Canadian Civil Liberties Association

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Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Formation 1964
Headquarters Toronto, Canada
Official language
English, French
Leader Sukanya Pillay, Executive Director and General Counsel[1]

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association or CCLA, is a nonprofit organization in Canada devoted to the defence of civil liberties and constitutional rights.[2]


The CCLA was founded in 1964 in Toronto, prompted by the Ontario's government's proposal of a bill that would have granted special powers to the police in the face of a rise in organized crime. Its predecessor was the Association for Civil Liberties (ACL), which at its founded had been intended to address national issues, but had become focused on issues in Ontario. The ACL was led by Irving Himel, and in response to the bill, he gathered human rights leaders in Toronto, including Pierre Berton, June Callwood, Bora Laskin, Mark MacGuigan, Harry Arthurs, and John Keiller MacKay, and they formed the CCLA with Mackay as its honorary president.[2]

In 1968, the CCLA won a grant from the Ford Foundation to study due process in Canadian lower courts and used the resulting as a guide for its advocacy in the ensuing years.[2]

The CCLA was one of the few groups in Canada that protested the 1970 invocation of the War Measures Act by then Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau in response to the October Crisis in Quebec.[2]

In the opinion of Dominique Clément, its most enduring contribution was its influence on the drafting of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which was enacted in 1982.[2]

Alan Borovoy served as general counsel of the organization from 1968 to 2009 and under his leadership, he and the CCLA became famous throughout Canada as defenders of free speech and civil liberties.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Staff". CCLA. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Dominique Clement. Case Study: Canadian Civil Liberties Association Page accessed Feb 13, 2016
  3. ^ Peter Edwards and Stephen Spencer Davis for the Toronto Star. May 12, 2015 Civil liberties champion Alan Borovoy dead at 83
  4. ^ Kim Covert for The National. May 12, 2015 Obit: Alan Borovoy (1932-2015)

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