The Return of Sec. 13 of the Canadian Human Right Act?

The Return of Sec. 13 of the Canadian Human Right Act?
by Mark Bourrie
February 13, 2024
The Return of Sec. 13 of the Canadian Human Right Act?

The House Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has published a report about hateful expression on the Internet. The committee presented its report — Taking Action to End Online Hate — to the House of Commons on June 17, 2019.

The committee recommends the government amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to restore Sec. 13, which made hate speech against designated groups actionable under the Act. Previous legal actions under Sec.13 were often controversial.

This will become an important expression issue again, if it happens. The report came out as Parliament is days from being dissolved, and it won’t return before the election on October 19. So whether a new government accepts the Commons justice committee recommendation is still very much up in the air.

Because of a family conflict of interest, I have to stay out of this debate. Here’s the Committee report:


As for hate crime prosecution under the Criminal Code — where I do not have a conflict of interest — I strongly suggest the decision to lay charges should be left to Crown Attorneys, not provincial Attorneys General. And crimes motivated by hate should be prosecuted vigorously. Racism, homophobia and other group hatreds should be considered aggravating factors in the sentencing process.

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