Humour, Hate and Harm – Rethinking Dignity, Equality and Free Speech after the Supreme Court’s Decision in Ward v Quebec

November 25, 2022 @ 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Max Bell School of Public Policy, Room 650 // Livestream Available
680 Sherbrooke St W 6th floor
Quebec H3A 2M7
Max Bell School of Public Policy

Humour, Hate and Harm – Rethinking dignity, equality and free speech after the Supreme Court’s decision in Ward v Quebec

About the conference

The governance of speech remains one of the most difficult topics in public policy today. While free speech is foundational to democracy, forms of expression that mislead and deceive, that incite hatred, or foment violence and discrimination, all pose direct dangers to democracy and to human rights.

This half-day conference (in person and online) will explore the legal, philosophical and policy dimensions of these tensions through the Supreme Court of Canada’s latest decision on the interactions among freedom of speech, human dignity, and equality law. The Court’s 2021 decision in Ward v Quebec reset the boundaries of free speech and equality law. Both areas circumscribe the protection of fundamental freedoms, the rights of minorities, and of peoples with disabilities » Each has important implications for the forthcoming federal regulation of online content and safety based on the development of the Court’s understanding of what constitutes “social harm.”

Humour, Hate and Harm offers a unique opportunity in an intimate setting for students, scholars and the community to discuss these pressing issues of social justice with leaders of Canada’s human rights institutions, as well as prominent constitutional and human rights litigators, and anti-racism organizations. Seating is limited to facilitate discussion and interaction.

The event is hosted by McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy and McGill’s Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. We are delighted that the Literary Review of Canada, Canada‘s journal of ideas, is with us as the event media sponsor.

About the speakers (full bios available here)

  • Pearl Eliadis (Associate Professor (Professional) and award-winning lawyer, educator, and author, Max Bell School of Public Policy & Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism, McGill University)
  • Nandini Ramanujam (Co-director and Director of programs, Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism, McGill University)
  • Marie-Claude Landry, Ad.E (Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission)
  • Philippe-André Tessier (Président, Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse)
  • Stéphanie Fournier (Conseillère juridique, Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse)
  • Fo Niemi (Co-founder and Executive Director, Center for Research-Action on Race Relations)
  • Pablo Gilabert (Professor, Department of Philosophy, Concordia University)
  • Julius Grey (Senior Attorney and Lawyer for Mike Ward, Grey Casgrain s.e.n.c.)

For more information about the event:

Email:  human.rights [at]