Freedom of Expression

Freedom of speech is a pillar of an open and inclusive society. Criticism of religion and religious privilege requires the ability to speak freely without fear of government censorship.

We are a member of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws and call upon governments around the world to repeal blasphemy laws and other laws that prevent criticism of religion. Section 296 of the Criminal Code of Canada declares that "blasphemous libel" is an indictable offence. We call on the Canadian Government to repeal this outdated blasphemy law.

Sign up to support our campaign to repeal Canada's blasphemy law.

Latest news


Justice Committee supports repealing blasphemy law

On November 8, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights finished its study of a bill to amend Canada's Criminal Code. In its clause-by-clause examination, the committee unanimously agreed to maintain the repeal of section 296, Canada's blasphemy law. However, the committee decided not to repeal Section 176,...

Secularists call for repeal of blasphemy laws at justice committee

On Monday, October 30, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights met to continue its discussions over the bill to amend the criminal code. The BC Humanist Association submitted our brief to the committee last week. In it, we set out why we support the government's...

Repeal Canada's Blasphemy Laws - Our Justice Committee brief

The BC Humanist Association today submitted its brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights supporting the proposed repeal of sections 176 and 296 of the Criminal Code, the prohibitions on "blasphemous libel", obstructing clergy and disturbing religious worship. MPs on the Committee are currently...

Repealing Canada's other blasphemy law

For over a decade, supporters of free expression have been calling for the repeal of section 296 of Canada’s Criminal Code. This section is colloquially called Canada’s blasphemy law as it prohibits “blasphemous libel”. While no one has been charged under the section in eighty years, it remains a symbol that theocratic...

Canadian Government tables bill to repeal blasphemy law

Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould today introduced a bill to repeal Canada's blasphemy law. The bill would also remove other outdated and unconstitutional provisions of the Criminal Code, strengthen protections for victims of sexual assault and require new government bills to include a Charter Statement explaining its impact on Canadian's rights. Section...

Blasphemy isn't just a problem in the Muslim world

Ireland’s state police recently concluded their investigation of comedian Stephen Fry, who stood accused of criminal blasphemy.  In an interview that aired on Irish public television, Fry had described God as “capricious, mean-minded, stupid,” and “an utter maniac.” And Ireland’s Defamation Act of 2009 clearly prohibits the “publication or utterance of blasphemous...

CRA recommends unmuzzling charities

The BC Humanist Association joins leading Canadian charities in applauding a report released today that calls for a regulatory and legislative overhaul "to enable charities to fully participate in public policy dialogue and development." The coalition of charities, formed in response to the political activities audits under the previous government, had...

Danish blasphemy case demonstrates risk of Canada's law

A man is facing blasphemy charges after allegedly burning a copy of the Quran for an online video posted to an anti-Islam group in December 2015. The prosecution marks the first time in 45 years that Denmark has invoked the law. The last accusations were brought against a radio station...

Justice Minister to review Canada's blasphemy law

Canada's blasphemy law is under review by the Minister of Justice and could be repealed as part of broader justice reform. Jody Wilson-Raybould made the commitment in her response to a petition signed by nearly 7500 people calling on the government to repeal section 296 (the prohibition on blasphemous libel)...

Blasphemy laws get used for political purposes

Editor's note: While Canada's latent blasphemy law isn't explicitly mentioned in this article, we must continue to fight for it's repeal as these stories highlight how, under the right political climate, it could be used to censor opposition. By Rafiqa Qurrata A'yun, University of Indonesia The Indonesian police recently named the Chinese-Indonesian...

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