About the Coalition

Who We Are

Voices-Voix is a non-partisan coalition of Canadians and Canadian organizations committed to defending our collective and individual rights to debate and dissent. Voices-Voix is stewarded by a small group of volunteers including human rights lawyers and representatives of the organizations in the coalition. More than 230 organizations subscribed to the Voices-voix Coalition by endorsing our first Declaration, launched at our founding in 2010. Over 5,000 Canadians signed on as well.

In May 2016, we launched an updated declaration, renewing our call for government action to protect dissent and strenghten democracy in Canada. At its launch, 25 organizations and over 200 individuals had already signed on. You can add your name, or you organization, by clicking here.

What we believe

We believe that citizens, civil society organizations, and governments all have positive roles to play in expanding what the Supreme Court of Canada has described as the "breathing space" for democracy. 

This means that independent officers and agents of Parliament must actually be independent, that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms must be respected, and that we must build a new and respectful relationship with Indigenous peoples. It means that the federal government must foster an an enabling environment for civil society organizations, including NGOs and community-based groups. It requires that the federal government cease placing Canadians under surveillance or breaching their privacy rights for political reasons. It demands that the practice of targeting progressive organizations by the charities directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency must stop. Finally, it means that that the practice of branding those who dissent with the federal government as "terrorists" or threats to national security for political and partisan reasons must come to an end immediately.

As Canadians, we give priority to our democratic rights and values, including free speech, and freedom of association and peaceful assembly. We demand transparency from our government and equality in all its laws and policies.

What we do

  1. We document attacks against organizations, individuals and institutions that have raised their voices, to show the pattern of government silencing those who exercise their right to dissent. We offer solidarity to those who have been targeted (see our Hit List).
  2. We promote debate amongst our membewellrs and allies about how to defend the space for democratic dissent and advocacy in Canada, either online or through events.
  3. We research and promote ways in which the Canadian government can support the work of civil society and encourage the debate and dissent necessary to maintain a flourishing democracy.
  4. We encourage Canadians to raise their voices so that governments meet their core responsibilities to respect the equality, transparency and diversity of voices that make a democracy thrive.
  5. We inform the international community about what is happening in Canada by presenting our research findings (see our Reports).

Dissent, Democracy and the Law Editorial Network

The Research Network on Dissent Democracy & the Law (DDL) brings together scholars who are interested in the nexus between civil society and government. It publishes the peer-reviewed case studies and reports found on the Voices-Voix website. The work of the Network is co-ordinated and curated by the Editorial Board.

Documented cases

As of December 2015, 121 cases have been documented. The breakdown of our research as of December 2015 was the following:

History

Founding & First Declaration
The Voices-Voix Coalition was founded on April 21st, 2010. Over 100 representatives of Canadian organizations gathered in Ottawa to discuss increasing attacks by the federal government on democratic rights, especially the right to criticize government policies and decisions without suffering retribution, and the right of all citizens to be treated equally by their elected representatives.

Within three months we had drafted and signed a common Declaration, held a press conference to announce our intent to work together, and began research into the attacks that have taken place.
History of the Voices-Voix coalition

Second Declaration: 2016

With a new government elected in 2015, the context had changed, but our mission remained the same: to ensure all Canadians can speak out for justice and equality without fear of reprisal. 

That’s why on May 14th, we launched a new Voices-Voix Declaration, to speak out in one voice as we did in 2010 when Voices was founded. At the time time of its launch, 25 organizations and 200 individuals had signed on, and the number continues to grow. 

Structure

There is no hierarchy in Voices-Voix. Decisions are made by consensus. Representatives of our member-organizations and allies communicate ideas on how to accomplish our common goals through a forum. All Canadian organizations that endorse the Declaration are welcome to join, except for political parties.

Voices-Voix works with volunteers and interns and we have a part-time Coordinator.

Funds are donated by member-organizations. Voices-Voix is not a charity, but you can donate by contacting us.

Support the Voices-Voix coalition

When the government tries to silence advocacy and dissent, free speech, transparency, equality and democracy are compromised. Speak up for our democratic rights and freedoms. Raise your voice!

Individuals:

Organizations: