Religious Freedom

We humbly 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

The Imperative of Conscience Rights
Start Here
December 4, 2018
This paper tackles critical but neglected questions affecting diverse societies today. What activity does freedom of conscience protect? Why protect this activity in a bill of rights? When can governments limit this freedom? Can governments pressure citizens to adopt beliefs against their conscience? How does freedom of conscience differ from religious freedom? What is the relationship between human dignity and freedom of conscience?  This paper grapples with the current relevance of freedom of conscience and makes the case for robust protection of this fundamental human right.
Memo: Hamilton Bill 21 Challenge
Brian Dijkema
January 13, 2022
On December 15, 2021, Mayor Eisenberger provided notice of a motion to join various Canadian municipalities in a legal challenge to Quebec’s Bill 21. Council will consider the motion on January 19, 2022.  
Cardus at Twenty and Beyond
Michael Van Pelt
November 23, 2021
Twenty years marks an important milestone for Cardus

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

Hamilton joins other municipalities in condemning Quebec's Bill 21
Hamilton Spectator
January 21, 2022
As Hamilton City Council speaks out against Quebec's secularism law, Cardus weighed in on the issue, supporting council’s “recognition of public religious expression as central to a robust exercise of religious freedom.” Photo by Christian Chomiak on Unsplash
Managers shouldn't decide if employee vaccine views are valid: federal unions
Ottawa Citizen
October 29, 2021
“Typically, even the courts themselves have been pretty hesitant to decide what’s religiously valid or invalid according to somebody’s belief,” says Cardus Vice-President of External Affairs Brian Dijkema in this Canadian Press story about vaccine mandates and exemptions, religious or otherwise. Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash
When conscience is attacked, the ground beneath us shakes
Public Discourse
October 10, 2021
Moral and ethical reflection, making normative sense of the world and striving to live accordingly, is an essential part of being human. Public leaders need to better grasp the role that conscience rights play in a free and democratic society. If they do not, freedom of conscience and the kind of society we cherish will eventually disappear.

What else are we working toward?

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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