Defamation is the tort of false publication (whether written or oral). Typically, a publication which tends to lower a person’s reputation in the opinion of reasonable members of society, or to expose a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, is defamatory and will attract liability.
The major piece of legislation governing the law of defamation in Ontario is the Libel and Slander Act.
According to the Act, you can be defamed in two ways: via either (1) Libel and/or (2) Slander.
Defamatory communications may be by words, pictures, sounds, or other forms of communication. They may be published on the internet, in social media postings, on websites, online reviews, chat rooms, or in other forms of broadcast. The dissemination of such defamatory comments or communications to the public is libelous.
Slander is the public utterance of words that are meant to disparage a person in any office, profession, calling, trade or business.
To succeed in a lawsuit which claims that you have been defamed, some of the things you must prove are that:
- the publication you claim to be defamatory is indeed “defamatory”;
- the defamatory publication was “published” within the legal meaning of the term; and
- you are the person being defamed.
Further direction on what can be pleaded in a defamation matter can be found in our blog Court of Appeal Provides Guidance On Pleading Defamation.
You may have other causes of action alongside defamation that you can plead in a claim against the alleged defamer. For more potential causes of action, see our blog Business Dirty Tricks: Unfair Competition: Intentional Interference, Inducing Breach of Contract, Conspiracy and Defamation.
For more, see our defamation webpage.
At Gilbertson Davis LLP, our lawyers can assist in matters involving the removal of defamatory material from the internet. Our lawyers can represent you, your business, company, partnership or corporation in your defamation dispute, whether you are the person being defamed or the alleged defamer. Such representation may include claims or the defence of claims for particular losses or damages additional to damages for defamation itself. Gilbertson Davis LLP lawyers have experience in Defamation, Civil Litigation, Business Torts, Business Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation matters and can assist you in resolving your legal issues in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our mission is to provide creative, sensible, cost-effective, long-term resolutions to clients on defamation disputes. Please contact Gilbertson Davis LLP to schedule a consultation.