Compelling Freedom on Campus: A Free Speech Paradox

Constitutional Forum, 29:2 (2020)

Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper

14 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2020

See all articles by Jamie Cameron

Jamie Cameron

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: April 2020

Abstract

The provincial governments in Ontario and Alberta have directed colleges and universities to adopt and comply with a mandatory, state-prescribed free speech policy modelled on the US-based Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Speech. Compelling a campus free speech code is as serious a violation of s.2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a prohibition would be. Apart from and in addition to their consequences for university governance and autonomy, these mandatory free speech policies are part of a rise in mechanisms – like Bill 21’s compelled secularity, Ontario’s mandatory gas pump stickers, the Law Society of Ontario’s mandatory Statement of Principles (now repealed), among others – that compel members of a community to observe and adopt state-based ideological, religious, political, and partisan positions. These forms of compelled expression and association undermine Big M’s definition of freedom as the absence of coercion or constraint, and must be met by a robust conception of freedom from compulsion under s.2 of the Charter.

Suggested Citation

Cameron, Jamie, Compelling Freedom on Campus: A Free Speech Paradox (April 2020). Constitutional Forum, 29:2 (2020), Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3659492

Jamie Cameron (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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