A Principled Defence of Free Expression in Canada

A Principled Defence of Free Expression in Canada

Joining a profession does not mean a person gives up their Charter right to free expression in Canada. At least, it shouldn’t mean that.

Many professions in Canada are ‘self-regulating,’ meaning that a governing body representing said professionals are given state-backed authority to decide who can practice in that field. They set important standards for conduct between practitioners and their clients as well as act as gatekeepers to the practice within a province.

In recent years, the CCF has become increasingly concerned with these types of bodies overstepping their original purpose. As these regulatory bodies are empowered by law to be the regulator of their profession, they should be treated as something more akin to a government body than an independent private entity. That means they are subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This is why we are intervening in a case involving the high-profile academic Dr. Jordan Peterson. Complaints were made to the College of Psychologists of Ontario by members of the public about provocative statements on social media made by Dr. Peterson. Those statements related to Dr. Peterson’s opinion regarding things like politics, public figures, the Freedom Convoy and climate change. The comments did not relate to the practice of psychology.

The College conducted an investigation and found that Dr. Peterson’s statements violated the Code of Ethics for Psychologists (the “Code”) and therefore the Standards of Professional Conduct (the “Standards”). The College ordered Dr Peterson to complete an education program to address issues regarding professionalism in public statements. Dr. Peterson refused to participate in what he has described as a “re-education program”, and brought an application for judicial review at Ontario Divisional Court challenging the constitutional validity of the Code and the Standards, which are enacted under provincial law.

One does not need to support anything Jordan Peterson has said to support his right to publicly discuss issues that have nothing to do with the practice of psychology.

If you’d like to help us stop these types of unconstitutional infringements on freedom of expression, please consider donating today to help us pay for this case. Your donation does not go towards Dr. Peterson or his counsel, but to our intervention supporting a principled defence of free expression in Canada. Any additional money raised beyond what is needed to support this case will go towards future casework fighting for your rights.

You can read more about this case here in our full release.

The CCF depends on donations from people like you to help us defend Canadians’ rights and freedoms.