Religion In Canada Essay Contest

Bernard Chernos Essay Contest

Each year, The Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust (CCLET) runs a nation-wide high school competition to commemorate the contributions of the late Bernard Chernos, a civil libertarian, lawyer, and lover of lively debate. Student submissions must respond to one of the questions about fundamental freedoms posed by the CCLET that year.

NEW FOR THE 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR: Students have the option to submit their responses as an essay OR video “rant” in the style of Rick Mercer, one of Canada’s most famous political humorists.

Students currently enrolled in grades 9 through 12 in a Canadian school are eligible to participate.

Teachers of Civics, History, Law, Politics, World Issues, World Religions, English, and Social Studies: This contest makes for a great ready-made classroom project. Consider assigning it to students and submitting the best selections to our contest!


1st place: $500 + book
2nd place: $150 + book
3rd place: $100 + book

For more details on how to participate, download this year’s contest flyer here.

If you would like to see previous years’ questions, download them here.


Congratulations to the 2017 winners of CCLET’s Bernard Chernos Essay Competition!

1st Place: William Dunstan, St. Matthew High School, Ottawa, ON
2nd Place: Desislava Stoianova, Victoria Park Collegiate Institute, Scarborough, ON
3rd Place: Kirandeep Deol, Old Scona Academic, Edmonton, AB

For a listing of previous years’ winners, click here.

Undergraduate Student Essay Contest

Subject: Any topic in the general field of religious studies
Language: English or French
Length: 2500-3500 words, typed and double-spaced (word count does not include footnotes or bibliography)
Eligibility: Any undergraduate currently registered in a Canadian university or college
First Prize: $250
Second Prize: $50
Deadline: April 20

Requirements: Essays do not need to be written specifically for this contest. They may be assignments from a religious studies course. Essays that have been previously published or are forthcoming publications are eligible. Essays must be accompanied by a letter of certification from a member of the sponsoring religious studies department or programme, certifying the degree and programme status of the student, and indicating that the student is in good standing in that university or college. Essays should be sent in Word format or text format. If submitting a PDF, send two versions of your essay: one with your name and full mailing address and one with no name for blind review.

Students entering the contest must submit the entire essay application, including all forms and letters of certification by email to Heather Shipley ( Students must include their full mailing address on the first page of the essay, attach this form (as a PDF) or this form (as a fillable word document), and a letter of certification from their programme, by midnight on April 20.


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