Canadian Human Rights Commission free speech controversy
||This article contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (May 2008)|
The Canadian Human Rights Commission free speech controversy refers to debates that arose in relation to the interpretation and application of a now-repealed section of the Canadian Human Rights Act by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act was repealed in 2013; a number of the most-high-profile actions taken under authority of the section occurred in the period just prior to its repeal, and were responsible for the backlash that led to its repeal.
- 1 Legislative History of Section 13(1), 1977-2013
- 2 Court challenges to the constitutionality of Section 13(1), 1990-2013
- 3 Criticism
- 4 Suggestions for repeal or reform of Section 13(1), 2008
- 5 Support for the Human Rights Commissions
- 6 Statement on Freedom of Speech by CHRC Investigator Dean Steacy
- 7 Controversial Cases
- 8 Response from the Canadian Human Rights Commission
- 9 November 2008 Report by Professor Richard Moon
- 10 CHRC appeals for Support
- 11 Challenge to Section 13(1)
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Legislative History of Section 13(1), 1977-2013
The Canadian Human Rights Act was enacted in 1977. Parliament twice expanded s. 13(1). In 1998, a penalty was added for breaches of s. 13(1). In 2001, s. 13(1) was expanded to apply to telecommunications over the internet, These expansions of the section raised questions as to whether s. 13(1), which had been found by the Supreme Court, in a 1990 ruling, to be constitutional, was now restricting freedom of speech in ways that might be unconstitutional.
Court challenges to the constitutionality of Section 13(1), 1990-2013
In 1990, an individual challenged the constitutionality of s. 13(1) as it applied to telephone communications, arguing that the provision infringed the guarantee of freedom of expression set out in section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. By a 4-3 split decision, the Supreme Court of Canada held that s. 13(1) was constitutional. The Court agreed that the provision infringed the guarantee of freedom of expression, but that the prohibition on hate speech was a justifiable limitation under section 1 of the Charter.
Some high-profile cases under s. 13(1) also raised questions about the public policy rationale for s. 13(1), and about whether it was an acceptable restriction on freedom of expression in Canada. There was also one case where the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal held that the changes to s. 13(1) meant that the section was no longer constitutional under the analysis set out by the Supreme Court in Taylor and was inoperative. However, on review, the Federal Court of Canada held that while the new penalty provision could not be justified under Taylor, the rest of s. 13(1) continued to be in force. In a related development, on February 27, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada gave its decision in Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. Whatcott. Unlike Taylor, the Supreme Court's decision in Whatcott was unanimous.
Criticism from White supremacists, 2006
In 2006, two White supremacists, James Scott Richardson and Alex Kulbashian, who ran a racist website called "Canadian Ethnic Cleansing Team," proposed a court challenge to the constitutionality of section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Other white supremacists such as Marc Lemire and Paul Fromm also criticised the constitutionality of the CHRC. Lemire (with the qualified support of PEN Canada and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, among others) won the right to cross-examine HRC investigators concerning their conduct during investigations, namely their posting of provocative racist comments on websites.
In response to these developments, Jonathan Kay, of the National Post, opined that the HRC had "managed a seemingly impossible task: They've found a way to rehabilitate the image of neo-Nazis, transforming them from odious dirtbags into principled free-speech martyrs."
Criticism from civil libertarians, 2008
Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, noted that under Section 13(1), "Intent is not a requirement, and truth and reasonable belief in the truth is no defence." He has said that when he and other human rights activists advocated the creation of human rights commissions they "never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech"  and that censorship was not the role he had envisioned for the commissions.
He noted that the law could be used to prosecute the authors of scholarly works that are demonstrably true and accurate. As an example he cited the book Hitler's Willing Executioners, which provides evidence of the complicity of German civilians in the Holocaust. Borovoy observed that the book's thesis could be characterized as "likely to expose" German people to contempt, and therefore to be in violation of Section 13(1).
Borovoy further added that:
"Although it's true that they have nailed some genuine hatemongers with it, it has nevertheless been used or threatened to be used against a wide variety of constituencies who don't bear the slightest resemblance to the kind of hatemongers that were originally envisioned: anti-American protesters, French-Canadian nationalists, a film sympathetic to South Africa's Nelson Mandela, a pro-Zionist book, a Jewish community leader, Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, and even a couple years ago, a pro-Israeli speaker was briefed about the anti-hate law by a police detective before he went in to make a speech."
Borovoy commented that none of these cases resulted in a lasting conviction or property seizure "But only lawyers could be consoled by that."
Although supportive of restrictions on extreme forms of speech, Lawyer David Matas also criticized Canada's Human rights commissions. In a 2008 report to the Moon Report on Internet hate speech, Matas charged that Canada's human rights commissions have demonstrated "a disastrous combination of investigative zeal and substantive ignorance."
Criticism from advocates of journalistic freedom, 2008
Mary Agnes Welch, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists stated that Human rights commissions "were never meant to act as language nannies. The current system allows complainants to chill the speech of those they disagree with by entangling targets in a human rights bureaucracy that doesn't have to operate under the same strict rules of defence as a court." Sufi Muslim scholar Syed Soharwardy, the founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, who filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission against Ezra Levant for republication of Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad, later dropped the complaint and changed his mind about the value of using Canada's human rights commissions to prosecute 'hate speech'. Fred Henry, Catholic Bishop of Alberta, has argued that the HRCs are used to stifle debate on important issues.
Linguist and analytic philosopher Noam Chomsky has said about the section, "I think it's outrageous, like the comparable European laws. It's also pure hypocrisy. If it were applied the media and journals would be shut down. They don't expose current enemies of the state to hatred or contempt?"
Criticism from the Canadian Muslim Congress, 2008
In a press conference on October 2, 2008, Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, stated that the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has been "infiltrated by Islamists" and that some of its commissioners are closely linked to the Canadian Islamic Congress and the Canadian Arab Federation, both of which, according to Fatah, have "contempt for Canadian values."
Criticism from The National Post, 2008
In June 2008, the National Post published an editorial which harshly criticized Canada's Human Rights Commissions (HRCs). The Post writes that "It is increasingly obvious these commissions were set up deliberately to lower the standard of proof and get around rules of natural justice, thereby ensuring people who would never be convicted in court are punished to the satisfaction of the activists and special interest groups that hover around the tribunals."
The Post criticized the procedures and structure of HRC hearings, citing a number of specific problems:
- Third parties not involved in the alleged offences may nonetheless file complaints.
- Plaintiffs have sometimes been given access to the commissions' investigation files and given the power to direct investigators.
- Truth is not a defence.
- Defendants are not always permitted to face their accusers.
- Normal standards for assuring the validity of evidence do not apply.
- Hearsay is admitted.
- The government funds the plaintiff but the defendant is on his/her own.
Suggestions for repeal or reform of Section 13(1), 2008
The controversy regarding the CHRC's practices comes from its enforcement of Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, prior to its repeal, which stated that it is discriminatory to communicate by phone or Internet any material "that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt." Critics claim that CHRC adjudicators have limited legal training and poor investigative resources and allege that, as a result, the power of section 13(1) was used for nuisance cases that would be tossed out if they were adjudicated within the judicial system.
In 2008, Liberal MP Keith Martin proposed a private member's bill in Parliament to rescind section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, upon which federal HRC hate speech cases are based. Martin described the legal test of "likely to expose" as "a hole you could drive a Mack truck through," and said it is being applied by "rogue commissions where a small number of people [are] determining what Canadians can and can't say." Martin also asserted that some of history's most important ideas "were originally deemed to be sacrilegious and certainly in opposition to conventional wisdom. Who's to say that a commission cannot rule those ideas out of order and penalize people for saying or thinking them?"
Irwin Cotler, a Canadian human rights scholar and former minister of justice, (who has expressed support for prohibitions on the incitement of hate and genocide), floated (but did not endorse) the idea that section 13(1) cases should require the authorization of the Attorney-General, which is the requirement for criminal prosecutions for inciting violence or promoting hatred.
Support for the Human Rights Commissions
Several leading lawyers and academics support restrictions on hate speech through human rights legislation. In 2008, law professor Jane Bailey published an Op Ed "Democracy suffers when equality is threatened" (Ottawa Citizen, December 11, 2008). She noted that " Section 13 places Canada at the forefront of democratic nations in addressing hate propaganda by treating it as a practice of inequality, a mechanism for perpetuating myths, stereotypes and calls for violence that are fundamentally inconsistent with the goal of ensuring that all of us are able to reach our potential and live the life of our own choosing regardless of personal characteristics such as race, religion and sexual identity."
Prominent supporters of hate speech laws include the Canadian Jewish Congress and several Muslim community groups. Haroon Siddiqi of the Toronto Star, former Justice Minister and MP for Mont-Royal Irwin Cotler ("The Principles of Free Expression"), lawyer David Matas (author of "Bloody Words"), and Toronto lawyer Mark Freiman all support prohibitions against extreme forms of speech.
At the Niagara-on-the-Lake conference of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies in June 2008, Pearl Eliadis, a prominent human rights lawyer, defended the HRC's current mandate. Responding to Alan Borovoy's concern that he never expected they would be used against the free expression of opinion, Eliadis stated that what Borovoy thought 40 years ago should not determine the current state of human rights law. She also argued that arguments against human rights commissions dealing with complaints against media are premised on the notion that "new rights are bad rights." She added that the commissions are "strategically and uncomfortably poised" in "dynamic tension" among NGOs, government, voters, industry and other influences." In August 2008, Eliadis wrote an article in Maisonneuve where she argued that expressive behaviour has been the subject of human rights laws in since the 1940s. She also argued that critics of the commissions were causing Canadians to be "misled and lied to about the most basic aspects of Canadian law and human rights" and further stressed "the clear and present danger posed by discriminatory speech and the growth of e-hate."
Eliadis stated in a subsequent interview, that:
"There's a narrow band of intolerant bigots out there who are jumping on to this bandwagon and are using this debate to propagate particularly hateful views. What the free speech absolutists are saying is that, once you take that core element of speech and transport it into mass media, suddenly it becomes immune. I don't understand why speech should be immune from discrimination law. The media should not enjoy more rights or immunity than anyone else."
Wahida Valiante, national vice-president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, stated that the commissions are the only recourse available to minorities treated unfairly in the media since membership in press councils is optional and criminal hate speech charges require the consent of the federal Attorney-General.
In January 2010 the Canadian Bar Association released a statement which supported "retaining section 13 as a useful tool." However, it also called for the adoption of several recommendations for improving the Act "to ensure that the efficacy of this protection is not only enhanced but also accords with other fundamental human rights values," including the repealing of certain penalty provisions and "empowering the CHRC to dismiss at an early stage complaints that lack merit or have no reasonable chance for success."
Statement on Freedom of Speech by CHRC Investigator Dean Steacy
In an exchange during the Marc Lemire case, lead CHRC investigator Dean Steacy was asked "What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate?" Steacy responded:
|“||"Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value... It's not my job to give value to an American concept."||”|
In the same transcript, Mr. Steacy later repeated that "freedom of speech is an American concept, it is not a Canadian concept" but added that a person stating that they were protected by "freedom of speech," would be equivalent "to somebody raising a 'freedom of expression' concept," which Mr. Steacy stated was protected under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms "to a point." He later added that "you don't have the right to say absolutely anything you desire, especially when it's in written format."
Jonathan Kay of the National Post criticized Steacy's remarks, stating that: "for an organization that is supposed to promote "human rights," the HRC's agents seem curiously oblivious to basic aspects of constitutional law." He added that, in Mr. Steacy's mind, "Section 2 has been excised from his copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights. Kay also stated that "someone lacking such basic general knowledge apparently occupies a senior position in the "Human Rights Commission" is cause for serious concern, and certainly an audit of the whole CHRC apparatus."
Senator Doug Finley later criticized Steacy, stating that "He [Steacy] actually said that. The Canadian Human Rights Commission actually admits they do not give free speech any value. That is totally unacceptable. Freedom of speech is the great non-partisan principle that every Member of Parliament can agree on — that every Canadian can agree on." He also called on the Canadian Senate to "reaffirm that freedom of speech is a great Canadian principle that goes back hundreds of years."
Writing in The Lawyers Weekly in October 2011, Toronto lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye cited Steacy's statement to support his view "Restrictions on freedom of expression are acceptable in Canadian law where reasonable goals toward promoting democracy are identified."
When investigating Marc Lemire's website, HRC investigators were alleged to have tapped into the secured wi-fi router of a 26-year-old Ottawa woman who lived near the commission's headquarters in order to avoid revealing the commission's IP address. Marc Lemire filed criminal complaints concerning this issue with the Ottawa Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada conducted an investigation of the allegations, but ultimately the complaint was dismissed.
In September 2008, Human Rights Tribunal (HRT) adjudicator Pierre Deschamps ruled that Chopra was entitled to $4,000 in damages for "hurt feelings," lost wages, and interest, finding that Chopra was subjected to discriminatory comments, was suspended in retaliation for filing an earlier human rights complaint, and was discriminated against when passed over for a temporary promotion to acting chief of his division. The comments in question occurred on Feb. 9. 1998; Chopra was in the audience when his incoming boss at Health Canada, André Lachance, stated that "he liked visible minorities.” Chopra claimed this was “a racist remark" and a "deeply insensitive racial remark toward visible minority employees of the bureau." Deschamps accepted Chopra's argument, writing that Lachance's remark was “discriminatory against Mr. Chopra as well as individuals … who were non-white” and that Lachance's remark "shows a lack of sensitivity on the part of Dr. Lachance for people whose skin is not white." Deschamps stated that Lachance's remark was "by any standard, racist." Deschamps criticized the "inherent racist nature" of Lachance's comment and stated that Lachance's intent was irrelevant: "The test is, over and above the racial nature of the comment itself, whether or not the person alleging discrimination was offended by the comment."
Although the tribunal ruled in favour of Chopra on some points, it also chastised him for "asserting that every manager at Health Canada practises racial discrimination, and for alleging that every appointment in the past 20 years has been discriminatory" and that such sweeping assertions, made "without a proper evidentiary basis," undermine Dr. Chopra's credibility and "have a negative impact on the promotion of human rights." Several other complaints by Dr. Chopra that he was passed over for promotions because of his race were also dismissed. The Tribunal also ruled that "there is no reason for the Tribunal to conclude that systemic discrimination still exists at Health Canada and to order it to take additional measures to address general or systemic issues of discrimination."
Jonathan Kay of the National Post criticized the decision, alleging that Deschamps accepted Chopra's claim without any substantive explanation. Kay argued that the ruling is an "advertisement for why we should be closing down Canada’s human-rights commissions" and "nicely illustrates the absurd lengths to which our society’s elites will now go to demonize Whitey." Kay noted that Chopra alleged discrimination when he was passed over for a promotion, yet he did not have enough experience for the position; the tribunal did not accept Chopra's argument on the point. Kay also noted that one of Chopra's colleagues had complained he was authoritarian and confrontational.
In December 2008, the Commission refused to look at the case of Imam Abou Hammad Sulaiman al-Hayiti. Al-Hayiti is a Montreal Salafist Muslim who was accused of inciting hatred against homosexuals, Western women, and Jews, in a book he published on the Internet. Al-Hayiti had written that Allah has taught that "If the Jews, Christians, and [Zoroastrians] refuse to answer the call of Islam, and will not pay the jizyah [tax], then it is obligatory for Muslims to fight them if they are able." Christianity, in particular, was denounced as a "religion of lies," which is responsible for the West's "perversity, corruption and adultery." Al-Hayiti's book refers to "the incredible number of gays and lesbians (may Allah curse and destroy them in this life and the next) who sow disorder upon the Earth and who desire to increase their numbers."
In declining to hear the case, the Commission stated that Al-Hayiti was free to make comments against "infidels" because they are not an identifiable group. Regarding Al-Hayiti's statements against groups established as "identifiable," such as homosexuals and Jews, the commission simply stated that these "do not seem" to meet the criteria for promoting hatred.
The Commission's decision not to move forward with the case was criticized in two Canadian newspapers. The National Post argued that Al-Hayiti's statements more than meet the criteria under Section 13 of the Human Rights Act and accused the Commission of selectively applying the Act to Christians and Conservatives who have been prosecuted under the Act for comments that are far less severe. The Post noted that a Christian pastor named Stephen Boissoin, who posted negative remarks about homosexuals, was subsequently ordered by the Alberta Human Rights Commission that he "shall cease publishing in newspapers, by e-mail, on the radio, in public speeches or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals." The Post wrote that:
Human rights commissions claim to be agencies that fight "hate" generically. But in fact, they are interested in a very narrow sub-category of alleged hatemonger -- the right-winger accused of homophobia, anti-Muslim bias or some other thoughtcrime. The more unvarnished and explicitly murderous forms of hatred made manifest in the publications of, say, Jew-hating Muslims and Hindu-hating Sikhs are of no interest to the thought police.
The Post concluded by noting that it believes that Al-Hayiti should be allowed to promote any particular interpretation of Islam, or any other religion and that the problem is that the Human Rights Commissions practice a politically correct double standard.
Response from the Canadian Human Rights Commission
In April 2008, three senior officials of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) granted a telephone interview with the media to respond to criticism. The officials were Ian Fine, senior general counsel and director-general of dispute resolution, Monette Maillet, director of legal advisory services and Harvey Goldberg, senior policy advisor on hate speech, disability and First Nations issues.
The officials read out loud some of the material the CHRC deals with to prove the seriousness of their mission. Fine defended tha CHRC stating that:
"If you think that we're concerned, upset, from time to time discouraged with some of what we've been hearing and reading in the press, you're right, we are. Because to be quite clear about it, we do believe in what we do. We believe that in our society there should be limits on freedom of expression and freedom of speech, that there is a line, not one that we draw, but one that must be drawn nevertheless. We are comfortable with what we do."
Harvey Goldberg stated that "Freedom of expression is the lifeblood of any free and open society and the commission embraces freedom of expression. I think if you remove all the rhetoric, at the base of the debate that's been going on ... is a centuries-old debate about the appropriate role of the state in limiting freedom of expression in certain precise areas." Regarding the debate about whether Section 13(1) of the Human Rights Act, which makes it an offence to communicate by phone or Internet any message that is "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt," Goldberg stated that this is "actually the predominant view among most of the states of the world. The view in the United States [that the right to free speech is near-absolute] is really a minority view." Fine also noted that "Just as Parliament has bestowed on the commission the mandate, in fact the obligation, to deal with Section 13 cases, Parliament can take that power away at any time."
Responding to the complaint that respondents are on the hook for their own defence bills, while complainants have their cases argued by the commission, Fine stated that ""We don't set the rules. It's for Parliament to decide whether or not respondents should have the ability to recover costs." As for the fact that the CHRC has a 100% conviction rate for hate speech cases that have reached the tribunal, Maillet argued that this is a testimony to the commission's efficiency, stating that "To me, it is a sign that we have done a good job in screening complaints, and referring those cases to tribunal that have merit."
Responding to the complaint that Richard Warman, a former CHRC employee turned activist who was the complainant in all but two of the 13 hate speech cases decided by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Fine stated that "Anyone can file a complaint, so from our perspective, that's the end of the matter. The tribunal decisions speak for themselves."
When asked about the current investigation of CHRC investigators who apparently hijacked a private citizen's Internet account to access a Web site they were investigating, Fine responded that "We believe that the processes we've employed in these cases are appropriate, and that's about all I think I can say on that issue."
November 2008 Report by Professor Richard Moon
In 2008, University of Windsor law professor Richard Moon was commissioned by the CHRC to prepare a report on the CHRC's mandate under Section 13 of Canadian Human Rights Act which deals with hate-speech. In November 2008, Moon released his report in which he recommended that Section 13 should be repealed so that online hate speech is a purely criminal matter. Moon wrote that "The use of censorship by the government should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression -- that which threatens, advocates or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group." Moon argued that "it's not practical to deal with what one might generously describe as group defamation or stereotyping through censorship. It's just not a viable option. There's too much of it, and it's so pervasive within our public discourse that any kind of censorship is just overwhelming."
Regarding the legal test for violations of Section 13, which is whether messages were "likely to expose" identifiable groups to "hatred or contempt," neither truth nor intent is a defence, unlike libel law. Moon recommended that intent to advocate or justify violence be made a requirement for Section 13, replacing the test of "likely to expose." However, he did not recommend that truth be allowed as a defence since it could result in tribunals becoming forums to debate, for example, the veracity of the Holocaust, the genetic inferiority of blacks, or the dangers of homosexuality."
Prof. Moon noted that the current complainant-driven system is unequal, in that only well-resourced and determined complainants can see their case through to a conclusion. In this, he was referring to Richard Warman, an Ottawa lawyer and former CHRC employee who has brought more than a dozen cases, far more than any other complainant.
Jennifer Lynch, then chief commissioner of the CHRC, stated that Moon's report is "one step in a comprehensive review" and that "we can envision Section 13 being retained with some amendments." Lynch also stated that that "our commission exists to protect Canadians from discrimination and I'm fervently going to uphold this core principle." She added that "we're going to strive to find more effective means to protect Canadians from exposure to hate on the Internet."
Keith Martin, the Liberal MP who first proposed scrapping Section 13 earlier in 2008, called the recommendation "very courageous" and that "Now it's in Parliament's hands to do something to defend one of our true rights, freedom of speech."
Pearl Eliadis, a human rights lawyer and prominent supporter of the CHRC, stated that Moon's statement that Section 13 targets only extreme speech "makes explicit what the courts have already said implicitly." However, she opposed shifting the CHRC's role to focus solely on violence as opposed to hatred. Eliadis arged that "when we deal with genocide and ethnic cleansing cases in other countries, what does the international community say over and over again? We need a warning system. And one of the warnings is incitement to hatred." However, she opposed criminal investigations into hate speech on the basis that people should not be put "in jail for their words."
CHRC appeals for Support
In August 2009, Jennifer Lynch, then the chief commissioner of the CHRC, told the Canadian Bar Association's annual meeting that opponents of rights bodies have successfully created a "chill" that makes it difficult for anyone to defend those bodies without also becoming a target and asked for those in attendance to write "letters to correct misinformation." Lynch told the CBA that rights commissions represent an important component of the justice system, giving society's "most vulnerable" minority groups access to a mechanism to deal with alleged rights violations. She added that some of the criticisms against the CHRC have been "troubling" and "at times scary," and read out loud a graphic anonymous letter she received stating that she should be shot dead.
Although Lynch did not identify her critics, the National Post noted that she has previously complained about attacks against her by Mark Steyn, political commentator Ezra Levant, and Conservative Member of Parliament Russ Hiebert.
Challenge to Section 13(1)
In the case of Warman v. Lemire, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that s. 13(1) infringed the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression and could not be saved by s. 1 of the Charter. Since the Tribunal did not have the authority to declare sections of the Act which created it invalid, the Tribunal simply declined to apply s. 13(1) in that case. The case is now on appeal to the Federal Court of Canada. If upheld, the precedent established will effectively negate the hate speech provision for future cases. The prohibition of genocide advocacy (s. 318) and the anti-hate speech provision of the Criminal Code (s. 319) are unaffected by this ruling and remain in force.
- Human rights complaints against Maclean's magazine
- Ezra Levant human rights complaint
- Censorship in Canada
- Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
- Ontario Human Rights Commission
- Human rights in Canada
- History of free speech in Canada
- Canadian Human Rights Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6, s. 13(1).
- Canadian Human Rights Act, S.C. 1976-77, c. 33, s. 13(1).
- Canadian Human Rights Act, s. 54(1)(c), as enacted by S.C. 1998, c. 9, s. 28.
- Anti-terrorism Act, S.C. 2001, c. 41, s. 88.
- NP - "Jonathan Kay: Good riddance to Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act" 7 Jun 2012
- NP: "Hate speech no longer part of Canada’s Human Rights Act" 27 Jun 2013
- Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Taylor,  3 S.C.R. 892.
- Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott, 2013 SCC 11. The Court upheld a similar provision in The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, re-affirming its decision in Taylor.
- "Kulbashian & Richardson v. CHRC et al.", Federal Court of Canada Docket, March 29, 2006
- Joseph Brean (March 22, 2008). "Scrutinizing the human rights machine". National Post. Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Jonathan Kay (March 28, 2008). "A disaster for Canada's Human Rights Commission". National Post.
- "Can Human Rights Go Too Far?". CBC News. March 2008.[dead link]
- Borovoy, A. Alan (March 16, 2006). "Hearing complaint alters rights body's mandate". The Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- B'nai Brith accused of hate speech by Joseph Brean, August 29, 2008.
- "CAJ welcomes end to Levant human rights complaint". August 8, 2008.
- "A Muslim Canadian responds to Canada's human rights tribunals". Pete Vere, SooToday. July 11, 2008.
- "Human Rights Act foils reasoned debate". Western Catholic Reporter. June 19, 2008.
- Simon Blackburn "Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" pp 63 characterizes Chomsky as an "American linguist, philosopher and political activist"
- Jaworski, P.M. (December 8, 2008). "Question Period: Noam Chomsky on being censored, CHRC censorship, Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick and libertarianism". The Shotgun Blog. Western Standard. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
- Barbara Kay, The Islamist elephant in the room no politicians will acknowledge by Barbara Kay, National Post, October 2, 2008.
- "A bit late for introspection". National Post. June 19, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- Hansard (Canada),39th Parliament, 2nd Session, Notice Paper, No. 41 Thursday, January 31, 2008, 10:00 a.m.
- Joseph Brean (June 21, 2008). "Human rights issues open to vigorous debate". National Post. Retrieved 2008-06-22. (available online at ()
- The Controversy Entrepreneurs by Pearl Eliadis, Maisonneuve, August 20, 2009.
- Hate Speech under the Canadian Human Rights Act, Canadian Bar Association (CBA), January 2010. pages 10-12.
- CHRT File No: T1073/5405, Volume 21, May 1, 2007, Pages 4592-4861 PDF available on DocStoc, (pages 4592-4861 of the CHRT hearing) - comments made by Mr. Steacy are on page 4793 of the transcript (lines 4-10) (this is page 205 of 273 of the PDF).
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms refers to "freedom of expression" whereas the U.S. Constitution refers to "freedom of speech."
- CHRT File No: T1073/5405, Volume 21, May 1, 2007, page 4795 (page 207 of 273 of the PDF).
- CHRT File No: T1073/5405, Volume 21, May 1, 2007, Pages 4592-4861 PDF available on DocStoc, page 4797 (page 209 of the PDF).
- Lorne Gunter (March 30, 2008). "Freedoms lost in name of free speech". Edmonton Journal.
- Laws can't assure we'll never be offended by John Ivison, National Post, April 10, 2010.
- Jonathan Kay: A good rebuttal to Norman Spector's flip remark about free speech and human rights by Jonathan Kay, National Post, March 31, 2008.
- Debates of the Senate (Hansard) 3rd Session, 40th Parliament, Volume 147, Issue 13, Tuesday, March 30, 2010.
- The Fight Against Online Hatred by Omar Ha-Redeye, The Lawyers Weekly, October 24, 2012.
- http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2008/04/28/alleged_hijacking_of_net_link_by_rights_officials_horrible.html. Missing or empty
- Joseph Brean (April 3, 2008). "Far-right activist files complaint against human rights body". National Post. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
- Colin Perkel (April 4, 2008). "Privacy czar probes alleged Net hack by officials". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
- Decision: Shiv Chopra, Canadian Human Rights Commission and Health Canada, ruling by Pierre Deschamps, September 19, 2008, page 63-64.
- Health Canada ordered to pay $4,000 for MD's 'hurt feelings' by Don Butler, The Ottawa Citizen, September 20, 2008.
- Jonathan Kay: A bold new way to slam Whitey by Jonathan Kay, National Post, September 22, 2008.
- Two-tiered thought police, National Post, December 19, 2008.
- Les mécréants by Mario Roy, La Presse, December 18, 2008. (in French)
- Joseph Brean (April 5, 2008). "Rights group defends itself". National Post. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- Ottawa urged to scrap hate speech law by Joseph Brean, National Post, November 24, 2008.
- Lawyers must come to aid of rights commissions, CBA told by Peter O’Neil, National Post, August 15, 2009.
- Warman v. Lemire, 2009 CHRT 26, para. 295