CCRL is a non-religious organization that develops civic religious literacy in order to promote the public understanding of religious, non-religious, and spiritual perspectives and communities across Canada.
In 2018, we established the CCRL to provide Canadians the opportunity to learn and broaden their religious literacy about religions, spiritual, and non-religious perspectives. It grew largely out of our converging research and experiences on the intersection of religious and non-religious identities in public schools and workplaces, which raised our awareness for the need for religious literacy navigation in Canada.
We recognized that various aspects of identity have been of significant focus in Canadian diversity, e.g. language, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and gender. However, often missing in this discussion is the understanding of religious and non-religious identities and traditions – an understanding that can foster respect and dismantle discrimination or harm towards another person based on their belief.
As a group of researcher-educators, our research showed that effort from every portion of society is needed in order to foster understanding and respect for religious, non-religious, and spiritual individuals. As a result, our programming is multi-faceted. We offer programs, workshops, and professional development seminars to industry staff (such as health professionals, police officers, and sales and other business professionals), community leaders, educators, parents, and students.
As a group of religious literacy specialists, our combined experiences and research now fuel the work at CCRL. Our topical, industry-specific, and regional-specific knowledge enable us to help you and other members of society develop the religious literacy that is needed to understand the underlying influences in today’s world. Our backgrounds from different traditions – religious, spiritual, and non-religious – ensure perspectives from varying groups are considered in all our work.
- To recognize, and help all citizens in Canadian society recognize and understand, the:
- multiplicity of religious, spiritual, and secular identities, traditions, and worldviews of peoples in Canada and throughout the world, and the
- internally different traditions in each religious and non-religious tradition, through research-based approaches.
2. To promote religious literacy through education initiatives in work-based, school-based, and community-based contexts.
CCRL strives to support individuals in various spheres of society to recognize the richness and contributions of religious, spiritual, and non-religious identities of peoples in Canada and the world. In doing so, we equip individuals to understand and recognize one another’s differences as valuable contributions towards society, be able to navigate through these differences, and gain comfort in raising questions or speaking about religious, spiritual, and non-religious identities in their public environment.
There are groups across Canada trying to foster religious literacy and interfaith dialogue in the community and inform certain workplaces and institutions about religious diversity. CCRL aims to work with many of these initiatives and facilitate a cohesive presence to show the timely and salient work regarding religious literacy across Canada. By presenting collaborative relationships between religious and non-religious groups, we hope that all peoples in society will be comfortable to approach, learn from and with the myriad of religious and non-religious orientations in Canada. On this basis, we aim to foster religious literacy across all sectors of society and among all age groups.
To focus on this goal and attain it, all our approaches will remain:
- Evaluated based on current research findings;
- Localized based on our work with community leaders and members, an understanding of each community (religious or non-religious), and geographic dynamics; and,
- Focused on the current needs of each group we work with.