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Freedom of Expression & Its Limits

Freedom of expression, a fundamental freedom under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is the right to express beliefs, thoughts, ideas, and emotions; to share information; and to seek and receive information and ideas without restriction. Limits on freedom of expression in Canada include Criminal Code and Human Rights provisions regarding hate speech, harassment, and discrimination; civil defamation actions; a variety of municipal by-laws; and both government and private restrictions on online access and content.

News September 10, 2020

Supreme Court upholds Ontario Anti-SLAPP Legislation

The Centre for Free Expression, along with co-intervenors Canadian Association of Journalists and CWA-Canada, welcome today's Supreme Court's unanimous judgment  in 1704604 Ontario Ltd. v. Pointes Protection Association which upholds Ontario's anti-SLAPP legislation and makes some important clarifications about how specific legislative provisions  should be interpreted and applied.
Blog July 13, 2020

The Kids Are Not All Right: Freedom of Expression and the Online Classroom

I don’t want to read one more piece that begins, “In these difficult (unprecedented, challenging, etc.)  times,” and neither do you. However, since the world changed, I have serious and long-term concerns about teaching and free expression. Now that the greater part of the K-12 experience has moved online or to other internet based instruction, and at the same time society has become less tolerant of unpopular opinions, I fear that we may be developing a generation of students who do not know how to disagree without becoming disagreeable.
Blog May 6, 2020

Making it illegal will not stop the spread of misinformation

As we have seen in recent elections and in the present pandemic, misinformation can do real harm.  But the Canadian government’s plan to consider legislation to criminalize the spreading of misinformation is the wrong response. Criminalization will not stop misinformation. In fact, it often draws more attention to it, as well as undermines civil liberties and human rights essential in a democratic society. 
Blog April 14, 2020

Educating for Democracy in the Time of COVID-19

For those of us who have young people in our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic can present a unique opportunity to engage them in exercises that focus on democracy. Whether those young people are stuck in your home with you, or are distanced from you and only reachable using some kind of media (including your basic telephone), you can spend a little of the rather too abundant time we now have asking and considering important questions.