Philia - a dialogue on citizenship
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About Philia

The Philia Dialogue on Caring Citizenship was founded on the simple belief that the health, well-being and strength of our society requires the presence and participation of all citizens.

This statement, like all statements of profound truth, may seem obvious. Yet there are many in our society whose presence is routinely overlooked, who are consistently deprived of the opportunity to make their contribution, who are excluded from full participation in civic life. In short: people who are not valued as full citizens.

Among those who have experienced barriers to engagement are people with disabilities. Since our roots are in the disability community, we have a particular interest in seeing those barriers removed. Not just for people with disabilities, but for anyone who has been marginalized, isolated or excluded. We envision a society in which every person can be a full and contributing citizen, and we bring the unique perspective of the disability community to the dialogue.

We operate from two basic assumptions: that everyone has a contribution to make, and that those contributions benefit all of us. We therefore want to ensure that everyone is included, their presence valued, and their contributions welcomed. We believe that when everyone is welcomed into community and given all the rights and responsibilities of full citizens, our communities will be strengthened, our neighbourhoods enlivened, and our social institutions revitalized.

From the very beginning we have recognized that effecting sustainable social change requires a blend of reflection and implementation. Our approach encompasses three strands, which are interrelated and interconnected

  • Formulating: deepening our understanding of the concepts, principles and values that form the base of caring citizenship;
  • Sharing: engaging individuals around these ideas and infusing them into organizations;
  • Applying: inspiring new practice based on the application of these new ideas.

These three strands are reflected in the structure of this website: Nourishing Ideas is our forum for formulating concepts and values, Good Conversation is devoted to sharing ideas in dialogue, and Inspiring Action focuses on examples of practical application of these ideas.

A Place to Nurture Ideas

The Philia Dialogue provides a place to nurture ideas, both big and small. We want to shine a light on ways of thinking that have been around for a long time, as well as ideas that emerge from contemporary experience. Some of these ideas originate from well-known thinkers and activists. Others will be launched by people who are not as familiar to the rest of us. Perhaps you are one of those people.

Please feel welcome to contribute your ideas to the dialogue. A true dialogue is based on the premise that everyone has something valuable to contribute. Your ideas may be the seed for even greater ideas! If you have a story you want to tell, an idea you want to explore, or an activity you want to report on, please share it with us by sending it to Or you can comment on an existing article or story by clicking the "Have Your Say" link at the bottom of the page.

We welcome your ideas, examples, stories and comments.

Date Author Subject Add Your Comment
Dec 22, 2021 by Leo Deveau The changing nature of citizenship during this election: What will it mean to be a Canadian after January 23rd?   (4 replies)
Related Items
The Philia Proposal, by Jacques Dufresne (PDF, 35kb)
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