Defamation, Libel & Slander
As a small business, protecting your reputation is of vital importance. With a number of online platforms offering review services and public feedback mechanisms, the difference between critical feedback and libel becomes blurred. Defamation, libel, and slander are common concerns for businesses.
In British Columbia, the law that governs libel and slander is the Libel and Slander Act [RSBC 1996] Chapter 263, Ontario has similar legislation under the same name (Libel and Slander Act, R.S.O. 1990. c. L. 12) .
In determining if you have a defamation or libel case, it’s important to understand what the terms mean. Defamation occurs when an individual’s reputation is harmed. As businesses and companies are considered natural persons under Canadian law, a company, like a person, can be defamed.
Libel is a form of defamation. Libel occurs when an individual posts or writes information about another person or company and the literature in question defames you or your brand. Libel must be in written format. Examples of potential forms of libel include social media platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, Tumblr or any other social media site), websites, newspapers, brochures, posters, and books.
Slander is another form of defamation except it is in verbal format. Normally, slander is a statement made from one individual to another. It may or may not be recorded. As slander is generally not a form of a permanent record, it is harder to prove without testimony or affidavit evidence.
As libel and slander laws must be balanced with the rights to free speech, there are defenses that an accused party may rely on. As the defenses to libel and slander offences require understanding of libel and slander laws, it is important to seek assistance if you have been accused of defamation. Seek the assistance of one of our defamation lawyers. We’re here to assist with protecting your brand and providing you with the opportunity to make full answer and defense of your actions if you have received a defamation notice.