About Us

Our members are leading media lawyers across Canada. We organize a major annual conference, intervene in important Supreme Court of Canada cases, and promote improved laws and policies for free expression and openness of courts. AdIDEM/CMLA is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of free expression in Canada and abroad.


Board of Directors

Executive for 2021-23

President: Patrick Bourbeau

Vice-President: Danielle Stone

Secretary-Treasurer: Tess Layton

Regional representatives

Atlantic Region: David Hutt

Quebec: Sebastien Pierre Roy

Ontario: Iris Fischer and Justin Safayeni

Prairies: Sean Ward

British Columbia: Michael Scherr

Past Presidents and Ex Officio Board members:

Iain MacKinnon

Ryder Gilliland

Nancy Rubin

Christian Leblanc

Daniel Burnett


Message from the President

As we embark on a new decade, the role of journalists and media outlets is as important as ever.  Technology has radically altered the media landscape over the last 20 years.  Social media is now the primary source of news and information for many Canadians.   Algorithms now select which stories we see.  The internet allows “fake news” and dangerous misinformation to spread at the speed of a click.   “We are, for the first time in modern history, facing the prospect of how societies would exist without reliable news,” Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of The Guardian, writes in Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now.

A strong and vibrant free press is critical to combating these developments and ensuring that the public is properly informed by facts and the truth.   As the Supreme Court of Canada has noted, “The concept of free and uninhibited speech permeates all true democratic societies and institutions.  The vital importance of the concept cannot be over-emphasized.”

Founded in 1996 by Brian MacLeod Rogers, Daniel Henry, and Marc-André Blanchard, the Canadian Media Lawyers Association is comprised of the leading media lawyers across Canada and is dedicated to protecting these fundamental freedoms.  As an organization, we have intervened in every Supreme Court of Canada case involving freedom of expression in the last 25 years.  Our members routinely act as counsel on significant cases related to open court principles, transparency in government, and defamation.  We help ensure the media can fulfill their important roles of acting as watchdogs and providing a forum for discussion on matters of public interest.  Recently, our members have also been instrumental in developing and providing input on new laws to protect confidential sources (the federal Journalistic Sources Protection Act), and deter strategic lawsuits against public participation (the Protection of Public Participation Act in both Ontario and B.C.).  In short, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press in particular, is our lifeblood.

This year’s annual conference in November will be our 25th.  We encourage you to explore this site and follow our twitter feed @CanMediaLawyers.

Iain MacKinnon




CMLA members are lawyers representing the media across Canada.