FoNTRA supports Bill 52 – anti-SLAPP legislation

January 14, 2015

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur, MPP Attorney General
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor Toronto, Ontario M5G 2K1

Re: Bill 52, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2014

Dear Attorney General Meilleur:

We are writing in support of Bill 52, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2014 which you introduced in the Ontario Legislature on December 1, 2014. The Bill, which is substantively the same as former Bill 83, was debated for Second Reading on December 10, 2014, and received supportive comments from members of all Parties at that time.

Bill 52 provides an effective response to the problem of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) in Ontario and would prevent the misuse of the courts from SLAPP suits without depriving anyone of appropriate remedies for expression that causes significant harm. It reflects the recommendations of the Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel that was established four years ago to provide advice on the content of legislation to target SLAPPs.

The Panel, which was chaired by Dean Mayo Moran of the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto, concluded that there was a need for anti-SLAPP legislation in Ontario. In its report, the Panel stated, “it was persuaded that threats of lawsuits for speaking out on matters of public interest, combined with a number of actual lawsuits, deter significant numbers of people from participating in discussion on such matters.”

We strongly support the legislation to protect the public from merit-less lawsuits intended to deter them from engaging in discussion on matters of public interest. Accordingly, we strongly urge the Ontario government to ensure the expeditious enactment of this important Bill.

Yours truly,

Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA 129 Hanna Road Toronto, Ontario M4G 3N6

George Milbrandt
Co-Chair, FoNTRA 193 Wanless Ave Toronto, ON M4N 1W4                                                                                

Cc: Ms. Sylvia Jones, MPP, PC Critic Mr. Jagmeet Singh, MPP, NDP Critic
FoNTRA Representatives & Other Interested Individuals