Today I bring bad news. The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed my application for leave to hear the case. The anti-SLAPP application I filed on October 16th, 2020 was ultimately unsuccessful at all levels of court in Canada.
This is what I expected, but obviously not the outcome I had hoped for. The Supreme Court denies about 90% of applications for leave.
I feel let down by the Protection of Public Participation Act (PPPA). Passed unanimously in 2019, it has been ineffective in protecting freedom of expression. The BC Court of Appeal has never allowed a lawsuit to be dismissed under the PPPA. The PPPA was intended to reduce the time and cost of mounting a defence, but seems to have done the opposite. My application took 3 years, 4 months, and 8 days. I had hoped today would be the beginning of the end, but instead it is only the end of the beginning. I have no sense of when this will be over and I will be free from the burden of this unjust, unmeritorious lawsuit.
Laws can be changed. If I could change one thing about the PPPA, it would be to strengthen the requirement to prove harm caused by the expressions at issue. I haven’t harmed Proctorio one bit, and they didn’t file a shred of evidence to try and prove any had occurred. Still, the lawsuit has been allowed to proceed. This can be fixed, not for me, but for countless others in the future. It’s hard to see how filing an anti-SLAPP application is worth it when they are hardly ever successful. For those of us in British Columbia, maybe if we work together we can get our representatives to fix the PPPA. Share my story, if it helps.
Thank you all for your support. My application would not have been possible without your help. I don’t know what will happen next, but I will keep you informed as best I can.
Throughout all of this, I am glad I made the choice to stand up for students. It’s my duty, and I will never stop. I will continue to do everything in my power to work against academic surveillance technologies and end their harm against students. Join me in carrying this work forward in your own schools and communities. Students are vulnerable and need our help. Make the ethical decision and protect them at all costs.