Animal Justice Going to Court in Lawsuit Challenging Removal of Anti-Canada Goose Ads on TTC Shelters

Animal Justice has been granted intervener status in a case challenging the removal of anti-Canada Goose ads from Toronto transit shelters. The case could have broad implications for animals, and will decide whether animal advocates have the right to advertise on city property, or whether municipalities can discriminate against groups and individuals that speak up for animals.

The case started with a series of ads targeting luxury jacket company Canada Goose. Posted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the ads reminded consumers that Canada Goose uses cruel and unnecessary animal products like coyote fur trim and down filling in its jackets, showing images of the coyotes and geese with captions like, “I’m a living being, not a piece of fur trim”, and “I’m a living being, not jacket filling”.

The ads went up near Canada Goose’s Toronto headquarters and the home of its CEO Dani Reis in October 2018, but were removed less than 24 hours later by Astral Media, which manages City of Toronto bus shelter advertising. Astral claimed the ads had prompted complaints.

PETA filed a legal challenge over the ad removal, and now Animal Justice will intervene in that case to point out why removing animal rights-focused advertisements violates the right to free expression guaranteed under Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Animal Justice will fight to ensure that municipalities are not permitted to unfairly remove ads exposing animal suffering caused by companies like Canada Goose. City property belongs to the public, and cities must not be allowed to close the doors on animal advocates and prevent them from expressing themselves in a public place, on a matter of public importance.

The case will be heard in Divisional Court in Toronto on October 15, 2019. Animal Justice is represented by Arden Beddoes of Arvay Finlay LLP, and Benjamin Oliphant of Gall Legge Grant Zwack LLP.

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