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

News

Free expression groups oppose Ontario Government plan for universities and colleges

The Center for Free Expression and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression deplore the Ontario Government’s attempt to influence, through intimidation and the withholding of funds, the interna

News

Sheldon Levy: Why I defended freedom of speech on campus

Toronto Star / January 26 – Writing in the Toronto Star, Sheldon Levy, past-president of Ryerson University, describes the university president’s challenge in defending freedom of expression on campus and why it is essential for universities and beyond.

News

CFE Director James Turk Is Interviewed by CBC’s Michael Enright on Free Speech in Universities

Controversies about free speech have become increasingly common in universities in Canada and the United States. In an interview with CBC’s Michael Enright, the Centre for Free Expression’s Director James Turk explores the issues and suggests why free speech is the foundation for universities and democratic societies.

News

Nominations Open for PEN/Canada Ken Filkow Prize

Nominations for the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize have just opened. This $1,000 annual prize celebrates champions of free expression in Canada. The deadline for nominations is August 8, 2017.