CUC National Voice Team Statements

The National Voice Team consists of the President of the CUC Board of Trustees, the President of the UU Ministers of Canada, and the CUC Executive Director. Contact:

CUC Statement: Death of Queen Elizabeth II
CUC Statement: Canadian Unitarians Reaffirm Commitment to Reproductive Justice, June 25, 2022
CUC Statement: A Call for Peace and Compassion – March 1, 2022
CUC Approves 8th Principle on Dismantling Racism and Systemic Barriers to Full Inclusion- November 27, 2021
CUC Releases Statement On Guaranteed Income – August 5, 2020
CUC Releases Statement On Police Violence Against Indigenous People – June 20, 2020
CUC Releases Statement on Mourning the Deaths of More People of Colour – May 29, 2020
CUC Information on COVID-19 & National Conference – March, 13, 2020
CUC Releases Your Guide to Hosting an All-Candidates Meeting, September 2019
CUC Response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) – June 6, 2019
CUC Response to Christchurch – March 15, 2019
CUC Response to the UU World’s article, “After the L, G, and B”- March 8, 2019
CUC Pledges Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en – January 11, 2019
Unitarians Offer Comprehensive Sex Education Program – August 19, 2018


Canadian Unitarian Universalists Honour Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

September 8, 2022

It is with a momentous sense of an era passing that the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) and Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC) acknowledge the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2o22.

“Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones at this time, especially her son Charles, who became King upon her death,” says Vyda Ng, Executive Director of the CUC.  “King Charles III inherits a historical system that is complicated in these challenging times.”

Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI. She is credited with overseeing the last throes of the British Empire and dramatically modernizing the monarchy. She was the first of Canada’s sovereigns to be proclaimed Queen of Canada in 1953, and, in 2015, became the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch.

“In her decades of service, Queen Elizabeth was a model of devotion to her nation,” says Charles Shields, President of the CUC’s Board of Trustees.

The CUC’s Elder-in-Residence Sharon Jinkerson Brass reflects that “Whether you are a royalist or not, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II represents the end of an era. In my moments of reflection since her passing was announced, I think of the dignified way she carried out her duties during a time of unprecedented change in our world. One thing that never changed was her steady and even leadership that provided grounding and comfort for many.

The leaves that are beginning to fall to the earth at this time of year remind us all that spring cannot come without the fall. Yet the spring will bring life from the falling leaves. May this time of change be a time of gentle reflection and letting go and embracing what is to come.”

“We hold this moment gently, recognizing the complexity of relationships and systems that are impacted by the monarchy,” says Rev. Anne Barker, President of UUMOC. “Loss has the power to unite people in grief, sorrow, and transformation. May this be a respectful moment that kindles hope for new beginnings.”

~ From the CUC’s National Voice Team: UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Anne Barker; CUC Board President, Charles Shields, and Executive Director, Vyda Ng.

Canadian Unitarians Reaffirm Commitment to Reproductive Justice

June 24, 2022

For more than 50 years, Unitarians and Universalists in Canada have advocated for reproductive rights. Members of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) have adopted 10 resolutions on family planning, family life education, and abortion since 1968 and are proud that access to abortion is a protected right in Canada.

The CUC and the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Ministers of Canada (UUMOC) are deeply troubled by the Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS’) decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturns Roe v. Wade. With this decision, SCOTUS has determined that the right to an abortion is not protected by the United States Constitution and allows states to restrict or ban abortions.

“Human dignity requires that every person have the right to decide whether they shall bear a child,” says CUC Executive Director Vyda Ng. “Every child deserves to be wanted. With this ruling, millions of people will have these rights stripped away. Those who are already marginalized will be further victimized.”

“The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court does not change Canadian legislation,” says Rev. Anne Barker, UUMOC President, “but that does not mean we are not impacted by it. Our collective liberation is bound up together and we know that what harms one harms us all.”

Most recently, in 2015, the CUC committed to “ensure that Canada continues to permit the right to abortion to be determined exclusively by the woman (sic) in consultation with a physician, and to ensure that abortions are available and accessible to all Canadians at a reasonable cost.”

“Today, we reaffirm our commitment to safe, affordable, equitable abortion in Canada and around the world,” says CUC President Charles Shields. “We re-assert our belief that the right to abortion should be determined exclusively by the person who is pregnant in consultation with their physician. And we express our solidarity with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and other organizations advocating for reproductive justice in the United States.

~ From the CUC’s National Voice Team:
UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Anne Barker; CUC Board President, Charles Shields;
CUC Executive Director, Vyda Ng.

Canadian Unitarian Council resolutions related to reproductive justice:
Resolutions 2015 – Equitable Abortion Access
Resolutions 1968-1986 – Reproductive Rights, A Summary
Resolutions 1980 – Abortion Rights

Statement from our colleagues at the Unitarian Universalist Association:
From the UUA President: UUs Remain Committed to Reproductive Justice

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is the national organization for Canadian Unitarian, Unitarian Universalist, and Universalist Unitarian (UU) congregations in Canada, and practices liberal faith theology and advocates for human rights, equity and justice.
The Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC) is the Canadian professional association of UU ministers, and promotes excellence in ministry.


A Call for Peace and Compassion – March 1, 2022

As Canadian Unitarian Universalists (UUs), we are deeply concerned about the state of unrest, aggression, and violence in the world.

“It is understandable to feel saddened, outraged, or helpless as we read or watch the news,” says Anne Barker, President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada. “We may even feel numb. The cumulative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic; violence against Indigenous, Black and marginalized people; and the wildfires and flooding brought about by climate change have exhausted and overwhelmed us.”

Our weariness has been made worse by recent actions that threaten democracy at home and abroad.

Earlier this month, we watched as a convoy of protestors and their supporters converged on Parliament Hill to protest vaccine mandates. Bitter blockades, intimidation, and violence brought the city of Ottawa to a standstill. For weeks, residents (including members of First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa) lived with the incessant blasting of horns; blocked access to workplaces and stores; and displays of symbols of racism and hate.

Some Canadians are defending the protestors’ aggressive use of force to alter public policy; others see it as a threat to our democratic institutions. People in Canada are also divided on the unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act to end the protests. These are divides that will not be bridged easily.

And now we are witnessing a global threat to democracy and a very direct threat to the lives of Ukrainian people and institutions. These acts contravene international law and violate our sixth principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

We support the people of Ukraine and the more than 1.3 million people of Ukrainian descent who call Canada home. Many are members of our congregations and the broader UU community.

“These are difficult times,” says Margaret Wanlin, President of the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Board of Trustees. “As we strive towards a more peaceful, just, and equitable world, may we come together to build the strength to respond in active and meaningful ways, while taking care of ourselves and being kind to one another.”

Related statements from our colleagues at the Unitarian Universalist Association
UU World: “UU Nations: Ukraine and our Commitment to Peace”
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee: “We Demand an End to the Bloodshed”: UUSC Responds to Vladimir Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine”

~ From the CUC’s National Voice Team: UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Anne Barker; CUC Board President, Margaret Wanlin, and Executive Director, Vyda Ng. Contact:

Download the statement: CUC Statement on A Call for Peace and Compassion – March 1, 2022

CUC Approves 8th Principle on Dismantling Racism and Systemic Barriers to Full Inclusion- November 27, 2021

On Saturday, November 27th, 2021 at a Special Meeting, Canadian Unitarian Universalists voted to approve adding an 8th Principle to the current seven Principles:

“We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote:”

Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions”

95% of 104 delegates at the Special Meeting voted in favour of the motion.

We celebrate this moment as an act of good faith, an intentional step toward this aspirational future.

Margaret Wanlin, President of the CUC Board of Trustees said, “We respect and give thanks for the hard and dedicated work of many leaders, over many years, that brought us to this moment. We acknowledge the sacrifices, and losses, experienced by those marginalized persons who became disillusioned with, or left, our faith tradition prior to this vote. And we commit to live fully into the lessons of this work, as we learn how to be partners in accountably dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion.”

Rev. Anne Barker, President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada, adds, “When we look back to this moment in history, what will our next steps reveal? May the story show a determined and continued effort on the part of all Canadian UUs – to live fully into all eight of our Principles and to remain responsive to the growth and evolution of this living tradition.”

CUC Executive Director, Vyda Ng, in acknowledging that Unitarian Universalists don’t always agree and that this path has been challenging, said, “We need to remain in respectful relationship with each other, in covenant with each other, because covenant and relationship is at the heart of who we are and what we do.”

Rev. Shana Lynngood, Minister Observer to the CUC Board, closed the Special Meeting by recognizing that some of us have been committed to the work of dismantling racism for many decades, and for others, it has been a lifetime process. She ended with words by Dr. Martin Luther King from his book ‘Why We Can’t Wait’: “We need a powerful sense of determination to banish the ugly blemish of racism. We can, of course, try to temporize, negotiate small, inadequate changes and prolong the timetable of freedom in the hope that the narcotics of delay will dull the pain of progress. We can try, but we shall certainly fail. The shape of the world will not permit us the luxury of gradualism and procrastination.”

The work of dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion continues with this endorsement from congregations. Recommendations from the CUC’s Dismantling Racism Study Group are being implemented, which include adopting an 8th Principle, a willed commitment to anti-racism work demonstrated by an investment of resources at the national and congregational level, and creating/assembling anti-racism material for education and worship for congregations.

Vyda Ng
Executive Director |

Download the statement: CUC Statement on 8th Principle.2021-11-27

CUC Releases Statement On Guaranteed Income – August 5, 2020

Poverty and economic instability have profound effects on the health, education, social engagement and inclusion, and future economic prospects of those who experience them. Poverty disproportionately affects children, women and racialized and marginalized communities including those with disabilities. In 2018, 8 percent of all children, and 1 in 4 children living in families with single mothers, were living in poverty. 

The statistics are far worse for Indigenous communities.  The Assembly of First Nations reported in 2019 the following statistics for children living in poverty: 47% of Status First Nation (53% for those living on reserve and 41% for those living off-reserve); 25% of Inuit children; 22% of Métis children; and 32% of non-status First Nations children. 

As Unitarian Universalists, we believe that all Canadian residents, regardless of age, gender, ability or race, deserve to live with dignity. In our affluent country, no one should be forced to make choices between adequate housing, nutritious food, or medical needs.

Through their responses to COVID-19, the Government of Canada and the provincial governments have already acknowledged the importance of income stability to help Canadian residents and their families, as well as the Canadian society at large, navigate economic shocks. Our governments’ swift reaction and universal programs allowed Canadian residents to meet their basic needs and protected those who saw their income disappear. This compassionate and universal response should become our national standard. 

Canada has experience with the success of guaranteed income programs. The Mincome program, piloted in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970s, demonstrated that a guaranteed liveable income increased school retention and graduation rates, and reduced the community’s number of hospital visits. 

We call on our governments to include a sustained, universally available guaranteed livable income component to the post-COVID-19 response plans to protect our individuals, our economy and our shared way of life. Governments have the opportunity to evaluate and overhaul the complicated patchwork of existing programs and replace them with initiatives grounded in equity and dignity which can lift people out of poverty.  

Specifically, we call on the government to:

    • develop guaranteed livable income programs in consultation with organizations with anti-poverty expertise, and;
    • to implement creative solutions to maximize social engagement and minimize barriers for those with lived experience, and;
    • pay particular attention to our most vulnerable communities including those living with disabilities, new immigrants,  and racialized people, particularly those in the far north and Indigenous people living on reservations. Improving the economic prospects of those who live with poverty will have a positive ripple effect in our economy and our society.  

In 2015, Canada, along with 192 other member countries, adopted the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals and committed to achieving them by 2030. While we commend Canada’s commitment to achieving the goals, which include eliminating poverty and hunger and ensuring good health and wellbeing for our citizens, we know that the political will and infrastructure now exists to accelerate the implementation of a Guaranteed Livable Income to achieve these goals.  Canadians living in poverty should not be required to wait until 2030 to experience a life with economic and social dignity.

~ From the CUC’s National Voice Team: UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Anne Barker; CUC Board President, Margaret Wanlin, and Executive Director, Vyda Ng.  Contact:

Download the full statement, a sample letter to send to your MP, and resources for education and other resources

CUC Releases Statement On Police Violence Against Indigenous People – June 20, 2020

In 2020, more Indigenous people have died as a direct result of their interactions with Canadian police forces. Most recently the deaths of Chantal Moore and Rodney Levi in New Brunswick, and Eisha Hudson, Jason Collins, and Stewart Kevin Andrews in Winnipeg have illustrated the tragic results of the systemic oppressions and discrimination within our social and justice systems.
Representing a community of faith which believes in the inherent worth and dignity of all, the Canadian Unitarian Council calls on the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments to implement changes to policing to better protect racialized populations. Priority should be given to implementing existing recommendations, such as those of The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and to developing police approaches which are responsive, accountable, culturally appropriate, and anti-racist. We again urge the federal government to issue their plan to implement the recommendations within the MMIWG report.

We call on all police forces across the country to acknowledge systemic racism and its impact on the health and safety of Indigenous people who have interactions with police. We further call on all police forces to review and revise how they interact with Indigenous, Black and other racialized people, and with those with mental health and addiction issues, making de-escalation tactics the standard. Police forces, their leaders and individual officers must be held publicly accountable for their actions. Police forces, and their oversight bodies must actively work to diversify their members by increasing the representation of racialized communities in their ranks.

Further, we encourage Unitarian Universalists to contact their police forces and all levels of government to urge the enactment of these changes that are needed, and such as those recommended by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. None of us can afford to be silent any longer. The time for change is now.

~ From the CUC’s National Voice Team: UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Anne Barker; CUC Board President, Margaret Wanlin, and Executive Director, Vyda Ng.

Download the full statement and a sample letter to send to political and police officials

CUC Releases Statement on Mourning the Deaths of More People of Colour – May 29, 2020

Canadian Unitarian Universalists are deeply saddened by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and we support our fellow UUs in the United States in their calls for justice. We offer our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Lloyd’s family and friends and to the communities impacted, again, by the death of an unarmed black man. At the same time, we recognize that systemic racism and its devastating impacts are prevalent and destructive in Canada as well.

Every day, in this country, racism puts people of colour and Indigenous people at risk. We can no longer just be observers. As Unitarians, there is important work to do if we want to truly live our values of equity, justice, compassion, and dignity for all.

“While it is understandable to feel saddened, outraged or helpless as we read the news, we must not linger there,” says Margaret Wanlin, President of the Canadian Unitarian Council Board of Trustees. “Every one of our seven principles calls us to act on this issue. However, we cannot affect change in our broader communities if we have not examined our own role in systemic racism, both personally and in our community of faith. The CUC’s Dismantling Racism Study Group has begun this work, and recent events in the US and here at home have brought the need for this work into even sharper focus. I urge you to contribute your thoughts and experiences in their survey and to support this work within your own congregations,” said Margaret.

Rev. Julie Stoneberg is co-chair of the Dismantling Racism Study Group and minister at the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough. She says, “Minneapolis is my home. This week, another black man has been killed by police. This time it is in my home precinct, and it is my neighbourhood streets that are erupting in outrage and violence. My privilege has allowed me to walk those very streets mostly unaware of the pain brewing beneath the surface…pain I am seeing so clearly today…pain that my BI-POC (black, Indigenous, people of colour) siblings feel every day. These tragic events call me to further commit myself to the work of dismantling racism.”

As people of a progressive faith, we must do more than just acknowledge this loss, and the loss of Regis Korchinski-Paquet here in Canada, and return to our lives of privilege. Let these losses be a call to educate ourselves. Let it be a call to conversation – the difficult and uncomfortable ones. And let it be a call to become truly committed to this work of dismantling racism and privilege wherever we find it, including in ourselves.

The Dismantling Racism Study Group is engaged in work to identify and assess efforts to dismantle racism and other oppressions. To help in this work, please complete their surveyby June 7, 2020.

For more information, Rev Julie Stoneberg and Beverly Horton, co-chairs of the Dismantling Racism Study Group, offer these resources for education and reflection.

Reading and reflection: Desmond Cole’s book, The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power, 2020 Doubleday Canada Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, 2018 Beacon Press
The Guardian: “Not About the Needs and Feelings of White People”
The Globe and Mail: “Racial Disparities in Toronto Police Force
CBC Curio: “Report on Racial Profiling by Toronto Police
Five Ways to Support Black Lives Matter, from our UU colleagues in the US:

~ From the CUC’s National Voice Team: UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Anne Barker; CUC Board President, Margaret Wanlin, and Executive Director, Vyda Ng

Download the statement Mourning the Deaths of More People of Colour

CUC Information on COVID-19 & National Conference – March, 13, 2020

As the situation with the COVID-19 Coronavirus rapidly develops,and congregations make decisions about whether to proceed with activities, the CUC team offers you our support and some resources to help as we navigate this together. As communities of faith, we can play significant roles in helping to prevent the spread of infection, in providing a calm and reasoned presence, and in modelling safe practices.

The CUC has been monitoring the situation with the help of various government resources.

This recently released Government of Canada resource “Risk-Informed Decision-Making for Mass Gatherings during COVID-19,” has been particularly helpful. We also recommend following the guidelines of your local and provincial public health offices.

Resources for Congregations

It’s important that we remain in conversation, support each other, and share resources. To help do this, we are inviting congregational leaders to attend one of two roundtable conversations this weekend (March 14 & 15). The goal of these roundtables is to share practical and pastoral resources for congregations, to provide information about online streaming options for those congregations who are pondering alternatives to Sunday services, and to address questions and concerns. We welcome you all, wherever you are in the decision-making process.

The roundtables will be held via Zoom on Saturday, March 14 at 10 am ET/ 1 pm PT and on Sunday, March 15 at 4 pm ET/7 pm PT.

Three additional COVID-19 Update roundtables have been set up for ongoing support and resource sharing: Session 1:March 21, 1 pm ET/4 pm PT; Session 2: March 28, 1 pm ET/4 pm PT; and Session 3: April 4, 1 pm ET/4 pm PT.

The CUC has also set up a resource folder with information for congregations. The Folder can be found here, with sections on National & International Sources for Updates, Safety Measures, Reflections, Meditations and Readings, and Virtual Meeting Options. There is even a section on 20-second Handwashing Ditties! If you have additional resources to share, please email them to

The CUC’s National Conference

The decision has been regretfully made to cancel the National Conference in May in Halifax. In light of the rapidly evolving situation, we, together with the UU Church of Halifax Host Team, feel that holding a gathering in these times is not a safe situation. This is in line with the just-announced recommendation from the Nova Scotia government to limit gatherings to 150 people.

However, this presents an opportunity for us to explore national online connections instead. The planning teams are working on this, and updates will be sent to you in the coming weeks.

CUC staff will be in touch with those who have registered about refunds.

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting will proceed as planned on May 15th. This will be fully online, as we have the capability for this. To become informed about this process, please sign up for one of the online voting orientation sessions in April, And remember to register your online delegates by April 15. More information about the AGM is here.

Going Forward

We have heard from some congregations who have already made the decision to suspend services and programming. As we consider our next steps at the CUC National Office, in consultation with our partners and leaders, the health and wellbeing of our staff, congregations and leaders and our partners remains our top priority.

If you or your congregation need further support, please do not hesitate to reach out to Rev. Linda Thomson and Joan Carolyn at

CUC Office

CUC staff who work at the Toronto office will be doing so remotely from March 16, 2020 until the situation improves. You can continue to reach us by email ( and and by leaving a voicemail message. All other staff work remotely from their home locations.

We know that the pace of change on this issue has been fast. Many of us are finding ourselves torn by the conflicting need to be informed and to manage our stress levels. It is our hope that we can find creative and safe ways to connect. During these uncertain times, may we remember to treat others and ourselves gently. May we respond to others with compassion and care. Our Seventh principle reminds us of our connections to one another – may we cherish them now, as much as we ever do.

“These are anxious days…The pulse of life calls us … to nourish our spirits with art and song, friendship and tenderness, and quiet. The pulse of life is beating in each and every one of us. Amidst the clamor of these times, let us heed its sure and steady rhythm.” – The Pulse of Life, Jennifer Johnson

CUC Releases Your Guide to Hosting an All-Candidates Meeting – September 2019

In Canada, the next federal election will take place on October 21, 2019. On, or before (at prepolls), this day, Canadians will elect Members of Parliament (MP’s) across the country who will represent the views and interests of their constituents in the legislative assembly. The Elections Canada website contains the information you need to vote, including your electoral district, checking or updating your registration, student voting, accessible polling stations, information for Indigenous voters, and voting by mail.

What is an All-Candidates Meeting?
At an All-Candidates Meeting, residents have a chance to hear from the candidates, evaluate political platforms, and ask questions about current issues. All nominees running for MP in aarticular district are invited to gather and share their views. These events are non-partisan, meaning all political parties are invited and attendees get to hear about the issues from many different perspectives. The focus may be broad and cover a range of issues, or be focused on an issue of particular importance to the hosting group. Examples include, but are not limited to, poverty, women’s rights, climate change, business, Indigenous rights, and immigration. Local media often cover and even moderate these events. Typically, All-Candidates Meetings take place in locations like community centres, town halls, and school auditoriums which are shared community spaces and feel welcoming to people from all walks of life.

Why host an All-Candidates Meeting?
Hosting an All-Candidates Meeting is an ideal way to understand where your local candidates stand on issues that matter to you, your organization, and your community. These meetings offer your community an interactive way to learn about the issues and form an opinion about those running for office. When you host a meeting you play an important part in local democracy. If done in a way that is engaging, inclusive, and interesting you could foster an interest in civic engagement and political affairs. For groups with particular issues that are important to them, it is an opportunity to invite the broader community to learn about that issue from a non-partisan perspective.

In recent years there has been a trend towards “us and them” politics in Canada, the United States, and abroad. This has contributed to a culture where respect for difference is waning alongside constructive inquiry and non-partisan debate. More than ever we need to make space for honest conversations that allow people to better understand each other’s lived experiences while searching for solutions that address the environmental, economic, social, and cultural challenges of our time. If thoughtfully organized, with a diversity of perspectives represented, an All-Candidates Meeting has the potential to be such a space.

Download and continue reading Your Guide to Hosting an All-Candidates Meeting(pdf)
Download All You Need to Know for the Federal Election: One-Page Resource (pdf)

CUC Response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) – June 6, 2019

CUC Response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,

The Canadian Unitarian Council acknowledges the systemic and ongoing nature of colonization of Indigenous peoples, land, and resources on this land. We are becoming more aware of the many ways in which colonization unjustly privileges settlers at the expense of Indigenous peoples. We acknowledge the findings and calls to justice of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Final Report, and that these require immediate attention.

As Unitarian Universalists, we have also taken a stand for gender equality and the rights of LGBTQ+ peoples – values that intersect with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ (MMIW) Calls for Justice.

The term ‘genocide’ is used in this report (read the reflection on ‘genocide’ in theExecutive Summary) to describe our collective actions towards Indigenous peoples. As challenging as it is to acknowledge this term, in particular towards Indigenous women and girls, we accept this assessment based on the 1948United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We are mindful that resistance to the use of ‘genocide’ may be linked to beliefs about our identity as a nation and denial of the facts of our shared history. It may also be linked to a mindset that emphasizes individual intention/action while minimizing the role of systemic influences in racism and privilege.

Chief Commissioner Marion Buller has stated that an “absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism in Canadian society”. We recognize that the paradigm shift asked of settlers may cause us to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. While we may not have individually constructed the racist system that is in place, we are each complicit in sustaining it until we take steps to change it. Therefore, we take ownership for our part in a system that has resulted in Indigenous women and girls:

  • being 12 times more likely to go missing than any other demographic;
  • being 16 times more likely to be killed or disappear than white women;
  • constituting almost 25 percent of all female homicides in Canada between 2001-2015.

As Unitarian Universalists we are committed to studying this document with the intent of taking action on the231 Calls to Justice starting with item 15.3, which urges us to read the final report, take other steps to educate ourselves, and call on our governments to take action.

From the Canadian Unitarian Council National Voice Team, which consists of the President of the CUC Board of Trustees, the President of the UU Ministers of Canada, and the CUC Executive Director.


Resources for reading and action:

Download CUC Response to MMIW

CUC Response to Christchurch – March 15, 2019

The world weeps with the news of senseless violence and death, and we hold in our hearts the victims and families of the New Zealand mosque shooting. Violence of this kind fueled by hatred and fear cannot be allowed to exist. We choose to respond with love and refuse to respond with more violence.

In the face of our grief, we pledge ourselves anew to act with compassion. Holding true to the inherent worth and dignity of each being, we are moved to respond with kindness and empathy when faced with ignorance and bigotry.

Unitarians will show up beside our Muslim colleagues and siblings. We embrace expressions of religion, which champion inclusion and cooperation among all faiths. We will continue to work towards a world where our interdependence is manifested through love and justice.

To demonstrate solidarity and support, we encourage UUs across Canada to participate in vigils in their local communities.

 – From the CUC Board President and Vice President, CUC Executive Director and the UU Ministers of Canada

CUC Response to the UU World’s article, “After the L, G, and B”

The statement below is issued after the publication of a UUWorld article which caused harm to trans and nonbinary UU leaders and colleagues. The CUC, UU Ministers of Canada and the Canadian UU Religious Educators share this statement with you, as we are committed to being in right relationship with our trans and nonbinary siblings. Please feel free to share the CUC in Solidarity with Trans and Nonbinary UUs.2019-03 widely

A recent article in UU World, “After the L, G, and B” published on March 1, 2019, harmed and further marginalized transgender and nonbinary UUs and leaders, their families and allies. Through one family’s experience, the article was meant to model ways for UU World readers to engage respectfully with transgender and nonbinary people. Instead, it caused pain, and for many, served to increase isolation.

The Canadian Unitarian Council, the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada, and the Canadian Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators wish to express our sadness that transgender and nonbinary UUs have again been marginalized within our faith community spaces.  In choosing to commission one of its first feature pieces about trans issues in Unitarian Universalism from a cisgender person, the UU World centred cisgender discomfort and fragility around trans identity, instead of focusing on the enormous contributions that trans and nonbinary UUs have made to our faith.  The editorial staff chose to run the piece, despite being advised by a prominent trans UU leader that the article as conceived would cause harm.

In the face of this harm, we wish to reaffirm our commitment to trans and nonbinary UUs in Canada and in our movement at large: to radical inclusion, love and justice. As largely cisgender-led institutions, we strive to continue to be in right relationship with our trans and nonbinary UU siblings and to be honest in our communications with each other, even when (or especially when) we make mistakes that hurt each other. We call on cisgender leaders and people in our community to journey with and lift up the voices and experiences of transgender and nonbinary people in our UU communities, recognizing that in this interdependent web of existence, what affects the one affects the many.

TRUUsT (Transgender Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together) members, and trans UUs widely, have responded to the article, sharing the hurt and the further marginalization which occurs when trans people are viewed as exotic “others.” TRUUsT issued a response to the UU World article. In part, the response states, “We are living in a UU faith community full of people with whom we have covenanted to live into our best selves, our authentic selves, in a multitude of expressions and complex realities, but who continue to deny us a place at the table even as they examine their internal systems of oppression on other matters.”

Alex Kapitan, trans UU leader, activist, co-leader of the Transforming Hearts Collective, and steering committee member of TRUUsT, was quoted in the UU World article. Kapitan had urged against the publication of the article, and reflected: “I could not be more disappointed or pained by the harm and the lost opportunity this article represents. The UU World could have uplifted the spiritual gifts of trans UUs and provided the call our movement desperately needs to address the failures of this religion with respect to trans inclusion. Instead, the publication of the article continued the current trend of marginalizing trans people and supporting cis UUs in their resistance to creating basic access for trans UUs, much less fully inclusive and affirming spiritual homes.

In speaking with the CUC about what’s required of cisgender UUs in the aftermath of this article, Kapitan emphasized that a faith-grounded approach is necessary, rather than a purely intellectual approach to learning about trans/nonbinary identities – and so are heart-centred spiritual practices that allow people to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Kapitan adds that to truly be in solidarity and right relationship, cisgender people need to resist the desire to centre life around their own world view and to ‘fix’ others or the situation, and dare to shift away from a desire to avoid “offending” trans people to a desire to offer care toward trans people.

In the days following the publication of the UU World article, both UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray and UU World editor Christopher Walton responded with apologies and an acknowledgement that hurt has been caused.

– From the CUC Board President and Executive Director, the UU Ministers of Canada, and the Canadian UU Religious Educators, with thanks to Katharine Childs, Arran Liddel and Alex Kapitan.

During this year, the CUC will feature a series on trans and nonbinary UUs, their lives, work and experiences. We ask that congregations which display the UU World article also include Alex Kapitan’s statement and CB Beal’s Medium article, and delve into understanding how the article is harmful.  

Quick links:

CUC Pledges Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en – January 11, 2019

The Canadian Unitarian Council has joined hundreds of other organizations and individuals pledging solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, who are blocking the development of a Coastal GasLink pipeline on their traditional territories in northwestern British Columbia:

1. WE COMMEND the courage and vision of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their community of activists.

2. WE ARE WATCHING across the province, country and internationally.

3. WE DENOUNCE any attempt by Coastal GasLink Pipeline, the federal government, provincial government or RCMP to interfere in the rights of the Unist’ot’en to occupy, manage or maintain their lands.

4. WE URGE that any and all actions taken by the federal and provincial government, industry, and policing agencies must be consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Anuk Nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en laws) and collective Title.

5. WE PLEDGE support to the frontline land defenders and affirm the collective hereditary governance of the Wet’suwet’en who are enforcing Wet’suwet’en laws on their unceded lands.

Sign the pledge from Unist’ot’en Camp…/1FAIpQLSdNtxbSahBWHsa9Wy…/viewform

Take Action!

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau –
Telephone: 613-992-4211
Fax: 613-941-6900

The Honourable Daniel Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Fax: 613-954-0811
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Find your Member of Parliament

Contact the RCMP directly and let them know your view of their impending operation.
National RCMP Headquarters
Telephone: 613-843-5999
Email: (media contact)
Please take action in your own community along with other Indigenous Rights and Climate Justice activists in your area.

Here are some of the other important ways you can support the Unist’ot’en, Gitdumt’en and the entire Wet’suwet’en Nation:

Donate to the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gitdumt’en Territory:

Donate to Unist’ot’en Camp:

Donate to Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund:…/unistoten-camp-legal-fund

Get updates from Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gitdumt’en Territory: Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gitdumt’en Territory:

Unitarians Offer Comprehensive Sex Education Program – August 29, 2018

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) announces the availability of the sex education program, Our Whole Lives (OWL), to Ontario schools and parents. 

Toronto, Ontario, Canada – August 29, 2018 – The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) advocates for fact-based sexuality education, which is provided in many Unitarian congregations through its progressive Our Whole Lives (OWL) program.

The CUC believes that the Ontario government’s decision to repeal the comprehensive 2015 Health and Sex Education curriculum and reinstate the curriculum from 1998 will leave children at risk and adversely impact schools’ ability to create cultures of inclusion, safety and consent. Neither does it prepare students of all genders and sexual orientations to develop healthy, consensual relationships.

To fill the gap of the important information and content that is missing from the 1998 curriculum the Canadian Unitarian Council supports and promotes Our Whole Lives (OWL). OWL is an extensive  lifespan sexuality education program created almost 20 years ago by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ in the US. The curricula includes age ranges from kindergarten to adulthood, and has been updated regularly to stay current. The 2018 OWL program provides honest, accurate, and developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality.

OWL supports and encourages family conversations about sexual values and healthy decision making. The curriculum is based on the principles of self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice, and inclusivity, and helps people of all ages make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behaviour. The program dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives.

“Through our experience offering Our Whole Lives, we understand the profound effect that inclusive, respectful, fact-based sex education can have on young people,” says Vyda Ng, Executive Director of the CUC. She adds “Our Whole Lives empowers children, teens and others across age lifespans to understand not only their bodies but also their relationships and the importance of consent and respect in building healthy relationships.”

The Canadian Unitarian Council is deeply concerned that the loss of comprehensive sexuality education in Ontario schools will leave children and youth vulnerable at a time when they most need accurate information and empowerment to make good decisions. Asha Philar, OWL Coordinator for the CUC states, “The Our Whole Lives program gives youth the tools to make healthy and age-appropriate choices and helps LGBTQ youth find self-acceptance and support. Without access to accurate information and learning opportunities, Ontario students are put at risk and we fear that LGBTQ youth will face even more barriers to acceptance.”

OWL programs are available through many Unitarian congregations from September to May. To find out more about the OWL program and where workshops for ages kindergarten to adult are available, contact  

More information about the CUC’s Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education program can be found on the CUC website. or email

Additional information and calls to action:

Members of the CUC and its congregations are invited to sign the following petition calling on Premier Ford to keep Ontario’s 2015 sex-ed curriculum:

Please phone Education Minister Lisa Thompson to reinstate the 2015 Ontario Health and Sex Education curriculum:

Download the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Our Whole Lives (OWL) brochure