Government abandons legislation censoring "dis/misinformation"

Government scraps proposed "dis/misinformation" censorship law due to its potential impact on freedom of expression.

TORONTO: Last week, The Democracy Fund (TDF) sent a letter to Elections Canada and Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc expressing concerns about the government's "disinformation/misinformation" censorship policy.

This week, it was reported that the government is abandoning proposed legislation to censor such online content – at least for now.

In a letter to MPs, Minister LeBlanc stated: "The government heard from Canadians and stakeholders that while false and misleading information online can carry significant consequences, creating legislation and policies that restrict or otherwise limit speech based on the veracity of information would undermine freedom of expression to an unacceptable degree."

It is not clear whether Elections Canada will continue its policy of contacting social media companies seeking removal of allegedly false information, but the government's unwillingness to formalize this policy via legislation should dampen its enthusiasm for such censorship efforts.

TDF's senior litigation counsel, Mark Joseph, said, "Any government proposing to censor online content on the basis that the content is 'false information' needs to overcome the massive epistemic problem inherent in such a proposal. In fact, anyone setting themselves up as the final, eternal arbiter of truth should be the subject of withering criticism. The 'false news' provision in the Criminal Code was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1992: we don't need to repeat that mistake."

TDF recently met with UNESCO to discuss similar issues around its apparent support of government censorship and will be putting its concerns into a formal letter shortly. TDF will continue to monitor and oppose governments and organizations that infringe, or threaten to infringe, on the civil rights of Canadians.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation on this page to support our work.

About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by the government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

E-transfer (Canada):
[email protected] - password democracy if required

Cheques made out to The Democracy Fund:
PO Box 61035 Eglinton/Dufferin RO
Toronto, ON M6E 5B2

🚨 For E-transfer and cheque donations, please include the following legally required information:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Full address
  • If making a corporate or business contribution, the corporation or business' name