World Press Freedom Day: Tracking Censorship in Canada

Censorship Tracker maps incidents from coast to coast

TORONTO, April 30, 2015 – To coincide with World Press Freedom Day on May 3, Censorship Tracker invites Canadians to view and report free expression violations from across the country. From British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, over 50 reports of restrictions on free expression have been reported to the project’s interactive map since its initial launch, and incidents continue to be submitted.

With reports covering a wide range of issues, including the silencing of federal scientists, civil injunctions against protesters, and a number of defamation suits, the initiative clearly demonstrates that individuals from all walks of life are affected by attempts to curb free expression in Canada.

Censorship Tracker’s open understanding of censorship has also allowed for the collection of reports on restrictions on access to information, cuts to support for public media, and much more under the umbrella of limits on free expression. The map also distinguishes between censorship happening at different levels of public life, from local incidents in schools and businesses, to national cases at the federal level.

As a crowdsourced project, anyone who has been a victim of censorship or is aware of an incident can contribute reports to the map. In particular, Censorship Tracker seeks reports of incidents that may not make it to mainstream news media. Submissions can be made anonymously, with efforts made by project administrators to verify submissions.

Censorship Tracker is an initiative lead by PEN Canada, in partnership with the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE).

Censorship Tracker is available at:


PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada. PEN Canada is the Canadian centre of PEN International, a community of writers that operates on five continents with 148 centres in over 100 countries.

BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is one of Canada’s oldest civil society organizations. It acts to support and defend civil liberties and human rights throughout British Columbia and Canada. The Association works to promote and protect individual rights and freedoms through test case litigation, interventions at all levels of court, legislative and governmental submissions, casework, and public education and outreach.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) was constituted in 1964 to promote respect for and observance of fundamental human rights and civil liberties for everyone and to defend, extend, and foster the recognition of those rights and liberties. We are an independent, non-governmental, non-profit and non-partisan organization. CCLA’s major objectives include the promotion and legal protection of individual freedom and dignity against unreasonable invasion by public authority and the protection of procedural fairness. CCLA’s advocacy supports five core activities: public education, citizens’ engagement, monitoring, research and litigation.  Our thematic program areas include Equality, Fundamental Freedoms, National Security and Public Safety.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, CJFE promotes a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others’ free expression rights.


For further information and media enquiries, please contact:

PEN Canada, Tasleem Thawar, Executive Director,, 416.703.8448 x24,

BCCLA, Carmen K.M. Cheung, Senior Counsel,, 604.630.9758,

CCLA, Cara Zwibel, Director, Fundamental Freedoms Program,, 416.363.0321 x255,

CJFE, Laura Tribe, National and Digital Programs Lead,, 416.515.9622 x232,