In 2016, CWP made waves by taking on the government to defend the freedom of expression of people living in poverty and the charitable organizations that represent them. In 2018, the Ontario Superior Court released a judgment in CWP’s Charter challenge to the Income Tax Act, striking down provisions that stifled the free expression of charitable organizations and kept them from effectively engaging in public policy dialogue.
The government withdrew their appeal to the case, and Bill C-86 to amend the Income Tax Act received Royal Assent, meaning organizations no longer face an “advocacy chill” and people facing extreme marginalization have a stronger voice as they seek to bring about social change. In 2019, CWP’s former Executive Director, Leilani Farha received the Jack Layton Progress Prize from the Broadbent Institute in recognition of CWP’s work on the case.
For more information:
- Read the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Judgement: Canada Without Poverty v. AG Canada
- CBC: Power and Politics interview with Leilani Farha
- CBC: Anti-poverty group launches challenge of political-activity limits
- Globe & Mail: Like unions and political parties, charities deserve freedom of speech
We are truly grateful for the dedicated work of our lawyers at McCarthy Tetrault, and the commitment and tireless efforts of Bruce Porter from the Social Rights Advocacy Centre. It is also important to acknowledge that this was made possible due to funding from Legal Aid Ontario, Test Case Funding.