Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom

The promotion and protection of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, is an important part of Canada’s constructive leadership in the world.

Canada is well-placed to protect and promote human rights globally. Canada’s multi-cultural and multi-faith experience is reflective of Canadian efforts to champion inclusive governance, peaceful pluralism, and respect for diversity in all spheres of society. Canada has made recognition of and respect for diversity a priority, both at home and abroad.

Discrimination against religious and belief communities, as with all forms of discrimination, causes human suffering, spreads division, and contributes to a climate of fear, intolerance, and stigmatization.

On February 19, 2013, the Government of Canada officially opened the Office of Religious Freedom within Global Affairs Canada. The Office is led by a Canada-based Ambassador for Religious Freedom. The Ambassador is supported by a team of officials, who together carry out the office’s international mandate, which is to:

  • protect, and advocate on behalf of, religious minorities under threat;
  • oppose religious hatred and intolerance; and
  • promote Canadian values of pluralism and tolerance abroad.

Freedom of religion or belief, including the ability to worship in peace and security, is a universal human right. It is enshrined in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, among other key human rights documents. Canada is currently working with partners to enhance the international promotion and protection of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief. For more information on the Office of Religious Freedom please see background information on the office or contact us.