Academic Freedom

The Issue

Academic freedom at Canada’s post-secondary institutions is being seriously undermined. A significant proportion of university and college academic staff are being hired into contingent positions lacking the job security that makes protection of academic freedom feasible. In response to chronic underfunding, universities have agreed to fundraising deals and collaborative projects that compromise academic integrity and academic freedom. Universities are actively implementing codes of conduct and respectful workplace policies that attempt to regulate speech permissible under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Why It Matters

The public mission of the university is to advance and disseminate knowledge, educate students, and encourage critical thinking and free expression. These ends cannot be achieved without academic freedom.

Our Work

The Centre engages in public education about the nature and importance of academic freedom. It highlights current threats and works to ensure that academic freedom rights are extended to all academic staff.


Upcoming Event

“Understanding Academic Freedom in Canada” – CFE’s Newest Publication

Few concepts are as misunderstood as academic freedom. Today, the Centre for Free Expression is publishing James L.

March 29, 2022

Blog Post

The Censure of the University of Toronto as a Struggle Over Higher Education


A year ago, a major hiring scandal erupted at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. The scandal broke after the former Law Dean decided not to proceed with the hiring of Dr. Valentina Azarova to direct its International Human Rights Program after a donor and sitting judge objected to her work on Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories.

By Deborah Cowen
Co-written by Alissa Trotz, Denise Reaume, Melanie J. Newton

Past Event

Challenging Racism in Anti-Racism

Samir Gandesha in conversation with Charles Reeve

Blog Post

Misadministering Justice? The U of T Law School Case Takes a Strange Turn


The Canadian Judicial Council recently disclosed material related to complaints made about Justice David Spiro. This material is both enlightening and startling and includes a letter from the Chief Justice of the Tax Court that says that Muslim lawyers and litigants will be excluded from Justice Spiro’s courtroom. 

By Richard Moon
Co-written by Anver M. Emon