2022 BC High School Ethics Bowl

Vancouver Technical Secondary Students having a discussion before a presentation.


May 11, 2023

by Cem Erkli

The Department of Philosophy at Simon Fraser University hosted the 2022 BC Regional High School Ethics Bowl on February 26th. Almost 200 high school students, team coaches, and volunteers met at SFU’s Burnaby campus for a full day of discussion. The event was the biggest one yet, with 19 teams from 13 schools— 5 of them participating in the BC Regional Ethics Bowl for the first time! After a full day of discussing some of the most pressing ethical issues facing our society today (and making lots of friends!) two teams emerged on top and will represent British Columbia at the National Ethics Bowl finals.

In an incredibly tight race with compelling presentations and insightful discussion from all teams, the 2022 Regional BC Ethics Bowl Champions Prince of Wales A emerged with 4 wins and a tie. The race for runner-ups was even closer, with 4 teams sitting at 4 wins! Our tiebreaks determined Prince of Wales B to be the runner-up, having received a higher total number of votes from the judges in their matches. Sands Secondary, Moscrop Secondary and Sutherland Seniors shared the bronze, each having won 4 of their matches.

Both the champions (Prince of Wales A) and runner-ups (Prince of Wales B) will be advancing to the National Ethics Bowl finals, to be held online on May 28th-29th. This is Prince of Wales’ second time representing the Lower Mainland of British Columbia at the National level: the team proved their mettle last year by advancing all the way to the semi-finals at the National competition. We wish the two Prince of Wales teams success at the National Ethics Bowl Finals! More information about the 2022 National Ethics Bowl Finals can be found at http://ethicsbowl.ca/2022finals.

Earlier this year, the Department has collaborated with the Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s Strengthening Canadian Democracy Initiative to host another Bowl: “Democracy in Our Backyard: Ethical Issues in Local Governance.” Seven schools had participated in that event, with Moscrop Secondary’s Senior team taking the first place.

What is an Ethics Bowl?

An Ethics Bowl is both a collaborative and competitive team event, in which grade 9-12 students are given room to discuss expertly-written ethical cases within an educationally-enhanced debate structure. Teams are rewarded for constructive engagement, critical thinking, listening and dialogue skills. The result is an event where students articulate and engage with each others’ well-reasoned and well-researched opinions, growing through their interactions with fellow students and judges. In the Ethics Bowl, awareness of the stakeholders and nuances of an issue is rewarded, which prepares students for real-life discussions.

The 108 students who participated presented well-researched and nuanced opinions on various issues. This year’s Ethics Bowl focused on the following topics: partiality and special obligations, online shopping, giving money to the unhoused, the morality of tourism, child marriage in Canada, overpopulation and the ethics of reproduction, restricting job applicants, worker shortages, and Quebec’s Bill 21.

With Thanks

This year’s regional attracted many Ethics Bowl veterans, and quite a few newcomers! Prince of Wales Secondary, Sands Secondary and Vancouver Technical Secondary have been with us since the beginning, Fraser Heights Secondary and Moscrop Secondary participated for the third time, and Semiahmoo Secondary, Sutherland Secondary and University Hill Secondary returned for a second time. Brand new participants for this year were École Salish Secondary, L.A. Matheson Secondary,  Langley Fine Arts School, McMath Secondary and Mulgrave School. All teams demonstrated excellent dialogue skills, thanks to the teachers who volunteered time to prepare the teams for this competition. We would like extend sincere thanks these teachers: Patrick Anderson, Jeffrey Aw-Yong, Pamela Balikis, Michelle Bining, David Bylenga, Michael Edmonson, Tanguy Exumé, Michael Hughes, Grant Jamieson, Kevin Larkin, Tony Lee, Kylie Mantei, Dale Martelli, Christopher Moon, James Nevison, Nick Sautin and Simon Widmann.

A large and experienced team of volunteer judges and moderators helped bring the Ethics Bowl to schools across the Lower Mainland. Most of our volunteers are affiliated with universities and colleges in the region, including Simon Fraser University, the University of the Fraser Valley, Douglas College, UBC (both Vancouver and Okanagan), and BCIT. This year, two of our volunteers were also former Ethics Bowl contestants! Our warm thanks the following 34 volunteers: Hira Ahmed, Oromyia Abdulkarim Ali, Anastasia Anderson, Abdulrahman (Baj) Bajodah, Sylvia Berryman, Michael Bourke, Ian Brooks, Ritam Chakraborty, Anna Cook, Lyle Crawford, Kerem Çamur, Indroop Dhaliwal, Yanjie Ding, Afsoun Hejazi, Yen (Olivia) Huynh, Walker Hathaway-Williams, Reetika Kalita, Yu-Ting (Tina) Lu, Helen Han Wei Luo, Milos Mihajlovic, Robert Munro, Chrysogonus Okwenna, Sassoon Papasian, Micheal Picard, Siddharth Puri, Aaron Richardson, Jorge Sanchez-Perez, Jacob Schwartz, Grace Stanyer, Branwen Stroll, Kesavan Thanagopal, Jack Wands, Eileen Wang, Jingyi Wang and Jennifer Wolowic.

Another set of thanks go to our sponsors and partners for their generous contributions. Many thanks are owed to three SFU units that continue to be highly supportive of the event the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty’s Office of Marketing and Communications, and the Department of Philosophy. We would also like to thank the British Columbia Social Studies Teachers Association for their continuing support and for facilitating increasing participation of BC students to the Ethics Bowl. Finally, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s financial contributions helped include more schools in the event.

Ethics Bowl’s mission of promoting critical dialogue aligns with the UNESCO School Network’s aim of cultivating global citizenship skills among students, and promoting reflection on current issues such as human rights, cultural diversity, climate action and sustainable development. We hope that schools participating in the Ethics Bowl will join the UNESCO School Network to take advantage of many wonderful opportunities for growth and education!