork by some local artists, including Concordia students, with the theme of women's and children's online safety. Participants will also get chances to express their thoughts in drawings and words.

How can you participate? Join us in person or online by registering for the Zoom Meeting or watching live on YouTube.

Have questions? Send them to


Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne

Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne was appointed to the Senate in June 2018 after a successful career in the public service sector. She spent 25 years working as a reporter and foreign correspondent for Radio-Canada. In 2007, she became the first woman ombudsman of Radio-Canada. In 2011, she was named Chair of the Quebec government’s Conseil du statut de la femme. Since her appointment, Senator Miville-Dechêne has introduced two Senate public bills: Bill S-211, a bill against forced labor and child labor in supply chains; and Bill S-210 which would require the implementation of age verification methods to protect minors from exposure to online pornography. She is also vice-chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

MP Arnold Viersen 

MP Arnold Viersen has been constantly advocating for meaningful age verification, opt-in tools, and education for parents and youth across Canada. In October 2015, he was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Peace River—Westlock in Alberta. As a member of the Official Opposition, MP Viersen has been passionate about protecting the rights and concerns of rural families, farms, and industries in Alberta and across Canada. He has been an active member in several Parliamentary caucuses dealing with key issues. In March 2016, he introduced Motion M-47, which instructed the Health Committee to examine the public health effects caused by the easy online accessibility of violent and degrading sexually explicit material, impacting children, women, and men. On December 8, 2016, Motion M-47 was unanimously adopted by the House of Commons. In 2018, MP Viersen launched the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.  He serves as one of its four co-chairs. In May 2021, he introduced the Stopping Internet Sexual Exploitation Act (SISE), which would require the verification of the age and consent of each person portrayed in pornographic material made for a commercial purpose. prior to creation and distribution. He was actively involved in the Pornhub study by the Standing Committee on Ethics, and strongly advocates the implementation of all 14 recommendations there. MP Viersen has been continuously working across party lines, uniting all parliamentarians, to raise awareness about the severe harms of pornography and the companies that profit off exploitation and abuse.

Penny Rankin

Penny Rankin is the Past-President of the Montreal Council of Women, VP with the Provincial Council of Women (PCWQ), and VP Children and Youth with the National Council of Women of Canada.

In spring 2022, her work on age verification was adopted as policy for the International Council of Women, consisting of 70 country members. In 2020 she co-founded “Canadians4Action”- an informal collective of NGOs and professionals from across Canada dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for legislation directed at protecting children from online abuse and exploitation. She also sits on the Sexual Exploitation Working Group of the Canadian Council of Churches. She began her eclectic career path in the UK, where, having completed her studies in Early Childhood Education she made a radical career shift to the world of marketing and advertising as a columnist for the 70’s trade magazine Media World. She also worked in marketing with London Broadcasting before joining Downton Advertising/Saatchi and Saatchi. Upon returning to Canada (and to teaching), she volunteered with and has sat on several non-profit boards including Les Amies du Neuro, as well as serving as the Executive Director of an inner-city mission. 

Keith Jansa

Keith Jansa is the Chief Executive Officer of the Digital Governance Council, formerly known as the CIO Strategy Council. He works with senior leaders from across Canada and as CEO works to jointly address and action digital governance opportunities and challenges to safeguard Canadians participating in the digital economy and strengthen Canada’s position in an increasingly digital world. His unparalleled acumen in devising strategies for responsible data and digital governance has earned the Digital Governance Council the distinction as preeminent technology leadership council globally. Keith is a provincially appointed member of the Ontario Health Data Council and Chair of its strategic working group on Data Governance and Data Stewardship. Keith also serves as a member of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario’s Strategic Advisory Council and Ontario’s Trustworthy AI Framework Working Group. He is called to testify as an expert before parliamentary and senate committees, contributing to government reports and legislative proposals to enhance trust and confidence in the digital economy. Keith is a specialist in the creation and strategic application of standards. Keith was named one of the 10 most influential business leaders in 2023 by The Inc Magazine. Keith graduated with honors from the University of Ottawa with a degree in health sciences. Keith is happily married to Kayla, his college sweetheart, and is the loving father of three children.

MP Karen Vecchio

Karen Vecchio was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London in 2015 and re-elected in 2019 and 2021 federal elections. Karen currently serves as the Shadown Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth and the Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. In her capacity as Member of Parliament, Karen has served as the Deputy House Leader for the Official Opposition (2020- 2021); Shadow Minister for Women and Gender Equality (2019-2020); Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (2017-2020); Shadow Minister for Families, Children and Social Development (2015- 2019); Chair of the Conservative Social Development Caucus (2016-2019) and the Conservative Caucus Liaison to the LGBTQ2+ community. She participates regularly in the All-Party Agricultural Caucus, the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus, the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Caucus, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

Karen was raised on a turkey and hog farm in Sparta, Ontario and remains connected to her rural roots in Southern Ontario. Prior to entering politics, she owned and operated a small business in London, Ontario and worked alongside former Member of Parliament Joe Preston as his Executive Assistant for 11 years. Karen is married to Mike Vecchio and they have five children.

Azfar Adib

Azfar Adib is a public scholar and doctoral candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Concordia University. His doctoral research is focused on anonymous age verification, on which he also has been regularly writing and speaking to create general awareness. Azfar holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, followed by a professional experience of over 8 years in the ICT industry. Azfar is passionate about empowering people toward excellence through different endeavors.

Back to top

© Concordia University