Organizations continue call for anti-SLAPP legislation in Ontario

Monday, October 6, 2014
The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur Ministry of the Attorney General McMurtry-Scott Building 720 Bay Street, 11th Floor Toronto, ON M7A 2S9 Dear Attorney General, Re: Introduction of Anti –SLAPP Bill We are writing to you to urge you to expeditiously introduce a bill that will address the problem of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) in Ontario. The Honourable John Gerretsen, your predecessor, introduced Bill 83, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2013 which received support from the public and many organizations, including the undersigned. Unfortunately, the Bill did not pass prior to the June 2014 election. The Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel which was established four years ago and chaired by Dean Mayo Moran of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto recommended that the Ontario government adopt anti-SLAPP legislation to counter the growing phenomena of SLAPPs. The Panel stated that the purpose of the anti-SLAPP legislation would be to “expand the democratic benefits of broad participation in public affairs and to reduce the risk that such participation will be unduly hampered by fear of legal action.” The panel also provided a framework and the content for legislation to target SLAPPs. The Panel’s report received wide endorsement and the enactment of anti-SLAPP legislation in Ontario has been supported by the Ontario Bar Association, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Environmental Commissioner, academics, public interest organizations and former members of the judiciary. We, therefore, strongly urge you to introduce an anti-SLAPP bill which reflects the recommendations of the Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel and to take all measures to ensure that it is adopted into law. Yours truly, Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director & Counsel, Canadian Environmental Law Association Pierre Sadik, Ecojustice Canada, Manager of Legislative Affairs Joanna Kerr, Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada Tim Gray, Executive Director, Environmental Defence Jack Gibbons, Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance Caroline Schultz, Executive Director, Ontario Nature Cara Faith Zwibel, Director, Fundamental Freedoms Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association Peter Jacobsen, Chair of the Canadian Issues Committee, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Derek Coronado, Coordinator, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario Mark Calzavara Ontario Regional Organizer The Council of Canadians Janet Sumner Executive Director CPAWS Wildlands League Dr. Faisal Moola, PhD Director General David Suzuki Foundation John Bennett National Program Director Sierra Club Ontario Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), O.ONT. Chief Executive Officer Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario cc: The Honourable Yasir Naqvi, Government House Leader Sylvia Jones, PC Critic, Attorney General Jagmeet Singh, NDP Critic, Attorney General

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