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academic; charter; civility; freedom; policy


Civility codes have blossomed in the wake of rising concerns about incivility in politics, the workplace, social media – in fact, anywhere and everywhere. Universities across North America have responded with initiatives that take many forms including, in Canada, civility and respectful workplace policies. It is surprising, in the circumstances, that their consequences for academic freedom and expressive freedom have not attracted much attention. This short paper explains how such policies threaten these vital freedoms and shows how the concept of expressive freedom under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can be invoked to reinforce, support, and strengthen the principle of academic freedom. The paper will be published in a collection from the Harry Crowe Foundation’s conference titled “The Limits of Academic Freedom”, which is forthcoming in early 2014.