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Report No. 93

5.5. Position in Canada.-

A discussion of the Canadian law on the subject may start by stating the general rule prevailing in Commonwealth jurisdictions1 to the effect that the protection given by law for confidential communications is of a very limited character, and is restricted to the obtaining of the assistance of lawyers as regards the conduct of litigation or the rights to property. On this basis, it can be stated that journalists in Canada have no privilege against the disclosure of information imparted to them in confidence during the exercise of their profession. There is one ruling of the British Columbia Court of Appeal to the same effect, regarding journalists.2

1. Wheeler v. Merchant, (1881) 17 Ch D 675 (681, 682) (CA).

2. McConephy v. Times Publishers Ltd., (1964) 49 DLR (Second) 249 (British Columbia Court of Appeal), cited by Stanley Schiff Evidence in the Litigation Process, (1973), Vol. 2, p. 1011.

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