Freedom of speech (Canada)Freedom of speech (Canada). The constitutional provision that guarantees Freedom of expression in Canada is section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Due to section 1 of the Charter, the so-called limitation clause, Canada's freedom of expression differs from the provision guaranteeing freedom of speech in the United States of America in a fundamental manner. The section 1 of the Charter states:
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. (emphasis added)
The former case has been used to uphold limits on legislation which are used to prevent hate speech and obscenity. An example of the latter use is that case Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General) decision in which the Supreme Court invalidated the Charter of the French Language also known as Bill 101. One of the reasons it gave for invalidating it was that it was not a reasonable limitation under sec. 9 of the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms and under art. 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This decision was one of the first cases after the Oakes test was established. Bill 101 was subsequently put into effect through by invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Charter.