Published on October 20, 2016
Posted in: News
Katie Mohammed, a school teacher in Stouffville, was recently sued for defamation by United Soils Management Ltd. after she expressed her opinion on local “Mommies” and “Stouffville buy/sell” Facebook group about an amendment to a fill agreement that would allow “acceptable fill from small quantity source sites and hydro-excavation trucks” on a site near Mussleman’s Lake, in the Oak Ridges Moraine. The fill amendment remains a serious public issue in the community of Stouffville. A Facebook group called the “Hydrovac Protest Group” was formed to ask town council to overturn its decision and held a meeting to discuss such matters on September 8, 2016. The Facebook group has since been taken down.
Mrs. Mohammed has scheduled a motion to dismiss the action and claim damages for emotional distress, pursuant to a new provision of the Courts of Justice Act, which came into force in November 2015. The motion is scheduled for December 19th, 2016. The Protection of Public Participation Act is meant to protect the rights of Ontario residents to speak out on public issues without fear of being faced with a strategic lawsuit, commonly referred to as a SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation).
Similar suits have been brought by land fill operators when individuals concerned with the environmental impact of the sites have spoken up publicly.
This case will be one of the first to test Ontario’s Anti-SLAPP legislation.
Court File #: CV-16-560260
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