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The Right to Quiet Society's Objectives are:

  • to promote awareness of noise pollution and the dangers of noise to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being;
  • to work for noise reduction through better regulation and enforcement;
  • to encourage responsible behaviour regarding noise;
  • to foster recognition of the right to quiet as a basic human right.

We do not seek to create an absolutely quiet world. However, we want to see a world where quiet is a normal part of life and where it is possible to listen to the sounds of nature without the constant intrusion of machine noise and artificial stimuli.

We want our homes to be havens from unwanted noise, and we ask that the soundscape of our public spaces, like the air we breathe, be respected.

We insist on our right to listen—or not listen—to music and other programmed audio, or canned music, according to our own tastes and moods, without having other people's choices forced on us wherever we go.

And we want to be able to attend movies, listen to speeches, or go dancing without unreasonably loud amplification of noise.

The Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection is a non-profit organization registered in 1982 under the British Columbia Society Act. We are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organisation. For information on the legal requirements regarding charities, please visit

Read about Our Goals.

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What is Program Audio?

"Program audio" is our term for canned music, radio, and television soundtrack, particularly when provided as a "background" in places where people gather. We call it that for two reasons:

1. Most obviously, it is a "program" that plays without regard for the response of the audience. (In this respect we make a distinction between, for example, the old-fashioned organ-playing at a sports event, and the modern playing of recorded music in stadiums and arenas. The organist interacts with the fans; the recorded music does not.)

2. The purpose of program audio in public places is to induce a programmed response in us, the audience. Whether the sound is intended to soothe, excite, instill the urge to buy, or simply add some vague emotional content to an experience, it is meant to manipulate us.

Program audio is particularly insidious because it encourages passivity and conformity: like so much else in our modern society, it calls on us to be consumers, mere sponges, rather than thinkers and doers with spontaneous responses.

Even when program audio is pushed on us with good intentions, the underlying assumption is an insulting one: that our empty heads need to be kept filled with artificial stimuli so that we do not become insufferably bored.

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In the flood of noise, we’ve got to be presumptuous to make a ripple.

— Janet Walker
Newsletter, winter 2006

About the Right to Quiet Society To contact us See our sitemap