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Our Whole Society 2021: Free to Believe, Responsible to Act

May 4, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT

Our Whole Society 2021

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation is pleased to invite you to the Our Whole Society virtual conference on May 4, 2021

Please register HERE.

PANEL 1: Addressing challenges to freedom of religion or belief (1:00pm – 2:30pm EDT)

Canada’s legacy of protecting religious freedom is mixed. Early on the First Nations of Canada experienced the denial and suppression of their right to freedom of religion or belief. Traditional spiritual and religious ceremonies were banned and suppressed, while the Indian residential school system was designed to replace their own identity with another one. Despite long-standing legal protections for religious freedom reaching back to the Quebec Act of 1774 through to the 1982 Charter, this right continues to be debated in public and contested in court. Furthermore, new challenges are emerging from social media and other online platforms, which propagate hatred and prejudice that can generate real-world violence and persecution.

What role does protection for freedom of religion or belief play in fostering social understanding in a diverse Canadian society, in fostering reconciliation? To what extent does this freedom extend to protections for organizations, institutions, or even the natural environment? What new and old challenges are facing traditional, religious, spiritual and other communities as they seek to exercise these rights? How should we respond to the growth of religion-based prejudice in Canadian society, especially as it affects Indigenous and minority populations?


Professor Lori Beaman (Professor, University of Ottawa)
Bishop Bruce Myers (Bishop of Quebec, Anglican Church of Canada)
Rabbi Reuben Poupko (co-Chair, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus)

PANEL 2: Building social solidarity (3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT)

It seems that almost every social cleavage in Canada is deepening under the pressures of a divisive political discourse. These cleavages can be traced according to region, language, identity, class, or the religious-secular divide. Furthermore, the need to build social solidarity acquires greater urgency in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

What does it take to work across these divides and heal the body politic? What is the potential and actual contribution of religion and spirituality to this process? Where do we see new approaches to addressing inequality, fostering reconciliation, responding to the climate crisis, and building community at the grassroots of society?


Jamileh Naso (President, Canadian Yazidi Association)
Shannon Perez (Director, Indigenous Family Centre)
Akaash Maharaj (CEO, Mosaic Institute)

The conference will be held virtually in English and French.

Please register HERE.


May 4, 2021
1:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT