Defamation Law for Unions

September 08, 2022 at
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM PST
Maritime Labour Centre 111 Victoria Drive Vancouver, BC V5L 4C4

Unions and union officers have long been the subject of defamation lawsuits, whether for media statements, leaflets, newspaper pieces, posted workplace notices, and even picket signs. Two things have changed in recent years however. With the increased use of social media for organizing campaigns, regular communications with members, bargaining, and in strikes/lock outs, unions are increasingly dealing with threats of lawsuits, demands for apologies, and actual lawsuits. This change is made the more serious by the increase in damage awards, particularly for corporate plaintiffs.

This one day course is intended to equip those attending with the ability to make their own judgement as to whether or not they or their union risk a lawsuit for what they are publishing. It will deal with the definition of defamation, as well as the various defences to an action for defamation. It will concentrate on the defences of justification, fair comment, qualified privilege, and responsible communication. It will also deal with the new legislation designed to protect individuals and organizations from lawsuits that are primarily intended to silence criticisms – the SLAPP law – strategic lawsuits against public participation.

Facilitator: Leo McGrady, QC, Koskie Glavin Gordon
Leo McGrady specializes in labour law, human rights, class actions, intellectual property, and libel law, all on behalf of unions and employees. He has argued cases at all levels of court in British Columbia and the Territories’, and served as counsel on a number of leading labour and charter cases in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ticket Information for VDLC Affiliates – If you wish for your ticket to be invoiced to your union, please have your union contact the VDLC office to make arrangements.

This is an in-person class and is limited to 20 registrants. It will move to Zoom if necessary due to COVID.