Speech Restrictive Laws
Despite the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognizing freedom of expression as a “fundamental freedom”, it faces serious challenges. Among troubling restrictions are the creation of the new offense of encouraging the "commission of terrorism offences in general"; continuing use of criminal defamation against critics of public officials; broadening the definition of hate speech; failure to curtail abuse of civil defamation; and unwillingness to remove archaic laws such as the Criminal Code offences of defamatory libel and seditious libel.
Why It Matters
Freedom of expression is the foundation of a democratic society and is essential to virtually all other freedoms. Only through the opportunity to hear different perspectives can we formulate our own views to share with others. When governments inappropriately limit what can be expressed and when courts restrict unpopular or controversial viewpoints, the public’s right to hear and form their own conclusions is lost, and democracy imperilled.
The CFE defends free expression rights. We promote public discussion of what are justifiable limits on free expression. We press for the repeal of antiquated and inappropriate speech restrictive laws, such as blasphemy and criminal defamation, as well as for the repeal of anti-terrorism laws that undermine basic freedoms and democratic rights. We advocate for the introduction of anti-SLAPP legislation that effectively prevents the use of civil defamation to intimidate and silence critics. We monitor and, where appropriate, seek to intervene in court cases that will shape free expression rights in Canada.
CFE Granted Leave to Intervene in Three Cases Before the Supreme Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal
The Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal have just granted the Centre for Free Expression the right to intervene in three major cases before them.
December 23, 2020
September 10, 2020
CFE Joins 156 Other Organizations in Calling for Governments in Canada to Make Human Rights a Centrepiece of their Response to Covid-19 Pandemic
More that 300 organizations, academics, and public figures have called on governments in Canada to ensure that human rights are central in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 15, 2020
Today, the Ontario Court of Appeal handed down six decisions that uphold and strengthen Ontario’s 2015 anti-SLAPP lawdesigned to ensure that
August 30, 2018
The Centre for Free Expression joined with 44 other organizations in welcoming the BC Attorney General’s commitment to enact legislation to protect British Columbians from strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP suits.
March 8, 2018