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Missed Connections: Social Cohesion and COVID-19

Humans rely on each other for our survival and well-being. But the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the ways we can connect and relate to one another.

Social cohesion describes the sense of connection and solidarity within and across communities and has been referred to as the “glue that holds a society together.” Even after some re-opening of Canadian society, physical distancing guidelines remain in place and in-person interactions remain mostly limited to our “bubbles,” consisting usually of our family members and already established close friendships. Over the past months, though some Canadians have indicated a greater sense of connection with their families, they report feeling less connected to their friends and the broader community. When we can’t associate with varied groups of people, we miss out on opportunities to move beyond narratives of “us” and “them” and towards kindness, trust and empathy for those whose experiences are different from our own.

Despite our physical separation, a caremongering movement quickly emerged in response to the pandemic. Diverse communities have started mutual aid networks and neighbourhood pods to address inequities made worse by the pandemic, and community foundations are funding innovative grassroots projects to combat isolation. People are showing support in unprecedented numbers to speak out about racism and many are finding ways to connect with each other and even strengthen social resilience in their communities.

But as the months pass and we move deeper into the pandemic, can we keep this momentum up? As the demands to limit our social interactions persist and the stress of uncertainty and isolation continue, how will our mental health and wellbeing, as well as our ability to cooperate as a society, be impacted?

This instalment of Distant, Not Disengaged is all about connection. Join us to share how your social experience has changed under the pandemic and what you are both hopeful for and worried about. You’re invited to bring a photo (printed or on your phone) of a favourite recent social interaction, pre-physical distancing and COVID-19, to share in small discussion groups with fellow participants.

We will also hear from some special guests who will share their thoughts on our social fabric and how it has been and may continue to be affected by COVID-19.




August 13, 2020

12:00 - 1:15 PM


Online event
A link and password to join the event will be sent to registrants via Eventbrite.

Accessibility, Technology and Privacy

Registration and password

A password to access this webinar will be sent to all registrants via email in the days and hours preceeding the event.

Technology requirements

This workshop will be presented in a participatory webinar format. To engage fully you will need:

  • A laptop, computer, or smartphone
  • A webcam
  • A microphone
  • Speakers or headphones

Protecting your privacy

To ensure that we are using online meeting technology in a privacy-conscious way, we are following best practices for this online event series:

  • We will only circulate the meeting link to those who are registered for the event
  • We will password protect the meeting
  • We will enable end-to-end encryption
  • We will not use attention tracking
  • We will lock the meeting at 12:10pm
  • We will ask that participants use their first and last name as their display name on the webinar, so we can check incoming participants against the event registration list

To protect your own privacy we suggest that:

  • You use a unique email address to log into the webinar. This is so that the webinar platform can’t cross-reference your profile with the rest of your digital profiles under your email address.
  • We suggest you do not use your Facebook profile to log into the webinar. This is so that the webinar platform can’t cross-reference you with your Facebook account.
  • We remind you that whatever you say in the webinar is public and recorded, so please do not share sensitive information about yourself or others, and do not say anything you do not wish to enter the public domain.

To protect the privacy of others we ask that:

  • You do not record or photograph yourself, other participants, or the hosts during the webinar, unless permission is requested and given.

Commitment to Community Guidelines and Social Accountability

All participants are asked to participate as socially accountable community members. We ask that you provide your full name as your display name during the online meeting and that you review our community guidelines ahead of your participation in the event. This is to ensure the safety of our guests and speakers as well as foster honest and accountable dialogue between people in this space. Thank you for respecting our community guidelines!

  • Above all, there will be zero tolerance for those who promote violence against others on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or different ability. Anyone who incites harm towards other participants (be it through the chat, video or audio functions) will be removed at the discretion of our technical team and moderator.
  • Be as present as possible (turn video on, put away phone, close/mute tabs).
  • Thoughtful questions are welcome in the chat throughout the session. If your question is for a particular speaker, type “@name” at the beginning.
  • Don’t assume pronouns/gender/knowledge based on someone’s name or video image. We can refer to people using the usernames they provide!
  • Step up, step back: if you’ve asked a question or shared a comment, ensure that new voices are heard before you contribute again.
  • Practice self-care: if you need to get up or take a break, please feel free.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding this event’s accessibility or privacy, feel free to connect with us at



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