Ontario post-secondary schools expected to now have free-speech policies in place

Posted
January 8, 2019
Article Source
Global News

Ontario's post-secondary institutions are now expected to have free-speech policies in place under a controversial provincial rule that officially came into effect this year.
 
The governing Progressive Conservatives announced last summer that all publicly funded colleges and universities would have until Jan. 1 to develop and implement a free speech policy "that meets a minimum standard prescribed by the government."
 
The government said that institutions will have to report on their progress each year starting in September and any that fail to comply with the free-speech requirements could face a cut in funding.
 
"Starting this year, we have made it mandatory for Ontario universities and colleges to have a policy to protect free speech," Premier Doug Ford said on Twitter over the weekend.
 
Ciara Byrne, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario will be assessing each institution's policy this month and advising the ministry as to whether they meet the minimum standard.
 
Ontario's colleges adopted a universal free-speech policy late last year, and a spokesman for Colleges Ontario said the organization is confident the document will help ensure freedom of speech is promoted and upheld on campuses.
 
The province's 22 universities, meanwhile, have opted to each come up with their own policy.
 
Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., said Monday its policy was approved mid-December after the school sought input from stakeholders and the public. It said the policy, which also upholds the right to engage in peaceful protest about the content of the free expression of others, took effect immediately.

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