OTTAWA — A new Democrat lawmaker’s request for documents related to a new regulator handling child pornography and exploitative material could take more than half a decade for the government to act.

In a letter in response to an access request from NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus, the Justice Department says it will take more than six years to provide correspondence and briefings from the three-month period between December and March relating to the regulator.

In April, the Liberal government announced that it would introduce legislation to create a new regulator that would ensure that online platforms remove harmful content, including depictions of children and intimate images that are shared without consent.

Conservative and New Democrat lawmakers have questioned why a regulator is needed to crack down on exploitative material when the Criminal Code already prohibits the distribution of child pornography and illegal images.

Angus says the lack of details or timelines around the regulator prompted his request, calling the 75-month waiting period “ridiculous.”

The Justice Department says in an email that the time frame for processing requests is based on the estimated number of records and that an interim release of documents is possible in high-volume cases.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 22, 2021.