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‘Test case’ against defamation laws fails in rural dispute

A resident of a rural area near Lytton lost a bid to have a defamation suit against her dismissed, the latest salvo in a battle to stop an organic waste facility operating on a farm.

Northwest Organics LP and Northwest Group Properties Inc. purchased ranchland in Botanie Valley several years ago, intending to use a portion of land to recycle organic waste.

Residents protested and hired an environmental consultant. That report, along with flyers titled What is the Truth? and Beware of Half Truths were circulated, making claims about intentions of its owners.

Lessons from a fish farm defamation lawsuit

Congratulations to Don Staniford – and his lawyer, David Sutherland – who, last month, defeated a lawsuit brought against him by fish farm giant, Mainstream Canada! The fish farm company had sued Don for a series of mock cigarette ads with warnings related to the impacts of fish farms.

Botanie Valley Waste Dump Lawsuit

Lawsuit by Northwest Organics Corporation against local resident over organic waste dump in the Botanie Valley

How should we slap back at SLAPPs?

We were alarmed to hear that Taseko Mines Ltd., the company that wants to develop the controversial Prosperity Mine, is suing the Wilderness Committee and one of its employees. This is a disturbing reminder that the law is sometimes stacked against individuals and groups concerned about the protection of the environment, and that big business can wield a big legal stick.

Organic Waste Dump Slated for Botanie Valley Raises Concern

Metro Vancouver's "Zero Waste" plan may divert food scraps into rural BC

A proposed composting facility just north of Lytton has raised concern among residents, who say that, if built, the organic waste dump would threaten sensitive ecosystems and a rural way of life.

Residents of the Botanie Valley speculate that Northwest Organics is positioning itself to take advantage of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Initiative, which calls for diversion of up 70 per cent of the region’s waste away from landfills by 2015.




Will the Charter Protect Me?

Everyone in Canada should have the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to freely voice their concerns and to organize public demonstrations. But they don't. SLAPP suits undermine and subvert democratic rights and the democratic process. In fact, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect protestors and critics and the courts impose a huge burden to achieve any sort of justice and redress. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of the Canadian Constitution and while it is supposed to protect citizens against government it is not generally applied to disputes between private parties. Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media or communications are guaranteed by Section 2(b) of the Charter and freedom of peaceful assembly by section 2(c). However, unlike the First Amendment to the US Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies only to protection from government intervention - not private disputes for alleged defamation and protests. Read more

Will the Courts Protect Me?

The answer is almost certainly no. The courts are biased in allowing cases to proceed to trial. To have a lawsuit dismissed, a target of a SLAPP suit must prove on the balance of probabilities that a suit was filed for a malicious purpose such as to silence a person on a matter of public concern or to stop them from demonstrating. To prove malicious intent against a large corporation with almost unlimited resources is difficult at best. In short, it is very difficult and expensive to have a SLAPP suit dismissed in Canada even if there is no credible proof that a lawsuit is an abuse of process, malicious and without factual basis. This is unlike the United States where over half the States have specific anti-SLAPP legislation and First Amendment rights to free speech that provide rules for the better protection of the right to protest and speak out against government agencies and corporations. Read more

Thank you!

Thanks to all our supporters. In particular, thanks to West Coast Environmental Law for two grants to develop recommendations for effective anti-SLAPP suit legislation, Dr. Jane Shin, MLA Burnaby-Lougheed for continuing to push for anti-SLAPP legislation and to students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University for continued support. Click here to read statements of support to reclaim democratic rights.


Breaking the Silence: the need for anti SLAPP legislation. EcoJustice (2010)

Report to Ontario Attorney General. Moran Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel (2010)

Recommended Legislative Measures to Counter Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation BC Civil Liberties Association (2012).

SLAPP: the BC Experience. Tollefson and Scott (2010)

Anti-SLAPP Handbook. West Coast Environmental Law (2002).

Recommendations for Anti-SLAPP Legislation with Appendices. Environmental Defense Working Group (2015).

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This site provides no legal advice, and no representation is made as to the completeness or accuracy of the information presented. Links to news, commentary, and guest blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Stop SLAPP Suit Project.