May 8-9, 2017
Saint Paul University, Ottawa

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Download a PDF version of the Our Whole Society program for full program details.


The conference starts at 9:00 AM on Monday, May 8, 2017 and ends at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

The final plenary session will be held in conversation with Members of Parliament on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. All other plenary and workshop sessions will be held at Saint Paul University, also in Ottawa.


The Building Our Whole Society conference follows on earlier Our Whole Society conferences by asking timely questions about the role of faith in Canadian life. How can an inclusive society provide space for diverse perspectives and practices to be welcomed into the public sphere? Can we advance beyond simple toleration of religious and other differences to embrace a wider respect for all citizens? How can we draw upon Canada’s religious and cultural diversity as a resource for strengthening civic engagement and fostering a more mature collective life? 

Read the Our Whole Society concept paper for a fuller exploration of the conference’s theme.

Speakers and Panelists

Our keynote speakers, Prof. John Borrows and Dr. John Ralston Saul, and several panelists and workshop leaders will address these and other significant questions on faith and the Canadian public sphere.

Three conference sessions, with themes as listed below (read more for session theme descriptions), will include plenary panelist speakers and workshops:


  • Solidarity in Diversity
    • “Exploring how & why faith communities can counter negative coverage of Islam & Muslims in Canadian media,” Amira Elghawaby, National Council of Canadian Muslims
    • “Balancing the Virtues of Autonomy and Solidarity: An Inter-faith Case for Basic Income?”, Nicholas Olkovich, Doctoral candidate, St. Michael's College
    • “SBNR Spirituality, Religion and Citizenship at Canada 150,” Tom Sherwood, Adjunct Research Professor and Contract Instructor, Carleton University
  • Reconciliation
    • “An act of re-remembering,” Deanna Zantingh, Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre & Bernadette Arthur, Christian Reformed Church in North America
    • “Engaging Indigenous students in contemporary Christian school settings,” Marie Green, Doctoral candidate, St. Michael's College
  • Immigration and Refugees