Government reaffirms commitment to protecting freedom of expression

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Safeguards to protect British Columbians’ freedom of speech and expression have been reintroduced with proposed legislation.

David Eby, Attorney General, tabled the protection of public participation act, which will protect people from strategic lawsuits against public participation, known as SLAPPs, that limit or stifle criticism or opposition on matters of public interest by imposing exhaustive and potentially costly legal actions. The legislation was first introduced in May 2018.

“This bill reflects what we’ve heard from many British Columbians, including several leading legal figures,” said Eby. “They’ve told us that this legislation is key to protecting and advancing freedom of speech and expression in our province. Our government is listening and we are committed to protecting these freedoms.”

In 2001, British Columbia was the first jurisdiction in Canada to enact this kind of legislation. It was repealed the same year. This new legislation reflects successful legislation in Ontario and is a fairer, more effective legislative model than B.C.’s previous legislation.

If passed, the act will apply to lawsuits started on or after May 15, 2018, when the legislation was first introduced.

Learn More:

New law to safeguard freedom of expression: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018AG0032-000918