Report No. 93
5.8. Actions for defamation in Canada.-
It is proper to mention, however, that in the narrow context of pre-trial discovery proceedings, where the action is for defamation against newspaper proprietors or reporters and arises from published articles, the question may arise how far the English practice,1 of refusing to compel defendants in such cases to disclose the names of informants in response to the demand of the plaintiff, is to be followed in Canada. Opinion in this respect seems to be differing in Canada. Ontario judges have consistently followed the English practice since the turn of this century.2 However, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia has emphatically refused to follow the English practice.3-4 It would therefore appear that the position in this regard in Canada should be considered as fluid.5
1. For the English practice, see Order 82, rule 6, R.S.C. (English) and Chapter 4, supra.
2. Reid v. Telegram Publishing Co., (1961) Ontario Reports 418 (Ontario High Court of Justice), referred to by Stanley Schiff Evidence in the Litigation Process, (1978), Vol. 2, p. 1012.
3. McConephy v. Times Publishers Ltd., (1964) 49 DLR (2nd) 349 (British Columbia).
4. McLauchlin Confidential Communication and the Law of Privilege, (1977) 11 University of British Columbia Law Review 266.
5. Stanley Schiff Evidence in the Litigation Process, (1978), Vol. 3, pp. 1011-1012.