Libel and Slander Act notices did not sufficiently specify matter

Ontario civil | Civil Procedure

COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDINGS

Libel and Slander Act notices did not sufficiently specify matter

Action arose out of two publications, one broadcast and other printed. Plaintiff alleged that defamatory statements were made that created link between it and Hamas supporters that attended pro-Palestinian rally. Defendants brought motion under R. 21.01(1)(a) of Rules of Civil Procedure to determine whether plaintiff complied with notice requirements under s. 5 of Libel and Slander Act prior to bringing action. Motion granted; action dismissed. Sufficiency of notice under act was question of law and was properly before court on R. 21 motion. Notice requirement was mandatory and failure to provide sufficient notice was absolute bar to proceeding. Notice had to sufficiently identify matter complained of. Notice must be specific enough to provide defendants with opportunity to correct or limit harm. Notices here identified matter complained of but they did not sufficiently specify matter complained of, as was possible given specificity of statement of claim. Notices provided were in nature of plaintiff’s interpretation of words spoken and published than they were direct references to them. Notices provided here did not meet requirements of s. 5(1) of act.
CUPW v. Quebecor Media Inc. (Jul. 15, 2015, Ont. S.C.J., Pelletier J., File No. 14-62129) 256 A.C.W.S. (3d) 738.

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