The purpose of this network is to connect freethought, secular humanist, atheist Organizations and Individuals in canada, under one networking umbrella, in order to provide a dynamic, nation-wide support system.
1. To allow those new to Humanism, Secularism and Atheism, to easily access information on Canadian organizations and projects.
2. To support and promote Canadian Freethought organizations - to share events, news and collaborate on projects.
3. To bring awareness to Secular issues important to local communities in order to affect change. Numbers matter.
4. To create networking opportunities for individuals who share similar life philosophies.
5. To bring awareness to and welcome the diversity of freethinkers in Canada.
Irreligion is common throughout all provinces and territories of Canada. Irreligious Canadians include atheists, agnostics, humanists and more. The surveys may also include those who are deists, spiritual and pantheists. The 2011 Canadian census reported that 23.9% of Canadians declare no religious affiliation. According to Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, among those estimated 4.9 million Canadians of no religion, an estimated 1.9 million would specify atheist, 1.8 would specify agnostic, and 1.2 humanist.
The earliest known secular organization in English Canada is the Toronto Freethought Association, founded in 1873 by a handful of secularists. Reorganized in 1877 and again in 1881, when it was renamed the Toronto Secular Society, the group formed the nucleus of the Canadian Secular Union, established in 1884 to bring together freethinkers from across the country.
A significant number of the early members appear to have been drawn from the educated labour "aristocracy," including Alfred F. Jury, J. Ick Evans and J. I. Livingstone, all of whom were leading labour activists and secularists. The second president of the Toronto association was T. Phillips Thompson, a central figure in the city's labour and social reform movements during the 1880s and 1890s and arguably Canada's foremost late nineteenth-century labour intellectual. By the early 1880s, freethought organizations were scattered throughout southern Ontario and parts of Quebec, and elicited both urban and rural support.
Secular Thought (1887-1911) was a Canadian periodical, published in Toronto, dedicated to promoting the principles of freethought and secularism.
Founded and edited during its first several years by English freethinker Charles Watts (1835-1906), the editorship was assumed by Toronto printer and publisher James Spencer Ellis in 1891 when Watts returned to England.
During that period, Secular Thought was the principal organ of the freethought movement in Canada, publishing large amounts of material from England and the United States in addition to commenting on Canadian affairs.
Humanist Canada 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.
In 1968 the Humanist Association of Canada was formed to serve as an umbrella group for Humanists, atheists, freethinkers, and to champion social justice issues and oppose religious influence on public policy—most notably in the fight to make access to abortion free and legal in Canada.
More commonly known today as Humanist Canada, they are Canada's National voice for Humanism and support the activities of groups who wish to raise awareness about secular issues. HC is also an associate member organization of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
The Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC) is a not-for-profit educational organization with headquarters in Toronto, Canada whose primary mission is to promote and advance the causes of reason, science, secularism and freedom of inquiry in Canadian society.
CFI Canada was originally established as a branch of CFI Transnational in Toronto, Canada in 2007. Initially supported in part by CFI Transnational, CFIC has become an independent Canadian national organization with branches in several provinces. Justin Trottier served as first national director from 2007 to 2011, followed by Michael Payton until June 2013, and by Eric Adriaans from March 2014.