Protection of Public Participation Act
British Columbians’ right to freely participate in debating matters of public interest – without fear of facing unfair litigation and associated costs – will be better protected under this new legislation. The Protection of Public Participation Act will safeguard people from strategic lawsuits against public participation that limit or prevent the expression of individuals’ or groups’ points of view on matters of public interest. A key feature is an expedited process by which a defendant may apply to the court to dismiss a lawsuit on the basis that it impinges on the defendant’s ability to speak freely on a matter of public interest. If the court so determined, it would dismiss the lawsuit, unless the plaintiff could satisfy the court that the harm the plaintiff likely would suffer as a result of that free speech would outweigh the public interest in protecting it. The act would further protect public participation by allowing the court to fully indemnify defendants for costs.