Upholding Free Speech Policy

Upholding Free Speech Policy
Creation DateMay 29, 2019
Approval DateMay 29, 2019
Effective DateMay 29, 2019

Organizational Scope

As a publicly funded post-secondary institution, The Michener Institute of Education at UHN (“Michener”) must be a place that allows for open discussion and free inquiry where diverse voices can be heard and ideas and viewpoints can be explored and discussed freely and debated openly without fear of reprisal, even if these are considered to be controversial or conflict with the views of some members of the institute community.


Michener is a post-secondary institution providing transformative health science education to diverse learners. Freedom of expression, which means the right to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, must be protected as it is essential to discovery, critical assessment and the effective dissemination of knowledge and ideas and leads to social and economic advancement.


Through its strategic purpose and Purpose Value Principles (PVP) foundation, Michener greatly values civility and all members of the Michener community share responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, it is not the role of the Institute to shield members of the Michener community from ideas and opinions that they may find disagreeable or offensive. It is up to individuals and not the Institute to make such judgments for themselves and to debate and challenge ideas that they find unacceptable.

Members of the Institute community are free to criticize and contest the views of others; however, they may not obstruct or interfere with the freedom of others to express their views. The rights of others to express or hear ideas must also be respected. The Institute may reasonably regulate the time, place and manner of freedom of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt normal operations and ordinary Institute activities or endanger the safety of others.

Speech that violates the law, including the Ontario Human Rights Code, is not allowed. Speech that constitutes harassment, a threat or hate speech is not allowed. Other context-specific boundaries to freedom of expression may also apply, such as those arising out of the terms of employment and collective agreements.

This policy statement is aligned with other Institute policies, all of which shall be read in harmony.

Existing Institute mechanisms and processes will be used to handle complaints and ensure compliance with the policy. Complaints that remain unresolved may be appealed. Existing disciplinary measures will apply to those whose actions are contrary to the policy.

Michener will consider official student groups’ compliance with the policy as a condition for ongoing financial support or recognition, and encourage student groups to adopt policies that align with this policy.

Revision History

Date Reviewer Change(s) Made
May 29, 2019 Cathy Carson, Registrar Policy Creation