Building Our Whole Society Conference: Religion and Citizenship in Canada

Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

At Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation, we need to discover a new way of talking, thinking and acting together so that Canada’s religious diversity can become a resource for our collective advancement. Building Our Whole Society will build on years of experience in interfaith and religious-secular dialogue to convene a range of fresh perspectives that will help us to think about how to build our whole society and promote a more active Canadian citizenry. We will be asking,


·         How can an inclusive society provide space for diverse perspectives and practices to be welcomed into the public sphere?

·         Can we advance beyond simple toleration of religious and other differences to embrace a wider respect for all citizens?

·         How can we draw upon Canada’s religious and cultural diversity as a resource for strengthening civic engagement and fostering a more mature collective life?


Read the concept paper for a fuller exploration of the conference’s theme.


Register now


Keynote Speakers and Plenary Panelists


Our keynote speakers, Prof. John Borrows and Dr. John Ralston Saul, and several panelists will address these and other significant questions on faith and the Canadian public sphere. Confirmed panelists include:


  • Palbinder Shergill, QC, World Sikh Organization
  • Prof. Ingrid Mattson, Huron University College, Western University
  • Dr. Andrew Bennett, Cardus
  • Prof. Douglas Sanderson, University of Toronto
  • Bishop Mark MacDonald, Anglican Church of Canada
  • Prof. Audrey Macklin, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Martin Mark, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto
  • Prof. Howard Adelman, Founding Director of the Refugees Centre at York University
  • Karen Joseph, Director and CEO at Reconciliation Canada


Building Our Whole Society is being organized by the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, in partnership with several Conversation Participants (listed below), Canadian Race Relations Foundation and Cardus’ Faith in Canada 150 project. It is the third iteration of the “Our Whole Society” conference series and follows on conferences held previously McGill University and the University of British Columbia. Conference Partners include


  • Canadian Council of Churches
  • Canadian Council of Imams
  • Cardus’ Faith in Canada 150 Project
  • Institute for Christian Studies/Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics
  • 1Naas
  • The Baha’i Community of Canada
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
  • The United Church of Canada
  • World Sikh Organization of Canada
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