Working Families Responds to Court of Appeal Decision

Court of Appeals throws out government’s use of notwithstanding clause in third party election advertising case

TORONTO, March 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- “We are pleased that the courts have struck down the heavy-handed use of the ‘notwithstanding’ clause in Bill 307, the Protecting Elections and Defending Democracy Act, 2021. This is a victory for Ontarians who deserve to receive information from a variety of sources and not just from the political parties,” said Working Families Spokesperson Patrick Dillon.

The court found that the restrictions imposed by the government “undermine the right of citizens to meaningfully participate in the political process and to be effectively represented.” They also found that the lower court “erred in allowing the government to override Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees free and fair elections in Canada to ensure that voters are fully informed of all issues.”

According to the 2-1 decision, “If at least some voters are prevented from exposure to political information of value from third parties in the 6 to 12-month period, their right to meaningful participation under s. 3 [of the Charter] may be undermined.”

“Working Families challenged the restrictions on third parties to participate effectively in the Ontario election and provide voters with information that may assist them in determining which candidate or party to support. We believe that Ontarians should hear from different points of views on issues that affect them,” said Dillon.

The government has decided to appeal the decision. The court gave the government 12 months to enact a law which is Charter compliant.

For further information, please contact:

Patrick Dillon, Spokesperson – Working Families
Tel: (416) 347-8245