The Canadian Human Rights Commission recently posted a policy on its website concerning how it interprets and applies section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) when it receives an inquiry or complaint. The purpose of section 13 of the Act is to balance Canadians’ rights to equality and freedom of expression with respect to hate messages, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The parliamentary record indicates that section 13 was initially included in the legislation to address activities of individuals and groups who used the telephone system to disseminate hate messages. In December 2001, parliament amended the CHRA by adding section 13(2), which makes it clear that Internet hate messages come under the jurisdiction of the commission.
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