There are several reasons why plagiarism is taken seriously and many have to do with expectations for academic work in Canada.
1. Originality is important in academic writing
Academics try to add original contributions to human knowledge by finding gaps in research and by studying very specific topics in detail. As a student, you are not expected to make any big discoveries. However, a level of originality is still expected in your writing.
Incorporate originality into your work by:
2. Questioning sources is expected, not a sign of disrespect
Perhaps you grew up learning that copying large portion's of an author's text was a sign of respect for an author's expertise. In Canada, this action would be considered disrespectful. Ideas are other people's work, and should be acknowledged through citations.
3. Critical analysis is important
Your assignments will require you to analyze ideas from multiple sources, draw connections between them, and come to your own conclusions. As you read sources, you should ask questions about the text, even if it is a source written by an expert.
4. Academic writing is an ongoing conversation
In academic writing, authors respond to and build on what others have said before them. By citing your sources, you demonstrate that you "listened" to the conversation before coming to your conclusions and also make it easier for your reader to learn more.
5. Academic dishonesty devalues everyone else's hard work
When one student unfairly cheats or plagiarizes and gets away with it:
Academic dishonesty is a broader term that includes plagiarism as well as:
Watch the video below to learn what academic integrity is and why it matters.
Watch this funny video from the University of Alberta to understand how certain behaviors that are acceptable outside of school, are unacceptable at school.
University of Alberta and Townend Films. "Acceptable/Unacceptable." YouTube, 18 Dec. 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bx5DAqTPhU.