COVID-19 and Public Health: The Faith and Spiritual Leaders Dialogue Series

September 13, 2021

In December 2020, the Office of the Premier hired SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue (the Centre) to design, deliver and facilitate a series of workshops with senior spiritual and faith leaders from across the province regarding compliance questions, concerns and recommendations in the context of the PHO’s evolving COVID-19 pandemic orders. 


The Faith and Spiritual Leaders Dialogue Series engaged more than 100 faith leaders over eight workshops.

Leaders from the following faith and spiritual communities were represented: Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian (Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, Pentecostal, Dutch Reformed, United Church of Canada, Anglican, Celebration Life Church, Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian), Unitarian, Jewish (Orthodox, Reform, Conservative), Hindu, Muslim (Sunni, Shi’a, Ismaili Shi’a, and Sufi perspectives) and diverse Sikh communities. Senior level Indigenous representation was also included, from Kwakwaka’wakw and Musqueam Nations. Workshops were designed in two basic formats: first, four larger sessions with facilitated breakout rooms, followed by four smaller sessions in plenary with a diverse working group (involving a relatively consistent group of 20-30 leaders or their proxies).

In most workshops, leaders met with Dr. Bonnie Henry and/or other provincial officials. In the later stages, the working group provided detailed feedback on various drafts of PHO guidelines, policies and health orders regarding clarity, respectful language and culturally appropriate accommodations.


The Faith and Spiritual Leaders Dialogue Series yielded important results and impacts, including:

  • Faith leaders informed and reviewed draft health orders, communications and background materials, contributing to better outcomes for government and communities
  • Stronger relationships and collaborative spirit between the Province, PHO and BC’s faith and spiritual leaders]
  • Deeper government understanding of the particular and unique experiences, needs and contexts of BC’s diverse faith and spiritual communities; and deeper community understanding of complexity, rigour and compassion within government’s policy process
  • High participant engagement and satisfaction (as illustrated by survey results)
  • A new model for future engagement initiatives


This document surfaces the key strengths of the Faith and Spiritual Leaders Dialogue, the combination of which is uncommon for public or stakeholder engagement processes. It is an internal reflection on best practices and principles for complex projects requiring multi-stakeholder support.

Let's Start a Conversation

Purpose of Inquiry

Please do not use this form for room bookings.* To book room rentals in the Wosk Building, please email or visit the Meetings, Events and Conferences website.