Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Bill 83: Protection of Public Participation Act, 2013

Dear Attorney General:
Re: Bill 83, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2013

(Via Email)

We are writing to you about the status of Bill 83, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2013 which you introduced in the Ontario Legislature on June 4, 2013. The Bill has been in second reading debates since September 25, 2013. We request that you take all the necessary steps to ensure the Bill passes second reading and is referred to Committee before the Legislature rises for the holiday break on December 13th.

Bill 83 reflects in very large part the recommendations of the Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel which was established three years ago to provide advice on the content of legislation to target strategic law suits against public participation (SLAPPs). The Panel, which was chaired by Dean Mayo Moran of the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto and made up of two leading legal experts on defamation law, concluded that there was a need for anti-SLAPP legislation in Ontario. In its report, the Panel stated that "it was persuaded that threats of lawsuits for speaking out on matters of public interest, combined with a number of actual lawsuits, deter significant numbers of people from participating in discussion on such matters."

Bill 83 provides an effective response to the problem of SLAPPs in Ontario and would prevent the misuse of our courts from SLAPP suits without depriving anyone of appropriate remedies for expression that causes significant harm. We also note the Bill has received support from members of both opposition parties.

The enactment of anti-SLAPP legislation in Ontario has received wide endorsement from organizations and members of the public, including the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, public interest organizations, academics, the Ontario Bar Association as well as former members of the judiciary.

We regard the adoption of Bill 83 as vital to Ontario's democracy as it will protect the public from meritless lawsuits intended to deter them from engaging in discussion on matters of public interest. Accordingly, we strongly urge the Ontario government to ensure the expeditious enactment of this important Bill.

Yours truly,

Theresa McClenaghan
Executive Director & Counsel
Canadian Environmental Law Association

Pierre Sadik
Manager of Legislative Affairs

Joanna Kerr
Executive Director
Greenpeace Canada

Tim Gray
Executive Director
Environmental Defence

Jack Gibbons
Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Caroline Schultz
Executive Director
Ontario Nature

Cara Faith Zwibel
Director, Fundamental Freedoms Programme
Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Peter Jacobsen
Chair of the Canadian Issues Committee
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

Derek Coronado
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
General David Suzuki Foundation

Dan McDermott
Chapter Director
Sierra Club Ontario

Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), O.ONT.
Chief Executive Officer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

The Honourable John Milloy, Government House Leader
Julia Munro, PC Critic, Attorney General
Jagmeet Singh, NDP Critic, Attorney General

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