Elmira, ON – On February 10, 2014 the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC) submitted a letter to the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) outlining concerns about the review of Trinity Western University’s (TWU) application for a law school. In December 2013, both the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the B.C. Government approved TWU’s law school. However, after considerable opposition from the Canadian Council of Law Deans and other legal academics, several law societies decided to conduct their own independent review of the TWU’s law school proposal. The opposition to TWU’s proposal is based on TWU’s religious teaching and practice concerning marriage.
CCCC recognizes that there is a diversity of opinion and religious beliefs on matters such as marriage and sexuality, even to some degree within our own membership. However, CCCC is deeply troubled about the wider implications for religious freedom that extend beyond this particular issue. CCCC is concerned that a religious institution of higher learning is being challenged because of its religious beliefs, whatever they might be, and not on the quality of its academic program. Further, CCCC is concerned that a professional body could potentially refuse to licence a professional graduate based not on his/her level of professional competence but on the religious beliefs of his/her alma mater.
It is the position of CCCC that such discrimination against a religious institution and religious professionals violates the equality and religious freedom protections in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.