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Waterloo Engineering Competition


All University of Waterloo engineering undergrads on an academic term are eligible for this competition.

Awards & Prizes

Members of the winning teams will receive a designation on their official transcripts indicating their accomplishment.

The winning teams (three competitions a year) will receive an award of $500 from the Sandford Fleming Foundation; the top rookie team will receive an award of $100 from the Sandford Fleming Foundation.

The determination of the top rookie team will be determined by the judges. Various degrees of experience will be considered:

  1. participated in SFF debates;
  2. participated in other formal debates during university;
  3. participated in formal debates during high school;
  4. never participated in any formal debates.


Teams of two are required to defend or refute a previously undisclosed resolution related to science, engineering, technology, education, or other topics of direct interest to engineers and engineering students.

The SFF Debates are held each term; the winners from the June and October competitions will represent the University of Waterloo at the annual Ontario Engineering Competition.

Rules and Judging Form

Please refer to this file (Word 2007) for the rules.

Please refer to this file for the judging form.

Guidelines for Debaters

The essence of debate is wit, in both the analytical and humourous senses of the word, and the best debate will involve a combination of both senses. Underlying the exercise of wit there must be a clash of ideas: a good debater should have the insight and creative talent to exploit every opportunity to make a telling point against the opponent, either by exposing a weakness in his/her argument, or by a humourous rejoinder that makes him or her seem ridiculous, dull or irrelevant.

The Purpose of Debating

Debate is the presentation of ideas in conflict. It is the method through which decisions are made in any democratic organization, whether it is a family household or the House of Commons. Debate is essential in life; the only alternatives are passive acceptance of decisions or the violent overthrow of the decision-makers. Both alternatives to debate are clearly unacceptable to civilized societies. The rules of debate vary from place to place; however, the essential basis of debating remains unchanged: each participant is given equal time and is expected to explain the advantages of his or her own point of view, and to show the flaws in the opponent's point of view. There is no mystery; it is merely a common-sense method of observing both sides of a dispute so that a reasonable choice can be made. As participants become more skilled, the interjection of humour is almost unavoidable. The result is a very enjoyable and useful form of entertainment.

Learn More!

The two preceding paragraphs are taken from these guidelines. Check it out for a lot more information on how the SFF Debates work!

Another great source of background on debating is from the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate (CUSID) and is called the "CUSID Central Debating Guide". Please note that many of the competition details mentioned in this guide are different than what you will see in the SFF Debates!

Differences Between WEC and OEC

There are no major differences between the WEC and OEC in this competition.


If you have any question about the SFF Debates competition, please feel free to contact the competition coordinator, found on the Contacts page.