SCC Case Information
British Columbia Transit, et al. v. Canadian Federation of Students - British Columbia Component, et al.
(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)
Canadian charter - civil.
Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.
Constitutional law - Charter of Rights - Application - Freedom of expression - Enforcement - Transit authorities’ policies prohibiting political advertising on outside of buses - Whether Charter applies to transit authorities in respect of non-governmental functions and activities - Whether policies infringe Respondents’ freedom of expression - If so, whether infringement justifiable - Whether constitutional remedy available to Respondents - Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 1, 2(b), 24, 32 - Constitution Act, 1982, s. 52.
The Respondents sought to purchase space for advertisements of a political nature on the outside of the Appellants’ buses. Their requests were denied on the basis of the Appellants’ advertising policies, which permit commercial advertising on the outside of transit vehicles, but prohibit political advertising and advertising “likely to cause offence to any person or group of persons or create controversy”. The Respondents brought an action seeking, inter alia, a declaration that certain aspects of the policies infringed their right to freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that this infringement could not be justified under s. 1. The Respondents’ application for declaratory relief was dismissed. On appeal, the majority of the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal.