The Journey to Ottawa: Understanding and Transforming Publication Ban Law

  • English

  • ASL

This Special Event was presented and recorded on June 11, 2024.
Presented by Morrell Andrews and Carrie Low.

Carrie Low (Nova Scotia) and Morrell Andrews (British Columbia) were both subjected to unwanted publication bans after reporting sexual assault. After removing their bans, they helped form My Voice, My Choice, an advocacy group of victim-complainants that lobbied the federal government to amend section 486.4 of the Criminal Code of Canada. This event takes you through their journey to national change, provides you with a more comprehensive understanding of the law on publication bans, and leaves you feeling equipped to advocate for legislative change and support progress to improve the way that publication bans are used in the criminal legal system.

Special Event Recording

CLICK HERE for slides

CLICK HERE for related resources

Learning Objectives

By participating in this Special Event, participants will enhance their ability to:

  • Understand section 486.4 of the Criminal Code (publication bans)
  • Advocate for legislative change
  • Take action in your own province to improve the use of publication bans

Speakers

Morrell-Andrews.png

When Morrell Andrews was finally permitted to remove her unwanted publication ban in May 2021, she decided to dedicate the next two and a half years to advocating for an amendment to section 486.4 the Criminal Code of Canada. With her passion for justice and talent for policy development, she has been a vocal champion for the right of victim-complainants to choose if a publication ban is right for them.

After testifying in Parliament to ask for change, the creation of My Voice, My Choice, and tireless lobbying, Morrell appeared alongside former Minister of Justice David Lametti and Minister for Women Marci Ien on April 26, 2023 to announce Bill S-12. The proposed legislation would amend the law and change how publication bans were used. Two appearances before the Senate and the House of Commons on behalf of My Voice, My Choice later, section 486.4 was transformed on October 26, 2023 when Bill S-12 received Royal Assent. Morrell's dedication to gender equality and feminism permeates both her personal projects and professional career. In November 2023 Morrell was honoured to receive the Freedom of Expression Award from the Canadian Media Lawyers Association for her work to expand the expressive freedom of sexual offence victim-complainants.

When she has time to rest, Morrell finds joy skiing the Cascade mountains, camping in coastal BC, hosting dinner parties, planting wildflowers, and searching for starfish along the Vancouver Seawall. Morrell currently works as a federal public servant and is based on the unceded territory of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh peoples in what is known as Vancouver. She holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of British Columbia (2017).

Carrie-Low.png

Carrie Low is an accomplished and acclaimed victim-turned-advocate for survivor’s rights in the Criminal Justice System in Nova Scotia and across Canada. In 2018, Carrie experienced a violent sexual assault which she immediately reported to the police. As a result of reporting this incident and experiencing many systemic failures, she quickly became a known advocate for systemic change. Carrie has now undertaken a mission to hold institutions accountable for failures against survivors and to improve conditions for the rights of future survivors.

In 2020, on behalf of all survivors of sexualized violence, Carrie achieved a very significant change in the law concerning municipal police complaints. Carrie argued that six-months is a grossly inadequate period of time to submit a police complaint. Carrie demanded that the law acknowledge that survivors are often unable to process their trauma, and the subsequent police misconduct within a six-month timeframe. As a result of Carrie’s stand against injustice, complainants now have up to 12-months to make complaints against municipal police forces in Nova Scotia. In fact, if there are good reasons that are not contrary to public interest then the police complaints commissioner can extend the time period beyond the 12-month period. 

Despite this victory, Carrie's fight continued. For the past almost five years, she has been entangled in a complex criminal trial marred by setbacks and delays. With the murder of the first accused and subsequent acquittal of the second, Carrie has yet to receive the justice she deserves. Nevertheless, she remains undeterred, with an appeal hearing scheduled for March 2024 and ongoing proceedings with the Nova Scotia Police Review Board and civil lawsuit against the Halifax Regional Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Throughout her journey, Carrie has not only advocated for institutional accountability but has also taken proactive steps to empower survivors. She founded Survivors for Change and Empowerment in 2020, providing a vital network of support for victims of sexualized violence. A year later, she established Carrie Low Training and Consulting, offering trauma-informed training to justice professionals and advocating for systemic reforms.

In January 2023, Carrie joined forces with other survivors across Canada to launch My Voice, My Choice, a collective initiative aimed at amending Section 486.4 of the Criminal Code. Their tireless advocacy resulted in the introduction of Bill S-12, which, despite not incorporating all proposed amendments, marked significant progress towards victim-centric legal reforms. Though My Voice, My Choice has concluded its formal advocacy, Carrie's commitment to championing survivors' rights persists. Through public speaking engagements and continued activism, she strives to raise awareness, inspire action, and hold systems accountable. Carrie Low's unwavering dedication embodies the spirit of resilience and hope, ensuring that future survivors may find meaningful justice and support.

This Special Event was presented and recorded on June 11, 2024.
Presented by Morrell Andrews and Carrie Low.

CLICK HERE for slides

CLICK HERE for related resources

Carrie Low (Nova Scotia) and Morrell Andrews (British Columbia) were both subjected to unwanted publication bans after reporting sexual assault. After removing their bans, they helped form My Voice, My Choice, an advocacy group of victim-complainants that lobbied the federal government to amend section 486.4 of the Criminal Code of Canada. This event takes you through their journey to national change, provides you with a more comprehensive understanding of the law on publication bans, and leaves you feeling equipped to advocate for legislative change and support progress to improve the way that publication bans are used in the criminal legal system.

Learning Objectives

By participating in this Special Event, participants will enhance their ability to:

  • Understand section 486.4 of the Criminal Code (publication bans)
  • Advocate for legislative change
  • Take action in your own province to improve the use of publication bans

Speakers

Morrell-Andrews.png

When Morrell Andrews was finally permitted to remove her unwanted publication ban in May 2021, she decided to dedicate the next two and a half years to advocating for an amendment to section 486.4 the Criminal Code of Canada. With her passion for justice and talent for policy development, she has been a vocal champion for the right of victim-complainants to choose if a publication ban is right for them.

After testifying in Parliament to ask for change, the creation of My Voice, My Choice, and tireless lobbying, Morrell appeared alongside former Minister of Justice David Lametti and Minister for Women Marci Ien on April 26, 2023 to announce Bill S-12. The proposed legislation would amend the law and change how publication bans were used. Two appearances before the Senate and the House of Commons on behalf of My Voice, My Choice later, section 486.4 was transformed on October 26, 2023 when Bill S-12 received Royal Assent. Morrell's dedication to gender equality and feminism permeates both her personal projects and professional career. In November 2023 Morrell was honoured to receive the Freedom of Expression Award from the Canadian Media Lawyers Association for her work to expand the expressive freedom of sexual offence victim-complainants.

When she has time to rest, Morrell finds joy skiing the Cascade mountains, camping in coastal BC, hosting dinner parties, planting wildflowers, and searching for starfish along the Vancouver Seawall. Morrell currently works as a federal public servant and is based on the unceded territory of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh peoples in what is known as Vancouver. She holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of British Columbia (2017).

Carrie-Low.png

Carrie Low is an accomplished and acclaimed victim-turned-advocate for survivor’s rights in the Criminal Justice System in Nova Scotia and across Canada. In 2018, Carrie experienced a violent sexual assault which she immediately reported to the police. As a result of reporting this incident and experiencing many systemic failures, she quickly became a known advocate for systemic change. Carrie has now undertaken a mission to hold institutions accountable for failures against survivors and to improve conditions for the rights of future survivors.

In 2020, on behalf of all survivors of sexualized violence, Carrie achieved a very significant change in the law concerning municipal police complaints. Carrie argued that six-months is a grossly inadequate period of time to submit a police complaint. Carrie demanded that the law acknowledge that survivors are often unable to process their trauma, and the subsequent police misconduct within a six-month timeframe. As a result of Carrie’s stand against injustice, complainants now have up to 12-months to make complaints against municipal police forces in Nova Scotia. In fact, if there are good reasons that are not contrary to public interest then the police complaints commissioner can extend the time period beyond the 12-month period. 

Despite this victory, Carrie's fight continued. For the past almost five years, she has been entangled in a complex criminal trial marred by setbacks and delays. With the murder of the first accused and subsequent acquittal of the second, Carrie has yet to receive the justice she deserves. Nevertheless, she remains undeterred, with an appeal hearing scheduled for March 2024 and ongoing proceedings with the Nova Scotia Police Review Board and civil lawsuit against the Halifax Regional Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Throughout her journey, Carrie has not only advocated for institutional accountability but has also taken proactive steps to empower survivors. She founded Survivors for Change and Empowerment in 2020, providing a vital network of support for victims of sexualized violence. A year later, she established Carrie Low Training and Consulting, offering trauma-informed training to justice professionals and advocating for systemic reforms.

In January 2023, Carrie joined forces with other survivors across Canada to launch My Voice, My Choice, a collective initiative aimed at amending Section 486.4 of the Criminal Code. Their tireless advocacy resulted in the introduction of Bill S-12, which, despite not incorporating all proposed amendments, marked significant progress towards victim-centric legal reforms. Though My Voice, My Choice has concluded its formal advocacy, Carrie's commitment to championing survivors' rights persists. Through public speaking engagements and continued activism, she strives to raise awareness, inspire action, and hold systems accountable. Carrie Low's unwavering dedication embodies the spirit of resilience and hope, ensuring that future survivors may find meaningful justice and support.