Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.


Petition to House of Commons on Universal Contraception

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • A federal policy for free prescription birth control in Canada is projected to create money, with studies showing up to $9 saved in managing unplanned pregnancies for each $1 invested in universal contraception;
  • Furthermore, fiscal benefits are predicted to be achieved quickly, with cost neutrality at year one and significant net savings within two years of implementation;
  • Reproductive rights are human rights and cannot be left to the whim of changing provincial governments;
  • Reproductive rights are currently being systematically dismantled south of Canada’s border in the United States at an alarming rate;
  • Worldwide, Canada ranks poorly compared to 46 European nations in universal access to contraceptive supplies, counseling and information;
  • British Columbia offers universal coverage of contraception, Quebec provides 80% coverage, while other provinces have programs that are patchy or difficult to access;
  • There exists an equity issue within Canada in accessing contraception;
  • Now is the time for the Government of Canada to introduce a federal policy for the universal coverage of contraception and reaffirm its commitment to reproductive rights for all Canadians;
  • Canada is the only country worldwide with universal healthcare that lacks coverage for prescription drugs;
  • The Government of Canada has committed to the implementation of a national pharmacare program; and
  • A federal policy for the universal coverage of contraception in Canada could be an important, immediate and symbolic first step in the implementation of a national pharmacare program.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to commit to a federal policy for the universal coverage of contraception by World Contraception Day on September 26, 2023.

Humanist International Meeting (Amsterdam, 2023)

 Over the weekend, more than 400 humanists from around the globe attended the 2023 World Humanist Congress in Copenhagen. The Congress is typically held every three years but, because of world events (including the COVID pandemic), the 2017 and 2020 conferences were cancelled. So this year’s event—hosted by the Scandinavian member organizations from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland—was a long-overdue opportunity for members of Humanists International to gather, forge connections, exchange ideas, and explore the future of humanism.

Report here

HERE: Humanist Environmental Response Effort

 HERE - Humanist Environmental Response Effort

This is a project of the American Humanist Association.


InterPares statement on Sudan


April 28, 2023–Ottawa 

Inter Pares has been monitoring the situation in Sudan since intense fighting broke out in the capital city Khartoum on April 15. Temporary ceasefires have enabled the evacuation of many foreign nationals from the country, including many Canadians. In the absence of journalists, humanitarians and other members of the international community as witnesses, Inter Pares fears that the humanitarian situation will deteriorate catastrophically. 

Inter Pares is raising the alarm that human rights defenders—including our counterparts—in Sudan will be at extreme risk in the coming days and weeks.

In conflict and post-conflict situations, human rights defenders are often targeted for their work. Women human rights defenders in particular face a heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence. 

We call on the international community to maintain their focus on Sudan even after foreign nationals have been evacuated.

On April 15, fighting broke out in Khartoum between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese military. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands injured. The ongoing clashes have forced millions of people in the city to shelter in place. Others have fled Khartoum or the country.

Those unable to leave the country will continue to be caught in the crossfire of the clashing factions. Some Sudanese people say they feel abandoned by the international community.

Inter Pares has collaborated with counterparts in Sudan since 2007. 

At this time, all Inter Pares counterparts continue to prioritize survival and normal programming is not possible. Some counterpart staff have fled the city or country; others remain in Khartoum in increasingly dire situations, with dwindling supplies of food and water and unreliable power and Internet access. We are keeping in close contact with our counterparts and are continuing to assess how to best support them. 

We remain committed to supporting Sudanese counterparts to provide legal services for women experiencing sexual and gender-based violence, bolster women’s political participation and strengthen women’s civil society.


Amnesty: Stop Schoolgirl poisoning in Iran



The rights to education, health and life of millions of schoolgirls are at risk amid ongoing chemical gas attacks deliberately targeting girls’ schools in Iran. Since the first reported gas attack in the city of Qom, the incidents increased exponentially with some 300 separate attacks now reported.

The poisonings appear to be a coordinated campaign to punish schoolgirls for their peaceful participation in nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest by the "morality" police in mid-September 2022. As women and girls lead the call for change in Iran, schoolgirls have engaged in acts of resistance such as removing their mandatory hijabs and showing their hair in public while in school uniform. 

These attacks have left schoolgirls hospitalized with symptoms including coughing, difficulty in breathing, nose and throat irritation, heart palpitation, headache, nausea, vomiting and numbness in limbs. As of mid-April, official statistics said 13,000 schoolgirls had received medical care. Some parents removed their daughters from school fearing for their safety. 

Authorities in Iran have downplayed the gravity and scale of the attacks – dismissing the symptoms as stress, mischief or “mental contagion” – and tried to silence calls for accountability and reporting by the media. No effective investigation or any meaningful steps have been taken to end the attacks. 

In March, the authorities announced the arrest of over 118 people for alleged involvement in “smuggling stink bombs”, which they claimed was the main cause of the poisonings. Many people in Iran suspect actors tied to the state or pro-government vigilantes, who have been empowered by Iran’s discriminatory and degrading laws and policies that perpetuate violence against women and girls.


Myths about fossil fuels and renewable energy are circulating again. Don’t buy them. » Yale Climate Connections

Myths about fossil fuels and renewable energy are circulating again. Don’t buy them. » Yale Climate Connections

large and growing fraction of U.S. residents understands that human-caused climate change is a significant problem in need of urgent solutions. But as public alarm increases, misinformation about fossil fuels and renewable energy has also seen an uptick.

For example, some politicians and petroleum producers have said that the Biden administration is addressing climate change by slowing down domestic energy production, characterizing the president’s policies as an attack on American energy. But the data doesn’t bear that out.

Oil and gas extraction has been on the rise since the COVID-induced slowdowns of late 2020 and early 2021. Since then, gas production has set multiple all-time records, and the Energy Information Administration anticipates new oil production records will be set in 2023. The data behind those assessments stands in stark contrast to accusations that the Biden administration is curtailing domestic oil and gas extraction...

Bottom line: When you compare the amount of electricity generated, rather than the amount of raw fuel, it becomes clear that renewables are already producing about as much electricity as coal...

Fossil gas is around 44% efficient, so “only” 56% of the energy in gas is lost in conversion to electricity. That’s better than coal, but still very inefficient. As renewables offset fossil-fueled electricity, they are replacing large amounts of inefficient energy production with a more efficient process that consumes less energy overall. This is partly why renewables tend to be cheaper than extraction-based sources of electricity.

It takes a careful eye to spot these nuances, but in the end, a data-driven approach not


LGBTQ+ rights 'going backwards' around world, warns UK envoy

LGBTQ+ rights 'going backwards' around world, warns UK envoy
As gay and transgender rights gains stall in places such as Hungary and Singapore, Britain's first Special Envoy on LGBT Rights Nick Herbert voices concern about the global outlook 

 LONDON, March 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Gay and transgender rights are going backwards in parts of the world, Britain's first special envoy on LGBT Rights has warned, as Hungary implements an anti-gay law and equality reforms in Singapore and Bermuda are blocked. 

 Hungary recently passed a law banning the "promotion" of homosexuality or gender identity to minors, following in the footsteps of Russia, while in February Singapore's highest court dismissed a challenge to the city-state's gay sex ban. 

 Earlier this month, London's Privy Council - the highest court of appeal for British territories - ruled that Bermuda's ban on same-sex marriage was allowed under the island's constitution. "It's important to realise that there are some countries where human rights issues are a real concern, where they are going backwards," Nick Herbert told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a video call.

OHS Condemns Attack on the Ukraine

The Ontario Humanist Society (OHS) joins our Humanist friends worldwide in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

OHS calls for Russia to cease its illegal and unprovoked actions, and to cease all challenges to Ukraine’s independence. Russia must terminate its violation of international law and of the UN Charter, and withdraw from Ukraine immediately. There is
 no justification for this aggression and the cost will be borne by innocent Ukrainians.

As Humanists we can NOT turn away from this humanitarian crisis. We encourage OHS members to stand behind the Ukrainian people through the many opportunities available to us, some suggestions are listed below. Our Ethical Actions Committee will further examine steps we can take to continue to show our support for Ukraine.

If you would like to donate to support Ukraine, here are some charities that you might wish to consider:

Canada/Ukraine Foundation  
Ukrainian Red Cross 
Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal
The Canadian Government will match all donations by Canadians dollar-for-dollar, to a maximum of $10 million.
United Nations High Commission on Refugees Canada

If you would like to provide input into Canada's response to the situation in Ukraine:  
Write to our Prime Minister 
Or seek out an on-line petition that supports your point of view. 

Thank you for joining the OHS board in condemning this travesty that is unfolding before us.


Ontario Allliance to End Homelessness Budget Submission to Govt of Ontario

 Send Letter

Pre-Budget Submission to the Government of Ontario

February 2022

Delivered to:
Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy
Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board
Government of Ontario

Kaite Burkholder Harris, Daphna Nussbaum, Jennifer van Gennip
Co-Chairs, Ontario Alliance to End Homelessness

About OAEH

The Ontario Alliance to End Homelessness (OAEH) is a network of 50+ communities, agencies, and individuals dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in Ontario.

Our Issue

Housing affordability is one of the most pressing issues in cities, towns, and rural areas all across Ontario. There are a number of compounding factors that have allowed the costs of housing to far outpace average wages. As an alliance to end homelessness, our focus lies largely on non-market supply and demand, relied on by those on very low incomes to meet their human right to housing. This government has spent millions of dollars providing shelter accommodations throughout the pandemic. As that funding winds down and shelters return to pre-pandemic capacity, thousands of individuals and families face life on the streets without funding and housing units to transition them back into housing.

The province has the opportunity in this budget to take decisive steps that can prioritize those who find themselves without a safe, affordable place to call home. New investments and regulatory reform are both needed.

Our Recommendations

  1. Investments in both capital and operations. Municipalities need increased provincial contributions for affordable housing development. There is also an ongoing need for the province to invest in operating grants for affordable housing providers, especially supportive housing providers.
  2. Increased social assistance rates. Ontario’s social assistance programs, including Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), are a targeted solution to poverty in this province. But when the social assistance rates are out of step with the costs of living, people remain trapped in poverty with few choices to better their circumstances. Currently, a single person on OW receives just $390/month for housing.
  3. Renewed and expanded rent supplement programs. According to the March 2021 Housing and Homelessness Programs Report from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO), the province currently only provides rent supplements for approximately 40% of the households identified as being in core housing need. The same FAO report shows the provincial portion of all housing programs averages only 0.3% of the province’s expenditures. Rent supplements are currently provided through three main funds slated to end in the next two years.
  4. Transitional supports from provincial institutions. Youth aging out of care, patients being discharged from health care institutions, and people being released from incarceration often end up homeless or underhoused due to the lack of transition supports. 
The under-investment in the housing needs of low-income Ontarians is contributing to the large increase in the inflow into our homelessness systems, and severely impacting communities ability to re-house people. We are all aware that it is more cost-effective to offer financial support to provide individuals with housing than to house them in shelter beds so providing deeply affordable housing benefits us all. We are asking the province to invest in a healthier, more resilient Ontario through this budget with permanent solutions for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessnes


Petition to Canadian House of Commons re non-believers refugee claims in Canada

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

  • Non-believers are persecuted in several countries, both by government and the public;
  • Persecution of non-believers can result in serious injury, imprisonment, or death at the hands of family members, street mobs, or governments;
  • Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, wrongly label all non-believers as terrorists and this alone should not disqualify them for refugee status;
  • The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled several times that Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to freedom from religion as much as the right to freedom of religion, a standard which Canada should apply to refugees as well as citizens; and
  • Non-believing refugee claimants for refugee status through the Less Complex Claims policy would be qualified by such international organizations as Humanists International, and Atheist Alliance International, both of which have Special Consultative Status at the United Nations, and Participatory Status at the Council of Europe.
We, the undersigned, citizens or residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to clarify the status of the Less Complex Claims policy, and to ensure that non-believers are included in the list of people eligible for any special refugee status so that they will be treated equally with those people belonging to the religions which are listed in the Less Complex Claims policy.


Humanists warn of climate change emergency

Humanists warn of climate change emergency

Today at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Humanists International has asserted the urgent need to accept climate science, and to face squarely the potentially catastrophic global impacts of global warming and biodiversity loss.

Humanists International Director of Advocacy, Elizabeth O’Casey, comments:

“It it about time that member States recognized that any debate on climate change is long over. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from accepting what the science is telling us about how we are heating up the Earth, changing the climate more rapidly than we can keep up with, let alone the capacity of other living things to adapt, and so we are driving many thousands of species toward extinction and threatening the very fabric of human civilization.”


International Day for the Eradication of Poverty | United Nations

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty | United Nations

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have pushed between 143 and 163 million people into poverty in 2021.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have increased poverty by 8.1% in 2020 relative to 2019 (from 8.4% to 9.1%).
  • The number of people living under the international poverty lines for lower and upper middle-income countries is projected to have increased in the poverty rate of 2.3 percentage points.
  • Almost half of the projected new poor will be in South Asia, and more than a third in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In the Middle East and North Africa, extreme poverty rates nearly doubled between 2015 and 2018, from 3.8 percent to 7.2 percent, spurred by the conflicts in the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Yemen.
  • Current projections indicate that shared prosperity will have dropped sharply in nearly all economies in 2020–21, as the pandemic’s economic burden is felt across the entire income distribution.
  • COVID-19 has already been the worst reversal on the path towards the goal of global poverty reduction in last three decades.