News and Analysis

Preliminary Report on Rights Violations at York U –…

Here are the results from our York University survey about the ongoing strike. Nearly 200 people filled out the survey. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association thanks those who participated and shared your stories with us.

We built a word cloud to demonstrate the most popular words used in the two short answer questions. See below for the results. You can also click here to see the list of the most popular words and frequency.



Have you been detained (liberty restricted)?
92.8% (180 responses) said no | 7.2% (14 responses said yes)

Have you been asked or your identification?
72.3% (138 responses) said no | 27.7% (53 responses) said yes

Have you felt intimidated or harassed by YorkU security official or by a private security officer?
44.6% said no (86 responses) | 55.4% said yes (107 responses)

Do you have any video or audio record of something disturbing?
83.8% said no (160 responses) | 16.2% said yes (31 responses)

Were you filmed without your consent?
32% said no (62 responses) | 68% said yes (132 responses)


Were you surveilled? Did you feel like evidence was being gathered about you?
31.8% said no (61 responses) | 68.2% said yes (131 responses)

Does this discourage you from participating in the strike or protest against York University?
60% said no (114 responses) | 40% said yes (76 responses)

Do you feel that the University is on your side?
84.3% said no (166 responses) | 15.7% said yes (31 responses)

News and Analysis

CCLA Fights To Protect The Right to Vote

Today, CCLA is appearing before the Supreme Court in Frank v Canada to defend the fundamental right of all Canadian citizens to cast a ballot in a federal election.

The Frank case challenges provisions of the Canada Elections Act that prohibits certain non-resident Canadians citizens from voting in federal elections. CCLA has intervened in this important case to argue that the prohibition on voting is contrary to the value of equality that underlies the Charter right to vote. The legislation in this case create a regime under which an entire class of approximately 1.4 million Canadians is treated differently and unfairly based on a personal characteristic — place of residence. The prohibition on voting deprives non-resident Canadians of their personal autonomy and self-determination, and creates a category of “second class” citizens.  A difference in place of residence simply cannot justify depriving individuals of their right to be full and equal Canadian citizens.

Counsel in this case is Mark Freiman and Jameel Madhany (Lerners).

Read our factum here.


Mark Freiman and Jameel Madhany at the Supreme Court of Canada on March 21, 2018
News and Analysis

INCLO Report Release: Gaining Ground: A Framework for Developing…

In many countries across the world, governments have stepped up attacks on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), making it harder for them to function effectively. A global pattern has emerged, in which certain governments seek to stigmatise and delegitimise these organisations, particularly by demonising their acceptance of foreign funding or other foreign connections they might have. Moreover, governments often impose debilitating regulations, limiting NGOs activities or simply shutting them down. These measures are often cloaked by the authorities as efforts to curb money laundering, corruption or terrorism.

Such state tactics are not new and include public vilification, hostile legislation, arbitrary enforcement, surveillance, arrest and intimidation. But the speed and scale of this latest spreading wave of repression has been astonishing, fuelled by geopolitical trends and national political shifts that are weakening international human rights protection and support.

NGOs are essential for mobilising private initiative, facilitating citizen engagement and protecting people’s rights. To anticipate and prepare for potential threats, they need to closely observe the signs of a sector-wide assault on civic freedoms.

In recent years, many members of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) have had to respond to a sudden increase in threats to civic freedoms. In support of these and other NGOs who have experienced similar treatment from authorities, today, INCLO is releasing the report Gaining Ground: A Framework for Developing Strategies and Tactics in Response to Governmental Attacks on NGOs.

To inspire international solidarity and enhance cross-border exchange between different organizations, Gaining Ground provides resources and analysis designed to support national organizations who wish to formulate strategic tactics to counteract governmental threats and assaults. It identifies five strategic questions, related to specific threats observed around the world, and enumerates possible responses, evaluating their pros and cons while addressing the possible considerations determined by the context in which the organizations operate. Moreover, the publication shares relevant case studies that INCLO collected from NGOs around the world.

While the approaches adopted by other NGOs would need to resonate within the national context, INCLO’s report seeks to provide a framework of strategic proposals that can be used as a starting point to address NGO vulnerabilities.

INCLO is a network of 13 independent, national human rights organizations working to promote fundamental rights and freedoms. The INCLO members are: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) in Argentina, Dejusticia in Colombia, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in India, the International Human Rights Group Agora (Agora) in Russia,  the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in South Africa, and Liberty in the United Kingdom.

Gaining Ground is currently available here in English.

For more information, contact Andreea Anca at


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