CCLA criticizes Ottawa’s proposed ‘anti-swearing’ by-law as unconstitutional

Ottawa City Council is scheduled to consider a proposed addition to city by-laws that would prohibit individuals from engaging in “insulting” “indecent” “loud” or “boisterous” language on city streets and sidewalks. According to the City’s background report, the amendments are being requested to help Ottawa Police deal with ‘nuisance behaviours’ and disperse groups of people congregating on city sidewalks and roads. On Monday February 23, 2010, CCLA wrote to Council stating that such broad and vague laws, targeting not only the volume of people’s speech but also what they say, are patently unjustifiable violations of individuals’ freedom of speech and assembly. CCLA strongly urged the Council not to adopt the proposed amendment, and to repeal a similar By-Law already in force.

To read Ottawa’s proposed amendment and background report click here.
To read CCLA’s letter click here.