Campus Corner: Back to School

Friday, September 13, 2013

By Laurent Bastien Corbeil

There are few places where freedom of expression is more important than on a university campus. It is crucial then, for students to know how this right is being exercised on their campus and in universities across the country.

CJFE is launching this Campus Corner blog series to do just that: to discuss freedom of expression issues in higher education. Additionally, we will also share legal resources with the goal of promoting a more open and transparent university system.

As the school year begins, this first blog post outlines a list of some essential resources for students to use throughout the year. These will be helpful for both research purposes and to gain additional insight into issues of free expression in Canada.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is the largest civil liberties group in Canada. It is a non-partisan, non-government organization committed to defending the constitutional rights of every Canadian. The CCLA has also commented on free expression issues on campuses across the country, most recently in January when it issued a statement on McGill University’s protocol on demonstrations.

The Canadian Journalism Project (J-Source)

Funded by the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), the Canadian Journalism Project is a community-based site for journalists or journalism students. One of its sections, the student’s lounge, gives advice on such topics as how to succeed in J-school and how to land a job after graduation. It also has a section dedicated to news on freedom of expression issues in Canada, managed by CJFE.

Access to Information Requests

Did you know that under the Access to Information Act (ATIA), Canadians have the right to access most forms of government information? As a student, this can be a great way to obtain more information about federal institutions.

How to file a request?
First, download the request form. The completed form must then be forwarded to the appropriate coordinator with a $5.00 money order or cheque.

For provincial and territorial institutions, including universities, visit the following websites:

Additionally, the federal government now accepts access to information requests online for three of its departments: Citizenship and Immigration, Shared Services Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Visit the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Online request page to file a request.