OCLA statement on #ReconnectAssange

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) vigorously advocates for authentic and unqualified freedom of expression of individuals, on all topics and in every form, in accordance with the universal rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association. The OCLA also advocates for unimpeded civil liberties and civil rights of all persons, in dealings with public and private institutions and corporations.

By providing a channel for people to make the actions and intentions of governments transparent for all to see, Julian Assange and Wikileaks are doing a great service to the world. Citizens of all countries need to know when our governments are committing crimes.

Wikileaks is a radical journalism organization, in that it adopts and acts in accordance with the fundamental principles of journalism, including independence from powerful entities and groups, truthful reporting of facts, and the exercise of conscience.

As such, and due to its reputation and bravery in exposing the crimes of the powerful, Wikileaks’ presence on the global scene exerts pressure on establishment media organizations and journalists to return to journalistic principles, and exposes these organizations and individuals when they abandon these principles.

For these reasons, the work of Assange and Wikileaks is a key factor in the battle to stop and reverse the erosion of democratic principles in the West.

The OCLA urgently asks the government of Ecuador to immediately #ReconnectAssange so that he can continue his vital work.

The OCLA calls on the Ontario and Canadian governments to do everything in their power to protect the human rights of Julian Assange. This includes the right of safe passage to freely leave the UK, as affirmed by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in its February 2016 decision on the detention of Julian Assange.

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Media Advisory: Ontario must fix its uniquely defective privacy protection laws

Media Advisory: The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) asked each of the leaders of the four main political parties of Ontario to commit to fixing the egregiously flawed access to information and protection of privacy laws of Ontario.

To this date, the government and the leaders have refused to answer.

The OCLA letters of request are posted here: http://ocla.ca/letters-to-on-party-leaders-employees-personal-information/

The issue is not complicated. Public institution employers cannot be shielded from privacy protection obligations in a free and democratic society, and employees must be allowed access to their own personal information, following universal norms among all free nations.

Ontario has gone astray in this vital area of human decency.

No other province or jurisdiction in Canada excludes employee records from the protection of its access and privacy law.   

For example, a government employer can capture and use the most intimate childhood, relational and personality information of an employee, without ever obtaining authorization or consent or ever informing the employee. 

There is a present case in Ontario in which precisely such an abuse has occurred at a public institution. The case has given rise to a lengthy ongoing constitutional challenge of the impugned statutory provision.

But the ultimate solution is for Ontario lawmakers to avoid such problems by simply fixing undemocratic laws, irrespective of the outcomes of constitutional challenges. The applicant in the constitutional challenge has asked the Attorney General Yasir Naqvi to do this, but has received no response.

Furthermore, there is a history of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario formally requesting that lawmakers fix the law by removing the offending provisions in two Ontario information laws. The said history is reviewed and documented in the court-filed record of the constitutional challenge. The OCLA has posted the said court-filed record on its web site here: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ALL-PUB-ONDC-17-DC-2279-All-arguments-unconstitutionality-of-FIPPA.pdf

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) advocates for civil and human rights, including the rights of all persons in dealings with public and private institutions and corporations.  The OCLA will continue to attempt to get provincial politicians to learn about and fix the Ontario access to information and privacy protection statutes.

Contact:

Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://ocla.ca
joseph.hickey@ocla.ca

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Letters to Ontario political party leaders re: employees’ personal information

The OCLA has sent letters today to the leaders of Ontario’s PC, Liberal, NDP, and Green parties, asking for each leader’s position on the protection of privacy of employees, and right to access one’s own personal information in Ontario.

The letters are posted at the following links:

 

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Letter to Canadian Senators re: Bill C-49

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) has sent a letter today to the Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications and to all Canadian Senators opposing changes to Bill C-49 (Transportation Modernization Act), which in-effect stifle public interest advocacy and undermine access to justice in the area of air transportation.

The letter can be read below or at the link here.

Update (2018-03-27): “Senate Committee Sides with Canadian Air Passengers Against Proposed Government Bill”, Air Passenger Rights 

2018-03-11 OCLA Letter to Senators re Bill C-49 by Ontario Civil Liberties Association

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OCLA Letter to Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

The OCLA sent a letter today to the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship re: the Canadian government’s intent to deport Mr. Abdoul Abdi, and systemic violations of international law.

The letter is online here and embedded below:

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