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January 30, 2012

Media Advisory

Canadian Constitution Foundation to argue for free speech at Ontario Court of Appeal

TORONTO, ON: The appeal of Howard Galganov v. The Corporation of Township of Russell et al. will be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal on Thursday February 2, 2012 at 10:30am EST at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. W., Toronto, Ontario. CCF Executive Director and lawyer, Chris Schafer, will be arguing before the court.

The appeal concerns a Russell Township by-law that compels business owners to express themselves in a language they didn’t freely choose, and only in English and French. The CCF is intervening in support of the right of businesses and individuals to express themselves in the language of their own choice. The CCF will argue that the impugned by-law infringes the freedom of expression guarantee under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

CCF Executive Director Chris Schafer said, “There are other Ontario municipalities with similar bylaws and other provinces engaged in a similar controversy about language restricting commercial signs, so this case is very important”. Schafer added, “The CCF does not support language-restricting signage laws; freedom of expression ought to include the right not to express yourself in the language of somebody else’s choosing”.

  • June 16, 2008—Township of Russell enacts a by-law restricting which languages may be used on commercial signage.
  • May 2010—Howard Galganov and Jean-Serge Brisson challenge the by-law as an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of expression.
  • August 20, 2010—Justice Métivier of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upholds the constitutionality of the by-law.
  • March 1, 2011—The Ontario Court of Appeal grants the CCF intervener status.
  • February 2, 2012—Appeal to be argued before the Ontario Court of Appeal.
For more information:

The Canadian Constitution Foundation (“Freedom’s Defence Team”) is a registered charity, independent and non-partisan, whose mission is to defend the constitutional freedoms of Canadians through education, communication and litigation.

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For more information, contact:

Chris Schafer
Executive Director
Canadian Constitution Foundation
(647) 389-8052