Generally speaking, comments that tend to lower a person’s reputation in the opinion of ordinary, reasonable members of society in general, or to expose a person to hate, contempt or ridicule is defamatory.
But what about freedom of expression?
Freedom of expression, thought, belief, and opinion, including freedom of the press, are guaranteed in section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The protection of a person’s reputation may, however, at times, conflict with another person’s right.
Laws governing defamation, slander and libel, attempt to balance the rights of individuals on both sides of this equation. Although people should be entitled to share a variety of information without the fear of legal action, people should also not feel entitled to make unsupported or unverified comments about others with no accountability to defamation laws.
For more information about whether statements are subject to character or defamation laws, or whether you have a defence to such claims, please contact myself or one of our knowledgeable litigation lawyers for a consultation.