As an organization aimed at promoting equity, justice and opportunity,
FACL strongly opposes the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's
(FLSC’s) recommendation that provincial law societies approve Trinity
Western University's (TWU's) proposed law school program. FACL is
also disturbed by the B.C. Minister of Advanced Education's hasty
approval of TWU's law degree program the day after the FLSC concluded its
protracted and closed-door process.
Specifically, FACL is of the view that the TWU Community Covenant
Agreement, that is required to be signed by all TWU faculty, staff and
students, is discriminatory. The Community Covenant Agreement
includes a requirement to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the
sacredness of marriage between a man and woman” and provides TWU with the
reserved rights to question, challenge or discipline its members in response
to actions that impact personal or social welfare. Past iterations
of the Community Covenant included a requirement to refrain from
practices that are biblically condemned, including homosexual behaviour.
The mandatory requirement to enter into the Community Covenant Agreement
as a condition to school admission and employment at TWU has the effect
of excluding applicants from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and
transgender communities and negatively impacts upon the human dignity of
persons in these communities.
FACL believes that all law schools across Canada must create a forum for
free exchange of ideas, premised upon inclusion, tolerance, respect and
opportunity for equal participation. FACL further believes that law
schools and the institutions that authorize the creation of these schools
must act in the public interest and ensure that their policies and
practices adhere to the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms and provincial and territorial human rights legislation.
FACL agrees with the Council of Canadian Law Deans that, “Discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation is unlawful in Canada and
fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools.”
FACL calls upon the provincial law societies and government decision
makers across Canada, to act in the public interest and to reject TWU’s
application for accreditation of its law school program and to withdraw
all approvals and consents on the basis that its policies and practices
are discriminatory and contrary to the principles of human rights law in
Canada. In addition, FACL advocates for the inclusion of a
non-discrimination policy as a condition that all law schools must adhere
to in order to maintain its accreditation.