Vaccine Mandates: Public Incitement of Hatred


Are you concerned about public authorities who are publicly shaming those who have decided not to be vaccinated? Here is something every Canadian can do.​


The Criminal Code of Canada makes it an offence to do the following:


Public incitement of hatred


319 (1) Everyone who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of


(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or


(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.


​When officials communicate publicly that those who choose not to vaccinate should be subject to hateful treatment, they could be charged under this offence. Not every communication against non-vaccinated Canadians rises to this level, but only if it incites hatred which is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.​


Any individual in Canada can go to their local provincial courthouse to lay a Private Information or Prosecution. A Private Information may not be entertained if the individual who committed the offence does not live in the province where you attempt to lay it, or the offence itself did not occur there.


If the Information is accepted in that province, the usual process is to either phone or go to the court to ask to make an appointment with a Justice of the Peace to swear to an Information. If it is not accepted in that province by a JP, the RCMP will entertain the complaint on the same charge.


If you are attending the courthouse, bring the information needed to share the facts and how they believe someone has committed this offence. ​


On this issue, one should include on the form the particular incident in which you allege the offence occurred. If it is in a video, you can bring along the video clip as well as writing out the language the alleged offender used. You may also include how the statements made in your opinion resulted in hatred toward those who have not been vaccinated, the "identifiable group." If you have evidence of this, share it. It may be helpful to outline how you believe the hatred is likely to lead to a "breach of the peace" or a disturbance or victimization. Also include how this makes you afraid and worried about ostracization. The same tolerance these officials like to promote is in stark contrast to the hatred they're inciting.​


You are well served on this issue to mention the case of R v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 SCR 697, a Supreme Court of Canada case where the court upheld the Criminal Code provision prohibiting the wilful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group as constitutional under the freedom of expression provision in section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


For an example of the process, see this link for the province of Ontario. Each province will have a similar process: Private Prosecutions - Ministry of the Attorney General (gov.on.ca)


A judge and Crown prosecutor decide whether or not to proceed with the charges. In this novel situation, it would not be unusual for them to decline. However, embarking on this process draws attention to a level of hatred shared by public officials that is unprecedented. That in itself has worth. ​


Laying a Private Information or Prosecution provides a mechanism for Canadians to hold officials accountable who are stirring up hatred for individuals who are simply exercising their freedoms to make health care choices. If we believe in freedom, we must believe in freedom for all. Anything else is dividing our nation.


The above does not constitute legal advice.