Calgary Airport Authority v. CCBR

The JCCF is providing representation in an action against the Calgary Airport Authority, to support the right of protesters to share their message in all government facilities.

The Calgary Airport Authority asserts that the Airport is a private facility; therefore the Charter right to freedom of expression is absent. When protesters shared their message at the Airport, Airport management issued Trespass Notices, contending that the protesters did not have a right to share their message at the Airport.

In a preliminary case, R. v. Booyink, (2013 ABPC 185) the Crown made this same argument, submitting that the protesters rightly received Trespass Notices at the Airport, due to the fact that the Airport is not a government facility, therefore the protesters had no Charter right to freedom of expression. The JCCF relied on the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Committee for the Commonwealth of Canada v Canada, [1991] 1 SCR 139, in which the Court held that airport authorities cannot prohibit the peaceful expression of opinion in the public areas of an airport, because they are government-owned public places.

In Booyink, Judge Fradsham acquitted the protesters of trespass, also finding that the Airport’s issuing of Trespass Notices was a breach of the protesters’ right to freedom of expression. Judge Fradsham found that “the defendants’ words and conduct were protected under section 2(b) as a result of their location. The Airport is public or government-owned property”.

The Calgary Airport Authority has now applied for an injunction to prohibit the protesters from attending the Airport, contending again that the Airport is a private entity, not subject to the Charter, the argument rejected by Judge Fradsham. The JCCF argued this case in Court on October 17, 2013. This action is awaiting judgment from the Court of Queen’s Bench.

 

Court Documents

Airport Respondents’ Brief of Argument

Brief Supplementary Submissions