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Tort Of Defamation In Canada

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Overview of Defamation: What is Defamation? In order to understand how the legal atmosphere and framework for defamation in Canada hinders political satire, it is important to understand the nature of the tort of defamation in Canada.
Defamation is considered to be any statement made to the public that has the ability to damage reputation. The British definition is often cited by Canadian courts:“…tends to lower a person in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally, or to cause him or her to be shunned and avoided, or to expose him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to convey an imputation on him disparaging or injurious to him in his office, profession, calling, trade or business.” The statements made against plaintiff’s
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This makes the tort of defamation unique among all other common law torts. The Ontario Civil Liberties Association best explains this: “Defamation is the only common law tort (or cause of action) where damages- actual damage to reputation- and malice (malice of defamation) are assumed, and need not be proven in court. The result is a presumption of guilt- regarding falsity of the expression, malice of the defendant, and damages to the plaintiff- that can only be overturned if the defendant can prove one of the available defences, which are strictly limited and codified.” With this interpretation, a defamation suit is more plaintiff friendly. In fact, defamation and damage to reputation are presumed if the plaintiff can establish that 1) the statement refers to them; 2) the statements were published to at least one other party; and 3) the words used are capable of causing harm to their reputation. Assuming that all three of these elements are present, the burden shifts to the defendant to prove that the statements are true or fall under one of the acceptable defenses. The plaintiff friendly nature of defamation is best exemplified in the decision by the Supreme Court that “the plaintiff is not required to show that the defendant intended to do harm, or even that the defendant was careless…the tort is thus one of strict
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