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 We call on the Canadian Government to repeal this outdated blasphemy law.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


Government releases draft bill to lift restrictions on charities

The BC Humanist Association is welcoming proposed legislation to repeal restrictions on the political activities of charities in Canada but we are disappointed that the proposals don't go farther. Under existing rules, Canadian charities must not spend more than 10% of its resources on "political activities." This includes activities intended to...

Toward a modernized charity framework for Canada

The BC Humanist Association today called on the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector to support new legislation defining what a charity is and for that legislation to create equality between religious and nonreligious worldviews in Canadian charity law.

Court strikes down gag on charities

The BC Humanist Association is welcoming a decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice striking down rules that restrict the political activities of charities as a victory for freedom of expression. The decision, released Tuesday, means charities no longer need to navigate the artificial and often arbitrary divide between...

Tell Canada to keep its promise and fix our broken charity laws

The Government of Canada is set to make a decision in the next 10 days whether they will fix our broken charity laws. We need to raise our voice so that it’s clear that the government must act now.

Blasphemy repeal bill moves to Senate

Canada's blasphemy law is one step closer to being repealed after MPs in the House of Commons agreed to pass Bill C-51 at third reading on Monday. The bill makes a number of amendments to the Criminal Code, including repealing the prohibition on blasphemous libel. The BC Humanist Association and other...

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...

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