Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies


Devon Peavoy


In Canada, books and magazines are regularly intercepted at the border and are consistently removed from libraries, schools and bookstores. The banning of books is a controversial topic that involves issues of censorship and freedom of expression rights. The Supreme Court of Canada recently examined the issue in Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36, where it was found that the School Board acted unreasonably in banning several books depicting same sex couples. The Court, however, did not consider the freedom of expression rights of students in reaching their decision. Despite this recent opportunity to comment on a student’s right to information, Canadian jurisprudence remains silent on the issue of student freedom of expression rights in the banning of books from schools. Using Chamberlain as a backdrop, this paper will argue that a liberal interpretation of student’s freedom of expression rights by the courts would provide much needed guidance for educators in making curriculum selections. The recognition of such rights would place the interests of the students first in pedagogical decision-making, enhance democratic functions within schools, and encourage a rights discourse to shape the classroom environment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.