Contract Cheating in Canada: How it Started and How it’s Going


  • Sarah Elaine Eaton University of Calgary



academic integrity, anadian Symposium on Academic Integrity, higher education


Join us for an in-depth account of the history and development of contract cheating in Canada over the past 50+ years. Learn about the one and only (failed) attempt at legislation to make ghostwritten essays and exams illegal in Canada.

Get the details on a criminal case in the 1980s, noted as being the first of its kind in Canada, and possibly the Commonwealth, that made history when an essay mill owner and his wife were charged with fraud and conspiracy. The case was dismissed by the judge, leaving the contract cheating industry to flourish in Canada, which it has done with a vengeance.

Then learn about an exposé in a major US magazine in the 1990s that presented in-details about the experiences of writers who supplied services to the contact cheating industry. Now that we are in the 21st century,  find out what’s being done across the country today to take action against contract cheating.

I will share previously undiscovered evidence and insights that shows how the contract cheating industry has been proliferating in Canada for at least half a century. Even if you thought you knew about contract cheating in Canada, you’ll almost certainly learn something new in this session.

The content of this session is drawn from Eaton’s book chapter on contract cheating in the forthcoming edited volume, Academic Integrity in Canada: An Enduring and Essential Challenge (Eaton & Christensen Hughes) that involved over a thousand hours of historical research and digging into archival material to uncover that the contract cheating industry in Canada has been operating successfully for longer than most of us ever realized. I conclude with strong calls to action for educators, advocates, and policy makers.





How to Cite

Eaton, S. E. (2021). Contract Cheating in Canada: How it Started and How it’s Going. Canadian Perspectives on Academic Integrity, 4(2), 80.



Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity

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