ONCA Decision in John v Ballingall has “Significant Problems”

Gabrielle Giroday of Legal Feeds, the blog for the Law Times and Canadian Lawyer Magazine, covered the ONCA decision in John v Ballingall,

An Ontario Court of Appeal judge has ruled that the Libel and Slander Act applies to an online newspaper article.

Omar Ha-Redeye, a co-counsel for John, says there are “significant problems” with the court’s findings that newspaper articles in print and online are the same under the law.

He points out the Legislation Act defines a newspaper as being “printed in sheet form” — which he says does not apply to online publications.
The Libel and Slander Act doesn’t adequately address online publications, he says.

“This interpretation of the Libel and Slander Act means that if there is something defamatory online by any entity that could be defined as a newspaper — and we don’t know what that definition will mean after this decision — that there will be a very, very strict notice requirement and a stricter limitation period and not adhering to those requirements under the Act will result in them losing their right of action,” he said.

He said a decision is yet to be made if they will seek leave for appeal.