Essay Contest: Should federal and provincial governments restrict public funding from universities that censor free expression?

JCCF 2017 Essay Contest

Each year, Canada’s public universities receive more than $13 billion from the federal and provincial governments. While promising to uphold freedom of expression and academic freedom as means to pursue truth, many taxpayer-funded universities have instead accepted speech codes, so-called “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.” Banning speakers, condoning the disruption of campus events, and banning controversial speech through security fees are further examples of how universities today undermine Canada’s venerable tradition of freedom of expression.

The Justice Centre invites students at Canadian colleges and universities to submit an essay that answers this question:

Should federal and provincial governments restrict public funding from universities that censor free expression? Why or why not?

Deadline: Sunday, October 15, 2017 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time

Word Limit: 2,500 words

Prizes: 1st – $1,500
2nd – $1,000
3rd – $500

Please note that essays will be judged based on writing quality and persuasiveness of argument. Open to those who will be full-time or part-time students at a Canadian college or university at submission deadline.




2016 Essay Contest


The Law Societies of BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia have refused to recognize the law program at Trinity Western University (TWU), for being “discriminatory” against the LGBTQ community.  TWU has taken all three Law Societies to court, asserting its Charter freedoms of expression, religion, conscience and association.  These three court actions raise important questions about Canadians’ historic and traditional freedom of association and society’s understanding of the concept of discrimination.

The Justice Centre received many thoughtful and well-written submissions for its 2016 Essay Contest, which asked students:

Should the government and government bodies, through law and policy, force voluntary associations (charitable, political, cultural, ethnic, religious, social, recreational, educational, etc.) to be inclusive and welcoming of everyone?

Why or why not?

The winners of the 2016 Essay Contest are:

1st Prize $1,500 – Ben Woodfinden, graduate studies in political philosophy, Carleton University

2nd Prize $1,000 –  Aaron Neil, undergraduate studies in commerce, Carleton University

3rd Prize $500 –  Carter Vance, undergraduate studies in political science, Carleton University

The Justice Centre sincerely thanks its panel of respected judges, who volunteered their time to judge 70 submissions: Marilyn Burns, Dr. Barry Cooper, Dan Hozack, Barbara Kay, Sharon Maclise, Brian Purdy, Dave Reesor, and Dr. John Robson.