Summary

The media landscape has changed dramatically. With the Internet, a business or personal reputation can be harmed, globally, with a defamatory posting. Conversely, any controversial public communication – a website, an article, a speech, a broadcast, an advertisement, a press release, a prospectus – creates the risk of liability. On the media front, bloggers and website owners bypass publication bans. New independent websites emerge every day and information flows are difficult to control. The media industry faces unique challenges in protecting its reputation and defending its freedoms. Our clients look to Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), Canada’s largest law firm, to guide them through these unique challenges. Our lawyers are leaders in matters related to publication bans, libel, privacy, access to information and freedom of the press. With the deepest defamation and media teams of any national firm, BLG provides experienced counsel to everyone who communicates: businesses, as well as print, Internet, radio and broadcast media, and individuals.

Publications

  • Michael Skene, “Canadian Defamation Verdicts: 2012 Update,” Ad Idem National Media Law Conference, November 2-3, 2012.
  • David Crerar, “An Overview of Business Defamation,” Canadian Insurance Law Reporter, December 2011.
  • Michael Skene, “Canadian Defamation Verdicts: 2011 Update,” Ad Idem National Media Law Conference, November 4-5, 2011.
  • David Crerar, “Business Defamation,” British Columbia Business Disputes (CLE of BC), April 2011.
  • Smith & Peterson, Employers and Defamation in the Age of Social Media: A Look at an Employer’s Potential Liability as a “Publisher”, presented at the 2012 Law Society of Upper Canada Special Lectures.

Rankings & Recognitions

The Defamation and Media Law Group and its members are recognized in:

  • The 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada®.
  • The 2017 edition of Benchmark Canada — The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys.
  • The 2017 edition of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory.

Representative Work

  • Regularly represent and advise national and local television, radio, newspaper, magazine, and internet media clients in defamation claims, applications for media access to court exhibits, sealing orders, publication bans, and pre-publication advice.
  • Regularly represent both plaintiffs and defendants in defamation claims, particularly complex commercial defamation cases.
  • R. v. Pickton, R. v. Malik and Bagri (Air India): various media applications for print and television media.
  • R. v. Trott, R. v. Ertmoed: obtained access to court files regarding videotaped confessions in murder cases.
  • Anumba v. The Minister of Employment and Immigration: set aside publication ban and court closure regarding refugee claimant fearing prosecution by headhunters.
  • Ironworkers Local 97 v. Gordon Campbell, the Liberal Party of BC, Southam Inc. and Brian Kieran:  defence co-counsel in a libel claim, resulting in the dismissal of claim following trial.
  • Lasik v. TLC: prosecuted defamation action between Canada’s two largest laser-eye surgery corporations.
  • Rogacki v. Belz: successfully holding favourable jury verdict on behalf of plaintiff in a defamation case.
  • Porter v. The York Regional Police Services Board et al. successfully defended multi-party defamation claim.