What We Do


Taking action to uphold freedom in Canada

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We are at the forefront of research and discussion devoted to fundamental freedoms

As a not-for-profit organization, First Freedoms is committed to influencing policy makers and the public through respectful, open dialogue. Learn about our academic publications, events, courses, and awards. For more commentary on current events, including interviews, podcasts, and more, check out our News page.



The Foundation seeks to advance scholarly and popular discourse on freedom by engaging in a variety of platforms and media. This includes the publication of editorials, blogs and podcasts as well as academic journals and monographs.



The Foundation anticipates the publication of an annual peer reviewed, interdisciplinary academic journal on the “original freedoms.”

The Foundation welcomes submissions from scholars around the world whose research addresses freedom from an historical, philosophical, legal, theological, or political perspective. Manuscripts will be assessed by a panel of referees and should make an original contribution to the discourse on freedom.


Annual Diefenbaker Freedom Lecture

“I am Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” (John Diefenbaker, House of Commons Debates, 1 July 1960)

Beginning in November 2022, the First Freedoms Foundation will host an annual lecture series addressing current topics related to one or more of the original freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the inviolability of the person.

We welcome presentations from scholars and experts in their field whose work serves to advance the cause of freedom. Lectures will be open to the public and may be published in future volumes dedicated to the theory and practice of liberty in Canada.

Diefenbaker dreamed of “A Canada, united from Coast to Coast, wherein there will be freedom for the individual, freedom of enterprise, and where there will be a Government which, in all its actions, will remain the servant and not the master of the people” (from Rogue Tory: The Life and Legend of John Diefenbaker)


The Foundation invites nominations for the first annual First Freedoms Award in recognition of individuals or organizations who have made an exemplary contribution to freedom in Canada through their courageous, influential, or effective advocacy in law, academia, politics, or arts and culture. The award will be presented at the First Freedoms Gala Dinner in November 2022.


To promote academic scholarship, the Foundation intends to establish an institute that will offer intensive, two-week accredited courses in law, political science, history, and philosophy.

The Foundation will further recognize outstanding scholarship by awarding the title of “First Freedoms Fellow” to individuals whose careers demonstrate integrity, respect for others, and a profound commitment to freedom.


We will produce an annual report on First Freedoms in Canada to assist Canadians to be self-aware of what is happening to freedom in their country and call on government to make changes as necessary.


We are here to help!

The Foundation is dedicated to defending liberty in practice as well as theory.

Do you have concerns or questions about your rights?

Are you facing a violation of your conscience, freedom of speech, or bodily integrity?

The Foundation is prepared to offer resources, answer questions, and provide support (such as arranging legal counsel and raising funds to assist with legal costs) depending on your situation.



Are you willing to support fellow Canadians who have the courage to stand for their beliefs?

Will you share and donate in defense of freedom?

Together we can make a real difference!

Legal Cases: Commentary


Learn more about recent legal cases involving fundamental freedoms in Canada. These posts highlight several Supreme Court of Canada decisions which have had a significant impact, particularly on freedom of conscience and religion. Stay tuned for more on current or upcoming litigation. 

Case Comment: Trinity Western University (2018)

Case Comment: Trinity Western University (2018)

Law Matters but Politics Matter More: The Supreme Court of Canada and Trinity Western University The following case comment was originally published in the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 2018 7(3) Barry W. Bussey[1] The law on religious accommodation in Canada has...

Case Comment: Loyola High School (2015)

Case Comment: Loyola High School (2015)

The following is extracted from my chapter "Human Dignity Found in Religious Community," in The Inherence of Human Dignity Vol. 2: Law and Religious Liberty, edited by Barry W. Bussey and Angus J. L. Menuge (Anthem Press, 2021). In 2008 the province of Quebec...

Statement of Beliefs

  • First freedoms are natural rights inherent to every human being
  • Government is mandated to protect all first freedoms
  • Citizens are to respect, support, and obey the government
  • Citizens should use lawful and honorable means to prevent the reduction of first freedoms

Know Your Rights: RESOURCES

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed as we share resources on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, human rights legislation in Canada, and more

2022 Prospectus

Why is freedom so essential?

What motivates us, and what is our vision for the coming year?

Learn more in our 2022 Prospectus.

Defend Freedom for Yourself and Others

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