Upholding the importance and centrality of religious freedom in our common life
The CRFI researches Canadian religious freedom issues in order to educate Canadians and to strengthen the national network of religious freedom advocates.
The CRFI operates in a bridge-building capacity, providing a link between the research and the advocates who use it. The CRFI also provides language and vocabulary to help express why religious freedom is important and how it relates to public faith.
Central to the Institute’s work is the understanding that religious freedom is the fundamental right of all people, their communities, and their institutions to live out their most deeply held beliefs in both public and private contexts without interference from the state or other authorities.
The work of the CRFI is guided by a multi-faith advisory council with representatives from Canada’s Baha’i, Christian, Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim communities.
“The Cardus Religious Freedom Institute is an important new centre for research and public dialogue on religious freedom. Engaging Canadians across religious traditions, it will play a key role in sustaining religious freedom within our common life.”
– Dr. Dwight Newman
Meet the Director:
Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett
The Rev. Dr. Andrew P.W. Bennett is Program Director for Cardus Law and Director of the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute. He is an ordained deacon in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in the Eparchy (Diocese) of Toronto and Eastern Canada.
Fr. Deacon Andrew served as Canada’s first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016 during which time he led in defending and championing religious freedom internationally as a core element of Canada’s foreign policy. At the same time, he served as Canada’s Head of Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a 31-country body which leads international efforts in Holocaust education, research, and remembrance.
As Director of the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute, Fr. Deacon Andrew works to promote religious freedom and the importance of public faith to our common life. Through Cardus Law, he works to shape Cardus’ research on how citizens engage with public institutions, including exploring the relationship between government and faith institutions. In conjunction with his work at Cardus, Fr. Deacon Andrew is Director of the North America Action Team and Senior Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) in Washington, DC. The RFI is a leading independent think-tank committed to achieving broad acceptance of religious liberty as a fundamental human right, the cornerstone of a successful society, and a source of national and international security.
Fr. Deacon Andrew holds a Ph.D. in Politics (2002) from the University of Edinburgh as well as degrees in history from McGill and Dalhousie universities. When not praying, studying, or advocating, Fr. Deacon Andrew can be found with his fly rod in a stream, listening to bluegrass or Bach, or reading the Church Fathers.
The CRFI Advisory Council
Barry W. Bussey
Director of Legal Affairs at Canadian Council of Christian Charities
Fr. Raymond J. de Souza
Editor-in-Chief of Convivium; Chaplain at Newman House; Cardus Senior Fellow
Senior editor of Faith Today magazine
Vancouver based technology entrepreneur and investor – and community volunteer
Dr. Robert Joustra
Editor of the Public Justice Review; Associate Professor of Politics & International Studies at Redeemer University College
Dr. Douglas Farrow
Professor of Theology and Christian Thought at McGill University
Rabbi Daniel Korobkin
Rabbinic leader of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto (BAYT)
Dr. Paul S. Rowe
Professor of Political and International Studies at Trinity Western University
Archbishop J. Michael Miller
Archbishop of Vancouver
Dr. Dwight Newman
Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Rights in Constitutional Law and International Law at the University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Stanley Carlson-Thies
Founder of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance
Dr. Moira McQueen
Executive Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute
Photo by Michael Swan of the Catholic Register
Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Baha’i Community of Canada
Dr. Ellen Roderick
Co-director of the Diocesan Centre for Marriage, Life and the Family
Elder G. Lawrence (Larry) Spackman
Area Seventy, a lay position with The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints
Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz
Vice Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
Director of Law & Policy and General Legal Counsel for the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada
Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham
Professor at Trinity Western University and the Director of the Laurentian Leadership Centre
Dr. Kent R. Hill
Executive Director of the Religious Freedom Institute
Director General of Hebrew Foundation School