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CFE Blog

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.
Blog May 21, 2024

The Ontario Government Extends Constitutional Protection to University Encampments

There is an ongoing debate about whether universities, when regulating speech on campus, are subject to the Charter of Rights. The Alberta Court of Appeal, in a 2020 judgment that concerned a prolife demonstration on the University of Alberta campus decided that the university was bound by the Charter and that the students had a constitutionally protected right to engage in protest. However, the courts in other provinces, including Ontario, have reached the opposite conclusion, deciding that the Charter does not apply to a university, even when it is regulating speech on campus. 
Blog May 11, 2024

Is an encampment protected expression?

On Thursday, Calgary Police forcibly dismantled the pro-Palestine encampment at the University of Calgary within hours of its formation. Those who advocate the same tactic at other Canadian universities, including University of Toronto, argue that an encampment is not a legitimate form of protest because it is disruptive and occupies space that should be open to all. A columnist in the Globe & Mail even argued that the encampment is not a form of expression and thus deserves no protection. 
Blog March 26, 2024

Ontario Government Agency Imposing Corporate Secrecy Practices on the Public

Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx, both provincial mega-agencies using, exclusively, public-private infrastructure partnerships, have imposed a requirement on the public that is supposedly being served, according to a Toronto Star article (March 19). That is, any community member that wants to participate in the ‘consultations’ regarding the expropriation and tearing down of the local Riverdale Plaza (one of the many sites designated by the province as a future ‘transit-oriented community’, known by locals as ‘developer-oriented transit’) needs to sign a “non-disclosure” agreement.