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Charter challenge to Translink’s policy of banning political advertising on buses

The BCCLA appeared in B.C. Supreme Court to argue that TransLink’s and B.C. Transit’s ban on political advertising cannot be justified under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and the B.C. Teachers Federation have gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of TransLink’s and B.C. Transit’s policies that ban partisan and non-partisan political advertising.

Last year, CFS had tried to buy advertising space on the sides of buses that encouraged post-secondary students to get out and vote in the provincial election. TransLink refused to run the ad citing its policy and arguing that the ad was not just political advertising but that it was partisan because CFS criticizes the policies of specific political parties. TransLink and BC Transit say they need the policy to maintain a safe and welcoming transit system.

BCCLA President Jason Gratl: “TransLink and B.C. Transit are trying to avoid being bound by the anti-censorship provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We say that not only are they bound but the Charter applies to prevent censorship of political advertising in this context. Ironically, banning political advertising is more political than running political ads.”