Canada Access Internet Choice & Affordability Wireless Privacy Privacy Deficit Free & Open Internet

Leading Digital Rights, Pro-Democracy, and Civil Liberties organizations rally support for Saturday’s Day of Action across Canada to stop Bill C-51

Over 55 non-partisan events in every province across Canada confirmed for Saturday March 14, as numbers speaking out online top 83,000

While concerns with C-51 are diverse and vary, supporting organizations agree that the bill is:

  1. Reckless: It turns CSIS into a ‘secret police’ force with little oversight or accountability.[Source]

  2. Dangerous: It opens the door for violations of our Charter Rights[Source] including censorship of free expression online.[Source]

  3. Ineffective: It will lead to dragnet surveillance and information sharing on innocent Canadians that even Stephen Harper has admitted is ineffective.[Source] [Source]

"We're seeing a growing upswell of everyday Canadians who are standing up to defend the freedoms 
necessary for a democratic society," said Jamie Biggar, Campaigns Director at, Canada's largest pro-democracy advocacy organization.
"This piece of legislation is a violation of our civil liberties and is unacceptable. It must be stopped," said Paul Finch, Treasurer, BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU). “Canadians should not have to choose between security and their rights.”

“As Canada’s leading digital rights organization and coordinator of the nationwide Protect Our Privacy coalition we are happy to support these events based on our privacy and accountability concerns,” said Steve Anderson, OpenMedia’s Executive Director. “This bill encourages reckless sharing of our sensitive private information, dangerous new powers for CSIS, and offers zero accountability or oversight. Everyone knows the Conservative government is bad on privacy issues, but C-51 takes it to a whole new level.”

“Debate, dissent and demonstrations are an essential part of our democracy. This reckless and dangerous bill treats legitimate, peaceful protests as potential terrorist threats,” said Dylan Penner, Democracy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “That’s why our local chapters and supporters are joining the protests this weekend – to protect the right to protest.”

"Bill C-51 poses a grave threat to free expression and human rights in Canada. The unchecked powers it introduces threaten the freedoms at the core of our Canadian democracy.” said Tom Henheffer, Executive Director at Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE).

“Existing measures have already led to serious violations of the rights of innocent people and the government now wants to introduce new measures notwithstanding the fact that it has not yet implemented the necessary oversight and review mechanisms to protect Canadians”, says Roch Tassé, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group National Coordinator. “The measures introduced in Bill C-51 greatly increase the potential for further national security abuses. That is why we support this day of actions against C-51 and ask that it be withdrawn or significantly amended".

Speakers at tomorrow’s rallies include the BC Civil Liberties Association’s Josh Paterson (Vancouver), bestselling journalist and author Chris Hedges (Toronto), Young Aamjiwnaang First Nation activist Vanessa Gray (Toronto), OpenMedia’s Alexa Pitoulis (Port Moody), and the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Sid Ryan (Toronto). Political leaders including Elizabeth May (Toronto) and Thomas Mulcair (Montreal) will also be showing their support for the non-partisan day of action.

Groups supporting tomorrow’s day of action include digital rights, civil liberties, pro-democracy, and labour organizations, in addition to tech companies and businesses.

Affinity Bridge, Agentic, Amnesty International Canada, BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, BCGEU, Canadian Association of University Teachers, Canadian Access and Privacy Association (CAPA),​ Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), Canadian Institute of Access and Privacy Professionals, Canadian Peace Alliance, Council of Canadians, CWA Canada, Democracy Watch, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Dominion, GenWhy Media, Groupe de recherche sur l’information et la surveillance au quotidien (GRISQ) / Université du Québec à Montréal, ​International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Leadnow, ​NewMode​, Ontario Federation of Labour, North American Association of Independent Journalists, OpenMedia, ​Privacy & Access Council of Canada, ​ProtestCanada, ​Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), ​TunnelBear, The Okanagan Directory, Women Against Stephen Harper, and Youth Vote Canada.

Canadians can learn more about the Day of Action at and can sign up to join or host a local event at




David Christopher

Communications Manager, OpenMedia


[email protected]


About OpenMedia

OpenMedia is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights

Through campaigns such as and, has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.


About OpenMedia’s privacy campaign led the successful campaign that forced the government to back down on its plans to introduce a costly, invasive, and warrantless online spying law (Bill C-30). Nearly 150,000 Canadians took part in the campaign. To learn more, see this infographic.

Last October, joined with over 60 major organizations and over a dozen academic experts to form the Protect Our Privacy Coalition, which is the largest pro-privacy coalition in Canadian history. The Coalition is calling for effective legal measures to protect the privacy of every resident of Canada against intrusion by government entities.


More Information

  • Spy agency CSE is monitoring private online activities on a massive scale, with Canadians among the targets. Source

  • Canada casts global surveillance dragnet over file downloads. Source: The Intercept

  • OpenMedia is crowdsourcing policy recommendation to boost privacy safeguards at

  • Supreme Court of Canada R v. Spencer ruling

  • Canada's Lawful Access Bill Appears to Have Contained a Provision to Enable PRISM-Style Surveillance Source: Michael Geist

  • Data breach protocols deficient in 9 federal departments, watchdog finds. - [Source: CBC News]

  • In this article, The Globe and Mail describes the revelations about Canadian government spying as “disturbing and unacceptable”

  • This document, obtained by The Globe through Access to Information, shows how Minister MacKay authorized a top secret program to data-mine global ‘metadata’ in 2011.

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet. Take action now

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