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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.

Blog February 19, 2020

Have we Lost the Plot with Polanski?

Roman Polanksi’s back in the news again, this time because of the 12 César Academy nominations he received for his latest film, An Officer and a Spy. Outrage ensued, as it always does, whenever the fugitive director receives any recognition for his work.  In response to the criticism, the entire César Academy Board resigned last week.  While some may view this as a #metoo victory, I wonder if we have allowed punitive impulses to misplace our priorities.
Blog February 3, 2020

Political boycotts are protected expression in Canada

Dr. David Kattenburg is a wine lover and activist. Recently, he merged these two passions together by litigating the issue of whether political boycotts are a form of Charter-protected expression. Specifically, in a judicial review before the Federal Court, Dr. Kattenburg challenged the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s decision to maintain the labeling of wines produced by Israeli settlers in the West Bank as “Products of Israel”. In the evidence before the Court, Dr.
Blog October 28, 2019

Kids, Criminals, and the Artist in the Classroom

Imagine that your child has a teacher who likes to invite guest musicians, artists, and authors to her classroom. She is particularly interested in having the students learn about diversity and inclusion. In order to keep your child and others in the school safe, the school board, like many in Canada, requires all guests who will interact with students to undergo a police check. Because the students are under the age of eighteen, this is called a “vulnerable sector police records check.”