Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Employees work at a Canada Goose factory, in Toronto, on April 2, 2015. PETA says the City of Toronto violated the group’s rights when it took down anti-Canada Goose ads.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Toronto violated an animal welfare organization’s right to free expression when a company contracted by the city took down the group’s anti-Canada Goose ads, court heard Tuesday.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has taken the city to court over the removal of ads calling for a boycott of the Toronto-based clothing company over its use of animal products.

The advertisements were up for just one day last year before they were pulled down by Astral Media, court heard. PETA said in December, 2018, that the ads were meant to run for four weeks.

Story continues below advertisement

Astral Media has a contract with the city to build and maintain street furniture such as bus shelters, and the company can sell ads on that furniture and share revenues with the city.

One ad shows a photograph of a coyote with a caption reading: “I’m a living being, not a piece of fur trim.” Another featured a photo of a goose with the caption: “I’m a living being, not jacket filling.”

Canada Goose has previously fought complaints about its use of fur, saying it is committed to the ethical treatment of animals.

A spokesperson for Bell Media Inc., which owns Astral, said at the time that the ads were not in line the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, which restricts ads from disparaging organizations or causing public ridicule.

PETA claimed it was not violating the standards, and on Tuesday a lawyer for the group said “freedom of speech is the central issue” in the case.

“If PETA had contracted with Astral to clean street furniture, we wouldn’t be here today. We’re talking about the ability to put up important public messages on street furniture,” Gary Grill said.

PETA alleges Astral took the ads down after a single complaint that came from an advertiser for Canada Goose.

Story continues below advertisement

In an e-mail to Astral that was filed with court, a director at an advertising agency that works with Canada Goose wrote that the clothing maker had spent “quite a bit of money with Astral over the past year or so.”

“So it was incredibly disappointing that you guys would take this advertising without giving us a heads up … is there anything that can be done here?” Brian Rappaport wrote.

An Astral employee responded that the company was “putting the wheels in motion to remove these ads ASAP.”

Astral told court it warned PETA in advance that if it received just a single complaint about the ads, they would be taken down. It says it does not allow ads that disparage other organizations, and it would not run anti-PETA advertisements, lawyer Steve Mason said.

“Astral is not picking sides,” Mr. Mason said.

He pointed out that PETA’s lawyers signed off on the contract and the company knew the ad could be pulled if a complaint arose.

Story continues below advertisement

PETA and intervenor Animal Justice are trying to convince an Ontario Divisional Court to undertake a judicial review of the matter.

The three-justice panel hearing the case in Toronto limited oral arguments to whether court had jurisdiction on the matter.

PETA argues Astral is working on behalf of the city, and therefore must act like a public body, which means its decision to remove ads violated PETA’s free-speech rights.

Astral and the city argued the matter is between private companies based on a commercial contract, and thus the court does not have jurisdiction to conduct a judicial review.

The judges reserved their decision.

Canada Goose has long been in PETA’s crosshairs. Members of the group, sometimes dressed as coyotes, have protested in front of the apparel company’s stores and repeatedly billed it as a perpetrator of “shameless cruelty.”

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies