News release: Freedom of association at stake in TWU v. LSBC

VANCOUVER: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is in court for a week-long hearing in Vancouver, starting today, as an intervener in defence of freedom of association, in Trinity Western University v. Law Society of British Columbia.LSBC

JCCF staff lawyer Jay Cameron will present the JCCF’s argument in support of Charter section 2(d) freedom of association before Chief Justice Hinkson of the BC Supreme Court, along with other interveners, as well as Trinity Western University and the Law Society of BC.

The Court is located at 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC.   The hearing is open to the public.  The Court will hear argument from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with a break for lunch between 1:00 pm and 2:00 (lunch times approximate).

The Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) has ruled against recognizing the law program of Trinity Western University (TWU), a private Evangelical Christian university in Langley, B.C.

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has approved the law program of TWU as meeting academic and professional standards.  The LSBC does not allege that there is anything wrong with TWU’s law program, but claims that TWU’s Community Covenant discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community.  The Community Covenant prohibits numerous legal activities such as vulgar or obscene language, drunkenness, viewing pornography, gossip, and sexual activity outside of the marriage of one man and one woman.

The JCCF argues for the Charter section 2(d) right to freedom of association, including the right of every charity, ethnic and cultural association, sports club, temple, church, and political group to establish its own rules and membership requirements.

“A court ruling against TWU’s freedom of association would undermine the freedom of association of every other group in Canada as well,” stated John Carpay, lawyer and president of the JCCF.

“For a free society to remain free, its citizens must accept that other people can and do have radically different conceptions of reality, including unpopular ideas about sexuality.  A legal right to be free from hurt feelings, if it existed, would destroy freedom of expression as well as freedom of association,” added Carpay.