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Pro-Life Clubs and the Law

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A Reference Guide for Students and their Legal Counsel on the Law and Legal Principles Involved with Pro-Life Campus Club Challenges

Introduction

The purpose of this handbook is to inform university students of their rights and freedoms on campus, and to provide starting points for students to protect these rights when they are violated by their universities and student unions. Students’ rights and freedoms will be examined in the context of pro-life groups.

Across Canada’s university campuses, pro-life clubs are being censored and discriminated against by universities and student unions. Often, the clubs will be denied official club status and thus stripped of funding and access to facilities, or in extreme cases, club members will face disciplinary hearings. This unfortunate national trend has been supported by the national association of student unions, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), which has stated that all member student unions are to have a pro-choice position and are not to tolerate pro-life “anti-women” clubs.  Given that two-thirds of Canadians do not know abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy, this movement to silence pro-life groups is alarming because such groups aim to educate the public on abortion and the sanctity of life.  

In this hostile environment, students need to know their rights and freedoms and know how to protect them. This handbook primarily draws on case law and legislation from Ontario and British Columbia, but the general principles are still applicable to all provinces. Finally, this handbook is meant to inform and should not be understood as legal advice. If you believe that your rights and freedoms have been violated, you should consider contacting a lawyer or your community legal services.