Canadian Human Rights Commission reviews its policies with regards to hate speech laws

Canadian Human Rights Commission Launches Independent Review On Hate Messaging on the Internet

(Ottawa, June 17, 2008) – The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has launched a comprehensive policy review of how best to address hate messages on the Internet. Leading constitutional law expert Professor Richard Moon of the University of Windsor will conduct an independent study as an important part of this review.

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Speaking today to the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), CHRC Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch, Q.C. said, “The current debate on how to balance freedom of expression with the need to protect Canadians from hate messages in the Internet age is an important one. We are confident that this review will provide insight into the issues and move the discourse one step further.”

Growing public interest and continued advances in technology all point to a need to examine issues surrounding hate on the Internet. The Commission is dedicated to ensuring that the Canadian Human Rights Act remains effective. “Legislation must evolve – when necessary – to respond and reflect changes in society,” said Lynch.

Professor Moon is a prominent expert on freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and religion, and the structural aspects of constitutional rights protection. He is the author of the seminal book, “The Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression”.

He will conduct legal and policy research and analysis and make recommendations on the most appropriate mechanisms for addressing hate messages on the Internet, with specific emphasis on section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the role of the CHRC. His work will include a review of existing statutory and regulatory mechanisms, an examination of the mandates of human rights commissions and tribunals, and a consideration of Canada’s international human rights obligations.

The review is to begin immediately and Professor Moon is expected to submit his report to the Commission this fall.

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