The Schlifer Clinic at the Supreme Court of Canada intervening on two appeals regarding Anti-SLAPP Legislation

On Tuesday, November 12th, the Clinic’s pro-bono lawyer Joanna Birenbaum and  Andrew Bernstein from Tory’s argued at the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the Clinic in joint cases of Platnick v. Bent and 1704604 Ontario Ltd. v. Pointes Protection. The Supreme Court of Canada heard these two appeals that will have significant implications for the survivors, media and the public’s ability to rely on anti-SLAPP laws. At issue in front of the Court is the scope of Ontario’s Protection of Public Participation Act, which came into force in 2015. The law was passed following an advisory panel’s recommendations aimed at reducing the incidence of lawsuits aimed at stifling public participation, known as strategic lawsuits against public participation or SLAPP. SLAPP lawsuits silence critics by threatening to burden them with the costs of maintaining a legal defense. Defamation lawsuits, which can be hard to defend, make an ideal vehicle for SLAPPS.

There are multiple interveners, in these cases, both from civil societies and the media sector. The Clinic elaborates on the experience of survivors of sexual assault and migrant women’s experience across the country.  Joanna in her oral arguments, focused on survivors’ experience of retaliatory lawsuits or the threats of them that are used to control and silence women and prevent women from speaking about experiences of violence.

If interested, the case proceedings are available at the archived webcast of the Supreme Court of Canada. Follow the links bellow:

Platnick v. Bent

1704604 Ontario Ltd. v. Pointes Protection

In case you would like to read the Clinics motion materials and affidavit, follow the link bellow:

Barbra-Schlifer-Commemorative-Clinic Affidavit AntiSLAPP.pdf