Charter Cases: Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

… (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72

The Respondents, a group of prostitutes and former prostitutes, argued that a number of Criminal Code provisions prohibiting expression and commercial activities relating to prostitution were in breach of Sections 7 and 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 7: Life, Liberty, & Security of the Person

Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62

The Respondent, a labour union representing employees at an Edmonton casino during the course of a lawful strike, had run afoul of Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act by videotaping individuals crossing the picket line during the strike, and using the images collected in union newsletters, strike leaflets, and a website called CasinoScabs.ca. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression

Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott, 2013 SCC 11

The Whatcott case was brought to the Supreme Court of Canada on appeal from the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, which had found that a number of pamphlets critical of homosexual behaviour did not meet the test for “hate speech” under Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(a): Freedom of Religion, Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms

R. v. Khawaja, 2012 SCC 69

In R. v. Khawaja, a companion case heard alongside Sriskandarajah v. United States of America, the Supreme Court of Canada considered the constitutional argument of convicted terrorist conspirator, Mohammad Momin Khawaja. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 2(d): Freedom of Association, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms

Pridgen v. University of Calgary, 2012 ABCA 139

In the Pridgen case, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld a Court of Queen’s Bench ruling, which held that the right to freedom of expression under Section 2(b) of the Charter applies to students on university campuses. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms

Crookes v. Newton, 2011 SCC 47

In the landmark case of Crooks v. Newton, the Supreme Court of Canada clarified the law of defamation in the context of the internet, stating that merely linking to defamatory content on another web page does not constitute “publication,” and therefore is not defamatory in and of itself. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms

R. v. Zundel, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731

In R. v. Zundel, the Supreme Court of Canada examined the constitutionality of Section 181 of the Criminal Code, the so-called “false news law,” which was initially designed to protect the reputations of politicians, but in this case was used against a Toronto-based publisher who prolifically and unrelentingly published material questioning the historically-accepted account of the Holocaust in Germany during World War II. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms

R. v. Butler, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 452

The Appellant, Butler, had been convicted of possession and distribution of “obscenity,” for material sold at his Winnipeg, Manitoba retail outlet, Avenue Video Boutique. The task of the Supreme Court of Canada in considering Mr. Butler’s appeal was to make a determination as to the constitutionality of Section 163 of the Criminal Code, Canada’s obscenity law, and further to interpret Section 163 to determine what types of material fall under the umbrella of “obscenity.” Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms

R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 SCR 697

James Keegstra, a schoolteacher, was charged with the willful promotion of hatred under Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code, for allegedly anti-Semitic statements made during class. Mr. Keegstra successfully challenged the Criminal Code section in the Alberta Court of Appeal, which held that it was an infringement on freedom of expression, as protected by Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms

Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Quebec (Attorney General), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927

Irwin Toy Ltd.’s challenge of a Quebec law prohibiting advertising targeted at children under thirteen years of age led the Supreme Court of Canada to an extensive analysis of the meaning of freedom of expression, and what limits on expression can be tolerated in a free and democratic society. Continue reading

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Filed under Section 2(b): Freedom of Expression, Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms