Ontario universities share goal of protecting free speech on campus, will work closely with government

“Ontario universities share the Ontario government’s interest in protecting freedom of expression, and are committed to working with all stakeholders, including faculty, students and the province, to provide opportunities for thoughtful debate and discussion on our campuses.

We welcome further discussion with the government on how freedom of expression may continue to be protected, and believe any framework must balance the right to free expression with universities’ duty to maintain a civil campus environment, along with physical safety and security for faculty, students and staff.

For centuries, universities have encouraged the free flow of ideas on campus. Universities have always been places for open discussion and free inquiry.

This has not changed. Universities are committed to creating learning environments that promote free expression and provide opportunities for dialogue to take place with civility.

Every day, on every university campus in the province, hundreds if not thousands of conversations and debates take place; facts and opinions are expressed that some participants may not like, or even find offensive.

Ontario universities have policies that affirm the right to freedom of expression for students, faculty and staff, and have mechanisms in place to resolve disputes. We will work with the government and other stakeholders to ensure that freedom of expression is alive and healthy.”

Daniel Woolf,
Principal, Queen’s University and Chair, Council of Ontario Universities


COU is the voice of Ontario’s universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success.

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For further information, please contact:

Wendy McCann
Senior Director, Communications
The Council of Ontario Universities
416-979-2165 ext. 233
416-473-4829 (cell)
Email Wendy McCann

Peter Jeffrey
Acting Director, Communications
Queen’s University
Email Peter Jeffrey