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Freedom of Expression

Freedom of Expression

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, subject to some limitations, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Examples of circumstances in which your right to freedom of expression may be infringed include:

  • You are prohibited from protesting or demonstrating in a public space
  • You are prohibited from leaf-letting on government-owned and operated property, such as airports, courthouses, or public transit.
  • You are prohibited from accessing the social media accounts of government officials or government bodies, or you have access and the account has deleted any posts that you have made

Please read our Freedom of Expression Factsheet if:

  • You want to learn more about your right to freedom of expression
  • You want to respond to a potential infringement of your right to freedom of expression

We are limited to providing the following assistance if your right to freedom of expression has been infringed:

  • Information about your right to freedom of expression
  • Write a letter to the government agency or government official. For an example of one of our letters, please click here

Social Media Platforms

Freedom of expression is the right to speak and to be heard, and to listen to the expression of others. It is core to the right to dissent and is pertinent for important discussions.

In Canada, our freedom of expression is protected when it comes to government action. No such freedom exists in relation to non-government bodies, unless they are controlled by  government or are performing a government function.

With the proliferation of social media, a new platform for citizens and public officials to interact has been created. Though social media platforms are meant to be places of communication, they have also become a place of contention because of the ability to remove comments and messages, and to block people from seeing posts. When the party taking these actions is a government actor or an entity carrying out government actions, there could be a potential
violation of free expression.

Read our factsheet on Social Media Platforms to learn more.