The Right to Protest, Freedom of Expression, and Freedom of Association

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem, and Nathalie Des Rosiers (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution, Oxford University Press (2017) pp. 737-753


Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Freedom of expression; Freedom of association; The right to protest; Labour rights and fundamental freedoms under the Charter


This co-authored article is chapter 35 in the Oxford Handbook of Canadian Constitutional Law, published in 2017. Its purpose is to explore freedom of expression and freedom of association under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, in particular, to gauge levels of protection for the right to protest under each guarantee. Two different lines of jurisprudence are joined through a discussion of labour issues arising, respectively, under s.2(b) and (d). Noting the Supreme Court’s protection of labour expression – but not other forms of protest of dissenting voice – and recent constitutionalization of labour relations under s.2(d) – without developing a more inclusive conception of associational freedom – the authors call for strong protection for these core fundamental freedoms, without regard to content, and especially where protest activities are concerned.