ELECTIONS - Regulation - Advertising - Third-party advertising

Law360 Canada (April 19, 2023, 6:29 AM EDT) -- Appeal by the appellants from the application judge’s decision that the use of the notwithstanding clause in enacting Protecting Elections and Defending Democracy Act (PEDDA) was proper and the re-enacted spending limits on third-party advertising during the pre-writ period did not infringe on the right to vote. The appellants argued that the application judge erred in his interpretation and application of s. 3 and s. 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter). The third-party spending limits for political advertising were first introduced into the Election Finances Act (EFA). The $600,000 spending limit that applied during the 12-month pre-writ period and other related EFA provisions were successfully challenged on the basis that they infringed third-party advertisers' rights to freedom of expression. In response, the Ontario government introduced PEDDA. Because of PEDDA, s. 37.10.1(2) of the EFA imposed a $600,000 spending limit on political advertising by a third party during the 12-month period preceding the issuance of a writ for a fixed-date general election held. It also provided that a maximum of $24,000 could be spent in any particular electoral district. The appellants challenged the legislation as a violation of s. 3 of the Charter, and as an improper use of s. 33 of the Charter. The application judge concluded that the use of the notwithstanding clause in enacting PEDDA was not improper and the challenged spending restrictions did not violate s. 3 of the Charter....
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