Ontario Court Rules TWU Religious Freedom Not Breached

Divisional Court dismisses TWU application for judicial review

Today, the Ontario Superior Court ruled against Trinity Western University 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.”

“The court’s finding that there has been a breach of religious freedom rights in this case is critically important,” said TWU spokesperson Dr. Guy Saffold.  “ The Court’s ultimate decision against TWU is starkly at odds with the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2001 decision directing approval of TWU’s teacher education program. It points a knife at the freedom of faith communities across Canada to hold and practice their beliefs.”

A faith community’s commitment to a traditional view of marriage should not become grounds for denial of religious rights and refusal of full participation in society. TWU asks students to adhere to a Community Covenant that calls for refraining from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”  The court maintained that this requirement is discriminatory,  and therefor  the TWU Law School proposal could not be approved.

TWU plans to appeal the decision as soon as possible.

The ruling comes after the Nova Scotia Supreme court found that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) could not deny accreditation to TWU.

Trinity Western University is a Christian University of the arts, sciences, and professions, legislated by British Columbia to serve the public. Recognized for quality, TWU is consistently ranked among the top universities in Canada for Educational Experience by the National Survey of Student Engagement; holds four Canada Research Chairs; wins National Championships in CIS sports; and emphasizes experiential learning to prepare graduates to make a global impact. TWU offers 42 bachelor’s degrees, 17 graduate degrees, and adult degree-completion programs. A vibrant community committed to educating the whole person, TWU has been developing leaders of character and competence for 50 years.