Building a Humane Canada: Lessons and Possibilities for Social Change

Dr. Kendra Coulter, Associate Professor, Brock University
Cheri DiNovo, Member of Provincial Parliament, Parkdale-High Park (Ontario NDP)
Laurie Morrison, Co-Founder, Niagara VegFest

This panel will focus on what has been and could be done to build a more humane country. Each of the presenters will focus on a particular dimension of social and political action: Kendra on humane jobs; Cheri on humane public policy; and Laurie on humane community. They will identify and unpack positive examples in each area, and discuss what made/makes these efforts successful. They will also highlight key practical lessons of broader applicability, and not only where there are clear opportunities to make inroads, but also how positive changes could be achieved. Overall, the session will explore the meanings and potential of the term “humane,” and how the wellbeing of animals is affected by the labour force and economy, public policy, and the sort of empathetic communities people nurture. Together, the presenters will paint a multi-faceted picture of what has been and could be done to create a more humane Canada.

Key Learnings:
1. Learn about successes in social, political, and activist spheres – and how and why these strategies worked
2. Gain practical knowledge about how to advocate for political and economic change, and to organize valuable community-building events
3. Expand their perceptions of what is desirable and possible in society


Dr. Kendra Coulter
Kendra is an associate professor in the Centre for Labour Studies at Brock University where she developed and teaches the unique course “Animals at Work.” An award-winning author and frequent media commentator, her latest book is Animals, Work, and the Promise of Interspecies Solidarity. Her current, innovative research focuses on how to strengthen, expand, and create what she calls humane jobs: jobs that are good for both people and animals.

Cheri DiNovo
Cheri is the Member of Provincial Parliament for Parkdale-High Park and a member of the New Democratic Party. First elected in 2006 after gaining a reputation as a path-making social justice advocate, Cheri continues to work for the wellbeing of women, marginalized people, and animals. She has been a leader in the fights against breed-specific legislation and marine mammal captivity, and for greater legislative protections for animals of all kinds.

Laurie Morrison
Laurie is the co-founder of Niagara VegFest, an annual vegan festival that takes place in St. Catharines, Ontario. She also helped organize the Walk for Farm Animals in St. Catharines in 2011 and 2012, was a shelter intern at Farm Sanctuary (Watkins Glen, NY) during the winter of 2013 and regularly volunteers at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary. In addition to striving to improve the world for animals, she also holds the position of Associate University Librarian at Brock University. Laurie shares her home with four cats and a house rabbit.