VANCOUVER, June 29, 2016 /CNW/ - The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled today to uphold the Ontario Divisional Court's Decision to allow the Law Society of Upper Canada to reject graduates of TWU's proposed School of Law. TWU is engaged in similar court cases in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
The primary issues at stake in this case include the following:
Rights violation – The primary legal issue is the state's infringement of TWU's Charter rights. The law societies' rejection of TWU's law school graduates because of the university's Community Covenant is a government agency attempting to dictate what Canadians can believe. This is of concern to all Canadians—not just faith communities.
Legal definition of discrimination – According to the law, the Community Covenant is not discriminatory. TWU's religious community is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the B.C. Human Rights Code.
Understanding Charter Law – The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects individuals and private organizations, including religious minorities, from government interference by limiting government power. It allows TWU to retain space in Canada for its religious community. TWU does not breach the Charter, in part because, like all Canadian universities, it is not subject to the Charter.
Acceptance of LGBTQ students at TWU – LGBTQ already attend TWU. Denying TWU's law school would not help LGBTQ students achieve equal access; it would simply preserve the status quo. Accepting TWU students, however, would result in all prospective students having increased access to law school. Even if a student does not choose TWU, 60 students will, which will lessen the competition at other Canadian law schools.
The Community Covenant – The Community Covenant is a positive commitment that each member of the TWU community makes with each other. Everything in and about the Covenant is guided by love, respect and care. The Covenant recognizes "diversity of viewpoints, life journeys, stages of maturity and roles," and calls on everyone, in all situations, to "live exemplary lives characterized by honesty, civility, truthfulness, generosity and integrity."
Precedent in the Supreme Court of Canada – In 2001, TWU faced a similar challenge when it sought to open its Faculty of Education. The Supreme Court of Canada found no evidence of discrimination, and that grads would be no more likely to discriminate than a grad from any other Canadian university.
SOURCE Trinity Western University
Image with caption: "Trinity Western University (CNW Group/Trinity Western University)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160629_C7111_PHOTO_EN_724852.jpg
For further information: Amy Robertson, Associate Director, Media and Public Relations, Trinity Western University, twu.ca, 604-753-9259