Trinity Western University is a Christian university in British Columbia and an affiliate of the EFC. After TWU obtained all the formal approvals needed to start its own law school and grant degrees, provincial law societies in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia voted to create obstacles for such graduates wanting to practise law in those provinces, either by refusing to admit TWU law school graduates or not to consider TWU an accredited school. (Several other provinces including Alberta and New Brunswick have okayed future TWU law graduates.)
Objections centre on the school’s Community Covenant, which has students and faculty pledge to abstain from certain activities and behaviours during their studies including the viewing of pornography, the possession or use of alcohol on campus, and “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”
The EFC believes law societies that have voted not to accept TWU law graduates have overstepped their mandates and that such decisions violate the religious freedom of TWU and its graduates.
TWU has launched legal challenges in the three provinces where provincial law societies are refusing accreditation. Initial rulings in Nova Scotia, Ontario and B.C. have already come down and were appealed. Appeal rulings have come down in Ontario and Nova Scotia. The EFC has submitted joint interventions with Christian Higher Education Canada in each of these cases and intends to continue to the Supreme Court if necessary. TWU says it plans to appeal the Ontario decision to the Supreme Court.
- EFC Legal Factum, British Columbia Court of Appeal, April 19, 2016
- EFC Legal Factum, intervention in a Aug. 24, 2015 judicial review in the British Columbia Supreme Court
- EFC Legal Factum, intervention in a June 1, 2015 judicial review in the Ontario Divisional Court (written legal submissions from other groups in the case are available at outonbayst.org/about/media-news/twu/)
- EFC Legal Factum, intervention in a Dec. 16-19, 2014 judicial review in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Oct. 2014 (written legal submissions from other groups in the case are available at nsbs.org/twu-public-input)
Latest News from the British Columbia Case
Latest News from the Nova Scotia Case
- New! The appeal was heard in early April 2016, and a ruling was released July 26. The EFC responded immediately.
- TWU previously received a strongly favourable court ruling in Nova Scotia on Jan. 28, 2015 which agreed with several arguments from the EFC Legal Factum
- EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger responded immediately with a news release and a commentary (blog post, Feb. 4, 2015): Organizations Free to Maintain Religious Identity
- Commentary from Jan. 28, 2015 by lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos, who represented the EFC and Christian Higher Education Canada in the case
- The Courts of Nova Scotia offer recorded webcasts of the Dec. 16-19, 2014 intervention hearings at courts.ns.ca/Webcasts/webcasts_archive_trials.htm.
- 2015 articles from mainstream media: Times Colonist, Canadian Lawyer, CTV News, The Globe and Mail, CBC
Latest News from the Ontario Case
- New! The Ontario Court of Appeal decision was released June 29, 2016 and the EFC responded. TWU has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court.
- On July 2, 2015 the Ontario Superior Court ruled against TWU in its dispute with the Law Society of Upper Canada. Although the three-judge panel concluded that “the decision of the [LSUC] does have the effect of interfering with [TWU’s] rights to religious freedom,”the court expressed its view that the infringement was “not unreasonable.”
- Responses to the July 2, 2015 ruling were released from TWU and from EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger (online reflection July 7, 2015)
- Read the joint submission of legal arguments by the EFC and CHEC: EFC-CHEC Legal Factum for Ontario
- See past media releases from the EFC and from TWU.
- Popular Opinion or Legal Principle? TWU Case Heard in B.C., EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger, Aug. 2015
- Ontario Decision on TWU Law School: Reflections on the Ontario Superior Court’s Decision in TWU v. LSUC, EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger, July 2015
- Organizations Free to Maintain Religious Identity, EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger, Feb. 2015
- Defending the TWU Dissenters, Marni Soupcoff in National Post, Jan. 2015
- Protecting Minority Rights From the Majority, EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger, Nov. 2014
- TWU Controversy: Implications for Other Christian Schools and Legal Precedents Support TWU. The May/Jun 2014 issue of the EFC magazine, Faith Today, has several related articles.
- Canadian Law Societies: Bastions of Intolerance?, Albertos Polizogopoulos, Jan. 2014
- Religious beliefs and practices are constitutionally guaranteed, not “silly” or “stupid”, Don Hutchinson, Nov. 2013