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|Motto||Promoting the separation of religion from public policy and fostering the development of reason, compassion and critical thinking for all Canadians through secular education and community support.|
|Affiliations||Humanist International, American Humanist Association|
|Part of a Philosophy series on|
Humanist Canada (also known as the Humanist Association of Canada, or HAC or HC) is a national not-for-profit charitable organization promoting the separation of religion from public policy and fostering the development of reason, compassion and critical thinking for all Canadians through secular education and community support. Humanist Canada was founded in 1968 and has grown over the past five decades to become Canada’s national voice of Humanism. Humanist Canada is an associate member organization of the Humanist International. The official symbol of the organization is a modified Happy Human; in a red and blue maple leaf.
Humanist Canada has its roots in the former Humanist Fellowship of Montreal. This fellowship was an organization of humanists that was founded in 1954 by Drs. R. K. Mishra, Ernest Poser, and Maria Jutta Cahn. Bertrand Russell (Lord Russell) and Dr. Brock Chisholm were its first patrons.
Humanist Canada's first president was Dr. Henry Morgentaler, an active crusader for women's right to reproductive choice, in 1968. Humanist Canada continues to be involved in social justice issues including reproductive choice, the right to die with dignity, and the preservation of human rights.
In 1996, Humanist Canada was granted the authority by the Registrar General to certify Humanist Officiants to solemnize marriages in Ontario. HC is the first non-religious group to secure the right to have officiants licensed to perform weddings in Canada. HC maintains and administers an Officiant training program and mentoring program. It trains Humanists to perform weddings, funerals, namings, and other rites of passage for the secular community. The organization has several officiants who perform non-religious ceremonies including funerals, memorials, and baby namings throughout Canada. Currently, our Ontario appointed Humanist Officiants are licensed to perform marriages.
Humanist Canada's Humanist of the Year award has been received by prominent and not so prominent Canadians such as;
June Callwood, founder of Casey House, the world's first hospice for people with HIV/AIDS (2007, posthumous), Dr. Christopher diCarlo, professor of bioethics and cognitive evolution and creator of the Critical Thinking Solutions consulting with school boards to introduce Universal Critical Thinking skills in the high school curriculum. Grace McInnis She was a social Canadian politician and the first woman from British Columbia elected to the House of Commons of Canada. Marian Sherman, a churchwoman turned atheist in postwar Victoria, BC. She promoted atheism and humanism throughout her community, province, and nation. Margaret Atwood, notable Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist. Sue Rodriquez, a Canadian right to die activist. Robert Buckman, a doctor of medicine, comedian and author, and was president of Humanist Canada from 1999 to 2004. John Ralston Saul, a Canadian writer, political philosopher, and public intellectual. Claire Culhane, an activist for prisoner's rights in Canada. Joe and Blodwen Piercy, who served the humanist cause faithfully. Pat Duffy Hutcheon, author who contributed to the clarification of the nature and origin of evolutionary naturalism necessary to modern humanism. Kurt Vonnegut, author Evelyn Martens, first person to be arrested and found not guilty of assisting others to die in Canada. Homa Arjomand, an Iranian political activist, resident in Canada, against the Sharia Court and the Director of Children First Now. Dr. Henry Morgentaler, pro-choice advocate and first president of Humanist Canada. Sue Johansen, a Canadian writer, public speaker, registered nurse, sex educator, and media personality. As well as; Lloyd Brereton, Larry Pinkus and Ralph Loomer.
Stance and activities
The organization's stated vision is: "To promote the separation of religion from public policy and foster the development of reason, compassion and critical thinking for all Canadians through secular education and community support."
Its mission is: "A fair and equal society guided by critical thinking and compassion."
Our values are: "To uphold honesty, reason, critical thinking and cooperation, in every facet of human interdependence. To encourage the efforts of Humanists and Humanism-focused organizations in Canada. To support initiatives and programs that advance Humanism and secularism. To provide secular ceremonies for life events, such as weddings and funerals through our certified Humanist Officiants."
Outreach includes donations to charitable organizations and causes that advance scientific, academic, medical, and human rights efforts to improve the human condition. Recipients include Casey House ($5000 donation in 2007) and the Royal Ontario Museum's "Darwin: the Evolution Revolution" exhibit ($50,000 in 2008), and we have raised over $62,000 for the Kasese Humanist School in Uganda.
Governance and management
Board of Directors - as of June 2019
- President: Martin Frith (Ontario)
- Vice President: Lloyd H. Robertson (Saskatchewan)
- Secretary: Michel Virard (Quebec)
- Treasurer: Ruth Henrich (Ontario)
- Director: John Kuperus (Alberta)
- Director: Nicolas Bruzzone (British Columbia)
- Director: Ric Glowienka (Ontario)
- Director: Sassan Sanei (Ontario)
- Director: Scott Douglas Jacobsen (British Columbia)
- Dr. Henry Morgentaler (president emeritus), Holocaust survivor, women's reproductive rights activist, humanitarian, and Order of Canada member.
- Dr. Robert Buckman (president emeritus), author of several books on improving patient care and morale; a media figure, his television programs included Magic or Medicine? and Human Wildlife, and has acted with the Monty Python comedy troupe.
- Christopher Hitchens who brought some of the clearest, most eloquent arguments for reason, political secularism, and humanist ethics to a worldwide audience.
- Stephen Hawking, a very special humanist both for his contributions to the understanding of the universe and for his disability outreach.
- Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
- List of Secular Humanists
Humanist Canada Alliances
Chapters: Hamilton Humanists
- British Columbia Humanist Association
- Humanist Association of Ottawa
- Humanist Association of Toronto
- Toronto Oasis
- Grey Bruce Humanists
- Ontario Humanist Society
- Central Ontario Humanist Association
- Association humaniste du Québec
- Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics of Manitoba
- Comox Valley Humanists
- Halton-Peel Humanist Community
- Thunder Bay Humanists
- Secular Humanists in Calgary
- Victoria Secular Humanist Association
- Humanist Association of London
- Society of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph)
- Humanist International
- American Humanist Association
- British Humanists
- Humanist Society of Scotland
- Humanist Association of Ireland
- Humanist Association of Germany
- European Humanist Federation