While the coronavirus pandemic has kept people apart, the Senate of Canada and the University of Victoria are coming together — virtually — to facilitate understanding of how the crisis is affecting vulnerable communities.
The pandemic has exposed deep divides in Canada and around the world. Data show that the virus disproportionately affects marginalized communities in Canada and in other countries. On the economic front, there have been shortages of consumer products and essential goods. Socially, the crisis has fomented hostility, while misinformation has gone viral on social media, making it more difficult for people to separate fact from fiction.
Under the theme “Bridging Divides in the Wake of a Global Pandemic,” the Senate is partnering with the University of Victoria to host a virtual version of the Victoria Forum. This year, the event will take place on November 12, 13 and 19, 2020 and will bring together more than 700 changemakers from across the globe to help find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
Some of that work has already begun.
Over the last several weeks, academics, city leaders and policy makers have been meeting virtually to discuss the impact of the pandemic on social, economic and environmental divides. Many senators have already served as panellists and moderators in a series of webinars. These webinars and the Virtual Victoria Forum 2020 will lay the groundwork for the flagship edition of the Forum next year.
Speaker of the Senate George J. Furey will deliver opening remarks at this year’s edition.
Speaker of the Senate, George J. Furey, Q.C. (Photo credit: Jean-Marc Carisse)
"These kinds of partnerships are a reflection of what the Senate does — bringing people together to develop solutions to problems of national concern in a collaborative and collegial manner,” Speaker Furey said.
“I am proud to see the Senate support respectful conversations that will help us to better understand and respond to the social, economic and environmental divides exposed by the pandemic.”
Special guests at the 2020 event include Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Liberal International President Hakima El Haite, Lord John Alderdice and Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.