Protect Press Freedom



February 25th 2017 is a national day of action which will see hundreds of Canadians assembling across the country to call for an end to the practices of mass surveillance, a repeal of the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 and the creation of new laws protecting advocates, whistleblowers and journalists. This movement coalesced around national opposition to the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 (formerly Bill C-51).

We are concerned by reports of rights abuses impacting Muslims who have been profiled, investigated, harassed and deported to torture by the Canadian Government for decades.

We are concerned by the practices of widespread spying by the RCMP on indigenous activists and similar high profile incidents of police spying on journalists in Quebec. We are concerned by the case of a VICE reporter who faces jail-time for refusing an RCMP demand for chat records with a confidential source.


We are concerned that all of these crises result from failures of our national security system to respect the rights to free expression, advocacy and dissent. Anti-terrorism legislation such as Bill C-51, has taken problematic national security practices and institutionalized them formally in Canadian law.

The Government of Canada is engaging in public consultations on Bill C-51. As the the Government prepares its response, civil society stands united in demanding fundamental reform of our national security system and greater protection for free expression.

We call on the Government of Canada to:

1) End mass surveillance and protect the private data of people and groups in Canada, including Indigenous communities, Muslims, journalists, environmentalists, labour organizers and academics while creating independent watchdog agencies for privacy and national security.

2) Support the Private Member’s Bill C-303 which would implement a line-by-line repeal of the provisions enacted by the Anti Terrorism Act, 2015 (formerly Bill C-51).

3) Support Private Member’s Bill S-231 which would create a press shield law and strengthen protection for advocates, whistleblowers and journalists.