On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada released an important decision on the public’s right to know about court proceedings. A coalition of press freedom groups, including the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), intervened in the appeal.
The coalition is pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision. It helps ensure that publication bans will not escape challenge by journalists and scrutiny by the courts.
In Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Manitoba, 2021 SCC 33, the court held that courts can overturn or vary publication bans or sealing orders even after the underlying case is over. Where an affected party, such as a journalist or media organization, is not notified of the original motion to seek a ban, they can move in court to challenge it. Similarly, where circumstances change after the case ends, the court can vary or overturn the ban.
The Supreme Court decision did not address any specifics of the publication ban at the heart of this case. The merits of those particularities will be decided by the Supreme Court sometime in the future.
In addition to the CAJ, other intervening partners in this case were The Centre for Free Expression, CWA-Canada, and News Media Canada.
The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 1000 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.
For more information, please contact:
President, Canadian Association of Journalists