History and Mandate

A Brief History of the Centre for Inquiry Canada
(2005 – 2012)


The story of the founding, development and growth of the CFI Canada is ultimately one of challenge and opportunity as CFI emerged from the combined efforts and resources from many diverse directions.

While there were already humanist, skeptical and freethought organizations in Canada, the emergence of the Centre for Inquiry was set up to provide something new and different: an organization that embraced humanism, sketicism, freethought and atheism. Bigger than any one accomplishment, CFI is characterized by an attitude of optimism and growth, a desire to continually work to expand the movement’s reach into new cities and new projects because, though sometimes unpopular, the work on which the organization is engaged requires someone’s focused attention.

The Campus Days

In the fall of 2004 at Trinity College, an Anglican-affiliated institution within the University of Toronto, a small Atheist Society began under the leadership of undergraduate student Jennie Fiddes. It was a fun group, dedicated to informal debate and discussion. In January 2005 another U of T student, Justin Trottier, joined the group, and it began to rebrand itself as a university-wide organization with a larger educational and outreach mandate. In the summer of 2005, U of T’s Atheist Society became the University of Toronto Secular Alliance, and it continues to provide an outlet for young people exploring secularism on campus.

The UTSA’s initial event – a film screening of the provocative movie The God Who Wasn’t There, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker and religious leaders – would define a movement that squarely took on controversial topics, while still managing to foster relationships with communities beyond itself.

From the beginning, the UTSA was part public education, part political activism.  The group appeared regularly in the campus media, and then in the national media when they pushed – successfully – to have graduation prayers removed from convocation ceremonies. UTSA early highlights during its first busy year included a condemnation of the $4 million in university money being used to build a faith centre, a move which resulted in the acting president of the University circulating a memo in response. The organization also supported the anti-Sharia law campaign, which garnered considerable attention, especially when the McGuinty government declared one law for all Ontarians in the fall of 2005.

The Secular Freethought Centre Opens its Doors

In the spring of 2006, the University of Toronto Secular Alliance outgrew its campus base and become the city-wide Toronto Secular Alliance. The organization had just attracted over 600 people to an event featuring neuroscientist Dr. Michael Persinger and his famous “God Helmet,” an event that culminated the group’s exciting and busy first year.

It was at that same event that the public was introduced to the country’s first home and community centre for secular humanists, a property that had that month been leased at 216 Beverley St., just south of the University campus.

This achievement was made possible by an unlikely confluence of factors: the financial support of one incredibly generous and far seeing donor, the muscle power of the newly emerging youth wing of the movement, the stability and institutionalization provided by the existing network of humanist and skeptical associations, and the charisma of Dr. Robert Buckman, a giant of Canadian humanism, who effectively brought these forces together.

The summer of 2006 was a critical period for humanism in Toronto. The Humanist Association of Toronto and the Toronto Secular Alliance, with support from other affiliated groups, joined forces to embark on the creation of an unprecedented institution: the Secular Freethought Centre.

While the Secular Freethought Centre began to succeed spectacularly, receiving new visitors daily and hosting popular events that featured, among others,  former CBC radio personality Andy Barrie, the project was vulnerable because it lacked a dedicated full time manager and had little experience in sustaining such a novel enterprise. Enter the Center for Inquiry.

September 2006: CFI Ontario opens its doors, hosts first Freethought Week Celebration with special guest CBC personality Andy Barrie

The Centre for Inquiry in Toronto

Following the progress of this new Canadian movement over the course of its remarkable first year was a transnational organization, the Center for Inquiry. CFI was a well established institution that had existed in some form since the late 1970s and over the years, counted among its advisors Carl Sagan, Edward O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins. CFI had long held aspirations to establish operations in Toronto. Its speakers were routinely invited to give talks in Toronto and across Canada, and it enjoyed a thriving Canadian membership.

The CFI provided the management, connections and financial astuteness to take a start-up non-profit and turn it into a thriving professional charity. CFI hired Justin Trottier to found the organization’s Canadian operations and to serve as Executive Director of its Toronto branch.

November 2006: Justin Trottier appointed to found and serve as first CFI Executive Director

March 10, 2007: CFI Ontario inaugural event attracts 250 people

In its first year of operations, CFI Canada launched its monthly lecture series, which continues to this day, helped establish campus societies at universities across Ontario and beyond by holding a large number of its events on campus, and was featured in a variety of media outlets, including participation in a CBC The National 20-minute documentary on the rise of atheism in Canada.

CFI also served as home to the inaugural meeting of the One School system Network, a coalition of secular advocacy, religious, civil rights, and teacher and trustee organizations that joined forces to demand the end of government funded Roman Catholic public schools in Ontario. The coalition was an important player in opposing the proposal to fully fund all private faith schools in the province, which ended up becoming the defining issue of the 2007 provincial election. The Network has also served as a model for similar bodies across Canada dedicated to ending government funded faith-based education and other forms of tax-payer support for religion.

May 26, 2007: CFI hosts inaugural meeting of the One School System Network

July 24, 2007:  First Front Page National News Story (National Post)

October 5, 2007:  CBC The National airs Spreading Atheism featuring CFI

January 2008: Justin Trottier joins Globe and Mail Faith & Ethics Panel, contributes for over a year

May 2008:  Justin Trottier becomes regular on Michael Coren Show on Crossroads Television, defending secular humanism nearly monthly until the show ends in summer 2011

CFI Nationalizes

By the end of 2007, CFI was firmly entrenched and well established as an increasingly important venue within the City of Toronto while a growing network of campus groups across the country worked in affiliation.

During 2008, CFI began to receive requests from individuals across the country who wanted to bring the same level of activity and visibility to atheism, skepticism and freethought. By the end of 2008, CFI branches were established in Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.

The early branches

In Calgary in April 2008, CFI Canada hosted the inaugural event of its first branch. Since then, CFI Calgary has featured presentations by physics professor Victor Stenger, author of “God: The Failed Hypothesis,” Michael Shermer, Dr. David Eberth of the Royal Tyrell Museum and Dr. Jim Linville of the University of Lethbridge.

October 11, 2008:  CFI Calgary inaugural event, features radio personality Rob Breakenridge

CFI Calgary has focused its political attention on its province’s high amount of public subsidies to religious schools, sometimes even creationism-teaching evangelical Christian schools. The group responded loudly when in 2009 the government passed Bill 44, enshrining into human rights legislation so-called “parental rights” to pull children from classes discussing controversial topics like religion and sexuality. From the beginning, CFI Calgary experienced terrific media success, and has been on the radio regularly, especially on the Rob Breakenridge Show on QR77.

In the summer of 2008, about the time CFI co-hosted a conference on Secularism and Religion in Quebec Education, CFI held its first Montreal meetings, culminating in the establishment of CFI Montreal, Montreal’s Cafe Skeptique, and student groups at McGill and Concordia universities. CFI’s Montreal branch has distinguished itself by bringing onto the CFI Advisory Committee notable academics, such as Dr. Brian Alters, Director of the McGill Evolution Education Research Centre, Kai Neilsen, author of Why be moral?; Rodrique Tremblay, former Ministry of Industry and Trade for the Government of Quebec; and Joe Schwarcz and Ariel Fenster of the McGill Office for Science and Society.

Building on active affiliated groups at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, CFI used a massively wellattended presentation by Professor Richard Dawkins in Vancouver in May 2008 to recruit leaders to run its new CFI Vancouver branch. The Vancouver branch has made unique contributions to the science advocacy and skepticism aspects of CFI’s mandate. In particular, volunteers with CFI Vancouver were featured in a CBC Marketplace expose on homeopathy, and contributed to developing CFI’s Extraordinary Claims Campaign.

From coast to coast

From 2008 right up to the present, CFI has continued to establish new branches at additional key Canadian locations including Ottawa, Edmonton, Halifax, Saskatoon, Kelowna, and most recently Kamloops.

As CFI established itself from coast to coast, its resources – both human and financial – grew to the point where a coordinated national public outreach campaign became both a possible, as well as desirable, way to announce to the country the presence of such a new movement.

The Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign, the largest Canadian atheist advocacy project ever

February 2009:  Atheist Bus Campaign Kick Off, the largest advocacy project in Canadian history

The Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign was a game changer, and what it managed to change, even before the first atheist ad-bearing bus left its depot in February 2009, was the conversation about religion in Canada.

The Centre for Inquiry joined forces with the Freethought Association of Canada – a body that had grown out of the student-run Toronto Secular Alliance – to maximize the reach and effectiveness of their joint interest in running atheist advertisements across the country.

Although the Atheist Bus ads ran in Toronto and Calgary with no trouble, CFI ran into a roadblock in Ottawa, and then in Halifax where they were prohibited on the grounds that:

all advertisements must meet acceptable community standards of good taste, quality and appearance. Furthermore, the ads will not be considered discriminatory, or objectionable to any race, creed or moral standard.

Across Canada some media outlets went further, referring to the ad’s message – “There’s probably no God.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” – as “fanatical.”

Ultimately, the ads would be refused in cities across Canada, notably all cities in British Columbia and a number of large municipalities in Ontario including London. The refusal to run the ads sparked two distinct controversies. In certain cases, it was clear atheists were experiencing discrimination, which reinforced the very consciousness raising goal of the campaign. This was certainly true in Halifax, where the Bus Stop Bible Studies, an association that places quotes from the Bible in public transit, had in previous years been given permission to put up religious ads.

But some cities in Canada had blanket policies against running any ad that is religious, political or ideological. This raised a critical debate about free expression in the public space.

However, the Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign story has a happy ending, and a CFI victory. On the local scene, champions of free speech emerged. For example, Alex Cullen, an Ottawa Councilor and Chair of the City’s Transit Committee, championed an appeal that ultimately saw Ottawa City Council conduct a vote, in front of groups of children bused in from local Christian schools, and pass a motion by 13-7 to allow the ads to proceed.

Then later that year the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that BC Transit had violated Charter free speech rights by refusing to display political ads by the Canadian Federation of Students, a landmark ruling on the responsibility of public agencies to be bound by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This precedent guaranteed that all cities across Canada would have to run atheist ads, and other ads that might make controversial claims about religion, alternative medicine and other matters related to CFI’s mandate. CFI therefore proceeded to run atheist ads in Kamloops and Kelowna, BC the following year. Then, as a further twist on the story, Kelowna became the first jurisdiction in the world to enjoy the dubious honour of having atheist ads stolen off its bus, an action that merely served to increase support and attention.

The ads’ message of atheist engagement in public debate on religion has begun to seep into the public mindset. The ads sparked religious response, such as the United Church of Canada’s own ad – “There probably is a god.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”- and related debate on the UCC’s blog WonderCafe, and Muslim Imam Syed Soharwardy’s “pro-god” campaign to unite believers to fund an ad stating “God cares for everyone . . . even for those who say He doesn’t exist!” CFI’s Atheist Bus ads were featured in a book on religion in Canada by sociologist Reginald Bibby, entitled Beyond the Gods & Back.

Professionalizing our Institution

With the increase in visibility from the Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign and its growing body of educational events and media appearances across Canada, CFI moved to professionalize and institutionalize itself. In late 2009 and during 2010, the organization hired new employees, with branch directors appointed in key locations: Ethan Clow in Vancouver, Brahim Abdenbi in Montreal, Nate Phelps in Calgary and Pam Walls in Toronto. Nate Phelps, the estranged son of Pastor Fred Phelps from the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, has worked with CFI to become a major champion of gay rights and church-state separation. Meanwhile, Justin Trottier was promoted to the new position of National Executive Director.

After receiving charity status from the Canada Revenue Agency in September 2009, CFI launched what would become an annual year end fundraising campaign, campaigns that would see financial support matched by donations from various large donors.

CFI had emerged as an independent, completely Canadian-led, highly-visible national charitable organization.

September 16, 2009: CFI Canada receives charity status

October 1, 2009: CFI hires second employee. Pam Walls becomes CFI Ontario Executive Director. Justin Trottier is promoted to National Executive Director

Educational and Outreach Project Highlights

Over the course of its more recent history, the Centre for Inquiry has taken on a variety of large scale educational and outreach projects that have contributed to the movement for skeptical inquiry, freedom of thought and secular humanism.

September 2009: CFI Canada’s Campaign for Free Expression was taken as the model for a new international campaign of the same name and featuring International Blasphemy Rights Day every September 30

November 2009:  CFI coordinates a pro-evolution campaign with a dozen campus groups across Canada to celebrate Darwin Year

January 2010: CFI launches the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism to critically examine scientific, technological and medical claims in public discourse. CASS has organized prominent alternative medicine awareness campaigns, including a public mass homeopathic overdose event, responded to the pseudoscience surrounding wireless radiation, defended climate science and evolution, and hosted panels on scientific skepticism at science fiction conferences

March 2010: Ottawa launches “Living Without Religion,” part of a growing network of social support groups for those who have left often oppressive or cult-like religious traditions. The group attracts former Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Scientologists, Mormons and even a few from genuine cults, with many in attendance having endured emotional abuse and ostracism from their family, friends and loved ones.

April 2010: CFI Canada Board President Kevin Smith begins representing secular humanism weekly in the Ottawa Citizen’s “Ask the Religious Experts” section

August 2010: CFI launches its own multimedia production initiative: Think Again ! TV, a news and variety show featuring investigative journalism, interviews and expos from a secular, atheist and skeptical perspective

November 2010: CFI launches the Extraordinary Claims Campaign, featuring bus ads, educational events and online discussion to promote critical, skeptical and scientific inquiry, focused on the tagline “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

January 2011: Justin Trottier becomes a frequent regular guest on the AM640 John Oakley radio show’s “Culture War” segment, bringing a secular humanist perspective to the issues of the day, while facing off against an assortment of opponents from the religious right, most often Christian Evangelical Charles McVety.
June 2011: CFI’s Secular Organizations for Sobriety welcomes atheists and agnostics from Alcoholics Anonymous, a quasi-religious institution which enjoys favoured status in the courts, after agnostic AA groups are de-ratified. Since its inception, CFI has put the “human” in “humanism” by reaching out to people in need through a diverse range of social programs including Living Without Religion, secular family programs, skepticism and humanism themed discussion groups, and critical thinking-based ESL classes.

September 2011: James “The Amazing” Randi crisscrosses Canada, impressing massive audiences at CFI branche events with his combination of magic and skepticism

March 2012: CFI becomes science advisor on a $30 million lawsuit against Shoppers Drug Mart and Boiron Labs for violating consumer protection laws through the false marketing of homeopathic product Oscillococcinum

May 2012: CFI’s Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism provides several experts for The Conspiracy Show on Vision TV. From the pilot episode on UFOs, CFI has provided the scientific and skeptical perspective on The Conspiracy Show for topics ranging from crop circles and energy healing to remove viewing and the JFK assassination.

November 2012: CFI hosts “Eschaton 2012”, celebrating reason at the end of the world. Eschaton is Canada’s first freethought conference in the nation’s capital.

December 2012: CFI joins a coalition fighting against the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” bill, which would have punished Ugandans engaging in same-sex acts with life imprisonment or even the death penalty, while forcing citizens to report offenders. The Bill fails to pass before the legislative season ends.

 

History of Secularism in Canada

July 1, 1867 British North America Act

The British North America Act, 1867 (also referred to as the Constitution Act, 1867) comes into effect after having been passed by the British Parliament. It creates the Dominion of Canada, laying out the structure of government and the division of powers.

The statutes also include Section 93, Laws respecting Education, which affirms, “Rights and Privileges with respect to denominational schools,” allowing for public taxpayer support of separate Roman Catholic and Protestant School systems. Education is also defined as under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Legislatures, which has allowed for amendments to Section 93.

1891 Charities

The British House of Lords, by ruling in Special Commissioner Of Income Tax v. Pemsel, develops a common law test for charitable purposes. The ruling effectively creates four possible purposes for charitable designation:

  • the relief of poverty
  • the advancement of education
  • the advancement of religion
  • other purposes beneficial to the community as a whole that the courts have identified as charitable

 

The Canadian Revenue Agency uses these common law rules for deciding on the granting of charity status to Canadian non-profit organizations. The decision in Special Commissioner Of Income Tax v. Pemsel was in turn based on the preamble of the Statute of Elizabeth of 1601, which provided a list of charitable purposes recognized at that time in history.

 

These are the legal documents which allow missionary and evangelical activity to be considered charitable by law, and grant tax incentives and tax-deductible donations to be offered merely for religious advancement.

 

1908 “O Canada”

Building on English and French national hymns that had been sung since as far back as 1880, Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir, a lawyer and Recorder of the City of Montreal, drafts what would become the most popular version of the lyrics of our national anthem “O Canada.” This original, if unofficial, version was thoroughly secular:

O Canada! Our home and native land!

True patriot love thou dost in us command.

We see thee rising fair, dear land,

The True North, strong and free;

And stand on guard, O Canada,

We stand on guard for thee.

 

O Canada! O Canada!

O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.

O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.

 

Weir’s lyrics, which contained no reference to God, would be altered many times before being finalized in the National Anthem Act of July 1, 1980.

 

August 10, 1960 Bill of Rights

 

The Canadian Bill of Rights is enacted by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s government and is the earliest enactment of federal human rights law in the country. The legislation was influenced by the 1947 Saskatchewan Bill of Rights, which covered fundamental freedoms and equality rights. The notion of a bill of rights was largely popularized by Jehovah’s Witnesses who presented a petition to Parliament in 1949 following attempts by the Quebec government to suppress the group in violation of freedom of speech, religion and association.

 

The Canadian Bill of Rights guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person, freedom of speech and religion, and equality rights. While considered quasi-constitutional given its introduction via an ordinary Act of the Parliament of Canada, most of its provisions were later migrated into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 

1977 The Canadian Human Rights Act

 

The Canadian Human Rights Act is passed by the Parliament of Canada to ensure equal opportunity to victims of discrimination based on a series of protected grounds, including religion.

 

April 17, 1982 The Constitution Act

 

The Constitution Act, 1982 (Schedule B of the Canada Act 1982) is passed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. It amends the British North America Act while repatriating the Constitution of Canada. The first 35 sections of the Act contain the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter provides for a series of political and civil rights with jurisdiction over the policies and actions of all levels of government. The Charter significantly enlarged the scope of judicial review, providing judges with greater powers to rule on cases of Charter right violations. Many court cases would follow related to the separation of religion and state.

 

In 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada identified four “supporting principles and rules” that are included as unwritten elements of the very fabric of Canadian law: federalism, democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and respect for minorities.

 

The Supremacy of God

 

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms opens with the following preamble:

 

“Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law,”

 

Legislative preambles are generally recognized as containing no force of law, and many legal scholars have pointed out the incoherence of such a premise and its contradiction with the Charter’s well articulated freedoms of religion and conscience. Law Professor Lorne Sossin has noted:

 

the reference in the Preamble of the Charter to the “supremacy of God” represents the actual term in the Charter about which the [Supreme] Court has said the least. The supremacy of God… is difficult to conceive as a justiciable concept… the supremacy of God has not been the subject of judicial elaboration. Not even the most basic questions about its place and purpose in the Charter have been addressed.

 

Theologian William Klassen has said:

to mention God with a capital letter in the preamble to the Charter and then go on to say that the Charter provides a fundamental freedom of conscience and religion, is a contradiction which even a theologian, to say nothing of all the lawyers, must surely recognize… The cause of religion is never advanced by putting God’s name on a document, in a national anthem, on coins, or generally in the public sphere.

Supreme Court Justice Wilson, in R. v. Morgentaler, hinted that the supremacy of God stands in conflict with a free and democratic society, noting that while she was “not unmindful of the fact that the Charter opens with an affirmation that ‘Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God,’”, she was “also mindful that the values entrenched in the Charter are those which characterize a free and democratic society.” The underlying assumption seems to be that the supremacy of God stands in opposition to freedom and democracy.

As an interesting historical footnote, history Professor George Egerton has said the constitutional proposals for an entrenched charter generated by Trudeau and his advisors contained no religious or divine referent.” In fact, Trudeau’s personal views were expressed in the Globe and Mail on April 25, 1981.  Trudeau admitted he found it strange, so long after the Middle Ages that some politicians felt obliged to mention God in a constitution which is, after all, a secular and not a spiritual document.” Law professor Lorne Sossin, in reviewing what he calls the “inglorious origins” of the God clause, noted that “its inclusion was advocated by religious groups and linked by those groups with a particular conservative social agenda. This conservative agenda also had political overtones, as those who supported the amendment justified it as a bulwark against Soviet Union style atheistic tendencies.”

 

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada petitioned Prime Minister Trudeau to include a reference to God in the Charter, arguing that “the acknowledgment of one Supreme God to whom we as a nation are answerable gives ground for legislation bearing on all matters human. To omit any such reference only leaves the door open for substitution of less worthy grounds – utilitarianism, naturalism, secularism, etc. The “supremacy of God” clause was added as an amendment to the Charter’s preamble by Conservative M.P. Jake Epp. Trudeau supported it, although he privately told the Liberal Caucus:“I don’t think God gives a damn whether he’s in the constitution or not.”

 

Fundamental Freedoms

 

The Charter provides for the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

 

In a series of court precedents, freedom of conscience and religion has been interpreted to include protection for atheists, agnostics and secular humanists, as well as freedom to doubt and disbelief.

 

April 24, 1985 Lord’s Day

 

The Supreme Court of Canada strikes down the Lord’s Day Act in R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., ruling that prohibiting business from opening on Sundays was an unconstitutional violation of section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms since there was no true secular basis for the legislation, which served only to establish a state religious-based requirement. The courts interpreted freedom of religion to include a prohibition on imposing religious requirements.

 

September 23, 1988 Public prayers in school

 

In Zylberberg v. Sudbury Board of Education, the Ontario Court of Appeal ends the practice of reciting prayers in public schools, amending the Education Act accordingly. The Courts found that reciting the prayer, and reading from the Christian Bible, as some schools were doing, imposes Christian observances on non-Christian students

 

1991 Religious arbitration

 

Ontario passes the Arbitration Act, which allows for religious law in civil law arbitrations.

 

January 14, 1998 Separate Schools Abolished in Newfoundland

 

Term 17 of the Terms of Union of Newfoundland with Canada are amended by the Constitution Amendment, 1998 (Newfoundland Act) to disestablish public support to the Roman Catholic school system in favour of providing courses in religion that are not specific to a religious denomination.

 

September 23, 1999 Prayers in City Council Meetings in Ontario


In Freitag v. Penetanguishene, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that town council led public recitations of the Lord’s Prayer violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 2(a) the right to freedom of conscience and religion. The court interpreted religious freedom to include “freedom to practice your religion of choice, freedom from direct or indirect pressure to act contrary to your beliefs, and freedom from pressure to conform with a religious majority.” In addition, the Court found that “the purpose of reciting the Lord’s Prayer was to impose a Christian moral tone on council meetings. This practice pressured non-believers to conform with the majority.”

 

October 18, 1999 Quebec ends public support for religious separate schools

 

The Quebec National Assembly passes Constitutional Amendment, 1999 (Quebec), which amends the Constitution Act, 1867by adding to Section 93 the line

 

93A. Paragraphs (1) to (4) of section 93 do not apply to Quebec.

 

This removes public support from faith-based school systems in favour of establishing schools organized along linguistic lines.

 

 

2004 Sharia Law is proposed in Ontario

 

The Islamic Institute of Civil Justice begins lobbying for the creation of Sharia tribunals for Muslims who wish to utilize Sharia courts for family arbitration purposes. In response, Marion Boyd, Ontario New Democratic Party MPP, releases a study recommending the continued use of the Ontario Arbitration Act, with certain provisions and amendments.

 

September 12, 2005 Sharia Courts are Dismissed for Ontario

 

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty ends religious arbitration, ruling out the setup of Sharia courts in Ontario, declaring there shall be “one law for all Ontarians.”

 

February 2013 Public Prayers in Saskatchewan

 

Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission rules there is enough evidence to proceed in the case of a complaint lodged against the Mayor of Saskatoon for participation in a public prayer.

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

 

- review CSA policies and references

- review http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/en/timePortals/milestones/116mile.asp

- review CCLA

- human rights legislation

- Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta separate school milestones

http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/English/ca_1867.html

Charter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_Act,_1982

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html

British North America Act

- catholic school day funding

- track each province on this