Canadian Broadcasting Corp. et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., (2011) 411 N.R. 23 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron, Rothstein and Cromwell, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateJanuary 28, 2011
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2011), 411 N.R. 23 (SCC);2011 SCC 2;264 CCC (3d) 1;[2011] 1 SCR 19;[2011] EXP 346;[2011] SCJ No 2 (QL);411 NR 23;AZ-50714263;JE 2011-189;328 DLR (4th) 128

CBC v. Can. (A.G.) (2011), 411 N.R. 23 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

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Temp. Cite: [2011] N.R. TBEd. JA.039

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Groupe TVA inc., La Presse Ltée and Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (appellants) v. Attorney General of Canada, Attorney General of Quebec, the Honourable François Rolland in his capacity as Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court and Barreau du Québec (respondents) and Attorney General of Alberta, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Newspaper Association, Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, RTNDA Canada/Association of Electronic Journalists, Canadian Association of Journalists, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Canadian Publishers' Council and British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (intervenors)

(32920; 2011 SCC 2; 2011 CSC 2)

Indexed As: Canadian Broadcasting Corp. et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron, Rothstein and Cromwell, JJ.

January 28, 2011.

Summary:

The media wanted to film, take photographs and conduct interviews in all public areas of courthouses and to broadcast the official audio recordings of court proceedings. In Quebec, the Rules of Practice of the Superior Court of Quebec in Civil Matters, the Rules of Practice of the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec, Criminal Division, and the Minister's Directive (A-10) entitled "Le maintien de l'ordre et du décorum dans les palais de justice", combined to limit use of cameras and interviews to designated spaces inside a courthouse and prohibited the broadcasting of any hearing. Members of the media challenged the constitutionality of the three pieces of legislation, arguing that the media restrictions violated freedom of the press and freedom of expression (Charter, s. 2(b)). At issue was the harmonization of freedom of the press with the open court principle to ensure that the administration of justice was fair.

The Supreme Court of Canada held that the restrictions infringed the s. 2(b) Charter right to freedom of the press, but were reasonable limits prescribed by law under s. 1.

Civil Rights - Topic 1803

Freedom of speech or expression - General principles - Freedom of expression - Scope of - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "although the [SCC] confirmed that all expressive content is, prima facie, worthy of protection, it then added that an expressive activity may be excluded from s. 2(b) protection because of how it is undertaken - the method of expression - or because of the location where it would take place. ... For either the method or the location of the conveyance of a message to be excluded from Charter protection, the court must find that it conflicts with the values protected by s. 2(b), namely self-fulfilment, democratic discourse and truth finding ... The following factors are relevant in this respect: (a) the historical or actual function of the location of the activity or the method of expression; (b) whether other aspects of the location of this activity or the method of expression suggest that expression at that location or using that method would undermine the values underlying free expression." - See paragraphs 35, 37.

Civil Rights - Topic 1859

Freedom of speech or expression - Limitations on - Restricted access to courts - [See Civil Rights - Topic 2486.2 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 2403

Freedom of the press - General principles - Scope of freedom of the press - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1803 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 2486

Freedom of the press - Limitations - Court or administrative proceedings (incl. broadcasting and publication bans) - [See Civil Rights - Topic 2486.2 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 2486.2

Freedom of the press - Limitations - Courthouse restrictions on filming, photographing and interviewing - The media wanted to film, take photographs and conduct interviews in all public areas of courthouses and to broadcast the official audio recordings of court proceedings - In Quebec, the Rules of Practice of the Superior Court of Quebec in Civil Matters, the Rules of Practice of the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec, Criminal Division, and the Minister's Directive (A-10) entitled "Le maintien de l'ordre et du décorum dans les palais de justice", combined to limit use of cameras and interviews to designated spaces inside a courthouse and prohibited the broadcasting of the official recording of a hearing - Members of the media argued that the restrictions violated freedom of the press and freedom of expression (Charter, s. 2(b)) - At issue was the harmonization of freedom of the press with the open court principle to ensure that the administration of justice was fair - The Supreme Court of Canada held that filming, photographing and interviewing had the required expressive content and they were not excluded from s. 2(b) protection because of the location where the journalistic activities took place or the method that was used - Both the location restrictions and prohibiting the broadcast of recordings of court proceedings violated s. 2(b) - However, the restrictions were reasonable limits prescribed by law under s. 1 of the Charter - The objectives of the impugned measures, to maintain the fair administration of justice by ensuring the serenity of hearings, were pressing and substantial - There was a rational connection between the means used and the objectives - The restrictions minimally impaired the media's right to freedom of the press - Journalists were still free to go anywhere in the courthouse and report on anything that they saw - The court weighed the salutary and deleterious effects of the restrictions - Although the restrictions had the negative effect of limiting news gathering, that was outweighed by the salutary effects (e.g., the freedom of witnesses, parties, lawyers to move freely in the courthouse without being accosted everywhere by the media and protecting the privacy interests of participants) - The official recording of court proceedings were a means to preserve evidence - Allowing the media to broadcast those recordings in the name of freedom of the press would undermine the integrity of the judicial process - The court stated that "freedom of the press cannot foster self-fulfilment, democratic discourse and truth finding if it has a negative impact on the fair administration of justice" - See paragraphs 13 to 98.

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Reasonable limits prescribed by law (Charter, s. 1) - [See Civil Rights - Topic 2486.2 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Reasonable limits prescribed by law (Charter, s. 1) - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "where a protected right is infringed, the government must justify the limit by identifying a pressing and substantial objective, demonstrating that there is a rational connection between the objective and the infringement of the right, and showing that the chosen means interferes as little as possible with the right and that the salutary effects of the measure outweigh its deleterious effects" - See paragraph 64.

Practice - Topic 5001

Conduct of trial - General principles - Open court - General - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "the open court principle is of crucial importance in a democratic society. It ensures that citizens have access to the courts and can, as a result, comment on how courts operate and on proceedings that take place in them. Public access to the courts also guarantees the integrity of judicial processes inasmuch as the transparency that flows from access ensures that justice is rendered in a manner that is not arbitrary, but is in accordance with the rule of law." - See paragraph 1.

Cases Noticed:

Montreal (City) v. 2952-1366 Québec Inc., [2005] 3 S.C.R. 141; 340 N.R. 305; 2005 SCC 62, refd to. [para. 8].

Lac d'Amiante du Québec ltée v. 2858-0702 Québec Inc. et al., [2001] 2 S.C.R. 743; 274 N.R. 201; 2001 SCC 51, refd to. [para. 14].

MacIntyre v. Attorney General of Nova Scotia et al., [1982] 1 S.C.R. 175; 40 N.R. 181; 49 N.S.R.(2d) 609; 96 A.P.R. 609, refd to. [para. 28].

Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. et al. v. Canada et al., [2010] 1 S.C.R. 721; 402 N.R. 206; 263 O.A.C. 4; 2010 SCC 21, refd to. [para. 28].

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. New Brunswick (Attorney General), [1996] 3 S.C.R. 480; 203 N.R. 169; 182 N.B.R.(2d) 81; 463 A.P.R. 81, refd to. [para. 28].

Edmonton Journal v. Alberta (Attorney General), [1989] 2 S.C.R. 1326; 102 N.R. 321; 103 A.R. 321, refd to. [para. 29].

R. v. Southam Inc., [1988] R.J.Q. 307 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 29].

Baier et al. v. Alberta, [2007] 2 S.C.R. 673; 365 N.R. 1; 412 A.R. 300; 404 W.A.C. 300; 2007 SCC 31, refd to. [para. 32].

Canadian Federation of Students (B.C.) et al. v. Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority et al., [2009] 2 S.C.R. 295; 389 N.R. 98; 272 B.C.A.C. 29; 459 W.A.C. 29; 2009 SCC 31, refd to. [para. 32].

Criminal Lawyers' Association (Ont.) v. Ontario (Minister of Public Safety and Security), [2010] 1 S.C.R. 815; 402 N.R. 350; 262 O.A.C. 258; 2010 SCC 23, refd to. [para. 32].

Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Québec (Procureur général), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927; 94 N.R. 167; 24 Q.A.C. 2, refd to. [para. 32].

Libman v. Quebec (Attorney General), [1997] 3 S.C.R. 569; 218 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 35].

Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [2002] 1 S.C.R. 3; 281 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 35].

R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697; 117 N.R. 1; 114 A.R. 81, refd to. [para. 36].

R. v. Butler and McCord, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 452; 134 N.R. 81; 78 Man.R.(2d) 1; 16 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 36].

Chaussure Brown's Inc. et al. v. Québec (Procureur général), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712; 90 N.R. 84; 19 Q.A.C. 69, refd to. [para. 36].

Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General) - see Chaussure Brown's Inc. et al. v. Québec (Procureur général).

Committee for the Commonwealth of Canada et al. v. Canada, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 139; 120 N.R. 241; 77 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 37].

Ramsden v. Peterborough (City), [1993] 2 S.C.R. 1084; 156 N.R. 2; 66 O.A.C. 10, refd to. [para. 37].

R. v. National Post et al., [2010] 1 S.C.R. 477; 401 N.R. 104; 262 O.A.C. 1; 2010 SCC 16, refd to. [para. 43].

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Dagenais et al., [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835; 175 N.R. 1; 76 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 56].

R. v. Mentuck (C.G.), [2001] 3 S.C.R. 442; 277 N.R. 160; 163 Man.R.(2d) 1; 269 W.A.C. 1; 2001 SCC 76, refd to. [para. 56].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335, refd to. [para. 56].

Osborne, Millar and Barnhart et al. v. Canada (Treasury Board) et al., [1991] 2 S.C.R. 69; 125 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 62].

Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony et al. v. Alberta, [2009] 2 S.C.R. 567; 390 N.R. 202; 460 A.R. 1; 462 W.A.C. 1; 2009 SCC 37, refd to. [para. 70].

R. v. Bryan (P.C.) et al., [2007] 1 S.C.R. 527; 359 N.R. 1; 237 B.C.A.C. 33; 392 W.A.C. 33, refd to. [para. 70].

R. v. Sharpe (J.R.), [2001] 1 S.C.R. 45; 264 N.R. 201; 146 B.C.A.C. 161; 239 W.A.C. 161; 2001 SCC 2, refd to. [para. 70].

RJR-MacDonald Inc. et Imperial Tobacco Ltd. v. Canada (Procureur général), [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199; 187 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 70].

R. v. Squires (C.) (1992), 59 O.A.C. 281; 11 O.R.(3d) 385 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 80].

Vilaire v. Association professionnelle des sténographes officiels du Québec, [1999] R.J.Q. 1609 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 84].

Morris v. Crown Office, [1970] 1 All E.R. 1079 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 94].

British Columbia Government Employees' Union v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 214; 87 N.R. 241; 71 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 93; 220 A.P.R. 93, refd to. [para. 94].

Statutes Noticed:

Rules of Practice of the Superior Court of Quebec in Civil Matters, R.R.Q. 1981, c. C-25, rule 38.1, rule 38.2 [para. 5].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Anisman, Philip, and Linden, Allen M., The Media, the Courts and the Charter (1986), p. 498 [para. 74].

British Columbia, Supreme Court, Practice Direction: Television Coverage of Court Proceedings, PD - 23 (July 1, 2010), generally [para. 95].

Fauteux, Gérald, Le livre du magistrat (1980), p. 70 [para. 29].

Ferland, Denis, and Emery, Benoît, Précis de procédure civile du Québec (4th Ed. 2003), vol. 1, p. 112 [para. 14].

Greenspan, Edward L., Comment: Another Argument Against Television in the Courtroom, in Anisman, Philip, and Linden, Allen M., The Media, the Courts and the Charter (1986), p. 498 [para. 74].

Harte, William J., Why Make Justice a Circus? The O.J. Simpson, Dahmer and Kennedy-Smith Debacles Make the Case Against Cameras in the Courtroom (1996), 39 Trial Lawyer's Guide 379, p. 404 [para. 68].

Lepofsky, M. David, Cameras in the Courtroom - Not Without My Consent (1996), 6 N.J.C.L. 161, p. 178 [para. 67].

Nova Scotia, Executive Office of the Nova Scotia Judiciary, Guidelines for Press, Media, and Public Access to the Courts of Nova Scotia, Appendix A [para. 95].

Parent, Georges-André, Les médias: Source de victimisation (1990), 23:2 Criminologie 47, p. 54 [para. 90].

Québec, Minister of Justice, Guide des relations avec les médias et de la gestion des événements d'envergure et à risque (2005) (online: www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/english/publications/administ/guide-a.htm), Appendix 4 [para. 5].

Québec, Minister of Justice, Directive A-10, Le maintien de l'ordre et du décorum dans les palais de justice, Appendix 4 [para. 5].

Québec, Minister of Justice, Rapport du Groupe de travail sur les relations avec les médias dans les palais de justice (2004), pp. 7, 8 [para. 21].

Counsel:

Barry Landy and François Demers, for the appellants;

Pierre Salois and Claude Joyal, for the respondent, the Attorney General of Canada;

Jean-François Jobin, Marie-Ève Mayer and Dominique A. Jobin, for the respondent, the Attorney General of Quebec;

Raynold Langlois, Q.C., and Marie Cossette, for the respondent, the Honourable François Rolland, in his capacity as Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court;

Douglas C. Mitchell and Éric Cadi, for the respondent, Barreau du Québec;

Donald B. Padget, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Alberta;

Mahmud Jamal and Jason MacLean, for the intervenor, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association;

Christian Leblanc and Marc-André Nadon, for the intervenors, Canadian Newspaper Association, Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, RTNDA Canada/Association of Electronic Journalists, Canadian Association of Journalists, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and Canadian Publishers' Council;

Simon V. Potter and Michael A. Feder, for the intervenor, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

Solicitors of Record:

Spiegel Sohmer, Montreal, Quebec, for the appellants;

Côté, Marcoux & Joyal, Montreal, Quebec, for the respondent, the Attorney General of Canada;

Attorney General of Quebec, Montreal, Quebec, for the respondent, the Attorney General of Quebec;

Langlois Kronström Desjardins, Montreal, Quebec, for the respondent, the Honourable François Rolland, in his capacity as Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court;

Irving Mitchell Kalichman, Montreal, Quebec, for the respondent, Barreau du Québec;

Attorney General of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Alberta;

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association;

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Montreal, Quebec, for the intervenors, the Canadian Newspaper Association, Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, RTNDA Canada/Association of Electronic Journalists, Canadian Association of Journalists, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and Canadian Publishers' Council;

McCarthy Tetrault, Montreal, Quebec, for the intervenor, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

This appeal was heard on March 16, 2010, before McLachlin, C.J.C., Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron, Rothstein and Cromwell, JJ.A., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On January 28, 2011, Deschamps, J., delivered the following judgment in both official languages for the Court.

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