A tenured professor at the University of Toronto has sparked criticism with an online lecture series in which he attacks political correctness, including the use of genderless pronouns.

Clinical psychology professor Jordan Peterson says freedom of speech is under threat from the federal government and the Ontario Human Rights Commission, because of "vague and poorly-written" laws meant to fight discrimination. In particular, Peterson takes issue with Bill C-16, the federal legislation which would add gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination.

In a YouTube video of his hour-long lecture called "Fear and the Law," Peterson condemns the notion that a person can be anything other than male or female – a perception that is accommodated in Bill C-16. Peterson also suggests that the human resources department at U of T is accusing its staff of "implicit racism (and) fundamentally implicit bias," by requiring them to undergo sensitivity training that he calls "re-education." 

"I think freedom of speech is seriously under attack," Peterson told CTV's Your Morning on Wednesday.

Peterson said he refuses to use genderless pronouns like "they" for individuals in his classes, but not because he is against transgender people. Instead, he views such words as "vanguards of a particular ideological movement."

He argues that Bill C-16 is wrong, because it is not specific enough.

"All it will do is produce a huge tangle in the legal system and a lot of ill will, and I think most of that will eventually be directed against people who are visibly different," he said.

Peterson says he's received a letter from U of T reminding him of the school's guidelines around human rights. He adds that it's "hard to tell" if he will keep his job, but he intends to continue with his online lecture series.