Written by John Gescher

In a recent case the Ontario Superior Court of Justice reiterated that only individual municipal councillors and not a municipality may commence an action for defamation. The case is Corp. of Township of North Shore v. Grant, 2018 ONSC 503 (CanLII) http://canlii.ca/t/hq1mj

The defamation arose when the defendant wrote a letter to members of council, and members of the provincial and federal governments which included allegations about the circumstances of the death of a municipal employee.

Justice Ellies cited two prior decisions of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice which also ruled that a municipality cannot sue for defamation. The Justice went on to allow an amendment of the statement of claim to name individual councillors as the plaintiffs thus allowing the law suit to continue. 

The Learned Justice also provided the following observation

“Given the history of this matter, I conclude that the parties would prefer to resolve it rather than litigate it.  That makes a lot of sense in a defamation action where the result of a trial is usually to further disseminate the allegedly defamatory comments.”

Wise advice for those considering commencing a defamation law suit.