Religious Freedom

We suggest:

  • Religious freedom is foundational to a vibrant pluralism and functioning democracy.
  • Canadians have constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of conscience and religion, of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, and of association.
  • Canadians should exercise these freedoms in their private lives and in the public square, without fear and “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” (Charter).
  • The Crown, legislatures, media, professional associations, and other institutions should recognize, affirm, and respect these freedoms.

Supporting Research

An Institutional History of Religious Freedom in Canada
Start Here
April 3, 2020
This paper aims to provide a historical context for why freedom of religion and conscience is foundational to Canadian democracy, diversity, pluralism, and to our common life as human beings living in this place, this Canada.
Who Are You? Reaffirming Human Dignity
Andrew Bennett, Aaron Neil
October 28, 2019
“Know thyself.”  This ancient Greek maxim is popular today, but also widely misunderstood. Self knowledge goes deeper than awareness of your likes, dislikes, and personal interests. To know who you are, is to know what you are.  What kind of being am I? What does it mean to be human? Do I have dignity? Who Are You? Reaffirming Human Dignity from the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute will help you answer these questions.  
Reasonable Limits
Dr. Dwight Newman
February 9, 2022
Freedom of religion is one of the fundamental freedoms enumerated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Advocacy of religious freedom is often misunderstood as calling for positions that would be difficult for anyone to reasonably accept.

Special Projects

Anglosphere Project

Anglosphere Project

Welcome to the Anglosphere Project! This project seeks to educate citizens about the long history of religious freedom in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. We hope to reaffirm the centrality of this fundamental freedom to our institutions and to our common life as citizens.

Browse the timeline now: https://religiousfoundation.org/

Explorations

Exit COVID: Toward What Matters Most (Two Night Virtual Event)
June 22, 2021
Join us as we Exit COVID: Toward what matters most.
London Murders Wound Us All
Convivium
Andrew Bennett
June 10, 2021
The killing of a Muslim family in the southwestern Ontario city demands empathy for the victims, but also renewed commitment to freedom of faith, Father Deacon Andrew Bennett writes.
Canada’s Common Spiritual Hunger
Convivium
Ray Pennings
May 31, 2021
After last week’s online National Prayer Breakfast, Cardus Executive Vice President Ray Pennings reflected in his weekly Insights newsletter on how to pray in public – and pluralistic – spaces. Convivium reprints his text.

Media Coverage

Ontario Court Sides with Catholic Schools Over Public Funding Challenge
The Catholic Register
January 12, 2023
The Ontario Superior Court has reaffirmed that public funding for Catholic schools in Ontario is constitutionally protected. But as Cardus's David Hunt tells The Catholic Register, it would serve the public good to extend that funding to all religious schools.
Faith that Isn’t Lived — and Isn’t Lived Publicly — Isn’t Faith at All
Hamilton Spectator
December 23, 2022
"Far from dividing Canadians, faith communities help create a generous culture inspired by what their sacred texts proclaim about ministering to the world," write Ray Pennings, executive vice-president of Cardus, and Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, faith communities program director at Cardus. "A deeply pluralist society makes room for those communities, as well as those of no faith, to live out their beliefs fully and publicly."
Chrétienté du Moyen-Orient: Là Où Noël N’Est Pas Une Période Merveilleuse
La Presse
December 22, 2022
Andrew Bennett, directeur de programme pour les communautés de foi chez Cardus, et Richard Marceau, vice-président (affaires externes) et avocat général au Centre Consultatif des Relations Juives et Israéliennes, plaidez pour que les Canadiens se tiennent aux côtés des chrétiens du Moyen-Orient ce Noël et Hanoukka.

What else are we working toward?

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM Learn More STRONG FAMILIES Learn More FORMATIVE EDUCATION Learn More HEALTHY COMMUNITIES Learn More HUMAN DIGNITY Learn More RECENT PROJECTS
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Recent Research
Recent Media Coverage