The Attorney General of Ontario today reintroduced the Protection of Public Participation Act, now Bill 52, which as Bill 83 in the last session of the Legislature completed second reading but died when the election was called. Here is the news release.
The bill – if passed – will provide a fast-track motion by which a court could decide if a case involving expression on a matter of public interest should continue. Cases (such as defamation actions) will be allowed to continue if there are grounds to believe that they have technical merit and if the harm caused or likely to be caused by the expression outweighs the value of the expression.
The bill does not depend on demonstrating that the plaintiff has bad intentions in bringing the lawsuit. The considerations are based on effect rather than motive.
The bill is intended to enact most of the recommendations of an Advisory Panel on anti-SLAPP Actions that reported in 2010.
Whether it would have helped Mr Levant is not clear.