Cyber Libel Updates

Canadian Internet Defamation Rulings

Defamation Damage Awards

Cases published to April 29, 2021

Click on a Case Name for full text (links off site).

2021 April 29
Groh v. Quocksister, 2021 ONSC 3226

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the defendant Silver Arrows Cars Ltd. (on its counterclaim against the plaintiff) damages of $500,000 for loss of business reputation over defamatory remarks in an email made by the plaintiff Groh to a California auction house.  The court found that an auction of a vintage Ferrari was cancelled because of the email.   There was no pecuniary loss to Silver Arrows relating to the Ferrari (which it sold to someone else for more money).  However,  cancellation of the auction compromised Silver Arrow’s long-standing business relationship with a different California company which had supplied Silver Arrow with rare vintage Mercedes roadsters.   Cut off from that supplier, Silver Arrow lost the profits it would have earned from reselling the Mercedes roadsters over a five year period.

2021 March 3
Forces-Vives Inc. v. Comeau,  2021 NBBR 59

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench awarded $2,000 general damages and $1,000 aggravated damages to the plaintiff, a residential care operator, over a defamatory Facebook post which was automatically shared to all of the defendant’s friends and which prompted 14 comments.  The Court also granted a permanent injunction.

2021 February 17
Huff v. Zuk, 2021 ABCA 60, affirming 2019 ABQB 691

The Alberta Court of Appeal sustained a trial judgment which awarded $50,000 to the plaintiff dentist over defamatory allegations in emails, certain website postings and in a newsletter distributed by the defendant to Alberta dentists.

2021 February 12
Marion v. Louie, 2021 BCSC 424

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $20,000 general damages and $10,000 aggravated damages over defamatory allegations made in private text messages to the plaintiff’s business partner and letters critical of the plaintiff sent to the board of directors of an administrative body of which the plaintiff was a member.  The Court’s decision to award aggravated damages was influenced by the Court’s findings that despite being served with a cease and desist letter and the filing of this lawsuit, the defendant continued to post things online which were disparaging of the plaintiff.

2021 February 3
Hategan v. Farber,  2021 ONSC 874

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the defendant Moore damages aggregating $200,000 on her counterclaim against the plaintiff for defamation, invasion of privacy, appropriation of personality and interference with economic relations.  The defamatory statements were published on social media, websites and in emails to third parties (one email went to 500 people)  The libels were serious and wide-ranging.  The award to Moore, which was not broken down between the four causes of action, was made up as follows:  $100,000 general damages; $50,000 aggravated damages; and $50,000 punitive damages.  The court also granted Moore a permanent  injunction because of “a strong likelihood that [the plaintiff] will continue to publish defamatory communications … after judgment.”  The plaintiff’s claims against the defendants were dismissed.

2020 December 22
Rioux v. Demers, 2020 QCCQ 10829

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff $1,000 for injury to reputation arising from Facebook posts published in 2018.  The Court noted that one of the Facebook pages had more than 60,000 subscribers.

2020 December 3
Zoutman v. Graham, 2020 ONCA 767, affirming 2019 ONSC 4921

The Ontario Court of Appeal affirmed a summary judgment by the Ontario Superior Court in favour of the plaintiff medical doctor over 10 defamatory comments posted on RateMDs.com and two defamatory comments posted on another website.   The Court of Appeal found that the motion judge made no palpable and overriding error in finding the defendant was the author of all 12 posts, although the defendant admitted only to posting two of the comments.  The Court of Appeal noted that the finding of authorship was grounded in the evidence as follows:  “The appellant admitted authorship of the July 31, 2014 posting, yet the July 30 posting was virtually identical.   Moreover, the July 30, 2014 posting emanated from the same IP address as the other four postings.  In addition, the postings revealed a consistent style and recurring words and phrases that were suggestive of common authorship.”

The Court of Appeal also declined to disturb the conclusion of the motions court judge on the issue of publication of the defamatory expression to at least one person other than the plaintiff; which is a necessary element of the civil wrong of defamation:

The motions judge found that there was evidence of review by at least one other person and he drew an inference of publication from that and other findings of facts, as described in his reasons …”  “The motions judge acknowledged that there was no evidence from anyone other than the respondent about the extent to which, if at all, persons other than the respondent or his lawyers had viewed the defamatory postings.  However, he determined that an inference of publication could be drawn from the totality of the circumstances, including: a. The comment by an apparent third party on 14 July 2014, referring to Mr. Graham’s earlier posting of 27 November 2013; b. RateMDs.com and similar physician websites are frequently used by the public for the purpose of choosing a physician; c. [the defendant’s] evidence that he authored postings to warn prospective patients about [the plaintiff]; d. [the defendant’s] acknowledgement that he posted the second of the postings that he admits having authored because he found that the first posting had been deleted and was concerned that his message would not be received by the public; and e. The prominence of the RateMDs.com and OntarioDoctor Directory.ca profile in Google searches concerning [the plaintiff].

The Court of Appeal affirmed the motions judge’s award of $25,000 general damages and $25,000 aggravated damages and a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from disseminating defamatory content about the plaintiff.

2020 November 12
Attorney General of Canada v. Manoukian, 2020 QCCA 1486, varying 2018 QCCS 30

In a unanimous decision, the Quebec Court of Appeal added $400,000 punitive damages to a trial verdict against the RCMP in favour of the plaintiffs arising from a negligent and botched police investigation.  The trial judge had awarded $125,000 for loss of income, $21,100 for other pecuniary losses and $150,000 moral damages to plaintiff M;  $50,000 moral damages to plaintiff S; and $20,000 moral damages to each of plaintiffs AM, BM, ChM and CeM.

The $400,000 punitive damages added by the Court of Appeal related largely to misleading statements made both in a press release published on the RCMP’s website on May 18, 2007 and at a press conference.   The Court of Appeal noted that the press release (and the press conference) was not limited to informing the public about the charges laid against the plaintiffs, explaining the nature of the charges, or providing administrative information.  In fact, the press release and press conference purported to provide information about the evidence generated by the police investigation; information which was manifestly false. The Court held that it is not the purpose of a press release or press conference about criminal charges to conduct a trial of the accused in the media.  Police gather evidence for the judicial process; not for the news media.  If police decide to present evidence to the news media, they may be held liable if they err and make erroneous or, as in this case, false statements.

The Court of Appeal judgment details numerous claims made in the RCMP press release and RCMP press conference which the RCMP knew at the time were “false” and “biased.”  The plaintiffs voluntarily exposed themselves to the news media afterwards, but only to repair damage caused by the RCMP.  Reports and articles appeared around the world in various languages.  Mr. M had to return to the middle east to explain his side of the story on television.  The plaintiffs became victims of a media hell (l’enfer mediatique).

The punitive damage award was linked to the dissemination of clearly false information which constitutes an unlawful and intentional interference with the plaintiffs’ right to dignity and inviolability (la faute par les appelants concernant la diffusion d’informations clairement fausses constitue … une atteinte illicite et intentionnellee aux droits a la dignite and l’integrite des M…). Not only did the constables disclose and publish false information, but the information available to the RCMP at the time allowed them to know it was false.   Instead of apologizing or issuing an official retraction, the appellants made untenable arguments on the appeal.    Police officers are required to be forthright in their public communications.  In this case, the police refused to acknowledge their error and apologize.

2020 October 30
9329-6481 Quebec inc. v. Ouimet, 2020 QCCS 3472

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff company $5000 special damages and $12,000 punitive damages over defamatory posts on private and public Facebook group pages which denigrated the training offered by the plaintiff in micropigmentation.  The posts on the private Facebook group (46 members) explicitly named the plaintiff.   The posts on the public Facebook page, which had 5,287 members, did not specifically name the plaintiff but contained pointers which identified the plaintiff company and included a copy of a cease and desist letter served by the plaintiff’s lawyers.  The Court noted there were 2 shares and 33 comments on the public page.  The defendants were commercial competitors.  The Court also ordered a permanent injunction and required the defendants to post a retraction and apology on Facebook.

2020 July 3
Labrecque v. Boudreault, 2020 QCCS 2017

The Quebec Superior Court awarded $10,000 unliquidated damages to the plaintiff landlord over defamatory statements by the defendants (commercial tenants) on Facebook and to a journalist.  [Note:  The Court also ordered the defendants to pay $79,346.11 representing overdue rent].

2020 June 5
Candelora v. Feser, 2020 NSSC 177

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court assessed damages for cyber-bullying under the Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act, S.N.S. 2017, c. 7  “with guidance from caselaw in related areas of tort law, including defamation and breach of privacy.”  The Court had concluded in its decision on liability that the respondent F and the respondent D “had conducted a campaign of cyber-bullying against the applicant [Candelora] in order to intimidate her into dropping [her] legal proceeding” for custody, access and child support.  Rejecting the respondents’ submissions that damages should be limited to the level of a quasi-criminal fine ($5,000), the Court held that cyber-bullying should be treated as a tort and awarded $50,000 general damages, $20,000 aggravated damages and $15,000 punitive damages to Candelora.  The Court noted “the duration and extent of the cyber-bullying, which was prolific” and that “the respondents’ Facebook postings were public, not limited to a narrower group of individuals, and were tantamount to publication”.  “[T]he postings were offensive and designed to intimidate and humiliate” and included “disclosure of sensitive personal facts.”  The Court also noted the respondents’ “lack of contrition, and their repeated assertions that they would continue to post defamatory statements until litigation against them ceased.”

2020 June 3
The College of Pharmacists of Manitoba v. Jorgenson, 2020 MBQB 88

The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench granted summary judgment to the plaintiff for damages aggregating $150,0000 ($50,000 general damages; $50,000 aggravated damages; and $50,000 punitive damages).  The plaintiff had obtained an interim injunction precisely a year earlier on June 3, 2019 [2019 MBQB 87) on the basis of the defendant’s admissions that he had published defamatory statements about various members and employees of the College “by way of postings on social media and emails that have been sent to politicians at all levels of government including the Prime Minister’s office, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the ‘RCMP’) and numerous media outlets.”  The Court noted that the defendant “published the defamation repeatedly, failed to retract it, insisted he has a defence to the claim, and made no apology for his actions.”  “These damage awards relate to both the College’s claims in defamation and in nuisance.”

2020 May 25
Duncan v. Buckles, 2020 ONSC 3219

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice ordered the defendant Lepp to pay the plaintiff Duncan $50,000 general damages, $10,000 aggravated damages and $10,000 punitive damages for a “relentless barrage”  of defamatory blog posts, emails and YouTube videos.  The Court noted that damage to the plaintiff’s reputation was “made clear by the fact that many people signed [an online] petition circulated by Mr. Lepp and posted negative responses about the [the plaintiff] in response to Mr. Lepp’s posts.”

2020 May 19
Turcotte v. Di Bratto, 2020 QCCS 1552

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff $10,000 punitive damages over defamatory accusations conveyed in an email sent by the defendant to the plaintiff’s suppliers in China.  [Note:  The judgment also included an award of $220,000 damages for oppression].

2020 April 24
Hawkins v. Jamieson, 2020 NBQB 83

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff $7,500 general damages over a Facebook post held to be defamatory which appeared on the Internet for one day and did not expressly name the plaintiff.  The Court noted that three Facebook “friends” of the defendant had sworn that he or she read the Facebook post and concluded the post was referring to the plaintiff as the “50/50” business partner.  The Court also stated that “there is evidence that many of [the plaintiff’s] Facebook friends read the post.  Some commented on the post by responding with a Facebook reaction, i.e. an angry face or similar emoji character.  Some expressly made comments.”

2020 April 9
Tremblay v. Gordon, 2020 QCCS 1166

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff lawyer $5,000 damages over a defamatory posting on Google in July, 2019 which negatively affected the plaintiff’s rating.  After noting that a lawyer who appears on the Internet cannot expect to have only positive reviews, the Court held that the defendant had deliberately and in bad faith attacked the lawyer’s reputation by propagating spiteful remarks the defendant knew to be false.  The court noted the short duration of the publication (10 days) and concluded the damage quickly faded.

2020 April 2
H v. M, 2020 BCSC 517

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the individual plaintiff H $50,000 general damages and $25,000 aggravated damages arising from multiple allegedly defamatory  electronic communications posted by the defendant on Facebook and sent by email and Facebook messenger in 2017.  The corporate plaintiff was awarded $25,000 general damages and $500 special damages.  [Note:   The defendant has appealed this judgment.]

2020 April 1
Lu v. Shen, 2020 BCSC 490

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $5,000 defamation damages against the defendant for defamatory posts, made under various online identities, on the Canadameet and Ourdream social media sites.  The defendant was also awarded defamation damages in the amount of $5,000 against the plaintiff for her posts, also made under various online identities, on the same social media sites. [Note: Modest damages awards were made to each party, against the other party, for breach of privacy.]

2020 March 13
Zwarych v. LaLonde, 2020 SKQB 68

The Saskatchewan Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff M, a police officer, general damages of $10,000 over a defamatory YouTube video posted on August 7, 2016 followed by a defamatory comment posted in September, 2016 after a take-down demand from M.  The Court noted that the YouTube video and comments were removed September 29, 2016, after the video had been viewed 1,387 times.  The Court declined to find that the defendant was motivated by actual malice, stating that what the defendant said in his YouTube postings “was a function or product of the mental illness he suffered from.”  The impact of the defamatory YouTube postings was also mitigated because the posts expressly stated that the defendant “is mentally ill” and “[t]his statement within the defamatory statements communicates to all viewers or readers that he is mentally ill and, thus, will necessarily operate to inform the readers that the statements made by [the defendant] are to be taken with a very significant degree of skepticism.”  Alleged defences of qualified privilege, fair comment and justification in relation to the YouTube postings were rejected by the Court.

2020 February 18
Pan v. Gao, 2020 BCCA 58, allowing an appeal from 2018 BCSC 2137

The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the plaintiff from a lower court decision which awarded him only $1 nominal damages.  The lawsuit involved ten related articles on the Internet published by the defendant on the “WeChat” social media platform.  The trial judge found that only two of the articles contained defamatory statements and for which no defence was available. The Appeal Court ruled that the trial judge erred in finding certain other statements were not in fact defamatory, and that the trial judge erred in drawing adverse inferences about the plaintiff’s credibility and the impact of various statements.   The matter was remitted to the lower court to re-assess damages for statements the trial judge found defamatory; assess damages for statements the Appeal Court found defamatory and which the trial judge did not; and determine whether three of the defamatory imputations were protected by a  defence.

2020 February 11
Houseman v. Harrison, 2020 SKQB 36

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff dentist damages aggregating $240,000  for defamation through two internet rating websites known as www.ratemds.com [Rate MDs] and Google Review. The two defendants, ex-employees of the plaintiff who made the postings anonymously, were noted in default in the action. The defamatory reviews were posted between March 1, 2017 and April 2018. The plaintiff had dismissed both defendants from their employment at the clinic when he learned they were defaming him. In assessing damages, the Court stated: “The fact that the offending words were posted on the internet, through a specific rating website, is particularly noteworthy. It is a sign of the times that Canadian courts have seen an increasing number of defamation actions pertaining to uncomplimentary and damaging words posted online. This medium is widely accessible and broadens the ability of anyone to publish harmful comments.” The damage award was broken down as follows: $50,000 general damages; $140,000 special damages; $30,000 aggravated damages ($15,000 payable by each defendant); and $20,000 punitive damages ($10,000 payable by each defendant). The two defendants were also ordered to remove all internet postings and “enjoined, restrained and prohibited from posting any other comments, videos, blogs, or the like, which defame, disparage or otherwise damage the reputation of the plaintiff.

2020 January 13
Theralase Technologies Inc. v. Lanter, 2020 ONSC 205

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the three plaintiffs damages aggregating $450,000 against one named and 10 unidentified defendants (John Does 1 to 10) over defamatory statements published on the “Stockhouse.com” website (not named as a defendant).  The Court described the website as “aimed at investors in Canada and the US” and having “separate pages relating to each company whose shares trade on public markets in North America.”  “The Stockhouse.com webpage for each listed company includes a function called the ‘Bullboard’ which provides an internet chat forum on which users are able to publish self-generated content about the company” and “can do so using pseudonyms to avoid disclosing their true identities.”  The Court noted that in this case, each of the defaulting defendants was served at an email address provided to Stockhouse.com or through their private messaging accounts on the Stockhouse.com website.   The damage awards were as follows:  (a) against the defendant Borovec for four posts; $15,000 general damages to the corporate plaintiff;  $25,000 general damages and $15,000 aggravated damages to the plaintiff Dumoulin-White; general damages of $25,000 and $15,000 aggravated damages to the plaintiff Hachev; (b) against John Doe No. 1 for two comments read 61 and 154 times respectively: $10,000 general damages to plaintiff Dumoulin-White; (c) against John Doe No. 2 for 6 comments, one read 185 times, others between 30 and 90 times: $35,000 general damages and $15,000 aggravated damages to Dumoulin-White; $15,000 general damages to the corporate plaintiff; (d) against John Doe No. 3 for two posts read 59 and 123 times: $10,000 to Dumoulin-White and $10,000 to the corporate plaintiff; (e) against John Doe No. 4: one publication read 133 times: $10,000  general damages to Dumoulin-White and $10,000 general damages to the corporate plaintiff; (f) against John Doe No. 5 for four posts read between 73 and 140 times: $25,000 general damages and $15,000 aggravated damages for Dumoulin-White and $15,000 general damages for the corporate plaintiff; (g) against John Doe No. 6: $7,500 general damages, $10,000 aggravated damages and $17,500 punitive damages for the plaintiff Hachev; (h) against John Doe. No. 7, for two posts read 242 times and 156 times respectively: $15,000 general damages for Dumoulin-White; (i) against John Doe No. 8 for five posts read between 59 and 238 times: $35,000 general damages to the corporate plaintiff; (j) against John Doe No. 9 for four posts, read between 150 and 171 times:  $25,000 general damages for Dumoulin-White; and (k) against John Doe No. 10 for four posts read between 117 and 118 times: $35,000 general damages for the corporate plaintiff; and $25,000 general damages and $15,000 aggravated damages for the Dumoulin-White.  With respect to costs, the Court stated that “the defaulting defendants’ failure to participate in this action makes their conduct all the more abusive.  They have caused the plaintiffs to incur substantial sums to ferret out their identities such as they have done and to prove their cases … their cowardice is reprehensible … and they should bear costs on a substantial indemnity basis.

2020 January 8
Skafco Ltd. v. Abdalla, 2020 ONSC 136

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted summary judgment for defamatory remarks published on social media by the defendant Abdalla and awarded nominal damages of $1,000 to the corporate plaintiff, which operates a restaurant.  The defamatory remarks occurred after a dispute arose between the plaintiffs and the defendant over the former’s sponsorship of a festival.  The Court also awarded $8,000 general damages to the plaintiff Yagloui  and $6,000 to the plaintiff Yacoub, who owned the plaintiff corporation.  The individual defendant posted defamatory comments on Facebook, in a WhatsApp group, and on Twitter. The court noted: “No one who was proferred as a witness on behalf of the plaintiffs felt that the reputation of the individual defendants (sic) had been diminished in their minds. This does not mean the plaintiffs are disentitled to damages, because in defamation actions damages are presumed, but it may demonstrate there is little basis for a significant damages award.”  The Court also noted that “the Facebook postings were transitory and were deleted” and the “WhatsApp posting was by and large to a group of 60 people who may be regarded as festival insiders.”

2019 December 9
Zhong v. Wu, 2019 ONSC 7088

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff, an active member of multiple WeChat groups, defamation damages of $35,000 over dozens of messages posted on WeChat by the defendant from February to May, 2019.  Ruling in the plaintiff’s favour on a summary judgment application, the Court stated: “WeChat is a social media platform operated by a Chinese company [which] provides a function called WeChat Group, which allows users to create discussion groups to chat with group members, post images, text, etc. … Information posted in a WeChat Group is viewable and accessible to all group members and can only be deleted by the member who posted the information. … Information or messages posted in one WeChat group can be copied and forwarded to other groups, thus rendering the information potentially accessible to all WeChat users.”   In assessing damages, the Court also noted there was no way of knowing how many members of the plaintiff’s group or groups actually read the posts, and no evidence that any of the plaintiff’s friends read the posts or caused additional embarrassment by discussing it with him.  Although the Court found the defendant acted with malice, it was “not among the more serious or pronounced forms of malice.”  The defendant had not offered an apology, but did not hold “a position of status or public influence that would lend weight to the false statements he has made.”  There was no claim for income loss or any evidence of actual reputational   harm.  “While the defendant’s conduct did not rise to a level warranting punitive damages, it certainly rose to the level of warranting an order for full indemnity costs.”

2019 November 27
Kumar v. Khurana, 2019 ONSC 6825

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff $500 as nominal damages in a default judgment against his nephew over five emails sent to a small number of the plaintiff’s relatives. The Court stated that the emails “were sent in quick succession on three days, and may be appropriately described as insults or rants to which reasonable people would likely give little credence.”

2019 October 29
Simon v. Poirier, 2019 YKSC 56

The Yukon Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $20,000 general damages and $10,000 aggravated damages in a default judgment against the defendant, her former fiancé, for two false Facebook posts following their separation which the Court held were false and defamatory. The Court stated there was no evidence the defendant had apologized or retracted his allegations.

2019 October 3
Wilson v. Wilson, 2019 ONSC 5726

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff $15,000 general damages against his ex‐wife over a series of Facebook posts which the Court found conveyed false and defamatory accusations.

2019 September 25
Rook v. Halcrow, 2019 BCSC 2253

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $175,000 general damages, $25,000 aggravated damages and $29,870 (US) special damages for defamatory publications on Instagram and on other websites by an ex‐girlfriend following the termination of their relationship. The Court also granted the plaintiff an injunction. In his reasons, the trial judge stated: “The courts have recognised that the internet can be used as an exceedingly effective tool to harm reputations. This is one such case.”

2019 September 6
Huff v. Zuk, 2019 ABQB 691

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff dentist $50,000 general damages for false and defamatory statements published by the defendant dentist in emails, website posts, an e‐book, by fax and orally.  The Court rejected pleaded defences of justification (truth) and responsible communication.  Although the Court held that several publications occurred on occasions of qualified privilege (namely informal complaints to members of the Executive of the Council of the Dentists’ professional body), that defence was defeated because the defendant was actuated by express malice.

2019 August 23
Cantin c. Lemay, 2019 QCCQ 5632

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff, an elected union official, defamation damages totalling $18,000 against four defendants.  Broken down, the damages included:  $8,500 payable by the defendant Lemay; $7,000 payable by the defendant Sincennes; $2,000 payable by the defendant Daniel; and $500 payable by the defendant Martin.  The defamatory statements were made in emails and in posts on the union’s Facebook page and made false accusations impugning the plaintiff’s character and his performance in office.

2019 August 19
Robillard v. 91439 Canada ltee (Editions de Mortagne), 2019 QCCS 3529

 

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the defendant $12,000 moral damages and $3,000 punitive damages against the plaintiff on a counterclaim concerning false and defamatory posts by the plaintiff on social media which criticized the defendant’s business practices.  This ruling noted the evidence disclosed there were 5,496 “visits” to the plaintiff’s social media site and that one defamatory post appeared on a public forum which had huge numbers of visitors.

2019 July 12
Salon Karo Pro Koiffe c. Lafferiere,  2019 QCCS 4352

The Superior Court of Quebec ordered the defendant Lafferriere to pay a total of $12,500 defamation damages to the corporate and individual plaintiffs.  Broken down, the judgment amounts were as follows: $4,000 to the plaintiff Fiset for moral damages; $1,000 to the plaintiff Lavoie; $5,000 pecuniary damages to the plaintiff Salon Karo Pro Koiffe; and $2,500 punitive damages jointly to all three plaintiffs. The plaintiffs, who operated a hair salon, were defamed in postings by the defendant on her own Facebook page and on the Salon’s business Facebook page.  The defendant also posted a one star review on Google which urged people not to patronize the Salon.  This ruling noted that one defamatory comment concerning the plaintiff Fiset had become the object of 466 comments and 108 shares.

2019 July 10
9173‐1521 Quebec inc. v. Cohen, 2019 QCCS 2892

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the plaintiff corporation $7,500 punitive damages against the defendant who had put up a large poster in a strategic location to catch the attention of passersby and cause them to visit a website operated by a third party where defamatory accusations about the plaintiff had been posted.  The Court held that the wording on the poster and the website falsely impugned the credibility of the corporation.

2019 June 21
9353‐0913 Quebec inc. c. Pare,  2019 QCCQ 4324

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff fitness company damages totaling $3,500 damages for defamatory posts on Facebook which falsely accused the plaintiff of violating consumer legislation.  The defendant Pare, on whose Facebook account the posts were published, was ordered to pay $1,000 moral damages and $500 punitive damages.  The defendant Renaud, who authored the Facebook posts, was ordered to pay $1,000 moral damages and $1,000 punitive damages.  The defendants never retracted or apologized. The Court noted that although words published on social media can be particularly damaging and reprehensible, the plaintiff had not tendered evidence about the number of people who read the posts or their identity.  There was no evidence of specific loss to the business.

2019 May 30
Emeny v. Tomaszewski,  2019 ONSC 3298

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff comedian $250,000 general damages, $100,000 special damages and $100,000 punitive damages over 17 false and defamatory posts by the defendant comedian which made serious accusations of misconduct against women.  The Court noted that posts on social media are shared instantly and remain accessible worldwide.  In this case, the Court held that the defamatory posts resulted in the “near total destruction of [the plaintiff’s] career” and a “compromised state of mental health.” The Court also granted a permanent injunction.

2019 May 15
Blanchet c. Puribec inc., 2019 QCCQ 3141

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded $1,000 non‐pecuniary defamation damages to the defendant Puribec inc. for its counterclaim arising from an unfavourable review posted by the plaintiffs Blanchet and Lapointe on the “Reviews” section of the defendant’s business Facebook page as well as certain negative comments.  The Court held that nine friends or close relatives of the plaintiffs had added unfavorable comments to the same Facebook page although they had never been customers of the defendant.  Each plaintiff was also ordered to pay $500 punitive damages.

2019 May 7
Joelle c. Bayiga, 2019 QCCS 1808

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded $20,000 moral damages and $10,000 punitive damages to the plaintiff over false and defamatory allegations published in five videos posted to the Internet which attacked the personal history and character of the plaintiff.  The Court noted that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence.  The Court ordered the defendant to remove the defamatory videos from her Facebook page and other Internet sites where they had been posted and to retract and apologize to the plaintiff on Facebook within 30 days.

2019 April 30
Paramount v. Kevin J. Johnston, 2019 ONSC 2910

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded $2.5 million to the plaintiffs for general, aggravated, punitive and special damages.  The Court described the defendant as a self‐styled journalist and the owner of FreedomReport.ca, YouTube channels, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and other social media accounts and websites. Although the Court award was not broken down into the separate heads of damages mentioned above, a very substantial component of the award appears to be compensation for loss of a substantial contract overseas. The Court characterized the central defamatory accusation as “about as serious and damaging an allegation as can be made in these times.”

2019 April 23
Holden v. Hanlon, 2019 BCSC 622

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded $20,000 general damages and $7,500 aggravated damages to the individual plaintiff over a series of postings made in 2016 and 2017 by the defendant Hanlon on various social media platforms and internet discussion forums. The individual plaintiff operates a people locating and process serving agency. The defendant Schiele was held jointly liable with the defendant Hanlon for $1,000 of the general damage award. The Court considered that the defamation was serious and falsely impugned the plaintiff’s integrity and ethics. The plaintiff, who suffered humiliation and anxiety, was compelled to change her name and her company’s name and to reorganize her businesses.

2019 April 15
Pullano v. Hinder, 2019 ONSC 2362

In this case, an Ontario Superior Court jury awarded $50,000 damages to the defendant on his counterclaim against the plaintiff for defamation.  The trial judge noted that the jury had found 31 instances of defamation by the plaintiff who called into question that integrity of the plaintiff and sought to sully his name by attacks on social media.  The Court stated: “Social media attacks on individuals have become all too commonplace in recent years. They are evidently an inexpensive method by which motivated individuals are able to launch distant but personal attacks on others with aplomb and apparent disregard for the consequences … [the plaintiff’s] online campaign against the Defendants serves as an unfortunate example of how communication by social media often deteriorate into irresponsible comment and uncivilized dialogue between individual citizens on matters of public and private interest.”

2019 March 18
MGTL and others v. J.A.C. and others, Queen’s Bench of Alberta Court File Number 1801‐0764, Calgary Judicial Centre

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta awarded damages totaling $500,000 over various defamatory publications on Facebook, Twitter and Internet websites.  This award consisted of $100,000 general damages and $40,000 punitive damages to the corporate plaintiffs; $100,000 general damages, $40,000 aggravated damages and $40,000 punitive damages to the individual plaintiff B; and $100,000 general damages; $40,000 aggravated damages; and $40,000 punitive damages to the individual plaintiff M.  The Court also ordered an injunction requiring the removal of the defamatory expression from the internet.

2019 March 13
Ayotte v. Chiaramonte, 2019 QCCS 851

The Quebec Superior Court awarded $15,000 moral damages and $10,000 punitive damages to the plaintiff personal trainor against the defendant G over the latter’s defamatory Instagram video posts which made serious allegations of misconduct.  The Court held that the defendants “made a concerted effort to ensure the maximum exposure and damage possible to [the plaintiff’s] reputation and career.” Together, the defendants had 65,000 followers on their Instagram accounts.   The Court noted the plaintiff relied on social media and in particular Instagram and Facebook to build his own business and to increase his clientele but was unable to identify specific income loss.  The defendant G was ordered to retract her statements on her Instagram account.

2019 March 3
Bergeron c. Landry‐Beaudoin, 2019 QCCQ 5938

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded a total of $5,500 to three plaintiffs over false and defamatory allegations by the defendant relating to their conduct regarding a family dog.  Although the primary target of the defamatory claims was deceased, the Court held that his surviving family members were entitled to be awarded damages under Quebec law when the false allegations implicated them to some degree.

2019 February 26
9184‐8630 Quebec inc. c. Bouchard, 2019 QCCS 919

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded $10,000 damages and $5,000 punitive damages as well as $6,962.32 legal costs to the plaintiff over false and defamatory allegations on the defendant’s Facebook page impugning the plaintiff’s decision to retain a particular employee.  The Court found that the defendant had threatened to publish a warning to the plaintiff’s customers via the Internet about the plaintiff’s decision to employ a certain individual.  The Court noted that once a post appears on Facebook, it escapes the control of its author.   In this case, the Court found that the defamatory post had been shared or liked 2,697 times.

2019 February 7
Mueller v. Livingston, 2019 NBQB 28

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench (Trial Division) ordered the defendant artist to pay the plaintiff, who owned an art gallery, $2,500 general damages for defamation arising from a Facebook post.  Thirty-three people “liked” the post; fourteen “shared” the post.  The Court noted that “the offending comment was somewhat quickly removed by Facebook as being against their administrative policies.”

2019 January 14
Grochowski v. Young, 2019 ONSC 326

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff emergency room doctor $12,500 general damages against the defendant (an emergency room patient) who posted a commentary to the plaintiff’s letter to the editor on a newspaper website.  The comments held to be defamatory were posted for approximately 4 days before being removed by the newspaper.  The court held, in determining that the commentary was defamatory, that the impugned statements  by the defendant were to be “considered in context to all of the overall statements made by the defendant in the online commentary.”

2019 January 8
G & B Maternite c. Claveau et Cantin, 2019 QCCQ 48

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded $15,000 moral damages to the plaintiff company jointly against the two defendants; one a store owner and the other a business competitor.   The plaintiff was also awarded $5,000 punitive damages against the store owner and $2,000 punitive damages against the competitor. The defamatory statements were published on Facebook and falsely impugned the integrity and ethics of the plaintiff.  The defendants published defamatory posts, comments and replies on their own Facebook pages.  Facebook posts by the store owner were copied in reposted by others elsewhere on the Internet.  The plaintiff received accusatory messages from third parties and one client refused to handle the plaintiff’s products.

2018 December 18
Sustainable Development Technology Canada v. Sigurdson, 2018 ONSC 7320

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff non-profit foundation and two individual plaintiffs (the Presidend/CEO and a Director) a total of $45,000 general damages over the defendant’s allegations arising from a dispute over the defendant’s consulting invoices.  The Court made a finding that the defendant’s “defamatory communications were published through numerous emails and letters addressed to dozens of prominent individuals in both the public and private sectors.”  There had been no retraction or apology.  A permanent injunction was also made against the defendant.

2018 December 4
Khabazian v. Stancevski Estate, 2018 CanLII 123233

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Small Claims Court) awarded the plaintiffs, a moving company and its owner, $5,000 defamation damages relating to a website set up by the defendants which remained active as of trial.  The defendants’ website displayed photographs taken from the Facebook account of the plaintiff.

2018 November 29
Gestion immobiliere Lafrance & Mathieu inc. c Matt et Jaff inc., 2018 QCCS 5149

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the plaintiff property management company $10,000 non-pecuniary damages and $5,000 punitive damages over an email letter sent by the defendants (ex-employees) to 15 clients of the plaintiff.  The Court found that the email letter was defamatory and designed to draw clients away from the plaintiff.

2018 November 27
Wilson v. Canwest Publishing Inc., 2018 BCCA 441

The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed a defence appeal and set aside a libel damages award of $140,000 made August 3, 2017: 2017 BCSC 1366.

2018 November 19
Tiutiun v. Kungsun, 2018 QCCS 5331

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the plaintiff $1,000 moral damages for defamation and $1,000 punitive damages (plus $3,000 for invasion of privacy) against another resident of an 84-unit condominium over allegations made in emails to the condominium board, a board committee, the building manager and certain co-owners.

2018 November 9
Hampton Securities Ltd. v. Dean, 2018 ONCA 901, affirming 2018 ONSC 101

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a lower court trial judgment [2018 ONSC 101] which awarded $25,000 general damages and $25,000 punitive damages to the defendant relating to her defamation counterclaim against the plaintiff.  The plaintiff, who appealed the trial verdict, failed to establish a defence of  qualified privilege because the content of his disparaging statements to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC) “clearly exceeded the scope of the duty to report all internal discipline matters or the duty to warn of potential risks that registered individuals may create.”

2018 November 7
9190-6206 Quebec inc. c Lagha, 2018 QCCQ 8361

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff travel agency $1,000 moral damages and $500 punitive damages against a former client over allegations in a Google review. A related claim over a post on the defendant’s Facebook page was rejected on the basis it only appeared for 48 hours and the defendant only had six “friends.”

2018 October 9
Digital Shape Technologies Inc. c Walker, Digital Shape Technologies Inc. c Walker, 2018 QCCS 4374

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the plaintiff software company $10,000 moral damages and $1,000 punitive damages over an anonymous post on RateMyEmployer.ca.  The Court held that the post was defamatory and violated a non-disparagement clause and constituted a breach of contract by the defendant, a former employee.

2018 October 4
Cicalese v. Saipem Canada Inc., 2018 ABQB 835

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff, a former employee of the defendant Saipem Canada Inc., general damages of $50,000 for defamation against the defendant (parent company) Saipem SpA.  The defamatory expression was contained in a press release issued by the parent company which was republished in an industry publication and on the website of the Wall Street Journal.  Although the Court found that some readers would know the plaintiff was the subject of the defamatory statements, the fact he was not expressly named had an impact on the damages award.  “I limit the damages somewhat due to the uncertainty around how many would have been aware that the issues raised in this article were about him.”

2018 September 10
Mokaddem c Larue, 2018 QCCS 4145

The Superior Court of Quebec, assessing defamation damages in default of a defence, awarded the plaintiff $10,000 moral damages and $50,000 pecuniary damages for lost contracts over statements posted by the defendant on social media.

2018 August 13
Assn. pour l’integration social d’Ottawa c. Casimir, 2018 ONSC 4754

The Ontario Superior Court awarded defamation damages collectively totaling $6,000 to the plaintiff non-profit society, its director R and councillor M, for what the Court held was a campaign of defamation by a disgruntled ex-employee.  The statements held to be defamatory were made orally at demonstrations near the plaintiffs’ offices; on placards at those demonstrations; on posters stapled to trees and put on car windshields; in emails and on Twitter.  The court awarded the individual plaintiff R  $1,000 general damages and $500 punitive damages; the individual plaintiff M $1,000 general damages and $500 punitive damages; and the non-profit society $2,000 general damages and $1,000 punitive damages.  A permanent injunction was also granted.

2018 August 9
White v. Zed, 2018 NBQB 176

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench (Trial Division) awarded $35,000 in general damages and $10,000 punitive damages to the plaintiff lawyer over defamatory accusations made by the defendant on Facebook.  The Court held the accusations were “simply outrageous, scandalous and reprehensible” and said there was “not a shred of evidence” to support them.  The plaintiff did not tender any evidence he lost clients or that his business income had decreased because of the defamation.  The Court was not told how long the accusations were published or how many times the Facebook posts were shared.  The plaintiff did obtain a pre-trial injunction quickly after he became aware of the accusations, and the posts disappeared after a few days.  No finding of malice was made against the defendant.

2018 August 9
Rutman v. Rabinowitz, 2018 CanLII 73625

The Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal from 2018 ONCA 80, which dismissed the appeal from the trial judgment of November 30, 2016: 2016 ONSC 5864.

2018 August 9
Somani v. Jilani, 2018 BCSC 1331

The BC Supreme Court awarded the defendant Jilani $50,000 ($10,000 general damages; $15,000 aggravated damages; $25,000 punitive damages) on her counterclaim for allegations in an article posted on the Internet.  The court also awarded the unrepresented defendant (plaintiff by counterclaim) $75,000 for costs.

2018 July 26
Midwest Amusement Park, LLC v. Cameron Motorsports Inc., 2018 ONSC 4549

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff companies damages at large of $500,000 over what the Court held was “an outrageous and egregious attack on their reputation.” The Court was satisfied that their business suffered financially and that their principals and representatives suffered from abuse, threats, and slanders and hate mongering.  Certain allegations were made on CBS Evening News.  The Court held that the defendant also sent numerous text and phone messages to people associated with the plaintiffs.  [Note:  The Court also awarded punitive damages of $500,000 but it is not clear from the judgment whether this award related to the conduct which constituted injury to reputation].

2018 July 10
Awada c Magnan, 2018 QCCS 3023

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff Dalila Awada $50,000 moral damages and $10,000 punitive damages over defamatory Internet posts by the defendant blogger relating to the plaintiff’s involvement in the debate over proposed legislation.  The defendant, who described himself as a “blogger and citizen,” posted anonymously using various  “avatars” on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  Certain videos and publications were widely disseminated by third parties.  Note: The judgment includes a cogent discussion of the dangers of false news, calling it just as much a threat to democracy as muzzling the press.

2018 June 27
Saywell c Le Gris, 2018 QCCS 2779

The Quebec Superior Court awarded $7,500 non-pecuniary damages and $5,000 punitive damages to the plaintiff, a former politician and lawyer, who was defamed in an email sent by the defendant to various news media, the Quebec Police, a government commission and various other government entities.

2018 June 18
Kazakoff v. Taft, 2018 BCCA 241

The British Columbia Court of Appeal varied the damage award made by the trial judge (2017 BCSC 737) by reducing the general damages from $50,000 to $25,000 and the aggravated damages from $25,000 to $10,000.  The Court also varied the costs awarded to the plaintiff by stipulating they should be ordinary costs, not special costs.

2018 June 12
Acumen Law Corporation v. Nguyen, 2018 BCSC 961

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff law firm and plaintiff lawyer $1.00 (One Dollar) in damages over a Google Plus review by a disgruntled client which the court found was posted in the heat of the moment, written in poor English, and contained spelling mistakes and poor punctuation.  The Court held that if the posting was defamatory, it was “at the lowest end of the scale.”

2018 May 24
Chase v. Anfinson,  2018 BCSC 856

The B.C. Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $3,500 general damages against a defendant who posted defamatory statements on the “Ripoff Report” website which the Court stated “is apparently dedicated to providing an opportunity for people to publicize when they have been cheated.”  The Court also stated:  “I accept that what is published on the internet must be taken seriously for the purposes of assessing a claim for defamation.  However, in the specific case of the Ripoff Report … the site itself encourages negative content …this feature of the Ripoff Report makes exchanges on that site more prone to hyperbole and venting…”

2018 May 23
Magno v Balita Media Inc., 2018 ONSC 3230

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff $300,000 general/aggravated damages and $110,000 punitive damages against the defendant newspaper over articles published in its print editions and on its Internet website.  The defamatory statements were also published on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and in an online forum.  The Court stated:  “The defendants have engaged in a persistent campaign to injury Magno; have ruined his reputation; and have done so with malice.  They have refused to apologize and have given no indication that they are prepared to stop their irresponsible defamatory attacks.”

2018 May 22
Hall v. Razutis, 2018 BCSC 841

The B.C. Supreme Court awarded $7,500 general damages to the plaintiff over a number of defamatory publications including posts to an Internet message board and on Facebook.  “Publishing defamatory allegations on the Internet web has aggravated the harm that the plaintiff has suffered because the allegations do become a permanent visible record in the public domain and cannot be extinguished regardless of the outcome of this legal action.”  The Court further stated:  “The Internet is impossible to control and the posts will now last forever and cannot be retracted.”

2018 May 5
Droit de la famille -18739, 2018 QCCS 1457

The Superior Court of Quebec ordered that a father pay his son $5,000 damages for injury to reputation in relation to a post on Facebook.  The post, which was given limited dissemination to the father’s friends, mocked his son’s academic record, called him among other things the “village idiot,” a “liar,” “profiteer” and “cheat”.

2018 March 19
Nazerali v. Mitchell, 2018 BCCA 104

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia varied the damage award made by the trial judge (See below: 2016 BCSC 810 – May 6, 2016) by reducing the aggravated damages from $500,000 to $200,000.

 

2018 February 22
Hee Creations Group Ltd. (c.o.b. Amara Wedding) v. Chow, 2018 BCSC 260

The B.C. Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff damages totalling $115,000 over a dozen internet social media posts published by the female defendant, a bride, concerning wedding services provided by the plaintiff.  The publications held to be defamatory appeared on English and Chinese language blogs, forums and social media sites, including Facebook, VanPeople, Weibo (Sina blog), Weixan (WeChat), and Blogger.  The award consisted of $75,000 general damages, $15,000 aggravated damages and $25,000 punitive damages.

2018 January 31
Rutman v. Rabinowitz, 2018 ONCA 80

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from a November 30, 2016 trial judgment which awarded the plaintiff $200,000 general damages, $200,000 aggravated damages and $300,000 punitive damages in relation to the court’s finding that the plaintiff was subjected to an orchestrated internet defamation campaign.

2018 January 10
Brauer v. Raymond, 2018 NSCA 4

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal dismissed a cross-appeal by the plaintiff to extend the time for pursuing his appeal to the Court of Appeal.  The defendants had discontinued their appeal from a dismissal of their counterclaim against Raymond, who was awarded $8,500 defamation damages against the defendant Brauer by the trial judge. The core defamation claims stemmed from internet postings and communications made by the defendant Brauer.

2018 January 9
Karawi c Blais, 2018 QCCQ 457

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff $20,000 damages plus $4,416 income loss over false and defamatory allegations by the defendant in several emails, that impacted the plaintiff`s relationship with her colleagues, management, professional association and others.

2018 January 8
Hampton Securities Ltd. v. Dean, 2018 ONSC 101

The Ontario Superior Court awarded the defendant (plaintiff by counterclaim) $25,000 general damages over a document filed on the National Research Database which defamed the plaintiff, and ordered the defendant to file a notice of correction with IRROC.

2017 December 19
Mercille c Leduc, 2017 QCCS 6079

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff moral damages of $10,000 and punitive damages of $5,000 against the defendant over defamatory allegations concerning a confrontation.  The defendant’s defamatory statements were published in newspapers, following which they were republished on Facebook and other social media.

2017 December 18
Skene c Sanatorium historique Lac-Edouard, 2017 QCCS 5992

The Quebec  Superior Court awarded the defendant non-profit society (plaintiff by counterclaim) $40,000 damages over a series of defamatory Facebook posts which cause the defendant to incur financial losses.

2017 November 6
9341-5875 Quebec inc. (Ecole de conduit Hermes) c. Dube, 2017 QCCQ 12894

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff company $1,000 damages and the plaintiff individual $2,500 moral damages over a Facebook post.   The  defendant was also ordered to pay $300 punitive damages jointly to the plaintiffs.

2017 November 3
Paderewski Society Home (Niagara) v. Skorski, 2017 ONSC 6594

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff non-profit company $10,000 general damages over certain defamatory allegations by the defendants in an article posted on the “Mayorgate” website on January 15, 2014.  The defamatory article remained on that website until this judgment was pronounced on November 3, 2017. The Court also granted an injunction requiring removal of the defamatory article.  [Note: An appeal has been filed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.]

2017 October 23
Begon Fawcett c. Colas, 2017 QCCS 4835

The Quebec Superior Court ordered the plaintiffs to pay the female defendant Colas (a plaintiff by counterclaim) moral damages of $40,000 and punitive damages of $15,000 over defamatory accusations made in emails, websites, social media including Facebook, and in communications to the news media, in press releases, submissions to the CRTC, and anonymous news articles.  The co-defendant Castonguay was awarded $10,000 moral damages and $7,500 over the same defamatory accusations.  The plaintiff was also ordered to pay $15,000 jointly to Colas and Castonguay.  The Court noted that defamatory publications on the Internet were essentially indelible.

2017 September 29
Tomlinson v. Gordon, 2017 NWTSC 68

The Northwest Territories Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $50,000 general damages for defamation as a consequence of defamatory imputations published “to some through electronic means and to others by providing a printed copy of the image accompanied by the spoken word.  Publishing electronically allowed the image and the words to be distributed easily to a wide audience … This is borne out in the Facebook ‘chats’ and other activity which ensued.

2017 September 26
GMR inc. c. Gagnon, 2017 QCCQ 11807

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded each of the three plaintiffs $1,500 moral damages and $1,000 punitive damages over a defamatory email sent by the defendant to the City of Quebec, a client of the plaintiffs.   The Court noted the defamatory email was given limited dissemination.

2017 September 21
Gendreau c Fondation Corazon du Quebec, 2017 QCCQ 11230

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff Gendreau defamation damages of $1,000 and punitive damages of $500 against the individual defendant whocreated the Foundation, over over a Facebook post which was online for only 17 hours and was removed before the plaintiff complained about it.  The plaintiff was also awarded $500 defamation damages and $200 punitive damages against the other individual co-defendant and against the Foundation over another Facebook post.  With respect to a counterclaim, one of the individual defendants and the Foundation were awarded $4000 defamation damages and $1000 punitive damages against the plaintiffGendreau and another individual plaintiff  over a comment posted to the Huffington Post Quebec Facebook page.  The Court noted the large circle of diffusion of the Huffington Post Facebook page and the fact that the defamatory post appeared from December 2016 to February 7, 2017.

2017 August 9
Engel v. Edmonton Police Assn., 2017 ABQB 495

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff general damages of $50,000 against the Edmonton Police Union over a single defamatory article on its public website which was posted in September 2008.

2017 August 3
Lougheed Estate v. Wilson, 2017 BCSC 1366

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff, an ex-politician, $125,000 general damages on a counterclaim against The Province newspaper over a defamatory allegation and $15,000 against a blogger who published certain allegations made in an anonymous letter.

2017 July 28
Nassri v. Homsi, 2017 ONSC 4554

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff individual general damages of $50,000, aggravated damages of $20,000 and punitive damages of $20,000 over a defamatory post on the Internet.  The court noted that “use of the internet allowed the defendant to direct the publication to the 456 people to whom he sent the [defamatory]posting ….”  The court also noted that the defendant posted follow up articles on Facebook which generated 4,300 “likes.”  “What this points out is that the defendant has used the internet both to deliver defamatory material to specific individuals and more generally to anyone who has cause to read the … Facebook profile.  To put it differently [the defendant] has attempted to make comprehensive use of what publication over the internet offers.

2017 July 27
Wesley v. Jakubec, 2017 CanLII 55420

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Small Claims Court) awarded the plaintiff $25,000 general damages over defamatory allegations published in online publications, the defendant’s website and Facebook page.  The court stated:  “I can take judicial notice of the fact that once information is placed on the World Wide Web, it cannot be withdrawn or removed.

2017 July 13
Giasson c. Naud, 2017 QCCS 3205

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff municipal officer moral damages of $15,000 and punitive damages of $2,000 over defamatory allegations made in an email, oral statements and a printed pamphlet delivered to local residents.  The Court ordered the defendant to publish its defamation verdict on Facebook.

2017 June 13
Boyer c. Loto-Quebec, 2017 QCCA 951

The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from the February 8, 2016 judgment of the Quebec Superior Court which awarded defamation damages of $50,000 to Loto-Quebec et Societe du jeu virtuel du Quebec inc (“SJVQ”).

2017 June 7
Bellmare c. Bernard, 2017 QCCQ 6925

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff company $3,000 pecuniary damages for loss of profits and the individual plaintiff $500 moral damages and $500 punitive damages over a defamatory Facebook posting by the defendant seen by 1500 people during the period July 31-August 4, 2016.

2017 June 4
Kumar v. Khurana, 2017 ONSC 3386

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Divisional Court dismissed an appeal by a libel plaintiff from the quantum of damages awarded by the trial judge, namely $15,000 general damages, $15,000 aggravated damages and $2,000 costs relating to statements made on Facebook and in private emails.  See trial verdict at 2015 ONSC 7858.

2017 May 31
Leduc c. Houda-Pepin, 2017 QCCQ 5661

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded $20,000 compensatory damages and $4,000 punitive damages to the mayor of a large city in Quebec over defamatory allegations published by the defendant in a letter to a local newspaper and on the defendant’s own website.  Eventually, over a million people came to learn of these allegations.

2017 May 4
Kazakoff v. Taft, 2017 BCSC 737

The B.C. Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $50,000 general damages and $25,000 aggravated damages over a post by the defendant to a local news internet website.  An appeal from this decision was heard by the BC Court of Appeal on February 26, 2018.  Judgment is reserved.

2017 April 21
Weaver v. Corcoran, 2017 BCCA 160

The B.C. Court of Appeal set aside a trial verdict for $50,000 general damages on the basis the trial judge had erred in law in determining defamatory meaning.   A new trial is scheduled for the fall of 2018.

2017 April 6
Gagnon v. Firth, 2017 YKSC 26

The Supreme Court of Yukon awarded the plaintiff $45,000 general damages and $10,000 punitive/aggravated damages over defamatory allegations by the defendant which were published on internet websites and by the mainstream news media.

2017 April 6
McNairn v Murphy, 2017 ONSC 1678

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff $50,000 general damages, $10,000 aggravated damages and $10,000 punitive damages against the defendant in relation to defamatory emails sent to 37 recipients.   The plaintiff was also awarded $70,000 general damages, $10,000 aggravated damages and $10,000 punitive damages against the defendant P over other defamatory allegations.

2017 February 7
Graham v. Purdy et al, 2017 SKQB 42

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff $50,000 general damages and $50,000 aggravated damages over a number of articles in the defendant newspaper and on the newspaper’s websites.

2016 December 22
Moak v. Hart, [2016] O.J. No. 6689, Court File No: SC 15-386

The Small Claims Court (Cornwall Ontario) awarded the plaintiff $2,000 general damages against the defendants for conspiracy to injure his reputation in relation to Facebook posts. The Court found that the defendants conspired to first lay a complaint with the plaintiff’s professional body, and secondly, to circulate on Facebook the fact that a complaint had been laid and some of the contents of the complaint. The professional regulator eventually dismissed the complaint, which was protected by absolute privilege. The Facebook posts were only protected by qualified privilege, however, which was defeated by the Court’s finding that the defendants were actuated by malice. In this case, unlike a defamation case, the essential element of the proven tort of conspiracy is the agreement and intent to injure. In assessing damages, the Court stated: “The publication lasted days and not weeks. I have no direct evidence whether the blogs were widely read. To some extent they give the impression of bloggers shouting in an echo chamber and they may have been simply preaching to the converted.

2016 December 22
Awan v. Levant, 2016 ONCA 970

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from the trial judgement pronounced November 27, 2014 [2014 ONSC 6890] which awarded the plaintiff $50,000 general damages and $30,000 aggravated damages over nine defamatory posts to an online blog.

2016 December 16
Gelinas c. Hebert, 2016 QCCQ 15212

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) [Small Claims Court] awarded the defendant $3,000 moral damages over his counterclaim for defamatory statements made in emails and a letter.

2016 November 30
Lamoureux c. Bourgault, 2016 QCCS 6265

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff developer $30,000 moral damages against the defendant over false allegations concerning the plaintiff. The impugned statements were made in emails to the plaintiff’s business associates, court pleadings and oral statements. [Note: Under Quebec law, unlike the law in the other provinces, defamatory statements in court pleadings may be actionable in certain circumstances.]

2016 November 30
Rutman v. Rabinowitz, 2016 ONSC 5864

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff accountant $200,000 general damages, $200,000 aggravated damages, and $300,000 punitive damages over a defamatory internet campaign. Liability for defamation damages and punitive damages was admitted by the defendant. No special damages were claimed.

The Court stated that the damage award “must take account of the unique and somewhat insidious nature of internet defamation.” The Court found that the defendant “used fake emails to make it look like there were dozens of people” who were disparaging of the plaintiff. These posts went on for months. When some posts were removed by the site administrator, new ones took their place. The Court also found that the defendant used certain pseudonyms to make it look as if some of the posts were from the plaintiff’s family, friends and business associates. The defendant also sent emails, faked to look like they were from the plaintiff, which encouraged readers to visit the defamatory posts. These were sent to over 200 family, friends and associates. With respect to punitive damages, the Court held that the defendant installed IP-masking software so he could continue the campaign against the plaintiff without being detected. The defendant also eventually destroyed evidence despite court preservation orders.

2016 November 18
Cana International Distributing Inc. (c.o.b. Sexy Living) v Standard Innovation Corp., 2016 ONSC 7197

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded $50,000 general damages to the defendant company (on its counterclaim for defamation) over a defamatory statement made by the plaintiff’s principal to Health Canada via email on April 19, 2012 (and to the Competition Bureau) that lead to an investigation into the safety of the defendant’s toy. The Court held that the email made false allegations involving safety and compliance issues.

2016 September 21
P v. G, 2016 QCCQ 10434

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff, general manager of a treatment centre, $15,000 moral damages and $10,000 punitive damages against the defendant for defamatory postings on the defendant’s Facebook page and on the Facebook page of a former general manager. The Court held that the Facebook postings made various false allegations concerning the plaintiff.

2016 September 21
Zall v. Zall, 2016 BCSC 1730

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $75,000 general damages and $50,000 aggravated damages against the defendant, his daughter, on an assessment of damages over false allegations made in a GoFundMe post. The Court noted that the “defamatory post was open to potentially millions of people. The post could be shared through Facebook, Twitter and email.” The Court also concluded that business partners who conducted background checks were dissuaded by the post from continuing to deal with the plaintiff. The Court also agreed with the plaintiff’s characterization of GoFundMe as “a website that, by its nature and reach, compounds the damage done more than a personal blog or website.

2016 August 31
Pichler v. Meadows, 2016 ONSC 5344

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff, an application developer and computer software writer, self-described as an expert on transsexualism, the sum of $5,000 general damages over false and defamatory content posted on the Internet by the defendant. The Court held this was one of those cases, however, where the nature of the communication was such that it should not automatically be assumed that it has reached a wide audience

2016 July 20
A.J.W. v. B.W., 2016 ONCA 581

The Ontario Court of Appeal, allowing an appeal from the trial judge, set aside a judgment which found the defendant liable to the plaintiff and instead, awarded the defendant $5,000 on his counterclaim against the plaintiff for defamation. The communications at issue comprised emails, letters and postcards, most of which were sent to family members of the parties. Several emails were sent to the plaintiff by counterclaim’s friend from high school. The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an application for leave to appeal on February 2, 2017, [2016] SCCA No. 415.

2016 July 18
Servant c Ritchie, 2016 QCCQ 7282

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff Servant $10,000 moral damages and $5,000 exemplary damages over false allegations posted by the defendant on his personal Facebook page and another local Facebook page. The plaintiff Amed was also awarded $2,500 moral damages.

The Court noted that publication of the defamatory allegations by the defendant, an ex-employee, led to a government investigation (which cleared the plaintiffs) and caused rumours and false allegations which continued to circulate even after the plaintiffs were vindicated by the investigation.

2016 July 13
Enverga v Balita Newspaper, 2016 ONSC 4512

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff Senator $150,000 for general and aggravated damages plus $100,000 for punitive damages over an article published in the print and Internet versions of the defendant newspaper which remained online as of trial. The damage award also took into account the fact that the individual defendant posted a false and defamatory email about the plaintiff on her own Facebook page.

2016 June 26
Brent v. Nishikawa, 2016 ONSC 4297

The Ontario Superior Court awarded the plaintiff, a former municipal councillor, $30,000 general damages against the defendant municipal councillor over a false and defamatory email she sent to a public citizen and copied to all other councillors, the mayor and to councillors in another district municipality. The Court stated that the general damages awarded “are more than those that might be expected in an award against a private person whose words would likely attract lesser weight.

2016 June 8
Kent v. Martin, 2016 ABQB 314

The Alberta Court of Queens Bench awarded the plaintiff ex-journalist $150,000 general damages against the individual defendant Martin and the corporate media defendants over an article about the plaintiff’s campaign as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the Alberta Provincial General Election held in March, 2008. The article was published on February 12, 2008 in print editions of the National Post, the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal and also appeared online on various related websites. The plaintiff was also awarded $50,000 general damages for subsequent online publications during the period from July 13, 2010 and November 6, 2012 by the Postmedia defendant in the second, parallel, action.

2016 May 6
N v. M, 2016 BCSC 810

The B.C. Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff stock promoter $400,000 general damages, $55,000 special damages, $250,000 punitive damages and $500,000 aggravated damages for libel over a number of website articles.

2016 April 20
Pritchard v. Van Nes, 2016 BCSC 686

The BC Supreme Court awarded $50,000 general damages and $15,000 punitive damages to the plaintiff teacher over Facebook posts by a neighbour which contained serious and false accusations about the plaintiff. The defendant had more than 2,000 Facebook friends and her privacy settings were set to “Public,” allowing her posts to be viewed by all Facebook users. The defendant was also held to be liable for defamatory comments made by her friends in response to her posts and in a defamatory email by one of her “friends” which copied the contents of one of her posts and was forwarded to a school principal.

2016 March 3
Cappucio v. Grasso,  2016 QCCS 856

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the defendant, an ex-fiance of the plaintiff, $6,000 moral damages and $2,000 punitive damages over a defamatory Facebook posting.

2016 February 8
Loto-Quebec c. Poker Trail Management Inc., 2016 QCCS 474

The Quebec Superior Court awarded $30,000 compensatory damages and $20,000 punitive damages to the plaintiff over false and defamatory accusations on the website of the defendant corporation including a video message which was also sent by email to 40,000 members of Poker Trail. The defendants also created a number of Internet sites starting in 2014, a Twitter page, and a Facebook page which were hyperlinked to each other. The defendants also published a number of articles on another publicly-accessible website and an open public letter on yet another website which contained defamatory allegations. The Court noted, among other things, that Twitter was even a more rapid way of disseminating defamatory accusations than regular websites or Facebook.

2016 February 2
Delage c Cousineau, 2016 QCCQ 889

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff, the Director General of a Municipality, $15,000 moral damages and $7,500 punitive damages against the defendant over a defamatory email sent to a press agency. The defamatory allegation subsequently appeared on television, in newspapers, on the Internet and in national, regional and local media. The Court found that all of the defamatory publicity surrounding the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant originated from a second email sent by the defendant to the press agency which was designed to stir up public interest.

2016 February 1
Traffic Tech inc. c. Kennell, 2016 QCCS 355

The Superior Court of Quebec partially allowed a counterclaim by an ex-employee against his former employer and assessed damages for injury to the ex-employee’s reputation in the amount of $5,000 arising from the employer’s email to a potential client.

2016 January 21
Lemay c. Quebec (Procureur general), 2016 QCCS 203

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff journalist $25,000 moral damages over a defamatory video posted by the Surete du Quebec (Quebec Police) on the force’s website purporting to defend the execution of a search warrant on the journalist’s home.

2016 January 15
SP Moto inc. c. Carignan, 2016 QCCQ 72

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the corporate plaintiff $2,500 moral damages over a defamatory Internet posting which included a YouTube video.

2016 January 14
Marcus v. Kelly, 2016 QCCS 87

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff poodle breeder $40,000 moral damages and $5,000 punitive damages against the defendants over defamatory allegations posted on Facebook and shared with 5,000 friends.

2015 December 16
Kumar v. Khurana, 2015 ONSC 7858

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff $15,000 general damages and $15,000 aggravated damages in a default judgment against his nephew over defamatory Facebook postings and defamatory emails to the plaintiff’s daughter.

2015 December 11
Warman v. Fournier, 2015 ONCA 873

The Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously sustained a lower court jury award of $42,000 defamation damages ($22,000 general, $7,000 aggravated and $13,000 punitive). The Court of Appeal also affirmed the trial judge’s decision to grant the plaintiff a permanent injunction and substantial indemnity costs against the defendant.

2015 December 3
Lord Selkirk School Division, Goosen and Johnston v Warnock, 2015 MBQB 195

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba awarded each of the three plaintiffs $20,000 general damages and $10,000 aggravated damages for defamation on the Internet published by a former student. In addition to defaming the plaintiff teacher and the plaintiff director of the School Division, the defendant was liable for defaming the School Division as an entity, and its administrators and teaching staff. The Court also granted an injunction and ordered the defendant to pay solicitor client costs to the plaintiffs.

2015 November 12
McMullan v. Davidoff, 2015 CanLII 77266

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Small Claims Court) awarded the plaintiff mayor $25,000 damages (the limit of Small Claims jurisdiction) against the defendant, who had unsuccessfully run against the plaintiff in 2010, over four postings on the defendant’s blog which the defendant started a week after the 2010 election. The postings, which were still on the Internet at the time of trial, were estimated by the defendant to have been seen by 140,000 to 200,000 people. The court considered an award of punitive damages was warranted but could not make the award because of the $25,000 limit on the Small Claims Court’s jurisdiction.

2015 October 8
Raymond c. Coursol, 2015 QCCQ 10445

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff $2,000 moral damages and $3,000 punitive damages over defamatory allegations made in an email. The defendant was awarded $1,500 moral damages and $5,000 punitive damages on his counterclaim over defamatory allegations made by the plaintiff in an email.

2015 September 24
Sapeniuk c. Maximov, 2015 QCCS 4681

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff transport driver $2,500 moral damages and $2,500 punitive damages for defamation relating to an email and attached video-clip sent by the defendant to the plaintiff’s wife.

2015 August 14
Experts-conseils RB inc. c Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac (Ville), 2015 QCCS 3824

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the plaintiff corporation $50,000 moral damages, $1.8 million for pecuniary loss, and $30,000 punitive damages against the defendant municipality for defamatory accusations contained in a press release on Canada NewsWire which was issued at the same time in March 2001 that the defendant filed a defence to a lawsuit brought by the plaintiff to recover unpaid contract amounts. The web bulletin Quebec-Municipal published the release on its webpage concerning news from the municipalities. A regional newspaper also devoted an article to the allegations. The municipality settled the contract claim in December 2003, paying $1.45 million to the plaintiff, and issued an apology which it distributed in a press release. The court found that the plaintiff had become suspect in the eyes of the community, and lost the confidence of its clients, and suffered a radical reduction in its client base. In other cases, the plaintiff had to offer reduced fees to customers in order to obtain work. The Court held that the importance of reputation to professionals is undeniable, because they need to preserve the confidence of their clients which is essential to the relationship with existing clients as well as developing new clientele.

2015 July 30
Warman v. Veck, 2015 ONSC 4860

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff human rights lawyer $10,000 general damages over a defamatory article posted by the defendant on the Internet which was not widely read. A message posted by the defendant as a retraction and apology did not mitigate damages.

2015 July 8
St. Lewis v. Rancourt, 2015 ONCA 513

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the defendant from the trial verdict of an Ontario Superior Court jury which had awarded $100,000 general damages and $250,000 aggravated damages. The plaintiff had also been awarded substantial indemnity costs of $444,895 at trial. That award was not disturbed by the Court of Appeal.

2015 June 8
Durfy v. Mliscogen, 2015 ONSC 3631

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted summary judgment to the plaintiff, a vice-principal, awarding her $10,000 over defamatory communications sent by the plaintiff, an ex-tenant, in an attempt to have her fired by the School Board. The defendant sent six emails to the School Board with various attachments including a letter, copies of court filings, applications to the Landlord Tenant Board, and the Human Rights Tribunal, as well as a 25 page document summarizing his libels. The Court also granted a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from publishing any statements or assertions about the plaintiff, whether distributed by the Internet or otherwise, to the School Board.

2015 May 11
122164 Canada Limited (New York Fries) v C.M. Takacs Holding Corporation, 2015 ONSC 3007, setting aside 2012 ONSC 6338

The Ontario Superior Court set aside a default judgment awarding substantial defamation damages to the plaintiff on November 7, 2012. The Court found that the plaintiff knew or ought to have known that it was taking an advantage that might not be sustained by a court that much prefers that lawsuits be decided on their merits. In any event, the defendants had a plausible explanation and excuse for being in default and they moved promptly to have the default judgment set aside. The Court noted there was enough information before the court to suggest they may have some defences, and may have arguments to challenge causation or harm and the assessment of over $500,000 in damages.

2015 April 16
Craven v. Chmura, Court File, CV-07-542

An Ontario Superior Court of Justice jury awarded the individual plaintiff Julie Craven $15,000 general damages plus $5,000 punitive damages and the individual plaintiff John Craven $15,000 general damages and $5,000 punitive damages for defamation. The claims involved “the publication on certain internet sites created, controlled and maintained by Richard Chmura of numerous statements disparaging of Julie Craven and John Craven as well as the posting on YouTube of certain videos containing depictions of and statements about the defendants, accessed through links on Richard Chmura’s websites.” Note: The female plaintiff was also awarded general damages of $10,000 and punitive damages of $10,000 for intrusion upon seclusion. On April 17, 2015, the Court also ordered a permanent injunction against further publication by the defendant and required him to remove the defamatory comments, statements videos and depictions of the plaintiffs from any internet site on which he had posted them, and any links to those sites. See 2015 ONSC 4843.

2015 March 20
Poulin and Lacoursiere v. Caron, 2015 QCCS 1297

The Quebec Superior Court made damage awards aggregating $18,000 to two lawyers who represented third parties in litigation relating to the administration of a residential building in a sky resort. The Court awarded $1,000 moral damages and $1,000 punitive damages to each of the two plaintiff lawyers over a blog posting made in January 2011 which remained online at the time of trial. The Court awarded lawyer Poulin $8,000 moral damages and lawyer Lacoursiere $5,000 moral damages over misleading, contradictory and vicious complaints to the Quebec Bar Association made for the purpose of injuring the plaintiffs in their profession. The Court also awarded the plaintiff Poulin $1,000 moral damages in relation to emails and letters sent or copied to other condo owners in the same building, which contained similar defamatory allegations.

2015 March 12
Ludlow v. Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98

The Alberta Court of Appeal affirmed an award of damages to each of five RCMP officer plaintiffs in the amount of $5,000 for general damages and $2,000 for aggravated damages over two online videos which contained false and defamatory allegations. One video had been reposted on www.youtube.com. The video was viewed approximately 5,000 times. A permanent injunction was also granted against the defendants.

2015 February 20
Focus Graphite Inc. v. Douglas, 2015 ONSC 1104

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the individual plaintiff $30,000 general damages over false allegations made in five Internet postings to Stockwatch. He was also awarded aggravated damages of $10,000 because the defendant, after being stopped from posting under his original alias, adopted a new alias so he could continue his attacks. The corporate plaintiff Focus was also awarded $25,000 general damages.

2015 February 18
M.A. Concrete Ltd. v. Truter, 2015 BCSC 229

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded $25,000 general damages to the individual defendant on her counterclaim over an email and over oral defamatory allegations made by the defendant by counter-claim, principal of the plaintiff employer, to other employees and other third parties.

2015 February 5
Weaver v. Corcoran, 2015 BCSC 165

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff climate scientist $50,000 general damages against the National Post newspaper and three columnists over four defamatory columns published in the print and online editions of the newspaper.

2015 January 8
Whatcott v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp, 2015 SKQB 7

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff $20,000 general damages and $10,000 aggravated damages in relation to a defamatory internet newscast and television broadcast in October, 2011.

2014 December 12
Boudreau v. McGraw, 2015 NBBR 6  

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff $14,000 general damages over a posting on Facebook, illustrated with the plaintiff’s photograph, which constituted a serious libel.  The defendant refused the plaintiff’s initial request to remove the post, which remained on her Facebook page for 6 days until the plaintiff retained legal counsel who sent a cease and desist letter.

2014 December 10
Lapensee-Lafond c. Dallaire, 2014 QCCQ 12943

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff $1,500 moral damages and $500 punitive damages over defamatory postings on Facebook. In assessing damages, the court noted that the defamatory expression had been widely disseminated, because the plaintiff had 400 friends on Facebook. The Court stated that the “defendant should realize that social networks are not a platform where one can say whatever one wants without incurring responsibility.

2014 December 2
Thibeault c. Ramoul, 2014 QCCS 5793

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the plaintiff consulting engineer $5,000 moral damages against the defendant over a defamatory email sent to a group of 400 to 500 people.

2014 November 27
Awan v. Levant, 2014 ONSC 6890

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff lawyer $50,000 general damages and $30,000 aggravated damages against the defendant lawyer over a series of defamatory blog postings.

2014 November 18
Dupuis c. Misson, 2014 QCCQ 11472

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff $1,000 moral damages over defamatory allegations communicated by the defendant in Facebook postings; $1,500 over similar allegations made in emails and letters to the plaintiff’s friends, relatives and employers; and $2,500 punitive damages.

2014 November 12
Perras c Morin, 2014 QCCS 5353

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the defendant teacher and elementary school principal $10,000 moral damages on his counterclaim for defamation against parents who made defamatory accusations on their Internet website and in communications to teachers and employees of the school, as well as other parents, the School Board and the Ministry of Education.

2014 October 8
Prokorym v. Turpin, 2014 BCSC 1893

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff boat dealership salesman $30,000 general damages and $10,000 punitive damages over defamatory allegations made in an email to three people at the dealership. A significant factor bearing on the quantum of damages was the Court’s conclusion that the plaintiff had the opportunity of replying and correcting the record, due to the known and limited extent of the e-mail publication and the actions of the plaintiff’s lawyer, whose response “was so immediate that one could infer that it would seep into the subconscious virtually contemporaneously with the defamatory publication.

2014 September 26
Daigle c. Legace, 2014 QCCQ 9448

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff $1,000 moral damages for defamation over two defamatory emails sent by the individual defendant to other persons in a position of authority with the defendant corporation.

2014 September 18
Sickle v. Conlon, 2014 ONSC 5437

The Ontario Divisional Court dismissed an appeal from a decision of the Small Claims division awarding the plaintiff $7,500 damages for a defamatory email message sent by the defendant to other members of the Board of a housing co-operative.

2014 September 10
Rankin c Rankin, 2014 QCCQ 8981

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff, a band councillor, $10,000 moral damages and $3,000 punitive damages against the defendant over defamatory Facebook postings. Defamatory posters were also pasted to mailboxes and an automobile.

2014 July 10
Sagman v. Bell Telephone Co. of Canada, 2014 ONSC 4183

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded general damages aggregating $300,000 and punitive damages totalling $50,000 to two plaintiffs, medical doctors, over defamatory postings to the Internet by the individual defendant P in 2010.

2014 June 5
St. Lewis v. Rancourt, Court File No.: 11-51657

An Ontario Superior Court of Justice jury awarded the plaintiff $100,000 general damages and $250,000 aggravated damages over false allegations in blog posts on the Internet in 2011.

2014 May 1
Pinsent v. Sandstrom, 2014 ABQB 269

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded three plaintiffs defamation damages aggregating $145,000 over a series of emails sent to CEO and the general counsel of a leading patent brokerage firm in the USA and other to a City and to police.

2014 February 19
Ironside v. Delazzari Estate, 2014 ONSC 999

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff $50,000 general damages, $25,000 aggravated damages, and $10,000 punitive damages over defamatory statements posted to a webpage controlled by Delazzari (who was deceased at the time of this litigation). The libels remained on the Internet for approximately seven years and the defamatory website was only taken down after Delazzari passed away. The Court noted that “(p)otential customers who tried to access the plaintiff’s websites were automatically directed to one of [the defendant’s] websites” where the libels were published, and that the plaintiff’s business went into a “tail spin.” The Court held that the defamatory attack was a “‘deliberate and malicious act … done for the sole purpose of ruining the plaintiff’s reputation and business’ by employing ‘one of most powerful tools of communication ever invented … a medium of virtually limitless international defamation’ (See Barrick Gold Corp. v Lopehandia et al 2004, 71 O.R. (3d) 416 (Ont. C.A.) at para. 62).

2014 February 14
Jones v. Barton, 2014 NBQB 42

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff, a former nursing home administrator, $50,000 general damages and $20,000 punitive damages over allegations in an email letter sent to the board of directors of the nursing home.

2014 February 14
Trout Point Lodge Ltd. v Handshoe, 2014 NSSC 62 

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court, noting this is the second round of litigation between the same parties, awarded $35,000 general damages to the corporate plaintiff.  Each of the two individual plaintiffs was awarded $50,000 general damages, $30,000 aggravated damages and $25,000 punitive damages.  The libels were published on the Internet, notwithstanding the permanent injunction granted by the Court on February 1, 2012 which prohibited the defendant from “dissemination, posting on the Internet, distributing or publishing in any manner whatsoever, directly or indirectly, statements or comments about Trout Point Lodge [or the individual plaintiffs … including] statements or comments which refer to the three plaintiffs by name, depiction or description.”  [Note: In addition, the Court awarded statutory damages of $80,000 and punitive damages of $100,000 for the defendant’s breach of the plaintiffs’ copyright in  four photographs arising from their publication on the Internet by the defendant for commercial purposes.]

2014 February 6
Busseri v. Doe, 2014 ONSC 819

The Ontario Superior Court dismissed an application by the defendant to set aside a default judgment for libel damages over a series of serious defamatory posts on Stockhouse.com relating to the plaintiff CEO of a publicly-traded company. The default judgment was granted on January 7, 2013 for $200,000 damages, $3,500 costs and a permanent injunction.  The Court agreed, however, to hear submissions from the parties whether the $200,000 award was excessive and should be varied, as it appeared that the default judgment was based on an erroneous finding  by the Court that the defamatory posts involved 500,000 “hits” although the evidence tendered by the plaintiff was that the hits on the defamatory posts totalled in the thousands, not hundreds of thousands.  In refusing to set aside the default judgment, the Court noted that the defendant’s evidence would not support a proposed defence of truth or fair comment; there had been no retraction or apology; the defendant had continued his campaign of defamation despite an interlocutory injunction; and the prejudice that would be caused to the plaintiff by re-opening the judgment would be significant.

2014 February 5
Chayer v. Messier, 2014 QCCS 357

The Quebec Superior Court awarded $5,000 moral damages and $5,000 punitive damages to the plaintiff over defamatory postings on the defendant’s website.  The Court also ordered the defendant to remove each defamatory article from his website and enjoined the defendant from publishing, in any manner, any defamatory comments, articles or messages identical to those previously published.

2014 January 17
Davis v. Singerman, 2014 QCCS 70

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff $5,000 damages over a defamatory comment on the defendant’s Facebook page.

2014 January 8
Learmouth v. Statham, 2014 BCSC 19

The British Columbia Supreme Court, assessing defamation damages following judgment in default of defence, awarded the male plaintiff a total of $35,000 general and punitive damages over an internet article which, on the evidence, was published on a single occasion and then removed by the website operator after only 9 days. The Court stated: “While the limited publication might not warrant the damages of $35,000 sought by the plaintiffs, I am satisfied that the sum is reasonable given the lack of any justification for the allegations in the article, and the mala fides that I find motivated the defendant in his conduct in question.” The Court also awarded the plaintiff special costs.

2013 December 6
Rodrigues v. Rodrigues, 2013 ABQB 718

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff cleric $75,000 general damages and $50,000 aggravated damages against the defendant, a foreign lawyer, over false and defamatory allegations of serious misconduct in the foreign jurisdiction. The false allegations were made in blog postings and articles posted on the Internet as well as emails sent to the plaintiff’s new employer and colleagues in Alberta. The defendant had refused to retract and apologize. The Court noted that “posting the defamatory statements on the Internet …created the potential for ridicule and scorn by countless people who do not know the plaintiff.” The Court also granted the plaintiff an injunction prohibiting the defendant from publishing any further defamatory statements concerning the plaintiff and directing “[a]ny third parties, including any Internet service provider or site, who have published, posted or distributed or who have otherwise repeated the defamatory comments … to assist the Plaintiff and this Honourable Court in the enforcement of this injunction, including the removal of any defamatory comments about the Plaintiff from the Internet and any other form of publication or distribution …[including] any website, social media site, blog, usernet news groups, chat site, email or any other electronic means.

2013 October 28
McDonald v. Koe, 2013 NWTSC 81

The Northwest Territories Supreme Court awarded $100,000 general damages and $61,843.86 special damages to the former temporary Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) of a First Nations tribal council over defamatory allegations in a letter sent by the defendants, former employees of the tribal council, to approximately 30 people. The Court noted that the letter “was transmitted by electronic mail and as such it could be published to an even wider audience with relative ease. In choosing to use electronic distribution, the defendants created a significant risk of further publication beyond the intended recipients. Indeed, it wound up in the hands of both print and broadcast media outlets, both of which disseminated the allegations amongst an even larger audience.”

2013 October 3
Warman v. Fournier, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court File No. 07-CV-39927

The plaintiff was awarded a total of $42,000 damages against all defendants by a jury which heard this Ontario Superior Court of Justice defamation lawsuit over 40 postings on a website. The award included $ $15,000 general damages, $9,000 aggravated damages and $18,000 punitive damages, from which the Court inferred that the “jury found that the defendants acted in a manner that was highhanded and oppressive towards the plaintiff.” [See 2014 ONSC 412].

2013 August 15
Vanderkooy v. Vanderkooy, 2013 ONSC 4796

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff $125,000 general damages over serious defamatory statements contained in emails sent by certain relatives to other members of a large family and close-knit community.

2013 August 5
Gesca ltée c. Corporation Sun Media, 2013 QCCS 3689

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff, the owner of Montreal’s La Presse newspaper, defamation damages of $10,000 over a June 2011 article published in Le Journal de Montreal, a Sun Media newspaper, and on websites operated by the defendant Canoë Inc., which made disparaging allegations about the plaintiff’s relationship with Radio-Canada. The Court ordered that: the article be removed from www.canoe.ca; that the defendants publish a retraction in Le Journal de Montreal; and that Canoë Inc. post a link to the retraction on its home page for 48 hours and thereafter maintain that link on its website for 2 years. The Court rejected defence arguments that the lawsuit was brought to suppress freedom of expression.

2013 August 1
Roshard v. St. Dennis, 2013 BCSC 1388

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff ex-mayor $5,000 general damages over defamatory allegations voiced by the defendant during an eve-of-election interview which was posted to a local website. In assessing damages, the Court noted that the plaintiff’s primary purpose in bringing the action was to vindicate her reputation and that she had already obtained significant settlements in connection with her defamation claims against others.

2013 July 22
Mainstream Canada v. Staniford, 2013 BCCA 341, leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada denied: 2014 CanLII 5973 (SCC)

The British Columbia Court of Appeal set aside the trial judge’s finding that the defendant was protected by the defence of fair comment and awarded the plaintiff $25,000 general damages and $50,000 punitive damages over defamatory comments contained in: (i) a January 2011 press release which was also published on the defendant’s website; and (ii) other publications on the defendant’s website. The Court of Appeal also awarded the plaintiff special costs (close to full indemnity) of the trial in BC Supreme Court, party-party costs of the appeal hearing (partial indemnity), and a permanent injunction.

2013 July 18
Kim v. Dongpo News, 2013 ONSC 4426

The Ontario Superior Court awarded the plaintiff $12,000 general damages and $5,000 punitive damages against the individual defendant Song over an article which was published in Dongpo News, a South Korean on-line and printed newspaper.

2013 June 13
Gouin v. White, 2013 ABQB 332

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded a grand total of $600,000 to two individual plaintiffs in two separate but related lawsuits against private investigators who sold certain allegedly defamatory information to third parties who were seeking a basis to sue the plaintiffs. The third parties published the allegedly defamatory information in a statement of claim filed in court, which was then the subject of a report in a daily newspaper. The allegedly defamatory information was also published by the defendants on their website. The Court awarded each of the two plaintiffs a total of $100,000 general damages for defamation in each of the two actions; general damages therefore totaled $400,000. The court also awarded each plaintiff $50,000 punitive damages in each of the two actions; punitive damages therefore totaled $200,000. The grand total awarded in this case is $600,000.

2013 May 27
Chelin c. Gill, 2013 QCCS 2377

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff architect $25,000 moral damages and $10,000 punitive damages over three articles published in December 2007 and February and December 2011 on the internet website of the Syndicate des Professeurs et des Professeures de l’University du Quebec a Montreal (the “SPUQ”) which contained allegations held to be false and defamatory. The Court also ordered the defendants to cease further publication, remove the three articles, withdraw all prior consent given to third parties to republish the articles, and to take all necessary measures to definitively eliminate every trace of the articles from every internet site on which they continue to appear.

2013 May 22
Canuck Security Services Ltd. v. Gill, 2013 BCSC 893

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the corporate plaintiff $1,000 general damages against the ex-employee defendant over a letter he sent in March 2011 to four construction companies and three government agencies which the Court held was defamatory. In arriving at this modest figure, the court noted, among other things, that any harm to the plaintiff’s reputation resulted from publication of other allegations in the letter which the Court held were true. The Court held that the defendant’s false statement did not seriously affect the employer’s reputation or standing in the community

2013 April 5
Immeubles Robin inc. c. Ingold, 2013 QCCS 1373

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the corporate and individual plaintiffs each $3,000 over defamatory words published by the defendant Croghan on an English-language blog relating to Brome Lake, Quebec. The Court also ordered the removal of the blog item at issue.

2013 March 1
Rubin v. Ross, 2013 SKCA 21

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal held that the plaintiff, the director of a veterinary teaching hospital, was entitled to $100,000 general damages over defamatory statements made by the defendant union in: (i) notices posted on the eight hospital bulletin boards accessible to the public; (ii) an article in the defendant union’s newsletter which was mailed to 1400 members; and (iii) an article published in a Mini Bulletin on the union’s website. The article was not removed from the website until the plaintiff filed his lawsuit. The Court noted that the union website was open to the public “without any access code protections or other privacy protections.” The Court of Appeal held that it was “irrelevant that [the plaintiff] did not present any evidence to the Court to prove that anyone did in fact search the internet to find the communication.”

2013 February 6
Manson v. John Doe, 2013 ONSC 628

aggravated damages and $50,000 punitive damages against a “John Doe” defendant who had “waged an anonymous electronic campaign of libel.” The “John Doe” defendant had failed to comply with an earlier Court Order requiring him or her to identify themselves. The Court noted:

There are few things more cowardly and insidious than an anonymous blogger who posts spiteful and defamatory comments about a reputable member of the public and then hides behind the electronic curtain provided by the Internet. The Defendant confuses freedom of speech with freedom of defamation. There are undoubtedly, legitimate anonymous Internet post; persons critical of autocratic or repressive regimes, for example, or legitimate whistleblowers. The Defendant is not one of those people. The law will afford his posts all the protection that they deserve, which is to say none.

The Court noted that the defendant’s “malevolent refusal to comply with [the earlier Court Order requiring the defendant to identify himself/herself] only adds to the case for punitive damages.

2012 December 27
James v. Black Press Group Ltd., 2012 BCSC 1969

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff, a First Nations artist, the sum of $35,000 for general damages over an article which appeared on the website of the defendant’s newspaper. The article, which was incorrectly illustrated with the plaintiff’s photograph, concerned the criminal conviction of a different person who had the same name.

2012 December 13
Blondin c. Huraux, 2011 QCCQ 15926

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded $100 to the plaintiff corporation (6231829 Canada inc.), $3,000 to the plaintiff businessman Blondin and $3,000 to the plaintiff businessman Genereux over a defamatory Internet publication by the defendant, a French immigrant to Quebec and an email which linked to that posting. The defamatory posting was accessible for approximately six months. Each of the three plaintiffs was also awarded $1,500 punitive damages.

2012 November 7
122164 Canada Ltd. (c.o.b. New York Fries) v C.M.Takacs Holdings Corp., 2012 ONSC 6338

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the corporate plaintiff $425,000 general damages and $75,000 punitive damages against the corporate defendant, a terminated ex-franchisee, and against the individual defendants (husband and wife) in relation to a campaign of defamatory statements made to “a broad and varied audience that was carefully selected to maximize the harm to New York Fries’ reputation.

The statements held to be defamatory were made in emails, a complaint to police, a letter and to a reporter for the Financial Times (who republished them in an article). The defamatory statements falsely alleged that the plaintiff had breached its franchise agreements with the defendants and other franchisees, unlawful terminated the defendants’ franchises and was guilty of other misconduct including breaches of federal, provincial and municipal legislation.

2012 October 12
G.P. v S.S., 2012 QCCQ 8325

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded each of the two defendants (who were plaintiffs by counterclaim) the sum of $5,000 compensatory damages and $5,000 punitive damages over false and defamatory reports by the plaintiff to child protection authorities. The Court held that the plaintiff, who was the mother of the defendant C.B., the mother-in-law of the defendant S.S., and the grand-parent of certain children, made the defamatory complaints maliciously. The children were seized temporarily by the child protection authorities. The Court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant S.S. over a Facebook posting that described the trauma the defendant was experiencing as a result of the defamatory statements to the child protection authorities.

2012 October 5
Lukawecki v. Bayly, 2012 QCCQ 7898

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff teacher $5,000 moral damages plus $5,000 punitive damages over a series of 9 emails by a parent which made falsely and serious defamatory allegations about the teacher’s conduct.

2012 September 6
Lapierre c. Sormany, 2012 QCCS 4190

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff, a former federal Cabinet Minister and co-founder of the Bloc Quebecois party, $22,000 moral damages for defamatory statements contained in a posting which appeared on a third party’s Facebook page. The defendant, a senior official with a major media organization, removed the posting after four days. The Court noted there was no evidence at trial that the posting had gone viral or that it had been republished in other social media.

2012 June 28
Laforest c. Collins, 2012 QCCS 3078

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff $30,000 compensatory damages and $15,000 punitive damages over defamatory postings on blogs over a period of five years. The Court also ordered the defendant to remove all of the defamatory material from the Internet and to sign and deliver a letter of retraction which specifically withdraws the defamatory accusations, undertakes not to defame the plaintiff in the future, and authorizes the plaintiff to publish the retraction as he sees fit.

The Court noted that [rough translation to English from French]. “the Web has become the most powerful and frequently used medium of communication on earth. It permits wars to be halted quickly, criminals to be quickly captured. Teaching has no limit. Communication can be personal as well as impersonal. The Web can make anyone a celebrity in a few minutes. It can tarnish or destroy a reputation with one click. Use of the Web, of its sites and its blogs varies according to the category of users, their ages, their sex, their religion etc.

On the evidence before the Court, it appeared that the plaintiff’s employment prospects were prejudiced by the defamatory postings. The plaintiff testified that his employer hired him on the condition that he clear his name and that for several years he had to maintain a “low profile” because of the defamatory postings of the defendant.

2012 June 22
Bier v. Takefman,  2012 QCCS 2851

The Quebec Superior Court awarded $20,000 moral damages and $25,000 punitive damages to husband and wife plaintiffs over a “successful and vicious campaign” of emails to friends and acquaintances of the plaintiffs “with a stated goal of destroying their reputation.” The Court rejected defence arguments that the defendant’s “slanderous, cruel and vengeful” comments should qualified as “gossip” with which the Court should not interfere. The Court held the comments were a “clear illustration of an abuse of right and the exercise in bad faith” of the right to freedom of expression. In the opinion of the Court, “the exceptional circumstances of this case justify the issuance of a permanent order that will enjoin [the defendant] not to communicate directly or indirectly in writing with the [plaintiffs] or to third parties regarding the [plaintiffs’] private life, their assets and property or their financial situation.” “This is one of those rare cases, where such an extensive prohibition is warranted and can be reasonably justified.

2012 June 18
Uppal v. Diler, [2012] O. J. No. 2713.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Small Claims Court) awarded the plaintiff dentist $22,000 general damages against a former patient over defamatory emails and internet postings on YouTube and the website of the Association of Dentists which the Court held were part of a “deliberate campaign to harass [the plaintiff] and smear him in the eyes of a variety of parties associated with the practice of his profession.” The duration of this campaign was almost two years and commenced six years after the defendant was his patient for a brief time in 2004 and after her complaint to the Royal College of Dental Surgeons was dismissed. The Court would have assessed the plaintiff’s general damages at $45,000 except for the fact his formal claim only sought $22,000.

2012 May 30
Michie v. Guthrie-Waters, 2012 BCSC 793

The plaintiff financial consultant was awarded nominal damages and a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from publishing, on the internet or by any other method or medium, whether by name, pseudonym, address, photograph or other means of identity, any defamatory statement referring in any way to the plaintiff. The defamatory statement was contained in an email sent by the plaintiff’s ex-spouse to a Swiss journalist. Although the nature of the defamation was serious, it was sent to only one person and the conduct of the defendant was complicated by other factors.

2012 May 25
2964376 Canada Inc. (c.o.b. Ameublement Prestige Furniture) v. Bisaillon, 2012 ONSC 3113

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded general damages of $15,000 to the corporate plaintiff, which operated a furniture store for defamatory statements made in an email sent by the defendant from work to a circle of friends and colleagues (38 people) on September 2, 2010 asking that they forward it to others. The Court held that “[w]hile limited companies are entitled to damages for libel, in practice in the absence of proof of special damages, or of a general loss of business, generally the monetary amounts are somewhat lower than for defendants who are not corporations.

2012 April 12
Raymond c. Aero-Photo (1961) Inc., 2012 QCCS 1535

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff (one of the shareholders of Group Alta) $500 moral damages against the defendant Grenier over defamatory emails sent to five other shareholders of Group Alta. The plaintiff was awarded $10,000 moral damages against the defendant Levesque over defamatory words spoken to a group of employees and for instigating a public demonstration by employees of Group Alta which targeted the plaintiff and was reported in the news media. Levesque was also ordered to pay $1,000 punitive damages. Grenier was also ordered to pay $100 punitive damages.

2012 April 10
9080-5128 Quebec inc. c Morin-Ogilvy, 2012 QCCS 1464

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff Bouffard compensatory damages of $4,000 and punitive damages of $3,000 and the plaintiff Leduc compensatory damages of $1,000 and punitive damages of $2,000 over defamatory publications on Facebook and in an email. The Facebook postings, which concerned automobile repairs carried out by the plaintiffs, were removed after only two days.

2012 February 29
Tjelta v. Wang, 2012 BCSC 299

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff businessman $20,000 general damages over emails and letters impugning his business ethics and practices which were sent to his friends, family members, neighbours, business associates, investors and spouse. The Court noted that the “mode and extent of the publication are relatively limited on the evidence.”

2012 February 13
Chayer c. Vaillancourt, 2012 QCCQ 1354

The Quebec Court (Civil Chamber) awarded the plaintiff journalist $2,000 moral damages over an anonymous email sent by the defendant to one client of the plaintiff (and possibly other persons) attaching a defamatory article which had been published years earlier and had been the subject of previous legal proceedings by the plaintiff in the Quebec Superior Court against the defendant.

2012 February 1
Trout Point Lodge Ltd. v. Handshoe, 2012 NSSC 245

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court awarded defamation damages totalling $425,000 to the corporate plaintiff and two individual plaintiffs over blog postings on the Internet by a Mississippi resident.  The defendant did not participate in the court hearing for the assessment of damages following a judgment in default of defence.  The corporate plaintiff was awarded $75,000 general damages.  Each of the two individual plaintiffs was awarded $100,000 general damages; $50,000 aggravated damages; and $25,000 punitive damages.   The Court also granted the plaintiffs a permanent injunction , stating that the conduct of the defendant “became stronger and more malicious and derogatory as the action was commenced and as it proceeded to this assessment of damages.  There has been no retraction or apology but a continued campaign of defamation.

2011 December 7
Ward v. Labelle, 2011 QCCS 6753

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the 70-year-old plaintiff municipal councillor the sum of $5,000 for moral damages plus $5,000 for punitive damages over defamatory statements published on a political adversary’s Internet blogs. The Court noted that although the defamatory words were serious, the plaintiff had not lost the esteem of the voters who re-elected him despite the defamation. The Court noted that the defendant’s blog had 833 visitors over several years. The defendant was also ordered to remove the defamatory statements from his blogs and prohibited from making the allegations again in the future.

2011 November 10
Farallon Mining Ltd. v. Arnold, 2011 BCSC 1532

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff mineral exploration and development company general damages of $40,000 over defamatory postings made under the pseudonym “Stonecut” on the Stockhouse website. The assessment of damages was made pursuant to a consent order requiring the defendant to pay damages to be assessed after the defendant withdrew his statement of defence. The Court found that the defendant had an improper motive for publishing the postings on a website intended for the investing community. “He made the decision to publish on the Stockhouse website presumably because he knew that the audience would include investors, and potential investors … Targeting this audience ensured that the damages inflicted would be substantial.

2011 October 26
Kim v. Dongpo News, Court File No. CV-09-00375111

The Ontario Superior Court awarded the plaintiff $50,000 general damages, $25,000 aggravated damages and a permanent injunction against the defendant Dongpo News on an assessment of damages following a default judgment against that defendant. See paragraph 2 of 2013 ONSC 4426.

2011 June 3
Wright (c.o.b. Wright Design Concepts) v Van Gaalen, 2011 BCSC 707

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff sprinkler system designer $14,750 general damages over a defamatory email sent by the defendant to a customer of the plaintiff. The Court held that because the email was sent only to a specific individual on a single occasion, this weighed in favour of a lower award. Significantly, the plaintiff had failed to claim damages for actual monetary loss. The Court stated that “[t]his is unfortunate because there was evidence in the trial that was capable of demonstrating specific losses arising from [the email recipient’s] decision to stop referring meaningful design work to [the plaintiff].” In arriving at the figure of $14,750, the Court reduced damages by “the nominal amount of $250 in light of the unspecified offer of a retraction.

2011 May 20
Astley v. Verdun, Ontario Court File No. 06-CV-311034PD3

An Ontario Superior Court of Justice jury awarded damages totalling $650,000 to the plaintiff, a prominent businessman, over various defamatory publications by the defendant, a shareholder activist and former newspaper publisher. The defamatory publications included letters to the Ontario Securities Commission, newspapers, emails and blog postings. Many of the publications complained of were webcast. The award consisted of $250,000 general damages and $400,000 aggravated damages.

2011 May 16
Sarachman v. Whitehead, 2011 ONSC 2946

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff, a professional engineer and businessman, general damages of $15,000 against the defendant alderman over an email message copied to the mayor and all other municipal councillors. The email described the plaintiff as a “destructive mean spirited irrational liar that does not deserve the time of day.” The plaintiff acknowledged at trial the email did not appear to have affected his reputation. The defendant apologized for his statement in an email to the mayor and council. The Court held that the damages would have been considerably higher but for the apology.

2011 February 25
Klein v. Camara, [2011] O.J. No. 1752, Court File 464/09

The Ontario Small Claims Court awarded the plaintiff $10,000 damages (the maximum in Small Claims) over defamatory accusations about his conduct as coach of a peewee baseball team. The defamatory accusations were contained in an email sent by the defendant parent to other parents and to officials. The email was also posted on the defendant’s website. The court held the email was part of a “campaign of character assassination” to have the plaintiff removed as coach. He did in fact resign. The Court said it would have awarded a larger sum, including aggravated damages, if monetary jurisdiction had been higher.

2011 February 22
Mina Mar Group Inc. v. Divine, 2011 ONSC 1172

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded $50,000 general damages for defamation to the plaintiff corporation and its principal against the two defendants who live in New Jersey. In addition, the Court held that punitive damages of $25,000 were warranted (provided the plaintiffs abandoned an unspecified claim for actual financial loss). The defendants, who did not defend this action, were found to be responsible beginning in 2006 and continuing to date of judgment for “profuse posting on Internet bulletin boards and websites” which frequently defamed the plaintiffs, causing them to lose clients and opportunities for new clients. The Court also granted a permanent injunction restraining the defendants from disseminating, posting on the Internet or publishing further defamatory statements concerning the plaintiffs.

2011 January 5
Kindinformatique.com c. Tardif, 2011 QCCS 736

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff $5,000 moral damages and $5,000 punitive damages over defamatory statements about the plaintiff’s computer repair business which were posted on websites where the plaintiff advertised his own services.

2011 January 4
Daboll v. DeMarco, 2011 ONSC 1

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff lawyer $50,000 general damages over malicious and false allegations published in local community and shopping newspapers as well as on the website of the National Coalition for Law Societies Reform and on a related website, Dirty Lawyer Registry Ontario. The Court found that “individual fragments of the advertisement arguably had some basis in fact, but they were expressed and juxtaposed in a manner [the court found] to be inconsistent with the truth.” Damages were aggravated by a number of factors, including the dissemination of additional material on websites accessible through the internet. “The internet postings continued to be available for viewing to the time of trial. The wide circulation of defamatory statements through the internet has been recognized as a potential aggravating factor in libel cases …” The Court also granted a permanent injunction requiring any statements relating to the plaintiff to be removed from the websites.

2010 November 30
Doré c. Lefebvre, 2009 QCCS 5601

The Quebec Superior Court awarded moral damages of $12,500 and punitive damages of $5,000 to the plaintiff mayor Dore over false insinuations during the 2006 municipal election that he had a criminal record and over false allegations of fraud and theft made at a municipal council meeting and to the press. The plaintiff councillor Bernard was given the same damage awards over the same allegations plus a false insinuation that he was in a conflict of interest. A local newspaper published the gist of the false allegations in hard copy and on its Internet site.

2010 November 19
Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board v. Lentini, 2010 ONSC 6364

The Ontario Superior Court awarded the plaintiff high school teacher $20,000 general damages plus $7,500 aggravated damages over false allegations posted by a parent on a password-protected website.

2010 November 18
Vigna v. Levant, 2010 ONSC 6308

The Ontario Superior Court awarded the plaintiff , a lawyer for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, $25,000 general damages against the defendant lawyer/journalist/political commentator over blog postings which contained false allegations about the plaintiff’s conduct before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The Court noted that the amount of damages awarded was lessened by several mitigating factors, including the effect of a correction published by the defendant and the absence of specific evidence from the plaintiff concerning personal suffering as a result of the libels.

2010 November 15
Nesbitt v. Neufeld, 2010 BCSC 1605, appeal dismissed: 2011 BCCA 529

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the defendant business woman Neufeld (plaintiff by counterclaim) general damages of $40,000 for the defamation and breach of privacy claims made in her counterclaim against her husband Nesbitt, a family physician. The award related, among other things, to a defamatory email sent by the husband to the Rotary Club, a website specifically targeting the Neufeld, and a Facebook page. The Court stated that it “limit[ed] the defamation damages due to the fact that while it is plainly publication to the world in the sense the defamatory material was put on the Internet, Ms. Neufeld indicated there has been little personal or professional backlash.

2010 November 1
Diop c Abou-Khalil, 2010 QCCA 1988

The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from the trial verdict which awarded the plaintiff Abou-Khalil the sum of $100,000 moral damages and $25,000 punitive damages for defamation. See 14 May 2008, 2008 QCCS 1921, below.

2010 November 1
Hansen v. Tilley, 2010 BCCA 482, dismissing an appeal from 2009 BCSC 360

The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the defendant from the trial judge’s verdict on March 27, 2009 awarding the plaintiff $30,000 general damages for defamatory articles published in a University student newspaper both in its hard-copy and online edition.

2010 October 15
A v. B, 2010 QCCS 5024

The Quebec Superior Court awarded $9,000 moral damages to the female plaintiff and $3,000 moral damages to the male plaintiff. The Court also awarded $3,000 punitive damages to the female plaintiff and $1,000 punitive damages to the male plaintiff. The defamation arose from harassment by the defendant or his ex-girlfriend by emails, including anonymous emails.

2010 September 20
Caswell v Buckle, 2010 SKCA 116, dismissing an appeal from 2009 SKQB 363

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from a September 17, 2009 trial verdict in favour of the plaintiff Buckle. See 2009 SKQB 363. The trial verdict of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench awarded a senior Crown prosecutor libel damages of $50,000 over statements published by the defendant on a blog on the Internet which made false, serious allegations of misconduct. The defendant refused to apologize. The Court also granted an injunction compelling the defendant to remove all Internet postings concerning the plaintiff.

2010 August 24
Alleslev-Krofchak v. Valcom Ltd., 2010 ONCA 557, affirming 2009 CanLII 30446 (ON S.C.)

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from the May 25, 2009 trial judgment which included an award to the plaintiff of $100,000 for defamatory statements in emails circulated by the defendants which falsely alleged that the plaintiff had lied, lacked integrity, was not trustworthy and was lacking in management skills.

2010 August 20
Cragg v. Stephens, 2010 BCSC 1177

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded each of the three plaintiffs general damages of $25,000 and aggravated damages of $10,000 over false and defamatory statements alleging improper and criminal behaviour which were circulated widely via email to the plaintiffs’ work colleagues and supervisors, media outlets, politicians, civil servants, and others. In addition, the defendant posted defamatory statements on a local newspaper website.

2010 July 30
Corriveau c. Canoe inc., 2010 QCCS 3396, appeal dismissed: 2012 QCCA 109 [19 January 2012]

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the plaintiff lawyer $50,000 moral damages and $50,000 punitive damages over allegations published on a blog by the defendant Martineau who used an internet portal operated by Canoe.

2010 July 20
Dawydiuk v Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2010 BCCA 353

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $1,000 nominal damages for defamation over an email sent by her supervisor to an individual who had no reciprocal duty to receive the supervisor’s email report.

2010 June 1
Mudford v. Smith, 2010 ONCA 395, dismissing an appeal from 2009 CanLII 55718 (ON S.C.)

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from a judgment pronounced October 16, 2009 awarding the plaintiff damages for libels published on a personal website and posted on several third party websites.

2010 April 26
Best v. Weatheral, 2010 BCCA 202, reversing 2008 BCSC 608 (CanLII)

The British Columbia Court of Appeal awarded the plaintiff, a resident of Salt Spring Island and a member of the Salt Spring Island Tennis Association, the sum of $3000 over disparaging statements contained in an email sent by the defendant to a members of the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission, the Capital Regional District and 100 members of the Salt Spring Island Tennis Association. The Court of Appeal stated that a wholly nominal award would not be sufficient and that a “proper damages award” was necessary both to vindicate reputation and as consolation for his hurt feelings.

2010 March 30
Hunter-Dickenson Inc. v. Butler, 2010 BCSC 939

The British Columbia Supreme Court each of the two plaintiff companies $75,000 general damages. The individual plaintiff was awarded $125,000 general damages plus $75,000 aggravated damages. Each of the three plaintiffs was also awarded $25,000 punitive damages to deter further defamatory statements. The defendant had authored numerous postings on an internet website falsely alleging illegal activities on the part of the plaintiffs, including allegations of fraud, theft, stock manipulation, and fraud on the court. A permanent injunction was also granted.

2010 February 10
National Bank of Canada v. Weir, 2010 QCCS 402

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff bank the sum of $20,000 as punitive damages in relation to defamatory postings by the defendant on the website of Stockgroup Media Inc. on message boards referred to as “Bullboards.” The bank did not seek compensatory damages. The primary relief sought and obtained by the bank was an injunction restraining the defendant from publishing in any media any comment of a defamatory nature concerning the plaintiff bank.

2009 December 9
A c. B, 2009 QCCQ 14676

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the female plaintiff, a television personality, the sum of $10,000 for moral damages and $7,500 for punitive damages against her ex-husband over a false and malicious posting on a Quebec internet site (the largest in Quebec concerning meetings between men and women) which falsely alleged she was bi-sexual and was looking for the perfect male to engage in “new things.” Her photograph and personal details were also published. The information was posted on the site for 2.5 days.

2009 November 19
McQuaig v Harbour Financial Inc., 2009 ABQB 678

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff, Chief Executive Officer of a corporation, $75,000 general damages and $25,000 punitive damages over false accusations impeaching his honesty and integrity in memos and emails sent to the Board of the corporation, at least two outside investment brokers and an unknown number of investors through anonymous postings on Stockhouse, a website which provides financial information to subscribers and provides a group of internet chat rooms called “bullboards” where subscribers can post messages about particular stocks.

2009 October 29
Reaburn v. Langen, 2009 BCCA 465

The British Columbia Court of Appeal sustained a lower court ruling awarding the plaintiffs, two RCMP officers, defamation damages.

2009 October 21
Création Alpha Design Inc. c. Gagnon, 2009 QCCQ 10511

The Quebec Court (Civil Small Claims) awarded $500 damages to the plaintiff company over a small posting by the defendant debtor on an Internet “cyberjournal” which read: “Cabinets of poor quality – I am looking for people who have done business with a company [stating its location] which make cabinets and who have had problems with the quality of their cabinets. Urgent, contact me please by email.” The Court noted that although the “cyberjournal” received 5,000 visitors a day, it could not be said how many read the posting. Although libel damages were limited to $500, the court felt it was necessary to send the message that one cannot write whatever you want on the internet and that media is subject to the same legal rules which govern other media. [The plaintiff also recovered judgment against the defendant for the indebtness for the cabinetry].

2009 October 16
Mudford v. Smith, [2009] O.J. No. 4317

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff interior designer $30,000 general damages and $5,000 aggravated damages over false allegations posted on the Internet impugning the plaintiff’s integrity and falsely alleging she had refused to pay two judgments against her.

2009 September 17
Buckle v. Caswell, 2009 SKQB 363

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench awarded a senior Crown prosecutor libel damages of $50,000 over statements published by the defendant on a blog on the Internet which made false, serious allegations of misconduct. The defendant refused to apologize. The Court also granted an injunction compelling the defendant to remove all Internet postings concerning the plaintiff.

2009 August 18
Henderson v. Pearlman, [2009] O.J. No. 3444

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff author $60,000 damages ($10,000 payable by each of 6 defendants) over false allegations that the plaintiff was a career criminal and child molester which were published on the defendants’ websites and bulletin boards. This award included an element of aggravated damages based on a finding of malice.

2009 August 6
Borud and others v. Robulack, 2009 YKSC 59

The Yukon Supreme Court awarded each of the two individual plaintiffs general damages of $25,000 plus aggravated damages of $10,000 against the defendant, a freelance journalist, over articles published in two local newspapers and on the defendant’s Internet blog. The corporate plaintiff was awarded $10,000 damages for loss of income. With respect to the individual plaintiffs, the Court stated: “…[W]hat is aggravating in this case is the aspect of the internet and the specific invitation to others to communicate with [the plaintiffs]” which resulted in five or six messages to the plaintiffs’ email or by texting. The Court held this was “an invitation of potential harassment and this was certainly an egregious factor.

2009 June 2
Lavigne v. Chenail, 2009 QCCS 2518

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff (former) mayor $50,000 moral damages and $10,000 exemplary damages against the defendant, a Member of the Quebec National Assembly, over allegations of conflict of interest and putting private interest ahead of public interest made in an open letter printed in a newspaper and on the newspaper’s website. The plaintiff’s husband was also awarded $20,000 moral damages and $10,000 exemplary damages. The letter was published on the eve of the municipal election. The plaintiff was not re-elected to the mayor’s office.

2009 June 2
Sanchez-Pontigon v. Manalansan-Lord, [2009] O.J. No. 2293

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff school teacher/financial adviser $25,000 general damages and $12,500 aggravated damages over false allegations in a book published on the Internet and in a print edition that she had committed kidnapping, forgery and fraud. The Court held that “the dissemination … through the Internet is an extremely aggravating factor.

2009 May 25
Alleslev-Krofchak v. Valcom Ltd., [2009] O.J. No. 2469

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff, a senior project manager, $100,000 general damages for defamation over libels contained in emails which falsely reflected on her reputation for honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. Although the defamatory emails had a limited initial circulation, the court noted they were seen by a wider audience and the plaintiff worked in a “small, closely-knit network where news travels fast and reaches most individuals.” The plaintiff was also awarded $100,000 damages at large in relation to a claim for intentional interference with economic relations plus further damages to be calculated for economic loss.

2009 March 17
Hansen v. Tilley, 2009 BCSC 360

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff, an ex-employee of the Douglas College Student Union, general damages of $30,000 against the defendant student newspaper over libels published in its hard-copy and online edition which falsely accused him by implication or insinuation of committing a criminal act or omission, including offences relating to misappropriation and fraud.

2009 March 5
Raymond Lasalle inc. c. Equipments G. Gagnon inc., 2009 QCCS 935

The Quebec Superior Court awarded each of the two plaintiffs $5,000 moral damages and $5,000 punitive damages over an email sent by the defendant to the plaintiffs’ franchisor falsely alleging the plaintiffs were selling agricultural machinery distributed by a competitor of the franchisor. The plaintiff was justified in thinking the email, which was sent under a false name, put the franchise in danger. The court noted, however, the limited distribution of the email.

2009 January 29
Wade c. Diop, 2009 QCCS 350

The Quebec Superior Court awarded moral damages of $75,000 and punitive damages of $50,000 to the plaintiff , the son of the president of Senegal, over approximately 30 defamatory articles published by the defendant on his Internet blog during a four month period in 2005. The false and defamatory accusations included appropriation or diversion of public funds, illegal trafficking in shares, and threats and intimidation. See also May 14, 2008, Abou-Khallil c Diop, 2008 QCCS 1921

2009 January 19
Fuda v. Conn, [2009] O.J. No. 188

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff 72-year old businessman $50,000 general damages and $20,000 aggravated damages over defamatory statements contained in a Management Information Circular that was disseminated by the defendants in the context of a proxy battle for control of the board of a limited company. The Circular was posted on a web-site for all public corporations.

2008 November 14
Beaudoin c. Deschamps, 2008 QCCS 5403

The Quebec Superior Court awarded symbolic damages of $200 to the defendant on a counterclaim for defamation relating to an email sent by the plaintiff to a third party which impugned the defendant’s honesty. The Court noted that the dissemination of the defamation and its consequences were limited.

2008 November 6
Lamarre c. Allard, 2008 QCCS 5266

The Quebec Superior Court awarded moral (general) damages of $15,000 for defamation which the judge held resulted from the defendant’s breach of a confidentiality clause contained in a settlement agreement. That agreement was made by the defendant in a prior civil lawsuit for damages he brought (against the plaintiff in this litigation.) In that prior lawsuit, the defendant was interviewed by a television reporter, following which stories based on that interview were broadcast on two television news bulletins and disseminated on the Internet. Although the evidence showed that the two television news bulletins reached estimated audiences of 206,700 (6:00 PM) and 67,400 (mid-day), the Court observed that the evidence did not reveal the impact of the Internet publication.

2008 October 20
Warman v. Grosvenor, [2008] O.J. No. 4462

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff Warman, a lawyer employed by the Government of Canada, damages capped at $50,000 for defamation and assault. The defamation was contained in Internet postings “published throughout Canada and the world by way of Google website groups, Mailgate website groups and others” on servers located in California, Italy and Germany.

The Court accepted that the plaintiff had proven “publication” (an essential element of the cause of action) stating:  “The Internet is a means of publication like no other, given its ability to instantaneously send words throughout the world to the millions who have access to computers. The defendant has caused defamatory words to be communicated to others by the Postings and each time he has re-posted the same defamatory words in the Postings, he has created a new publishing of those words.

Because the plaintiff brought these proceedings under the “simplified” Rules of Court,  he could not recover damages in excess of $50,000 for all causes of action. Although the Court agreed that a total amount of $175,000 would be the appropriate amount for general and aggravated damages, it therefore awarded only the $50,000 maximum comprised as follows:  $20,000 general damages for defamation, $10,000 aggravated damages for defamation, $15,000 general damages for assault, and $5,000 aggravated damages for assault.

2008 October 8
Reaburn v. Langen, 2008 BCSC 1342, appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal, 2009 BCCA 465

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff RCMP officer Maw general damages of $20,000 and the plaintiff RCMP officer Reaburn general damages of $22,000 over false and defamatory allegations of criminal misconduct published by the defendant in a newspaper with limited circulation and on a website which was relatively unknown.

2008 July 15
Griffin v. Sullivan, 2008 BCSC 827

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff, a resident of Australia, damages totalling $154,644.50 for serious, defamatory statements published on numerous websites on the Internet during the period from May 2003 to trial in April 2008 by the defendant, a resident in British Columbia. The defamation award consisted of general damages of $100,000; aggravated damages of $50,000; and special damages of $4,644.40. The plaintiff was also awarded $25,000 for invasion of privacy.

2008 June 18
Inform Cycle Ltd. v. Rebound Inc. (c.o.b. Rebound Cycle), 2008 ABQB 369

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff general damages for defamation in the amount of $5,000 over the individual defendant’s conduct in forwarding the visitors to the plaintiff’s website to a gay pornographic website for a period of 16 days. The court noted that the nature of the defamation was such that it could not be replicated almost endlessly over the internet as in the case of an actual defamatory statement. The Court also awarded punitive damages of $5,000.

2008 June 10
Manno v. Henry, 2008 BCSC 738

The newspaper defendants were ordered to pay general damages aggregating $210,000 to five plaintiffs over unfounded allegations that they were victims of a marijuana grow-rip and had been involved in a marijuana grow-op. The individual awards were: (1) $55,000; (2) $45,000; (3) $45,000; (4) $35,000; and (5) $30,000. These awards were substantially based on hard-copy publication. However, the defamatory article was also published on the defendant newspaper’s website. The court held that the internet article, probably exacerbated, although to a minor degree, the defamation by the newspaper of the five plaintiffs awarded damages.

2008 May 14
Abou-Khalil c Diop, 2008 QCCS 1921

The Quebec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff $100,000 moral damages and $25,000 punitive damages over defamatory articles published on an Internet website which falsely alleged the plaintiff had been arrested at the airport in Paris, France, in possession of two suitcases containing 8 million Euros and was trafficking in shares. The defendant also published the same allegations during a radio broadcast in Senegal. The Court held the defendant had invented and fabricated these allegations and ruled that the plaintiff had never been involved in the sale of foreign shares or any other type of illegal business. The Court also noted that the defamatory statements appeared on a blog much visited by people connected to Senegal. This decision is on appeal to the Quebec Court of Appeal.

2008 May 1
Manson v. Moffett, [2008] O.J. No. 1697

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff damages of $20,000 for libel on the internet. The libellous impact was achieved by the defendant’s use of metatags on his own website that misdirected the plaintiff’s potential customers to the defendant’s website, on which the defendant published certain false information of the plaintiff.

2008 March 28
Angle v. LaPierre, 2008 ABCA 120, affirming 2006 ABQB 198

The Alberta Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed an appeal by the defendant from a trial judgment that certain statements he made and published on the internet were defamatory. A cross-appeal by the plaintiffs seeking a higher award of damages was also dismissed.

2008 March 3
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board v. Scharf, 2008 ONCA 154, affirming [2007] O.J. No. 3030

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from the trial judgment awarding aggregate damages of $30,000 to the plaintiffs. An application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was filed on June 23, 2008, [2008] S.C.C.A. No. 285.

2007 December 6
Smith v. Cross, 2007 BCSC 1757, appeal dismissed 2009 BCCA 529

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff municipal councillor $25,000 general damages and $10,000 punitive damages over false and defamatory allegations relating to the plaintiff’s prior role as Chairman of the local School Board. The libels were contained in three emails disseminated in November, 2005 to a variety of recipients, including Members of the British Columbia Legislature. The Court noted that the defendant “argued that anyone could author an e-mail and make look as though it came from him, when in fact it did not” but ruled that the defence position with respect to the emails was “obstructionist” and held that “those portions of the e-mails produced as exhibits by the plaintiff purporting to be from the defendant were in fact sent to the plaintiff and the others listed on them by [the defendant].”

2007 November 28
Lee v. Ng, 2007 BCSC 1947, appeal dismissed 2009 BCCA 91

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded general damages of $5,000 to the plaintiff real estate agent over false allegations of fraudulent behaviour in an email sent to a handful of individuals at a real estate firm. The one email recipient who testified for the plaintiff did not assert the email had a negative effect on her views of the plaintiff. An appeal from this decision was dismissed by the British Columbia Court of appeal on February 25, 2009.

2007 November 23
Warman v. Fromm and Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc., Ontario Court File No: 04-CV-26550SR, appeal dismissed 2008 ONCA 842, leave to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada denied: March 23, 2009, [2008] SCCA No. 40  

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff, a human rights lawyer, defamation damages aggregating $30,000 over nine postings on various Internet websites. The award consisted of $20,000 general damages and $10,000 aggravated damages The Court held that the individual defendant’s statements were designed to hold the plaintiff up to ridicule by “staying away from the truth behind [the plaintiff’s actions] because of his [the defendant’s] profound philosophical support for unbounded and unlimited freedom of expression, despite the parameters and constraints imposed by law.” The Court found that the dominant motive of the individual defendant was to attack the plaintiff personally “in retaliation for the [plaintiff’s] use of legal processes to restrain illegal speech.”

2007 October 29
Shell v. Cherrier, [2007] O.J. No. 5152

The Ontario Small Claims Court awarded the plaintiff labour lawyer general damages of $7,500 over two defamatory emails sent to prominent members of the union movement and the public.

2007 August 8
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board v. Scharf, [2007] O.J. No. 3030, affirmed 2008 ONCA 154

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff school principal and the plaintiff superintendent of instruction defamation damages aggregating $30,000 over a “News Release” and supporting documents posted continuously on an Internet website since January, 2005 which falsely alleged the plaintiff was guilty of violating a court order, assault, use of excessive force and improper action making a school unsafe for a child with Downs syndrome. Each plaintiff was awarded general damages of $15,000. The Court also ordered the removal of the defamatory material from the Internet.

2007 May 23
Bilodeau v. Savard, 2007 QCCQ 5127

The Quebec Court (Civil) awarded $2,000 to the plaintiff, a consultant who treated compulsive gambling, over defamatory allegations published by the defendant on the plaintiff’s own website for one day, which falsely alleged that the effectiveness of the plaintiff’s methods had been misrepresented to the media.

2007 May 17
3095-4333 Quebec inc. v Service de transport STCH inc., 2007 QCCS 2442

The Superior Court of Quebec awarded the plaintiff transportation company $25,000 punitive damages against the defendant transportation broker over two defamatory emails sent to the transportation brokers association, and subsequently distributed to all association members, which warned association members against dealing with the plaintiff. The emails made false allegations of misconduct against the plaintiff. The Court also ordered the defendant to formally apologize to the plaintiff and to inform all members of the transportation brokers association to disregard its defamatory emails.

2007 March 21
Finocchio v. Kurtesi, [2007] O.J. No. 5581

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff $75,000 general damages and $50,000 aggravated damages over a defamatory email sent by the defendants to a municipal Clerk with instructions that it be circulated to members of the municipal council, opposing the renewal of a hot dog vendor licence. The Court held that the email made serious, malicious allegations of misconduct for the purpose of punishing and hurting the plaintiff, who was a competitor.

2007 January 11
WeGo Kayaking Ltd. v. Sewid, 2007 BCSC 49

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded defamation damages totalling $257,500 to two corporations offering kayak tours in waters east of Vancouver Island. The Court held that the individual male defendant was responsible because he participated in publishing the defamatory statements concerning the plaintiff eco-tourism companies on a website by “formulating, then communicating, authorizing and approving” their publication on the website. In such circumstances, it was no defence that someone else ( a bankrupt co-defendant) was the person who actually posted the defamatory statements on the website. Details of the damages awarded are as follows: (a) general damages of $100,000 plus punitive damages of $2,500 to the corporate plaintiff WeGo Kayaking Ltd. and (b) general damages of $150,000 plus punitive damages of $5,000 to the corporate plaintiff Northern Lights Expeditions Ltd.

2006 November 24
Urbanowski v. Harkins, 2006 BCSC 1741

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff computer systems engineer $10,000 general damages over false allegations by the defendant that the plaintiff had defrauded the defendant and his collision company with the unauthorized use of the defendant’s credit card and by “reneging” on payment terms for his insurance deductible. The false and defamatory statements were made in two emails sent by the defendant to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, one of which was also copied to two officers of the Associate of Auto Trades.

2006 July 24
Loh v. Yang, 2006 BCSC 1131

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff lawyer $50,000 general damages, $25,000 aggravated damages and $10,000 punitive damages over false allegations that he was dishonest as a lawyer, political candidate and community leader. These false allegations were published over a period of six years on web sites, in a written notice of a media conference, and on a placard worn by the defendant in Vancouver and on occasion near the plaintiff’s offices. The plaintiff was also awarded special costs.

2006 June 20
Sanjh Savera Weekly v. Ajit Newspaper Advertising, [2006] O.J. No. 2464

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice, in the course of assessing defamation damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs, rejected the plaintiff’s submission that publication of the offending article on the website of the defendant newspaper from October 2002 to April 2003 was a factor that weighed in support of an award of punitive damages. In this case, the Court noted that the posting of the defamatory editorial on the website was part of the standard practice of the defendant newspaper and not a special step related to the plaintiffs. “An Internet user would need to go through several steps to access the editorial, which suggests that it would not come to the attention of such users as readily as it would have reached the readers of the newspaper in its distribution in print form in the week of October 2, 2002.” The Court held that publication on the website was not shown to have likely had a material effect.

2006 March 13
Angle v. LaPierre, 2006 ABQB 198

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded general damages aggregating $49,001 to six plaintiffs who were defamed in website postings. The plaintiffs included two school principles, three teachers and the Alberta Teacher’s Association and one of its employees. The individual defendants included parents of children in the schools system.

2006 January 11
Newman v. Halstead, 2006 BCSC 65

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded defamation damages aggregating $676,000 CAN to eleven plaintiffs who were defamed in sixty defamatory statements published on internet “chat rooms” or “bulletin boards”, a website and in emails which were distributed to large numbers of recipients. The largest individual award of general damages was $150,000 CAN. The judgment included an award of $50,000 CAN punitive damages to be divided equally among the plaintiffs. The Court also granted a permanent injunction against “any statements or other communications which refer to any of the plaintiffs by name, by depiction or by description.”

2005 November 11
Lacroix v. Dicaire, [2005] J.Q. no 16431

The Québec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff, a senior city official, the sum of $30,000 Cdn as moral damages for defamation over expression published on the Internet and elsewhere. At paragraph 75 of its judgment, the Court stated that the defendant “ a utilisé un moyen de communication puissant, l’internet, afin de s’assurer de détruire plus largement la reputation” of the plaintiff.

2004 November 15
Hay v. Partridge, 2004 NUCJ 3

The Nunavut Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff prison warden general damages of $35,000 including aggravated damages over defamatory expression contained in a hard-copy newsletter published by subordinate employees. The Court held that the plaintiff’s damages were aggravated by the dissemination of the newsletter’s defamatory allegations on an internet message board which provoked “local anonymous commentary” and thereby “expanded” the publication.

2004 November 9
Ross v. Holley, [2004] O.J. No. 4643

The Ontario Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff $75,000 Cdn general damages and $50,000 Cdn aggravated damages over emails which the court held were false and defamatory.

2004 June 4
Barrick Gold Corp. v. Lopehandia, (2004) 239 D.L.R. (4th) 577

The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the corporate plaintiff, a gold mining company, was entitled to $75,000 Cdn general damages and $50,000 Cdn punitive damages for libels published in postings on various websites. The lower court judge had awarded only $15,000 Cdn general damages and nothing for punitive damages.

2004 June 1
Simpson v. Mair, 2004 BCSC 754

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the defendant radio show host the sum of $100 Cdn as nominal damages over what it held were false and defamatory allegations by the defendant by counterclaim – the Citizens Research Institute Society – on its website.

2004 February 27
Sasseville v. Vincent, [2004 J.Q. no. 1832

The Québec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff hockey team administrator the sum of $3,500 Cdn as moral damages for defamation against the defendant hockey player over allegations published in a newspaper and on the newspaper’s website.

2004 February 27
Gosselin v. Vincent, [2004] J.Q. no. 1831

The Québec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff hockey team general manager the sum of $2,000 Cdn as moral damages for defamation against the defendant hockey player over allegations published in a newspaper and on the newspaper’s website.

2004 January 29
Vaquero Energy Ltd. v. Weir, 2004 ABQB 68, [2004] A.R. 191 (QB)

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded the plaintiff oil and gas exploration company $10,000 Cdn general damages over false, anonymous and defamatory e-mails and messages posted in chat rooms – called bullboards – where people could post messages about particular stocks. The individual plaintiff – the president and CEO of the company — was awarded $40,000 Cdn general damages and $25,000 Cdn punitive damages.

2004 January 7
Consumers’ Assn. of Canada v. Hillard, [2004] O.T.C. 11

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff – a non-profit, non-governmental, volunteer organization — $1,000 Cdn general damages. The court also awarded the president of the organization $4000 Cdn general damages and the secretary/treasurer $3000 Cdn general damages. The Court held that the libels were contained in two emails sent by the defendant, a board member, to other board members, to committee chairs and to provincial branches of the organization in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

2003 July 30
Buchwald c. 2640-7999 Quebec Inc., [2003] J.Q. no. 13270

The Québec Superior Court awarded the male plaintiff – a restaurant operator — $6,250 Cdn moral damages over the defendant’s statements and comments which appeared on his Internet website for 125 days. The $6,250 Cdn award represented $50 Cdn damages per day for the website publication. The male plaintiff was also awarded $1,750 Cdn punitive damages. The male plaintiff’s wife, although not expressly named by the defendant in the libels, was awarded $1,500 Cdn moral damages and $1,750 Cdn pecuniary damages for losses to the restaurant business (150 meals). In addition, the court awarded the plaintiffs a total of $2,250 Cdn damages for legal expenses.

2003 June 6
Ager v. Canjex Publishing Ltd., 2003 BCSC 891, (2003) 16 C.C.L.T. (3d) 188 varied 28 September 2005, 2005 BCCA 467

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff geophysicist defamation damages totaling $300,000 Cdn in relation to certain articles published in “Stockwatch,” a Vancouver publication which is made available to subscribers principally via Internet. The plaintiff was also awarded special (substantial indemnity) costs. The award consisted of $200,000 Cdn general damages and $100,000 Cdn aggravated damages. On September 28, 2005, the Court of Appeal sustained the award of $200,000 Cdn general damages but set aside the award of $100,000 for aggravated damages: 2005 BCCA 467.

See McConchie and Potts, Canadian Libel and Slander Actions, “Chapter Twenty-Three: Pleadings,” “Fair Comment,” page 583.

2003 June 4
Association des medecins traitant l’obesitee v. Breton, [2003] J.Q. no. 6601

The Québec Superior Court awarded defamation damages aggregating $220,000 Cdn over approximately thirty Internet postings by the defendant. The plaintiff association AMTO (doctors treating obesity) was awarded $25,000 Cdn punitive damages; the plaintiff Pro-amino (a corporation selling food products) was awarded $25,000 Cdn punitive damages. Two doctors were each awarded $25,000 Cdn moral damages and $50,000 Cdn punitive damages. A third individual was awarded $10,000 Cdn moral damages and $10,000 Cdn punitive damages.

2003 May 5
Graf v. Duhaime, [2003] J.Q. no. 4811

The Québec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff – the president of a non-profit society — the sum of $50,000 Cdn moral damages over defamatory allegations contained in a letter mailed to members and contributors and others and posted on the society’s Internet site, in messages and text on the Internet home page of the society, in certain statements made to a newspaper, and in a written communication to members of the society pending its annual meeting in 2001. The female co-plaintiff was awarded $10,000 Cdn damages. In addition, the court awarded the plaintiffs damages of $100,000 Cdn to defray their legal costs.

2003 March 7
Caron v. Rassemblement des employes technicians aubulanciers du Quebec (R.E.T.A.Q.), [2003] J.Q. no 1611, affirmed [2004] J.Q. no.4914

The Québec Superior Court awarded the plaintiff lawyer/ambulance technician $100,000 Cdn damages ($50,000 moral; $50,000 exemplary) arising from a communique sent by fax by the defendant union to regional unions affiliated with a national federation of unions. The circular was posted on the bulletin boards of ambulance companies in Québec whose unions were affiliated with the national federation. The same communique was also posted on the Internet site of the defendant union.

2002 July 8
Reichmann v. Berlin, [2002] O.J. No. 2732, (2002) O.T.C. 464

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the aggregate sum of $400,000 Cdn damages to the plaintiff over libels published on the Internet on at least seven different websites. The award consisted of $200,000 Cdn general damages, $50,000 Cdn aggravated damages against each of the two defendants, and $50,000 Cdn punitive damages against each of the defendants.

See McConchie and Potts, Canadian Libel and Slander Actions, “Chapter Thirty: Damages,” “Aggravated Damages,” page 852; “Avoiding Overlap between General and Aggravated Damages,” page 853; “Awards,” page 866.

2001 November 23
Vermette v. Harmer, BCSC docket 01 - 1822, Victoria Registry

The Supreme Court of British Columbia awarded $40,000 Cdn general damages, $10,000 Cdn aggravated damages and $10,000 Cdn punitive damages to the plaintiff police constable for defamatory statements published on two websites.

2000 December 4
Ramsey v. Pacific Press, a Division of Southam Inc., 2000 BCSC 1551

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded a provincial cabinet minister general damages of $30,000 Cdn for defamation against defendant radio talk-show host and his employer, a radio station, over a broadcast and over the posting of the text of the broadcast on the radio station’s website.

See McConchie and Potts, Canadian Libel and Slander Actions, pages 165, 182, 184, 185, 187, 189, 317, 460, 764, 786, 787.

2000 September 21
Southam v. Chelekis, [2000] B.C.J. No. 314 (CA), affirming [1998] B.C.J. No. 848

The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded damages aggregating $875,000 Cdn to a newspaper columnist, David Baines, for several articles, a press release, and an oral statement made at a business seminar.

The damage awards included general damages of $250,000 Cdn against the defendants Chelekis and Market News (a distributor of information by means of electronic communication to private investors, including supplying material to Star Data and Bloomburg, thereby achieving worldwide distribution).

Aggravated damages of $100,000 Cdn and punitive damages of $100,000 Cdn were also awarded, presumably in part in relation to the electronic communications.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed an appeal by two of the defendants, Market News Publishing Inc. and Robert Shore, from the assessment against them of damages in the sum of $250,000 (see (c) above). Leave to appeal to the SCC was denied [2000] SCCA 177 (SC)

See McConchie and Potts, Canadian Libel and Slander Actions, “Chapter Thirty: Damages, Awards” -pages 865, 894.

1999 September 23
Campbell v. Cartmell, [1999] O.J. No. 3553

Five school board officials and the Toronto District School Board sued in the Ontario Superior Court over defamatory letters which were posted on Web sites and on Scribe, an internal bulletin system of the Scarborough Board of Education.

The Court awarded a total of $15,000 Cdn general damages to five of the plaintiffs ($3,000 Cdn each to four individuals and the School Board) plus a total of $2,000 Cdn aggravated damages ($500 to each of the four individual plaintiffs who received an award of general damages).

In addition, the court awarded $1,500 Cdn punitive damages to one individual plaintiff. The court subsequently ordered that the defendants pay solicitor and client costs (substantial indemnity for legal fees) [2000] O.J. No. 840.

1996 October 28
Fantino v. Baptista

The Police Chief of London, Ontario brought a lawsuit in the Ontario Court General Division over an individual who made defamatory remarks in electronic messages. The plaintiff obtained a default judgment in the amount of $40,000.