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Freedom of Expression and the Public's Right to Know

Genuine democracy, advancement of knowledge, individual self-development, and social justice depend on a society in which freedom of expression and the right to know are a reality for everyone. The Centre for Free Expression works to advance these rights though public education, advocacy, law reform, research, advisory services, policy analysis, assistance to courts, and organizational collaborations.

The Latest

News June 19, 2024

Charter Rights Under Threat if Senate Fails to Fix Foreign Interference Bill: If they don’t act, we will, say CFE and 9 other civil society groups

In its rush to do, and to be seen to do, something about the very real problem of foreign interference, the House of Commons hurried through — in hours — a well-intentioned but deeply flawed Bill C-70: Countering Foreign Interference Act. Under enormous pressure, it appears the Senate will do likewise today.
News June 17, 2024

Professor Toni Samek named CFE Scholar-in-Residence for 2024-25

Toni Samek, Professor and former Chair at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta, will be the Centre for Free Expression’s Scholar-in-Residence for 2024-25. “Prof. Samek is one of Canada’s leading authorities on intellectual freedom, as well as one of its most effective advocates,” said James L. Turk, Director of the Centre for Free Expression (CFE). 
Blog June 13, 2024

Student Protest Encampments and Section s.2(c) of the Charter

In spring 2024 student encampments at Canadian and US universities provoked strong reactions for and against pro-Palestinian demonstrations on campus property. While some Canadian universities called in police to disperse demonstrators, others looked to the courts for injunctions compelling students to disperse and abandon their encampments.
Court Submission June 11, 2024

Governing Council of the University of Toronto v. John Doe et al., ONSC, Court File No.: CV-24-00720977-0000

CFE/CAUT/CFS(O) Intervener Factum – Ontario Superior Court. The issue is whether the University of Toronto’s request for an injunction should be granted against the encampment on campus. The factum argues the University’s common law rights as “fee simple owner” of its property are not unlimited or absolute and do not pre-empt or extinguish the Charter freedoms of those using its property for expressive purposes, as are members of the encampment. It further argues that the Province of Ontario’s decision in 2018 to regulate campus expression transformed an area of autonomous university governance into one of Ministerial regulation and control, making the University’s actions in relation to freedom or expression and freedom assembly subject to the Charter. It also argues against the claim that immunity from the Charter is necessary to protect academic freedom. To the contrary, they are complimentary values.