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Justice Vs.

What are your rights, anyway? Justice Vs. is a podcast put out by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The podcast explores the landscape of civil liberties and human rights in Canada. We interview activists, lawyers, organizers, and those most impacted by rights violations across the country. Learn more about the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) through visiting our website at: https://ccla.org/.

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Justice Vs. Surveillance: protecting privacy in Smart Cities

In March of 2017, Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of Google, was chosen by Waterfront Toronto to develop Toronto's Port Lands. Waterfront Toronto is an organization administering project along Toronto's Waterfront; it is made up of a partnership between three levels of government: The City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the federal government. The deal was meant to develop the eastern waterfront property known as Quayside, which is the largest area of undeveloped waterfront property in a major North American city.

On April 16th, 2019, the CCLA along with co-applicant Lester Brown commenced proceedings against Waterfront Toronto; seeking a reset of the Quayside Project. CCLA argued that Waterfront Toronto never had the authority to turn a Toronto neighbourhood into a data surveillance test-bed nor to make policy regarding the collection, ownership, management or control of residents' data. The Quayside project would permit the commoditization of personal data and let Sidewalk Labs do non-consensual mass surveillance. This is a violation of Canadians' personal and collective privacy rights under the Charter of Right and Freedom. CCLA argued The Quayside project was in violation of three sections of the Charter.

In this episode of Justice Vs., we speak to Dr. Brenda McPhail, CCLA's Privacy, Surveillance and Technology Program Director, Dr. Ben Green author of The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, as well as community member Lester Brown about the case CCLA brought against Waterfront Toronto.

Host: Maria Rio

A big thanks to the Justice Vs. Volunteer Team:

Writing and Research Team: Natalie Sequeira, Kate Tutu, Jeremy Zhang, Luke Ryan, Imran Dhanani, Rachael Dyal, Rachael Bridge, Leo Ghiran, Stella Racca, Sae Furukawa. Managed by Shyloe Fagan and Kelsey Miki.

Audio team: Paul Berry, Ren Bangert and Sam Seguin. Managed by Farid Petesh

Marketing team: Arlet Vazquez, Ren Bangert, Irene Lee, Hope Arpa Chow, and Lauren Sapic. Managed by Soaad Qahhār Hossain

Justice Vs. Bail
Canada's Broken Criminal Justice System

December 30, 2020 - Over half of inmates held in Canada’s provincial and territorial prisons have not been determined guilty. In this episode of Justice Vs. we look at the use of bail in Canada's criminal justice system and how it perpetuates criminal identity among even those not yet convicted of crimes. We talk to Dr. Jane Sprott and James Fauvelle. Dr. Sprott is a professor in the Department of Criminology at Ryerson University. Her research interests include the operation of the youth and adult criminal justice systems, issues around pre-trial release, sentencing in Canada, and perceptions of crime and criminal justice policies. She is currently working on a SSHRC funded project which investigates bail conditions placed on youths. Fauvelle is a third-year student working towards his Bachelor’s in Social Work at Ryerson University. He is an active member in the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation and a registered social service worker in Ontario. He focuses on “integrating the principles, philosophies and theories of Social Service Work from an Anti-Oppressive and Social Justice framework.” The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) spoke with him a few years ago for the report Set Up to Fail: Bail and the Revolving Door of Pre-trial Detention.

Warning to listeners: this episode mentions suicide.

Further Reading:

Want to learn more about bail and bail processes? Feel free to read Steps to Justice’s comprehensive guide! - https://stepstojustice.ca/questions/criminal-law/what-bail-hearing

Interested in CCLA’s take on bail? Here’s our report from 2014 about bail practices in Canada. - https://ccla.org/cclanewsite/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Set-up-to-fail-FINAL.pdf

Click here for the most recent issue of Criminological Highlights, a monthly comprehensive report on fascinating criminological research! As recommended by Jane Sprott in our bail episode - https://www.crimsl.utoronto.ca/research-publications/faculty-publications/criminological-highlights-vol-19-no-1-%E2%80%93-december-2020

Call to Action:

Check out these webinars from the Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project to hear more experiences from those affected by our criminal justice system. https://www.torontoprisonersrightsproject.org/new-page

Want to get directly involved? Volunteer with the John Howard Society or Elizabeth Fry Society,who both do fantastic work with criminal justice. -



Justice Vs. Solitary confinement:
torture in Canadian Prisons

November 30, 2020 - Warning to listeners: this episode contains description of abuse and suicide. The United Nations deems solitary confinement torture, so why do Canadian prisons still employ the practice? Today, Justice Vs. looks at how solitary confinement is used within the Canadian criminal justice system, speaking with Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, director of CCLA’s Equality program, and Rachel Fayter, a PhD. candidate in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Fayter describes her experience being held in prolonged solitary confinement and her academic work investigating solitary’s particular impact on women and those with mental illnesses.

Further readings:

Cole, David. “Final Report of the Independent Reviewer on the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General’s Compliance with the 2013 “Jahn Settlement Agreement” and the Terms of the Consent Order of January 16, 2018 Issued by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario”. February 2020. Read it here.

Jackson, Michael. “Solitary: A case for Abolition”. West Coast Prison Journal. November 2016. Read it here.

John Howard Society. “Solitary Confinement Factsheet”. 2017. Read it here.

Lucas, Joseph W., and Matthew A. Jones. “An Analysis of the Deterrent Effects of Disciplinary Segregation on Institutional Rule Violation Rates.” Criminal Justice Policy Review 30, no. 5 (June 2019): 765–87. Read it here.

Luigi, Mimosa, Laura Dellazizzo, Charles-Édouard Giguère, Marie-Hélène Goulet, and Alexandre Dumais. “Shedding Light on ‘the Hole’: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Adverse Psychological Effects and Mortality Following Solitary Confinement in Correctional Settings.” Frontiers in psychiatry 11 (August 19, 2020). Read it here.

Justice Vs. the G20:
The Legacy that Shapes Protests Today

November 6, 2020 - Protests at the G20 and G8 Summits in Toronto went onto become the largest in Toronto's recent history, scaling at over 10,000 protestors. Ten years later, we ask: what is the legacy of the G20 protests and how do they shape protest today? To find answers, we spoke with Cara Zwibel, director of the Fundamental Freedoms program at CCLA, and Luke Stewart, an activist and professor at Sciences Po Lille in France, who was arrested at the protests and supported by CCLA in his case against police. A note to listeners: this episode contains description of police violence and sexual harassment.

Know your rights with this guide below: 

For ways to get involved and learn more about protest in Canada, please see below: 

Justice Vs. Exclusion:
Fighting for LGBTQ2S+ Representation and Inclusivity in the Classroom

November 6, 2020 - In this episode of Justice Vs., we take a look into the classroom and speak with organizer Becky McFarlane about the fight for LGBTQ2S+ inclusion and why queer visibility is so critical for youth. Later, we speak with Kyle McGiverin, a teacher who uses his position as an educator to normalize queer experiences and produce a queer-inclusive school environment.

For resources mentioned in the podcast, please see below:

The 519

  • The 519 is a Toronto-based non-profit organization committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ2S communities. They have a multitude of in-person and online resources, such as counselling, COVID-19 Resources, Legal Clinics and activities. - https://www.the519.org/

Wyvern, a Novel by Kyle McGiverin 


For ways to get involved and join the fight for LGBTQ2S+ inclusion, please see below: 

Find and Support A Local Organization! 

Create Safe Spaces for Your Students!:


October 23, 2020 - “Justice Vs.” is a podcast about the story of civil and human rights in Canada, and a goal of it is to empower others to realize their own position as activists.

In each episode, host Maria Rio discusses some of the most important civil liberties cases and concepts in Canada. Guests include activists, lawyers, CCLA staff, and other individuals who can shed light on often complex topics.

Thanks to our team of volunteers


·  Arlet Vazquez

·  Hope Arpa Chow

·  Kate Tutu

·  Paul Berry

·  Sae Furukawa

·  Brigitte Pawliw-Fry*

·  Imran Dhanani

·  Leo Ghiran

·  Rachael Bridge

·  Soaad Qahhār Hossain*

·  Eilish Waller*

·  Irene Lee

·  Luke Ryan

·  Rachael Dyal

·  Stella Racca

·  Farid Pesteh*

·  Jeremy Zhang

·  Natalie Sequeira

·  Ren Bangert


* A very special thank you to the Managers of the podcast project. Brigitte and Eilish for Storytelling and Writing, Soaad for Marketing and Communications, and Farid for Audio.