P-19 - Press Act

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Updated to 1 April 2024
This document has official status.
chapter P-19
Press Act
1. For the purposes of this Act, the word newspaper means every newspaper or periodical writing the publication whereof for sale or distribution free of charge is made at successive and determined periods, appearing on a fixed day or by irregular issues, but more than once a month and whose object is to give news, opinions, comments or advertisements.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 1; 1997, c. 30, s. 1.
2. Every person who deems himself injured by an article published in a newspaper and who wishes to claim damages must institute his action within the three months following the publication of such article, or within three months after his having had knowledge of such publication, provided, in the latter case, that the action be instituted within one year from the publication of the article complained of.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 2.
3. No such action may be brought against the proprietor of the newspaper, unless, personally or through his attorney, the party who deems himself injured gives a previous notice thereof of three days, not being holidays, at the office of the newspaper or at the domicile of the proprietor, so as to allow such newspaper to rectify or retract the article complained of.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 3.
4. If the newspaper fully retracts and establishes good faith, in its issue published on the day following the receipt of such notice or on the day next after such day, only damages for the injury actually sustained may be claimed.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 4; 1999, c. 40, s. 216.
5. Such retraction must be published by the newspaper gratis and in as conspicuous a place in the newspaper as the article complained of.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 5.
6. Whenever the newspaper is not a daily, the rectification must, at the choice of the party who deems himself injured, and at the newspaper’s expense, be published in a newspaper of the judicial district or of a neighbouring judicial district, as well as in the next issue of the newspaper itself.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 6.
7. The newspaper shall also publish at its expense any reply which the party who deems himself injured may communicate to it, provided that same be ad rem, be not unreasonably long and be couched in fitting terms.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 7.
8. Whenever the party who deems himself injured has both obtained a retraction and exercised the right to reply, no prosecution may issue if the newspaper publishes such retraction and reply without further comment.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 8.
9. No newspaper may avail itself of the provisions of this Act in the following cases:
(a)  when the party who deems himself injured is accused by the newspaper of a criminal offence;
(b)  when the article complained of refers to a candidate and was published within the three days prior to the nomination day and up to the polling day in a parliamentary or municipal election.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 9.
10. Provided that the facts be accurately reported and in good faith, the publication in a newspaper of the following is privileged:
(a)  reports of the proceedings of the Senate, the House of Commons, the National Assembly and of their committees from which the public is not excluded and reports of the Public Protector laid before the National Assembly;
(b)  any notice, bulletin or recommendation emanating from a Government or municipal health service;
(c)  public notices given by the Government or by a person authorized by it respecting the solvency of certain legal persons or regarding the value of certain issues of bonds, shares or stock;
(d)  reports of the sittings of the courts provided they be not held in camera, and that the reports be accurate.
This provision shall not, however, affect or diminish the rights of the press under common law.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 10; 1968, c. 9, s. 77, s. 90; 1968, c. 11, s. 40; 1977, c. 5, s. 14; 1982, c. 62, s. 143; 2009, c. 52, s. 597.
11. The judge may, during a suit for defamation against a newspaper, order the plaintiff to furnish security for costs, provided that the defendant himself furnishes security to satisfy the judgment. The amount of security in each instance shall be left to the sole discretion of the judge.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 11.
12. No newspaper may avail itself of the provisions of this Act if the formalities required by the Newspaper Declaration Act (chapter J-1) have not been complied with.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 12.
13. Every judgment condemning a newspaper at fault must be published in the said newspaper, and at its expense, on the order of the court which rendered the judgment, under penalty of contempt of court.
R. S. 1964, c. 48, s. 13.
14. (This section ceased to have effect on 17 April 1987).
1982, c. 21, s. 1; U. K., 1982, c. 11, Sch. B, Part I, s. 33.

In accordance with section 17 of the Act respecting the consolidation of the statutes (chapter R-3), chapter 48 of the Revised Statutes, 1964, in force on 31 December 1977, is repealed effective from the coming into force of chapter P-19 of the Revised Statutes.