The how, when and why of shrinking our freedoms matter

We see here and there, among the many, extraordinary, unprecedented restrictions on our freedoms in Canada, our authorities begin to drift from the solid ground of public health justifications for restricting our liberties, toward a fear-based model of suppression.

Bar calls for limited release of prison inmates, immigration detainees to stop spread of COVID-19

The CBA’s call echoes that expressed by dozens of other advocates for prisoners, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Ontario.

COVID-19 Poll: Older Canadians Overwhelmingly Agree ‘Covidiots’ Should Be Fined, Jailed

The powers of the provinces under emergency legislation are substantial, and we need to ensure their exercise is authorized by law, justified,” says the CCLA. “And that actions taken in an emergency don’t simply become our ‘new normal.’”

Careful, crises are an ideal time for the state to grab powers — we’re already seeing it in Canada

As the late Alan Borovoy, former general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, once put it, “The source of the most insidious peril is not evil wrongdoers seeking to do harm, but parochial bureaucrats seeking to do good.” 

First Canadian Inmates Contract Novel Coronavirus - Correctional Service

Civil liberties advocacy groups, most notably the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, have argued that closed quarter environments like prisons are breeding grounds for highly infectious diseases like COVID-19 and stressed the need for the release of low-risk offenders.

Closed municipal meetings are open: Farnworth order

Canadian Civil Liberties Association Fundamental Freedoms Program director Car Zwibel said the order is “creating a fiction that meetings closed to the public are, in law, to be considered open.”

And, she said, while this is problematic, it may be in part to deal with the fact that, under B.C.’s Community Charter, there are certain requirements that must be met before a closed meeting can be held. 

Is it Time to Invoke the Federal Emergencies Act?

Michael Bryant of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said the focus on the federal government’s emergency power is “misled because the level of government having the biggest impact on our lives is provincial, not federal.”

“All the other quarantine powers are provincial, and the enforcement of the Emergencies Act is done by the provinces,” explained Bryant

What does COVID-19 mean for your civil liberties? Watchdog group on alert

“Emergency measures acts give governments exceptional powers to deal with exceptional circumstances,” said Brenda McPhail, the director of the privacy technology surveillance project at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“But with those exceptional powers, just like the comic book, comes an exceptional responsibility to the public.”

Newfoundland woman arrested for refusing to self-isolate after talking to police

“If it’s a measure of last resort and the police exercise their discretion in a way that puts public health first … then there is legal authorization to do this,” said Michael Bryant, the association’s Executive Director

Civil rights precedents established during the COVID-19 crisis may be the ones we will have to live with when the emergency is past

Give us all the data you collect about your customers and let us at city hall figure out how we want to use it.

Senator calls for inmate release to prevent potential prison COVID-19 'disaster'

Canada’s prison officials consider how to stall coronavirus spread

Municipal councils grapple with ways to be transparent during COVID-19

‘We literally are still in tactical operational response and dealing day by day,’ says CBRM mayor

How Governments Got Their Quarantine Powers

If you’re locked inside, thank the British Empire for the laws that make it possible.

Don’t erode civil rights while waging war with COVID-19

…with our Constitution,” reads a recent statement from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which admits it cannot stay on top…

Coronavirus 'Will Tear Like Wildfire' Through Canada's Prisons: Activists

…response to flatten the curve of the pandemic, wrote Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) executive director Michael Bryant…

Let low-risk offenders out of jail: Executive director Niagara Community Legal Clinic

As the COVID-19 pandemic tightens its grip on the province, it may be time to consider letting prisoners who pose a limited risk to the community out of jail.

Canada Weighing Options on Releasing Offenders Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Civil liberties advocacy groups, most notably, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have argued that closed quarter…

Toronto might be using cellphone data to locate mass gatherings

…they’ve got to follow the rule of law too,” wrote the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in a tweet about The Logic’s article….

COVID-19 outbreak in N.W.T. jails would be 'catastrophic,' say defence lawyers

As N.W.T.’s public health office urges isolation, prisoners are at higher risk, say defence lawyers

Toronto considered using cell phone data to curb spread of COVID-19: report

Further, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association tweeted that it has learned that no…

Military assistance requests anticipated

Armed forces on stand-by to provide emergency help to governments

Ensure prisoners health, rights, civil liberties group urges

Corrections Canada says prisoners being monitored, visits and absences curtailed

Civil liberties group questions Nova Scotia's moves to curb outbreak

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is questioning the Nova Scotia government’s moves to close public spaces and beef up provincial border checks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lawyers urge NWT jails to temporarily release inmates ‘before it’s too late’

More than a dozen defence lawyers are urgently calling on the territory to temporarily release as many inmates as possible from NWT jails 

New COVID-19 information line allows people to report rule-breakers

‘Snitch lines’ can create fear and division, according to the head of Canada’s civil liberties watchdog

Military readiness moved up a notch in response to pandemic

But, cautioned Canadian Civil Liberties Association executive director Michael Bryant, “it…

The ‘measure of last resort’: What is the Emergencies Act and what does it do?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of Canada’s provinces and territories will speak by phone tonight to discuss the possibility..…


Des États misent sur la coercition pour faire respecter les mesures de distanciation sociale. Québec souhaite pour l’instant éviter de recourir à cette approche.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association urges release of ‘releasable’ prisoners to curb COVID-19 spread

In a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 behind bars, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging Ottawa to release some prisoners and limit further incarceration.

Judges available for COVID-19 constitutional breaches

Courts ready to maintain rule of law in face of government emergency powers

The dark side of Canada’s coronavirus response

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has called on Ottawa to “to…

Will the federal government declare an emergency over COVID-19?

In France, for example, there are now 100,000 police officers roaming the streets because people refused to stop mingling in public places

Civil liberties activists warn against rights losses

B.C. emergency act gives B.C. minister warrantless entry, seizure, evacuation powers

Is Taiwan’s impressive response to COVID-19 possible in Canada?

Taiwan is credited with sharply limiting the spread of coronavirus on the island by pairing and analyzing the electronic health and travel..…

Canadians 'will always be able to come home,' Freeland clarifies as COVID-19 questions swirl

…visas expire. Michael Bryant, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said his organization has been in..

‘This is changing hour by hour, day by day’: Premier Doug Ford declares state of emergency in Ontario

Bryant, Executive  Director and General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, expressed concern about the vagueness…

Canadians abroad with potential COVID-19 symptoms will get 'enhanced consular support'

​COVID-19 crisis Michael Bryant, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, told CBC News that barring..

COVID-19 – How far can we go with closing the border?

Those who are symptomatic with COVID-19. (The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has already said that barring Canadians from flights…

Ottawa can make quarantines mandatory — here's why it likely won't

Michael Bryant, a lawyer and executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said the modern iteration of the…