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What is Humanism?

Humanism is a dynamic way of life that is guided by rational thought, inspired by music
and art and motivated by ethics, compassion and fairness.

What are the prizes?

English or French Essays
Jr & Sr. First Prize Essay: $1,000
Jr. & Sr. Second Prize Essay: $750
Jr. & Sr. Third Prize Essay: $250
Award of Distinction Essay: $100
Honorable Mention Essays: $50

Who can enter?

The Junior Category of this contest is open to anyone who is 17 years old or younger on October 16, 2022 and the Senior Category of this contest is open to anyone who is 18 – 25 years old on October 16, 2022. Applicants must be enrolled in an educational institution in Canada or be a Canadian citizen studying abroad.

Do I need my parent’s permission?

Depending on your province of residence and your age, you may need parental consent
to participate in the contest. See application form for more details.

What do I submit?

  1. Your essay must be 500 to 1,000 words in length (English/French), not including the title and any references. If you wish, you can include photos, drawings, diagrams, tables, charts or other non-text media in your essay.
  2. Each essay must be entirely written by one author.
  3. This contest is limited to one entry per author.
  4. Your essay must start with a cover page containing the title of your essay, topic
    selected, word count, your full name, age, mailing address, phone number and email
  5. Your essay must be a single document. The header of each page, except the cover page, must include your name and a page number.
  6. Essays must include references cited using the American Psychological Association (APA) style and grammar guidelines available at
  7. Essays must be submitted by email and in PDF format.

How and where do I submit my essay?

To be considered, a contest entry must consist of an email containing the following

  1. Your essay including cover page in PDF format
  2. Your completed Application Form
  3. Your signed Parental Permission and Waiver Form

Send in your contest entry by email to Essays submitted anywhere
else will not be considered.

What’s the deadline for submission?

You have until 11:59 p.m. PST, Sunday October 16, 2022 to email your contest entry.

What does my essay have to be about?

Essays should focus on one of the following topics:

  1. Humanism and society (e.g., religious schools, blasphemy laws, climate change, etc.)
  2. Humanism and well-being (e.g., sexual and reproductive health, dying with dignity, etc.)
  3. Another Humanist issue (e.g., issues discussed in Humanist International’s Freedom of Thought report

Who judges my essay?

An expert panel of judges will read your essay and evaluate it using the judging criteria described below.

What criteria are judges using to decide on a winning essay?

Entries will be judged on clear expression of ideas that progress in a logical fashion, the
ability to support an argument with evidence, and understanding of humanist values and
perspectives. When reading your essay, judges will ask:

  1. Essay Premise: Does your essay make a specific case, assert a viewpoint, argue
    a position, or claim a conclusion that is clearly and concisely worded?
  2. Essay Justification: Does your essay give reasons why your case, viewpoint, position or conclusion is reasonable, logically derived, or in the end convincing to you and should be convincing to others?
  3. Evidential Support: Does your essay cite specific evidence, named sources, facts, or research to support the reasons outlined in your essay?
  4. Essay Defense: Does your essay discuss the views and arguments of those who may disagree with your case, viewpoint or conclusion?
  5. Essay Clarity: Is your essay free of spelling errors (especially for people’s names) or grammatical errors, and does it accord with APA style for any cited references?

How will I find out who won?

Winners will be contacted directly, and their names will be posted on

When will prizes be awarded?

A virtual awards ceremony will be hosted by Humanist Canada on November 20, 2022.

If I win, what happens to my essay?

Winning essays will be submitted for publication in Humanist Perspectives magazine available at

By submitting your essay, you release non-exclusive, non-commercial right in perpetuity to Humanist Canada, which may on a non-commercial basis publish, excerpt, edit or otherwise use it, or any document based
on it, for any legal purpose.

What if I still have questions about this contest?

For any questions about contest rules, please send an email message to

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