The Brandon Langhjelm Memorial Essay Contest 2022

2022 Essay Topic: 

Canadian governments are making Digital ID technologies a precondition of access to essential services and goods. What can Canadians do to protect their Charter rights and freedoms against the dangers of these technologies?

Governments are increasingly moving to online and digital-only services, legally requiring Canadians to use Digital ID, government apps, or technology placed on their personal smartphones and devices.

For example, in 2022, after a national emergency was declared under the Emergencies Act, hundreds of Canadians had their bank accounts and credit cards frozen instantly by the government. In another instance, many Canadians are facing huge fines for not using the ArriveCAN app.

Deadline: November 15, 2022
Prizes: 1st Place $2000      |      2nd Place $1000      |     3rd Place $500 

General Rules 

  • Contestants must be a permanent resident or citizen of Canada.
  • Contestants must be age 15-24 at time of contest deadline (see below). (Age verification will be required for all winning contestants.)
  • Contestants must be a student, i.e., enrolled as a student in a public school, private school, homeschool, post-secondary institution, or other legally recognized educational institution at time of contest deadline. (The Justice Centre has the sole authority to determine whether an organization qualifies as an Educational Institution under these Rules. For questions regarding whether an institution qualifies as an Education Institution under these Rules, please contact Verification of enrollment will be required for all winning contestants.)
  • The Justice Centre will not accept submissions from any officer, director, employee, agent, or representative of the Justice Centre. Neither will the Justice Centre accept submissions from any immediate family or household members of any officer, director, employee, agent, or representative of the Justice Centre.
  • Contestants must submit their essay no later than November 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. M.S.T. Late entries will not be accepted.

Essays should be at least 1,500 words but should not exceed 2,500 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). Do not include any personal, identifying information on the title page. 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.
  • Essays should be in Word format only. (Pdfs will not be accepted.)
  • Essays should use a variety of sources—academic journals, news magazines, online and print newspapers, books, government documents, 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. Essays citing general encyclopedias in the footnotes or bibliography will be disqualified.  
  • 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.
Judging Criteria: 

The Judges will make their decisions using the following criteria:  

  1. Relevance (essay addresses the essay topic and does not include irrelevant information; any essay which does not address the essay topic will be immediately disqualified)
  2. Knowledge (essay demonstrates comprehension of concepts and quality of research)
  3. Writing style
  4. Originality of ideas

Contestants can submit their essay by completing the form above or by emailing their essay to (If submitting by email, please include all the information requested by the form above, e.g., name, email, phone, age, address, etcetera). Contestants who submit an essay (either via the online form or email) hereby agree to the Terms and Conditions.

The Justice Centre encourages all contestants to complete the Essay Contest Checklist before submitting.

We look forward to reading your submissions, and we wish you all the best.

Contestants must enter through the website using the provided form or email it with the required information above to 

The contest submission deadline has passed. Thank you for your interest. Please try again next year.

About the Brandon Langhjelm Memorial Essay Contest

In November 2021, the Justice Centre announced the Brandon Langhjelm Memorial Essay Contest, in tribute to lawyer Brandon, who passed away on October 25, 2021.

Despite being born with a significant disability, a connective tissue disorder called Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Brandon graduated with a B.A. degree in History and later went on to obtain his law degree. He began working for the Justice Centre in 2018 and recently won his most significant court case in 2020, where he challenged the decision of the City of New Westminster to cancel an ethnic church’s youth conference because the City did not like one of the speakers.

Brandon was making court appearances on behalf of the Justice Centre until September 2021, when he was hospitalized and diagnosed with stage four cancer.

Brandon faced life’s greatest challenge—just like he had faced and overcome other lesser challenges in his life—with courage, conviction and trust in God.

Past Essay Questions

2021 Essay Contest Question

Should citizens who refuse to get vaccinated have the same rights and freedoms as those who do get vaccinated?

2021 essay contest winners

First Place - Soren Lock - The Promise Of Freedom

Second Place - Name withheld on request - The Constitutionality of Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Passports

Third Place - Gabriel Taranger - The Solution or the Problem? An Analysis of Vaccine Passports

2020 Essay Contest Question

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

2020 essay contest winners