Law Commission of Ontario seeks comments on modernizing the law of defamation


9 November 2017

By Kevin Zakreski

Earlier this month, the Law Commission of Ontario published its Consultation Paper on Defamation Law in the Internet Age. The paper is a major step in what its accompanying media release (PDF) describes as a project intended to be a “comprehensive review of defamation law, a body of law that largely predates both the Charter and the internet,” which will “analyze if or how defamation law in Ontario should be updated to account for ‘internet speech,’ including social media, blogs, internet platforms, and digital media.”

The consultation paper contains a detailed review of the current state of defamation law and poses 38 questions for consultation. The questions are designed to elicit comment on the following legal and policy issues:

  • The law of defamation in Ontario today and its limitations;
  • How the legal, technological, and social landscape of the early 21st century influences and challenges “traditional” defamation law;
  • A consideration of the legal elements of defamation in light of “internet speech”;
  • Access to justice in defamation matters;
  • Privacy and its relationship to defamation;
  • Internet intermediary liability; and,
  • Alternative dispute resolution.

The public consultation is open until 30 March 2018. Visit the project page for more information.


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