The Canadian flag may be a symbol of pride, unity, honour, and sacrifice, but it’s not against the law to disrespect, deface, and destroy it.
Official government rules on flag etiquette state that the Canadian flag “should not be subjected to indignity,” but there are no laws against desecration, such as burning, shredding, stomping, or spitting on it. However objectionable, such acts are protected forms of expression under the Charter of Rights And Freedoms.
As with all Charter rights, protected expression is subject to “reasonable limits. . . as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society,” but flag-burning doesn’t legally exceed such limits.
Protesters have burned or otherwise desecrated Canadian flags on many occasions, including a 2012 Quebec separatist rally where a flag was stomped on and run over by cars in Montreal. A radical U.S. church also burned a flag outside the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 as the Court mulled approval of same-sex marriage.
Is it a Crime to Burn the Canadian Flag?