Centre For Inquiry Canada is primarily an educational charity with the mission to provide education and training to the public in the application of skeptical, secular, rational and humanistic inquiry through conferences, symposia, lectures, published works and the maintenance of a library. We often shorten that lengthy description to say that
We are Your Community For Science and Secularism
Each year we strive to focus on the most important issues – issues where we can make strategic impacts for the promotion of critical thinking, science and secular humanism. For our 2015/2016 year-end perspective, we want to provide you with a reminder of some of the projects and programs which kept us busy through 2015 while also indicating our areas of focus going forward. We always appreciate feedback and input from our members and supporters, so please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secular Human Rights
- In the fall of 2014, CFIC began to focus on Canada’s blasphemous libel law (Criminal Code Section 296) and its fundamental connection to blasphemy laws around the world; through 2015 CFI Canada was the driving force behind creation of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws and a key partner in IHEU’s End Blasphemy Laws website. Most recently CFIC partnered with Humanist Perspectives magazine on their issue #195 – focussed on blasphemy laws.
- CFIC’s Ottawa volunteers protested the torture and imprisonment of Raif Badawi throughout 2015
- 2015 was a key year for secular human rights decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada with Feb 5th’s decision regarding physician-assisted death and April 15th’s decision regarding prayers in municipal councils – it is clear that Canada’s Courts respect and value secular human rights. CFIC was not directly involved in either of these cases but we support and applaud our colleagues at Dying With Dignity and Mouvement laique Quebecois. CFIC continues to advocate to governments, media and members of the public an appropriate reading and application of Supreme Court decisions.
- CFIC’s National Executive Director, Eric Adriaans, was invited to serve on the External Advisory Committee of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom – a ground-breaking step for CFIC and the non-religious community
- In 2014 CFIC began a project which has become our Secular Asylum Project in 2015. Recognizing that atheists, humanists, agnostics and other intellectuals are targeted for bigotry and violence by individuals, organized groups and even governments, CFIC has already received 40 direct requests for assistance from citizens of Bangladesh, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey. We have also started to receive human rights concerns and complaints from Canadians who have faced more subtle forms of discrimination. We have advised and assisted more than 20 people in their desperate circumstance including our assistance to Bangladeshi writers such as Tareq Rahim and Raihan Abir.
- Over the course of 2014 and 2015, CFIC engaged the Chilliwack School Board on the issue of extra-curricular distribution of books such as Richard Dawkins Magic of Reality. Our work exposes the privilege of programs such as Gideon Bible distribution and continued prejudice against evolutionary science
- Tragic events such as the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, terrorist attacks in Paris, terrorism in Nigeria or even the arson of a mosque in Peterborough Ontario were included in our ongoing condemnation of faith-based bigotry and violence around the world
- CFIC will continue to oppose Canada’s blasphemous libel law with a strategy which involves public, political and legal engagement.
- CFIC will continue to focus on physician-assisted death in this critical year for this important secular human right
- CFIC will seek recognition as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder through the federal government of Canada – we seek to be Canada’s first dedicated secular humanist agency providing sponsorship supports and services to atheists, agnostics, humanists and other intellectuals targeted for bigotry and violence based on their non-belief
- CFIC will continue to oppose and educate Canadians regarding faith-based violence and bigotry
- CFIC will use its voice to engage local and issue experts when an issue of secular human rights needs a strong national voice; CFIC’s National Executive Director responds to all inquiries regarding secular human rights and advises individuals where their cases may have interest by CFIC’s Board of Directors
- CFIC is currently working with BC Humanist Association to plan a Women in Secularism conference in 2017
- In 2015, CFIC began in inquiry into muti, the African traditional medicine practice which leads to the hunting and murder of people with albinism. When it comes to superstition, it is common for people to say “What’s the harm?” and we think it is essential to remind people that superstition and pseudoscience can indeed be deadly and dangerous
- CFIC issued letters to governments, Universities and even school boards and private businesses to provide important information and perspective on pseudo-scientific claims on issues such as vaccinations, WiFi and homeopathy. A few examples include University of Toronto , Canada’s Standing Committee on Health, or a Qualicum BC school.
- CFIC began an inquiry into a case presented to Ontario’s Health Professionals Appeal and Review Board regarding skull suture manipulation and children with autism and ADHD
- CFIC began an inquiry into questionable medical devices coming to Canada
- A team of volunteers is developing a tool for medical students to help identify and understand pseudoscience
- CFIC will continue to focus on topics of vaccination
- CFIC will coordinate education programs regarding wifi and cell phone radiation for schools and businesses
- CFIC will educate Canadians regarding deadly and dangerous superstitions
- CFIC will partner and cooperate with community and issue experts such as Under the Same Sun, BC Humanist Association and others with an interest to promote science as a solution to dangerous pseudoscience and superstition
- Living Without Religion peer support group for those coping with the negative effects and social consequences of leaving a religious community: Toronto, Ottawa, Okanagan
- Café Inquiry and Pub Events: Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Vancouver, Okanagan
- Science and Philosophy Book Clubs: Toronto, Halifax
- Speaker Events in 2015 included: Jerry Coyne, Dr. Lance Dodes, Catherine Dunphy, Tony Ortega and Paulette Cooper, Jarret Ruminski, Udo Schuklenk, Tim Caulfield and Greg Dawes. All speaker events are organized by local volunteers.
- Throughout the year, George Kourounis provided compelling images from around the world by bringing CFIC along for the ride
- CFI-Okanagan led many successful Kids for Inquiry program days.
- CFI- Okanagan screened several movies: Honor Diaries which led a discussion on honor violence; led a panel discussion on the harms of residential schools after watching We Were Children.
- CFI- Okanagan furthered understanding of atheism by leading Ask an Atheist events for the general public.
- CFI-Okanagan sponsored UBCO biologist, Dr Michael Deyholos, to give a presentation about GMOs and their role in agriculture.
- CFI-Okanagan led an educational protest at a psychic fair informing the public on the pseudoscience of psychics.
- CFI-Okanagan led several Good without God drives delivering member sewn kids’ toys to women’s shelters and delivering food and goods to food banks and homeless shelters.
- CFI-Okanagan sponsors a secular sobriety group which is an alternative to AA.
- CFI-Okanagan education chair regularly writes for the Kelowna Daily Courier as the Okanagan Skeptic educating the general publice on the difference between pseudoscience and real science.
- CFIC’s local members will continue to provide key programs such as: Living Without Religion Support Groups, Counter-apologetics and counter-pseudoscience discussion groups, Science and Philosophy Book Clubs, Café Inquiry, Kids for Inquiry as well as secular and science speakers and seminars
- CFIC will expand its dedicated secular library – adding more and new titles in 2016
- CFIC will promote a CFIC-branded Critical Thinking education series
- Local CFIC members and volunteers will continue to participate in community pub events, Meeting of the Minds activities and community fundraisers and support activities for CFIC and other charities (eg. Pride activities, CN Tower Climb)
Your Community For Science and Secularism
– See more at: The Centre for Inquiry National Website