London Free Press, Jane Sims
The Ontario government wants to halt the growing practice of using meritless lawsuits as a way to muzzle opponents. It’s proposing legislation, the Protection of Public Participation Act, it hopes will stop so-called SLAPPs — strategic lawsuits against public participation — often used to quash criticism and tie up the courts.
“The proposed law would minimize the time and resources wasted by plaintiffs, defendants and the courts on meritless claims, while allowing legitimate complaints to proceed in a timely manner,” the attorney-general’s office said Monday. The new law was drafted after extensive consultations starting in 2010. An advisory panel concluded strategic lawsuits are stopping many people from speaking out on matters of public interest.
The law would be a “fast-track review process for lawsuits alleged to be strategic in nature,” the attorney-general’s office said. A judge would be given powers to apply a legal test to determine if the case could proceed or be dismissed. Read article