Anti-SLAPP Banner

Text size: larger | smaller

Please note: the page will print without the top and left navigation bars and in black and white only.

The Anti-SLAPP report is now available online. The government would like to thank the panel for its interest, advice and hard work during its deliberations.

The Attorney General will review the report and the recommendations of the panel. Public input is still welcome and can be provided to the ministry by email at: SLAPPsuggestions@ontario.ca or regular post:

SLAPP Suggestions
720 Bay Street, 7th floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2S9

Introduction

Strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP) has been defined as a lawsuit started against one or more people or groups who speak out or take a position on an issue of public interest. The purpose of a SLAPP is to silence critics by redirecting their energy and finances into defending a lawsuit and away from their original public criticism. Concerns have been raised that SLAPPs also act as a warning to other potential critics. The effect of SLAPP suits is to discourage public debate.

The Ministry of the Attorney General wants to know how the Ontario justice system should be designed to prevent the misuse of the courts and other agencies of justice without depriving anyone of appropriate remedies for expression that goes too far. That is the task of the Advisory Panel on Anti-SLAPP legislation.

The Panel

The Advisory Panel is chaired by Dean Mayo Moran of the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto and is made up of Brian MacLeod Rogers, a media lawyer with his own practice, and Peter Downard, a partner with Fasken Martineau in Toronto.

More information can be found on the Ministry's website.

Terms of Reference

The Panel is to advise the Attorney General on the potential content of legislation against SLAPPs, and in particular to address key issues including:

  • A test for courts to quickly recognize a SLAPP suit
  • Appropriate remedies for SLAPP suits
  • Appropriate limits to the protection of anti-SLAPP legislation
  • Appropriate parties to benefit from the protection of anti-SLAPP legislation
  • Methods to prevent abuse of any future anti-SLAPP legislation.

The panel may also discuss and advise on other related matters which it believes will be helpful in dealing with SLAPPs and creating or implementing the legislation.

The Panel has been asked to respond to the Attorney General by fall 2010.

Making Your Views Known

The Panel will be accepting submissions from organizations and the public until Friday August 6, 2010. Those interested in making oral submissions to the Panel should indicate so in their written submissions.

The public can send submissions, suggestions and requests to attend a meeting by emailing: SLAPPsuggestions@ontario.ca. Please note that this email address should be copied and pasted into the address line of your email and may not open in an email program. You can also provide comments by regular post to:

SLAPP Suggestions
720 Bay Street, 7th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2S9

The Panel will review the submissions and hold two meetings at which interested members of the public may make their views known. These meetings will be held during the afternoons of Thursday August 19 and Thursday August 26.

While submissions made to the Panel may become public information, the name and contact information of the author will not become public unless the author consents.

Background Information on SLAPP Suits

Below are a number of sources of information on SLAPP suits, including links to Canadian and American statutes on SLAPPs, information produced by or for the Quebec government in developing its 2009 revisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, and citations of and if available, links to Canadian and American legal articles.

For a general overview of the issues involved in SLAPPs, you may wish to review the 2008 Report of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada entitled "Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs) (and other abusive lawsuits)".

Canadian Statutes and Bills

Quebec Legislative Material

Canadian Articles

Pasca, Alexandra, "Les poursuites-bâillons: frontière entre liberté d'expression et droit à la reputation" (PDF), Lex Electronica, Vol. 14, no. 2, Automne 2009.

Pelletier, Vincent, "Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs) (and other abusive lawsuits)", Proceedings of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, August 2009.

Lott, Susan, "Corporate Retaliation Against Consumers: The Status of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) in Canada" (PDF) (2004) Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Ottawa.

Rogachevsky, Bram, "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation: Combating an Assault on the Democratic Process" (PDF) (2000) 6 Appeal 28.

Tollefson, Chris, "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation: Developing a Canadian Response" (PDF) (1994) 73 Can. Bar. Rev. 200.

Uniform Law Conference of Canada, "Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs) (and other abusive lawsuits)" (PDF), 2008.

Shapiro, Pamela  "SLAPPs: Intent or Content? Anti-SLAPP legislation goes international" (2010), 19 Rev. of European Community & International Environmental Law 14.

Scott, Michaelin and Tollerson, Chris, "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation: The British Columbia Experience" (2010), 19 Rev. of European Community & International Environmental Law 45.

Landry, Normand  "From the Street to the Courtroom: The Legacies of Quebec’s anti-SLAPP Movement" (2010), 19 Rev. of European Community & International Environmental Law 58.

Nadarajah, Ramani and Griffin, Renee  "The Failure of Defamation law to Safeguard against SLAPPs in Ontario" (2010), 19 Rev. of European Community & International Environmental Law 70.

American Statutes and Bills

American Articles

Rebecca Ariel Hoffberg, "The Special Motion Requirements of the Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP Statute: A Real Slap in the Face for Traditional Civil Practice and Procedure" (PDF) (2006-2007) 16 B.U. Pub. Int. L. J. 97

Paul D. Wilson, "Of Sexy Phone Calls and Well-Aimed Golf Balls: Anti-SLAPP Statutes in Recent Land-Use Damages Litigation" (PDF) (2004) 36 Urb. Law 375

Frederick M. Rowe & Leo M. Romero, "Resolving Land-Use Disputes by Intimidation: SLAPP Suits in New Mexico" (PDF) (2002) 32 N. M. L. Rev. 217.

Jerome I. Braun, "California's Anti-SLAPP Remedy After Eleven Years" (2002-2003) 24 McGeorge L. Rev. 731 (HeinOnline).

Joshua L. Baker, "Chapter 338: Another New Law, Another SLAPP in the Face of California Business" (2004) 35 McGeorge L. Rev. 409 (HeinOnline).

Lauren McBrayer, "The DirectTV Cases: Applying Anti-SLAPP Laws to Copyright Protection Cease-and-Desist Letters (2005) 20 Berkeley Tech. L. J. 603 (HeinOnline).

Mark J. Sobczak, "SLAPPed in Illinois: The Scope and Applicability of the Illinois Citizen Participation Act" (2007-2008) 28 N. Ill. U. L. Rev 559 (HeinOnline).

Michael Eric Johnston, "A Better SLAPP Trap: Washington State's Enhanced Statutory Protection for Targets of "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation" (2002-2003) 38 Gonz. L. Rev. 263 (HeinOnline).

Noah P. Peeters, "Don't Raise That Hand: Why under Georgia's Anti-SLAPP Statute, Whistleblowers Should Find Protection From Misconduct from Reprisals for Reporting Misconduct" (2003-2004) 38 Ga. L. Rev. 769 (HeinOnline).

Sharon J. Arkin, "Bringing California's Anti-SLAPP Statute Full Circle: To Commercial Speech and Back Again" (2003-2004) 31 W. St. U. L. Rev. 1 (HeinOnline).

Shannon, Hartzler, "Protecting Informed Public Participation: Anti-SLAPP Law and the Media Defendant" (2006-2007) 41 Val. U.L. Rev. 1235 (HeinOnline).

Brown, Samantha and Goldowitz, Mark  "The Public Participation Act: A Comprehensive Model Approach to End Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation in the USA" (2010), 19 Rev. of European Community & International Environmental Law 3

Norman, Catherine  "Anti-SLAPP Legislation and Environmental Protection in the USA: An Overview of Direct and Indirect Effects" (2010), 19 Rev. of European Community & International Environmental Law 28

Other Articles

Ogle, Greg  "Anti-SLAPP Law Reform in Australia" (2010), 19 Rev. of European Community & International Environmental Law 35

Donson, Fiona  "Libel Cases and public Debate – Some Reflections on whether Europe Should be Concerned  about SLAPPs" (2010), 19 Rev. of European Community & International Environmental Law 83

American Web Sites