Civic Literacy Youth Network

Civic Literacy Youth Network

Civic Literacy Youth Network (CLYN):

Engagement and skills to discuss, analyze, and counter racism and religious discrimination


Holding paper cut out of people2

What is this project about: 

The CLYN is an online network and pan-Canadian community for youth and young adults (Grade 7 / SEC I to Year 4 undergraduate, inclusive), moderated by educators and researchers. It started because young people we talked with were concerned about increasing levels of racial and religious discrimination. The CLYN offers a space for youth and young adults across Canada to discuss related issues by incorporating a full spectrum of religious, spiritual and non-religious viewpoints. The network will include participants from urban and rural regions from across Canada as well as from different backgrounds (including Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, who are agnostic, Buddhist, Christian, humanist, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh, among other religious, spiritual, and non-religious affiliations). By the end of the project, participants will have gained experience and analytical skills in structured dialogue and engagement with their peers, and have an understanding of civic religious literacy.

This project is made possible through funding provided by the Government of Canada‘s Department of Canadian Heritage’s Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program.


A group photo from our 2022-2023 cohort

A group photo from our 2022-2023 cohort, with some individuals missing.

Thoughts from participants in the 2022-2023 cohort:

“I really enjoyed the CLYN and found that it was most definitely worth doing. I would highly recommend it to everyone, and hope that it will continue to run in the years to come.”

“It has been nice to talk to others all around Canada and listening to new speakers explain things I have never thought about before.”

“This has been the highlight of my month each month!”


Interested in joining this network for the 2023-2024 school year?

Click here to apply.

Deadline: Monday, August 21, 2023, by 9 am PST.

New Deadline: Monday, September 18, 2023, by 9 am PST.




Why is this needed today? 

Did you know that …

  • In 2019, 54% of Canadians reported that their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important in their lives?
  • In 2016, the five top places of birth for recent immigrants arriving between 2011 and 2016 were India, China, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States? These countries are home to highly religious Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, and non-religious populations, among others.
  • The Indigenous population grew 19.5% from 2011 to 2016, compared to a 4.2% increase in the non-Indigenous population?
  • That racial/ethnic and religious discrimination are consistently the most common motivations for police-reported hate crimes?

This network is a chance to discuss these issues of diversity. Together, participants will learn to be leaders in making change in ourselves and for those around us.


What does this project offer? 

  • Opportunities to participate in community engagement and involvement.
  • Opportunities to interact with youth, young adults, peers and elders from different community groups.
  • Opportunities to learn from different perspectives from across the country.


What will you gain from joining this project? 

  • Interpersonal and dialogue skills to proactively prevent and intervene against racism, including racism based on the racialization of religion.
  • A certificate to signify the civic and religious literacy skills and knowledge you have gained in this experience.


Who is leading this project? 

The Centre for Civic Religious Literacy (CCRL) will be leading this project with many community partners. The CCRL is a non-religious non-profit fostering understanding about religious, spiritual, and non-religious people in all sectors of Canadian society. The CCRL team and its community partners come from a variety of backgrounds including those who are Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, LGBTQ2S+, English and French speaking, immigrant and non-immigrant, from rural and urban areas, and have lived experience from British Columbia to Newfoundland.

Guest speakers who joined us last year include:


(Left to Right)

  • Dr. Dilmurat Mahmut, International Support for Uyghurs
  • Rizwan Mohammad, Advocacy Officer, National Council of Canadian Muslims
  • Dr. Willow Anderson, Director, Social Fabric Institute Inc.
  • Dr. Shauna Van Praagh, Professor of Law, McGill University
  • Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, C.M., Founder & Executive Director, Rainbow Faith and Freedom
  • Dr. Erin Reid, Co-Founder and Alberta Regional Director, CCRL

Speakers not depicted here include:

  • Representative from Humanist Canada
  • Representative from Intercultural Grandmothers United (A Regina-based group comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous grandmothers)


Meeting structure: 

Youth will meet once every three weeks in a 2-hour meeting. Meetings will begin with guest speakers, follow with large group discussions, and continue in small group dialogue with peers. Guest speakers from various communities will join to share insight about a current topic or lived experience. All meetings will be facilitated by CCRL team members who are trained educators and specialists in this area, and community partners who will receive CCRL training.


Expected commitments for CLYN participants: 

  • Attend seven of eight monthly online Zoom meetings for the full duration, which requires stable internet connections
  • Participate in group dialogue, i.e. share your thoughts and experiences and listen to those of others
  • Be willing to critically reflect on your own views and consider those of others


If you have any questions, please contact CCRL at with the subject heading “Civic Literacy Youth Network.”


Funded by the Government of Canada.




Cornelissen. L. 2021. “Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019.” Insights on Canadian Society. October. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 75-006-X; Statistics Canada.

National Household Survey: Aboriginal Peoples. Response mobility and the growth of the Aboriginal identity population, 2006-2011 and 2011-2016. by Vivian O’Donnell and Russell LaPointe. Release date: October 29, 2019.