'Intolerant and Illiberal'? Trinity Western University and its Implications for Charter Jurisprudence
(2019) 89 Supreme Court Law Review (2d)
Posted: 3 Apr 2019
Date Written: February 1, 2019
Canada’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. This means that religious communities have the right to “insist upon certain moral commitments from those who wish to join” them. In Wall v Highwood Congregation, the Supreme Court affirmed that “religious groups are free to determine their own membership and rules” and that it will not intervene in “issues of theology.” But two weeks later, in Trinity Western University, the Supreme Court ruled that government actors could refuse to recognize law degrees issued by a religious university because of its religiously-based admissions requirements.
Many aspects of the Trinity Western ruling are difficult to reconcile with the Court’s previous interpretations of the Charter, including its 2001 decision which explicitly affirmed Trinity Western’s right to maintain a Community Covenant. This article offers a critique of the reasoning employed (especially by the majority), and provides some reflections on what the ruling might mean for future jurisprudence, particularly in the area of religious freedom.
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