You are here


Academic Freedom and Responsibility

Fundamental questions regarding the role of the university in contemporary society crystallize around what constitutes academic freedom. While this notion is arguably meant to protect a safe space of critique of or dissent from state or corporate control, the university is increasingly dependent on both sectors for the resources it needs to function, expected to produce economically productive citizens, and offer the central avenue for social mobility in a stratified society – all of which imbricate it in the very interests it is meant to be free to critique.


Infoveillance: Data, Privacy, Equality and Surveillance

Report on Infoveillance - September 2020

David Lyon, Benoît Dupont, Anatoliy Gruzd, and Jane Bailey, with the collaboration of Stephen Wyatt and Monica Heller

Both utopian and dystopian views of digital technologies have long been debated. This set of papers takes up one specific aspect of the sometimes perverse or unexpected consequences of the permeation of such technologies in our everyday lives: what we are calling Infoveillance—the integration of information and surveillance technologies.


Terms of Reference: Committee on Public Engagement


Chair: Stephen Wyatt, Université de Moncton
Member: Françoise Baylis, Dalhousie University
Member: Benjamin Berger, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Member: Myra Hird, Queen’s University
Member: Rashid Sumaila: The University of British Columbia
Member: Christl Verduyn, Mount Allison University
Member: VACANT

The Committee on Public Engagement will be composed of: At least five members of the Academies and/or College (one of whom will be appointed as Chair). The Chair is to be appointed by the RSC President upon the recommendation of the Council. Terms are normally for three years, with at least one member rotating from/to the committee annually. The Membership of the Committee on Public Engagement should represent a broad and diverse cross-section of the Society. 

In addition, an Advisory Committee composed of Fellows and Scholars may be assembled to provide guidance and expertise to the Committee on Public Engagement as necessary.


The Committee on Public Engagement (CPE), in collaboration with the Committee on International Affairs, as appropriate, has the following mandate:

1.    Proactive Goals

a)    The CPE advises the President and Council on key themes for RSC knowledge mobilization on an annual basis. The themes for CPE discussion may be generated by CPE members, by Council, by members of the RSC, or by the Chief Science Advisor to the Government of Canada. These will be issues of broad concern to Canadian society, for which the expertise of RSC members can provide useful analysis, and on which the RSC wishes to provide information and possibly express an opinion (e.g. climate change, Truth and Reconciliation, educational priorities for a changing world, the rise of populism and neo-nationalism, increasing wealth disparities, racialized and gendered violence, among others). Themes should be proposed to the President and Council with ample time for them to be reviewed.

b)    Themes are normally approved for one year. The annual meeting serves as the culmination of the previous year’s theme(s) as well as the launch of the new theme(s).

c) Once themes are approved by the President and Council, the CPE works with staff to develop an operational and communications strategy for composing and disseminating key messages. These may include, but are not limited to: press releases, op-ed pieces, public events, symposia and workshops, website posts, expert panels, podcasts, Facebook-live events, publications. In certain cases, interventions could build on and complement the assessments and assessment topics of the Council of Canadian Academies.

d) The CPE works with Council, Academies, the College and staff to identify members with relevant expertise on a chosen theme, and to mobilize their participation in one of more of the chosen strategies.

2.    Reactive Goals

a) The CPE advises the President on events or cases which could or do constitute obstacles to academic liberty of expression, or the ability of academic institutions or individual academics to freely produce and transmit knowledge, in Canada or elsewhere.
b) The CPE advises the President on events or cases which could or do constitute obstacles to expression or transmission of knowledge for researchers working in the public sector.

Updated January 2022