Justice Centre Essay Contest



2021 Essay Contest

Coming Soon! Please check back in 2021 for a new contest!


2020 Essay Contest Question:

Since March of 2020, government lockdown measures to combat COVID-19 have restricted citizens’ Charter freedoms to move, travel, associate, assemble and worship. Some have supported these measures as necessary and beneficial for saving lives. Others have argued that the cure is worse than the disease, citing increases in unemployment, poverty, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug overdoses, suicides and family violence, as well as cancelled surgeries and other examples of an underutilized medical system, and a weakened economy.

The opinions expressed by the essay winners are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

Which government-mandated lockdown measures are justifiable, which are not, and why?

2020 essay contest winners are:

First Place

Anonymous - Read Essay Here

Title: The Legitimacy and Illegitimacy of COVID-19 Lockdown Measures

Judges Comments

“This essay presented a clear issue and addressed it in an organized manner with detailed sources and references. The writing was clear and took the reader directly to each point.” – Bruce Hallsor

“Addresses the question squarely, marshalls facts in an orderly way and presents them clearly and incisively” – John Robson

“The writer walked us through his arguments with clarity and coherence to a solid, well-argued, convincing conclusion.” – Sharon Maclise


Second Place

Emma Little - Read Essay Here

Title: A Duty to the Ailing: Care and Healthcare During Canada’s COVID-19 Shutdown.

Judges Comments

“A finely-tuned, balanced approach to the question. Easy to follow and understand. Believable, and enjoyable to read.” – Sharon Maclise

“A clear utilitarian assessment of the effectiveness of health care measures.” – John Robson

“Excellent argumentation.” – Marilyn Burns


Third Place

Title:  Justification of Government-Mandated Lockdown Measures

Anonymous - Read Essay Here

Judges Comments

“The writer challenged us to consider some out-of-the-box, novel arguments. Refreshing and interesting.” – Sharon Maclise

“Well-framed with excellent grammar.” – Marilyn Burns

“A focused analysis of the circumstances under which our Constitution permits Charter rights to be overridden on utilitarian grounds.” – John Robson

2019 Essay Contest


Question: Should Universities Police Student Behaviour at Private Events?

View the 2019 essay contest winners: Click Here