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.

Resources

Blog Post

Expressive Freedom at Our Universities and Our Moral Obligations

Everything is connected, as they say. 

The University of Alberta has been in the news recently for its partnerships with Chinese researchers. Globe and Mail article in early May suggested that partnerships with China in the areas of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence might be a national security concern.

By Carolyn Sale

Blog Post

Unrest in Higher Education: An Uncertain Way Forward

Students and faculty from a wide array of minority and marginalized communities are challenging universities on many fronts. 

By Faisal Bhabha

Blog Post

“Safe Space” Classrooms within “Communities of Care”

There is a lot of talk (and some action) around safe spaces these days.

By Len Findlay

Blog Post

Bad Times at a Great University and Its Law School

When one looks more carefully into the controversy at the University of Toronto Law School over the hiring of a director for the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) and the university’s attem

By Richard Moon

Blog Post

Free Expression on Campus: Assessing the Alberta Ministerial Directive

In the last provincial election, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney joined other Conservative politicians that have purportedly become stalwart defenders of free expression on campus.

By Dax D’Orazio