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 launched legal challenges in the three provinces where provincial law societies are refusing accreditation. Initial rulings in Nova Scotia, Ontario and B.C. led to appeal rulings. The EFC submitted joint interventions with Christian Higher Education Canada in each of these cases.
The Supreme Court heard final appeals of the Ontario and B.C. cases Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2017. The EFC was one of the interveners permitted to appear in the case to support TWU’s right to hold to a community covenant.