Press Release: CWP Charter Challenge 

Federal government drops appeal, recognizes freedom of expression for charities   

February 1, 2019


OTTAWA – The Government of Canada has abandoned its appeal of the ruling in Canada Without Poverty’s landmark case on freedom of expression for charitable organizations.

In July 2018, Justice Ed Morgan of the Ontario Superior Court declared the restrictions in the Income Tax Act on non-partisan political activities of charities to be in violation of the right to freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Letting Justice Morgan’s decision stand is a huge victory for democracy in Canada,” said CWP’s Executive Director, Leilani Farha.

“The government has done the right thing twice, first by making the legislative changes recommended by its appointed panel, and now by withdrawing the appeal. Equally important to those legislative changes is the recognition of the fundamental constitutional right of people living in poverty and other charities to participate in public policy dialogue.”

“CWP has always been led by a Board of Directors who have lived experience of poverty,” said Board President Laura Cattari.

“For decades, CWP has been the conduit for our participation in public dialogue and democracy—and this decision affirmed that. Freeing the voice of lived experience isn’t optional, it’s a right.”

“This decision puts Canada in the lead among common-law countries and will have a positive effect not only in our country, but worldwide. It resonates very deeply for our members by affirming their right of dignity and their equal right to participate in democratic processes. Judge Ed Morgan understood how fundamental this is for people living in poverty,” added Ms. Farha.

CWP is grateful to Bruce Porter, Executive Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre for his leadership on the case, the legal team at McCarthy Tetrault for their pro bono representation, and the Test Case Funding Committee at Legal Aid Ontario for their support.


About Canada Without Poverty

Canada Without Poverty (CWP) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, and charitable organization dedicated to ending poverty in Canada. The organization was created in 1971 as an outcome of the Poor People’s Conference, a national gathering of low-income individuals, under the name National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO). For nearly 50 years, CWP has been championing the rights of individuals experiencing poverty and marginalization through research, awareness-building campaigns, public policy development, and educational programming. See more on the Charter challenge at: 

For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Laura Neidhart
Canada Without Poverty – Communications Coordinator
Phone: 613-293-2446 | Email:  [email protected]