Defamation Of Character

Requirements of Defamation

Defamation refers to the act of making defamatory statements that are false, not true, and communicated to a third party, thereby causing harm to a person's reputation. The determination of whether a person's reputation has been damaged is based on an objective test, taking into account the perception of an average person rather than that of the victim.

Defences to Defamation

  1. Absolute Privilege: This defense applies when a statement is made in a context where free speech requires protection, such as in a court or parliament.
  2. Fair Comment: This defense may apply when statements are made on matters of public interest, provided there is no malicious intent and the statements are honest opinions.
  3. Innocent Dissemination: In the digital age, individuals and businesses often share information without producing it themselves. For example, sharing a news article on social media that incorrectly states someone's arrest for a crime.
  4. Made Only to the Person It Is About: If a statement is exclusively made to the person it pertains to, it may not be considered defamatory.
  1. Qualified Privilege: This defense applies when there is a legal, moral, or social duty to publish or provide certain information, and the recipient has a legitimate interest in receiving it.
  2. Responsible Communication on matters of public importance: This defense requires that the publication in question is related to a matter of public interest and that the publisher made diligent efforts to verify the allegations, considering various factors outlined by Justice McLachlin in the Grant v. Torstar Corp. case.
  3. Statement is not damaging: To be considered defamatory; a statement must be both false and damaging. For instance, stating someone's height incorrectly but without causing harm would not be defamatory.
  4. True Statements: Truthful statements cannot be considered defamatory, even if they were published with the intent to harm someone's reputation. News outlets, for example, may use accurate but damaging descriptions of convicted individuals.

Successful Defamation Cases

  1. Vanderkooy v. Vanderkooy et al: False accusations of sexual assault led to defamatory statements suggesting the plaintiff was a child molester and pedophile. The plaintiff was awarded $125,000.00 in general damages.
  2. Rutman v. Rabinowitz: A smear campaign involving fake reviews and email allegations resulted in damages of $700,000.00 against the defendant.
  3. Wilson v. Wilson: Defamatory Facebook posts led to an award of $15,000.00 in general damages.
  4. Duncan v. Buckles: Neighbor dispute escalated to online defamation, resulting in $70,000.00 in damages against a third party.
  5. Grochowski v. Young: Defamatory postings online led to damages of $12,500.00 awarded to the plaintiff, a doctor.
  6. Paramount v. Kevin J. Johnston: Defamatory attacks on websites and social media caused substantial damages of $2,500,000.00 due to lost business opportunities.

Defamation Lawsuit

When filing a defamation lawsuit, plaintiffs typically seek a retraction of the defamatory statement and monetary compensation. Additional steps may be required before filing, depending on the source and location of the defamation.

Defamation Limitation Period

The general limitation period for defamation claims is 2 years from the date of discovery. However, different limitation periods apply to various forms of publication, as specified in the Libel and Slander Act. It is crucial to consult a legal professional to understand the specific notice requirements and avoid falling victim to a limitation period defense.

Difference between Libel and Defamation

Libel is a form of defamation that refers to defamatory statements published or broadcasted.

Defamation vs Slander

Slander is a form of defamation that involves spoken words, gestures, etc. Lawsuits for slander are less common than those for libel because damages must generally be proven in the absence of a permanent record.

Defamation of Character

Defamation of character is another term commonly used to describe defamation.


Yes, it is possible to sue for defamation on social media. With the widespread reach of social media platforms and the potential impact of online posts, defamation claims arising from social media are increasingly prevalent.


The Small Claims Court in Ontario can be an accessible and efficient venue for individuals seeking justice in defamation cases. The maximum amount of damages awardable in this court is $35,000.00.

CONTACT Beaumont Paralegal in Muskoka, Ontario Today

If you believe you have been defamed and require assistance, please don't hesitate to contact Beaumont Paralegal. As a representative of individuals who have been defamed more frequently than those charged, I understand the impact defamation can have on your reputation. I am here to provide guidance and support. If you have been a defamation victim, Contact me to discuss your situation and explore the appropriate legal actions. Together, I can work towards protecting your reputation and seeking appropriate remedies. Please let me know if you want me to make further adjustments or additions.

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