Canadian Civil Liberties Association

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Canadian Civil Liberties Association
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada
Official language
English, French
Executive Director and General Counsel
Michael Bryant[1]

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA; French: Association Canadienne des Libertés Civiles) is a nonprofit organization in Canada devoted to the defence of civil liberties and constitutional rights.[2]


The CCLA was founded in 1964 in Toronto, prompted by the Ontario government's proposal of a bill that would have granted special powers to the police in the face of a rise in organized crime, its predecessor was the Association for Civil Liberties (ACL), which at its foundation had been intended to address national issues, but had become focused primarily on issues in Ontario. The ACL was led by Irving Himel, and in response to the bill, he gathered human rights leaders in Toronto, including Pierre Berton, June Callwood, Bora Laskin, Mark MacGuigan, Harry Arthurs, and John Keiller MacKay, and they formed the CCLA with Mackay as its honorary president.[2]

In 1968, the CCLA won a grant from the Ford Foundation to study due process in Canadian lower courts and used the findings as a guide for its advocacy in the ensuing years.[2]

The CCLA was one of the few groups in Canada that protested the 1970 invocation of the War Measures Act by then Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau in response to the October Crisis in Quebec.[2]

In the opinion of Dominique Clément, its most enduring contribution was its influence on the drafting of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which was enacted in 1982.[2]


Alan Borovoy served as general counsel of the organization from 1968 to 2009 and under his leadership, he and the CCLA became famous throughout Canada as defenders of free speech and civil liberties, he continued as general counsel emeritus from 2009 until his death in 2015. [3][4]

Nathalie Des Rosiers was CCLA's general counsel from 2009 to 2013.[5][6]

Sukanya Pillay was executive director and general counsel from 2014 until 2017, and had been acting general counsel from 2013 to 2014.[7][8]

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv was acting executive director and general counsel from 2017 to 2018.[9]

Former Attorney-General of Ontario Michael Bryant was appointed executive director and general counsel in 2018.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Staff". CCLA. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dominique Clement. Case Study: Canadian Civil Liberties Association Page accessed Feb 13, 2016
  3. ^ Peter Edwards and Stephen Spencer Davis for the Toronto Star. May 12, 2015 Civil liberties champion Alan Borovoy dead at 83
  4. ^ Kim Covert for The National. May 12, 2015 Obit: Alan Borovoy (1932-2015)
  5. ^ "Nathalie Des Rosiers". Common Law Section. University of Ottawa.
  6. ^ "Nathalie Des Rosiers: On guard for Canadians' freedoms". Globe and Mail. December 28, 2010.
  7. ^ "Press Release: Sukanya Pillay Appointed Executive Director and General Counsel of CCLA". Canadian Civil Liberties Association. 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  8. ^ "Sukanya Pillay resigns as executive director, GC of CCLA | Canadian Lawyer Mag". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  9. ^
  10. ^

Further reading[edit]

Archival holdings[edit]

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