The 2023 Brandon Langhjelm Essay Contest 

Criteria and Guidelines 

Please review your eligibility for the contest and follow all the guidelines in this document. Essays that violate these guidelines will be disqualified. 


  • Contestants must be a permanent resident or citizen of Canada or have proof of immigration status in Canada.  
  • Contestants must be aged 15-25 at time of contest deadline. Age verification will be required for all winning contestants. 
  • The Justice Centre will not accept submissions from its directors, employees, representatives, or their immediate family and household members. 


  • Essays should be at least 1,200 words but should not exceed 1,500 words.  
  • The word count does not apply to footnotes or to bibliography.  
  • The word count must be included on the submitted document.


  • Essays should not contain any personal, identifying information about the contestant (e.g., their name, email address, or gender). Essays containing such information will be disqualified 
  • Essays should contain a clearly marked title page, introduction, body, conclusion, and bibliography. 
  • Essays should be double-spaced with (a minimum of) one-inch margins 
  • Any font is acceptable (Times New Roman is preferred)
  • Essay should be submitted in PDF format.


  • Essays should use a variety of sources—academic journals, news sources, magazines, online and print newspapers, books, government documents, or  publications from research organizations.  
  • At least three of the cited materials should be primary sources (i.e., not a second-hand account of a primary source). 
  • General encyclopedias (including Wikipedia) are not acceptable sources. Any citations to general encyclopedias in the footnotes or bibliography will result in deductions.  
  • All sources should be properly cited. (The Justice Centre has no citation style preference. However, whatever style is used must be used consistently and properly.) 
  • Contestants must submit an original essay. By submitting an essay, contestants acknowledge that the material is original and their own. 
  • Essays that contain plagiarism (use someone else’s work without properly citing them) will be automatically disqualified.