Caveat |  Comment |  BBB BS |   Defamation |  Goerthe |  Prepaidlegal.htm |  Custody?

Canadian Defamation Law

Notice/Avis: This summary does not apply to Quebec. Ce sommaire ne s'applique pas au territoire quebecois.

Defamation was well described in a 1970 British Columbia Court of Appeal decision called Murphy v. LaMarsh:

(Defamation is where) a shameful action is attributed to a man (he stole my purse), a shameful character (he is dishonest), a shameful course of action (he lives on the avails of prostitution), (or) a shameful condition (he has smallpox). Such words are considered defamatory because they tend to bring the man named into hatred, contempt or ridicule. The more modern definition (of defamation) is words tending to lower the plaintiff in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally.
The common law protects every person from harm to their reputation by false and derogatory remarks about their person, known as defamation. In addition, all Canadian provinces have libel/ slander legislation (defamation includes slander and libel, where slander is verbal defamation and libel is printed defamation). It is a tricky and slippery field of law, based on statutes, English common law and many defences. No wonder it has been called a "peculiar tort". And remember, defamation tort law protects your reputation, not your feelings.

The major points of defamation law in Canada are as follows:

There are a number of special defences available against defamation: Situations which involve racial or hate defamation might find a more expeditious and cost-effective recourse through human rights legislation rather than defamation.

You should also be aware that most provinces have implemented very short limitation periods with regards to alleged defamation appearing in newspapers or broadcast (as short as six weeks in some cases) so time may be of the essence.

For further research on defamation law in Canadian common law provinces, you should consult the two-volume binder edition of Defamation Law in Canada written by R. Brown and published by Carswell legal publishers. © 1996 World Wide Legal Information Association. The information provided in this and all WWLIA documents is internationally copyright protected and does not represent legal advice. If and when you face a specific legal situation, you should conduct independent inquiries with legal professionals to determine what your legal rights may be.

Last Updated:       CanLaw Inc.   
Ask CanLaw
by CanLaw Inc >