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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 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. 
Court Submission May 2, 2024

Working Families Coalition (Canada) Inc. v. Ontario (Attorney General), SCC, Court File No. 40475

CFE Motion Record for Leave to Intervene – Supreme Court of Canada The issue in this appeal is whether Ontario Bill 307’s amendments to the Election Finances Act violate the informational element of a citizen’s right to vote under s. 3 of the Charter. Bill 307 re-enacted third-party spending limits that were declared invalid under s. 2(b) of the Charter, and invoked s. 33 to protect those spending limits from Charter review. The question in this appeal is whether limits on third party spending that are unconstitutional under s. 2(b) are also an unjustifiable violation of s. 3 which cannot be overriden by s. 33.