Climate change march © Courtesy of Citizens for Public Justice
For almost 60 years, Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) has engaged with the question: What are the political and social implications of the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) in Canadian public policy? Through years of advocacy, we have walked with faith communities and individuals to understand our collective role in advocating for justice at the systemic level.
We hold teachings like the Golden Rule and beliefs in the inherent dignity and value of all people and creation call us to recognize our interconnectedness and to live in harmony. Rather than buying into the myths of scarcity, scapegoating, or superiority, faith can help us imagine another way of engaging with one another and our natural environment. The belief in the inherent dignity and value of all, and the recognition that our well-being is bound up together, can help us reimagine our systems and institutions.
Whether or not we are living it ourselves, the violence and oppression faced by Black, Indigenous, and racialized people, the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, disabled people, refugees and migrants, and those living in poverty and precarity cannot—and must not—be ignored by people of faith. Nor can we ignore the degradation of our natural environment and rising global temperatures.
CPJ is a national, progressive organization of members who are inspired by faith to act for social and environmental justice in Canadian public policy. While CPJ has its roots in the Christian tradition, we partner regularly with other faith groups and non-faith-based groups, building solidarity across broader advocacy movements. CPJ’s work focuses on three key policy areas: poverty eradication in Canada, climate justice, and refugee and migrant rights. For more than 50 years, justice-oriented people of faith, along with churches and religious orders, and members from the broader advocacy community have joined together to build a more just and sustainable society.
Engaging in the work of justice requires humility, transparency, and accountability. This is particularly true given the harms that ensue when faith and politics are not aligned with justice. By aligning ourselves with those experiencing oppression and recognizing the wisdom and expertise they bring, CPJ and our partners seek to amplify the voices of people typically marginalized from our political decision-making processes, ensuring that our public policies are equitable and effective.
Building on this input and experience, CPJ develops resources and materials, learning opportunities, and non-partisan advocacy campaigns to mobilize justice-oriented people of faith and others in the broader advocacy movement in our shared pursuit of justice. We meet with parliamentarians at the federal level to provide effective and equitable policy recommendations, as well as advice on creating decision-making processes that are more inclusive and transparent. Grounded in anti-oppressive, rights-based approaches, we call for governments, industry, and residents of Canada to work together for the common good—a far cry from the current status quo.
We believe faith and advocacy have a critical role to play in building a better future. Working together, may it be so.
To learn more about CPJ and to become a member, please visit our website at cpj.ca.
To stay up to date with our campaigns and events, follow us on Twitter (@publicjustice), Facebook (@citizensforpublicjustice), Instagram (@citizensforpublicjustice), and LinkedIn (Citizens for Public Justice) or subscribe to our monthly newsletter at cpj.ca/jen.
Somali boy Bashir Nur Salat poses for a photograph with his classmates at the Kabasa Primary School in Dollow, Gedo Region, Somalia May 25, 2022.
Photo © Beatrice Moritz Photography 2019 By Raye Mocioiu “George’s father always said that the most important thing in life is to challenge people with
We take on the biggest systemic threats to justice of our time – abusive corporate power and predatory practices, the assault on civil rights and liberties, and the destruction of the earth’s sustainability. We connect high-impact litigation with strategic communications and the strength of our partnerships to fight these abusive and discriminatory systems and win social and economic justice.