• Index • The Dhillen Case • The Pannu Case • The Nijjar Case • The O'Malley Case • The Roosma Case • The Moore Case • The Kurvits Case • The Schroen Case • The Caldwell Case • The Fancy Case • The Brockie Case • The Ross Case • The Trinity Case • Resources • Printer Friendly Version •
In 1995, the British Columbia College of Teachers ("BCCT") refused
accreditation to Trinity Western University ("TWU"), a private
institution associated with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada,
for the fifth year of its Teacher Training Program. The rejection
was based on the mandatory discriminatory act committed by TWU
students when they signed a Community Standards Contract signalling
their condemnation of the biblically condemned sins of homosexual
behavior. Acting under the aegis of s. 4 of the Teaching
Profession Act, BCCT determined that graduates of this private
institution would not be adequately prepared to provide educational
services without discrimination in B.C.'s diverse public school
classrooms. TWU complained that BCCT did not have the jurisdiction
to refusing accreditation on this grounds, as it was an infringement
of their right to freedom of religion and association. The B.C.
Supreme Court determined that BCCT had acted wrongfully, and issued
an order of mandamus obliging BCCT to accredit TWU. The B.C. Court
of appeal upheld this decision. The majority of the Supreme Court of
Canada upheld these rulings based on the principles of
Administrative law, while choosing not to deal with the Charter issue.
One dissenting voice, however, did address the issue of freedom of
religion. See Dissenting Voice. (Trinity Western University v.
British Columbia College of Teachers (2001), 39 C.H.R.R.
D/357.2001 SCC 31).
Was consideration of
discriminatory practices within the jurisdiction of the B.C. College
Was correctness the
appropriate standard of review of the B.C. College of Teachers'
decision not to accredit Trinity Western University?
Was the decision of the B.C. College
of Teachers justified?
Was the order to accredit Trinity
The School system, through
its teaching staff, models civic virtue and responsible
citizenship. It is obliged by law to provide a
discrimination-free educational environment. Therefore it was
within the jurisdiction of the College to consider the
discriminatory practices while assessing the suitability of
Trinity Western University.
The College had acted
inappropriately as a human rights tribunal. It did not have
sufficient expertise to interpret and to balance human rights
(the right to receive educational services without
discrimination) and Charter values (the freedom of religious
beliefs). Therefore, a standard of correctness (as opposed to
deference) was the appropriate standard of review.
The existence of the
Community Standards contract, signed by Trinity students, was
not sufficient to support the college's conclusion that Trinity
graduates would behave in a discriminatory manner towards future
homosexual students. The College made an error when it
confounded confirmed religious beliefs (homosexual behavior is a
sin) and future homophobic conduct (discrimination against
The order to accredit Trinity Western
justified because it was unfair for the College to refuse
accreditation to Trinity based solely on irrelevant
considerations (hypothesized discriminatory conduct).
the Oakes test