Call for Abstracts

2021 Online National Animal Welfare Conference

April 6-8, 2021

The deadline for abstract submissions is November 2, 2020.

About the 2021 Online National Animal Welfare Conference

The National Animal Welfare Conference, NAWC, is the biggest and best-attended animal welfare conference in Canada, held in a different Canadian city every spring since 2014. In 2021 we are expecting to gather over 1,200 attendees online from across Canada and abroad.

All sessions will be available in the online conference platform for 3 months post conference. Re-watch your favourite sessions at your own pace and on your own time.

About Humane Canada™

Humane Canada, (previously known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies,) is Canada’s federation of SPCAs and humane societies. We bring together organizations that work with and care for animals to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals.

Since we were founded in 1957, we’ve earned our solid reputation and enviable credibility as the go-to national voice on animal welfare issues for industry, media, government, non-governmental organizations and the public. We work collaboratively and cooperatively with key stakeholders from across Canada, based on the premise that we can have a greater impact creating positive change by being a part of the process instead of being apart from it. To learn more about Humane Canada™ visit:

Application Process

Humane Canada™ welcomes abstract submissions for the 2021 Online National Animal Welfare Conference taking place April 6-8, 2021. Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 and the safety of attendees Humane Canada™ has decided to host the 2021 conference online. 

To balance the program and deliver on a range of diverse topics, the program committee is seeking abstracts under the following educational themes: 

  • Canine Welfare and Behaviour

Emerging canine welfare science, best practices and new initiatives for dogs in the community or a shelter environment, international dog importation,  breeding for exaggerated conformation, supporting the public with education on canine behaviour and humane training.

  • Challenges to Effective Legal Protection for Animals

Recent developments in legislation, case decisions, legal strategies and initiatives to advance animal protection. Topics may also include new approaches in investigative work and managing cruelty cases through the courts. 

  • Community-Supported Animal Sheltering

What is the role of animal welfare organizations, beyond sheltering, how to keep pets with their families, approaches to remove barriers and engage the community including how to advance the community-as-shelter model, best practices and protocols for operating a shelter during the pandemic. Topics may also include integrating animal services, social services and community planning.

  • Diversity, Inclusion and Reconciliation

Initiatives to recognize and promote diversity and create inclusion within the animal welfare sector as well as in relationship with the communities we serve, how to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and what diverse perspectives can teach us about animals and our relationship with them.

  • Farmed Animal Welfare and Behaviour

Programs and initiatives dedicated to improving the lives of farmed animals, applicable welfare and behaviour research, innovative practices that reduce environmental impacts and improve welfare, public attitudes and perceptions about animal farming, how advocates can work with industry to effect change, other new developments in this area.

  • Feline Welfare and Behaviour

Emerging science shifts and trends in the management of cats in the community and shelter, shelter design, feline behavioural assessment tools and modification programs, supporting the public with education on feline behaviour and humane training.

Accepted Formats

Presenters are encouraged to include interactive components in their sessions and will be provided with access to Q/A, polls and chat function.

  • Presentation - 60 minutes (45 min presentation, 15 min Q/A)
  • Workshop or Panel - 90 minutes (60 min discussion or training, 30 min Q/A or an interactive 90 minutes while engaging attendees and answering questions throughout)

                 This format is reserved for an interactive workshop or panel, and lectures will not be 


  • Lightning talk - 30 minutes (15 min talk, 15 min Q/A). 

                This format is reserved for new and emerging ideas -think TED talks for animal welfare – and  

                 should include a 15 min captivating monologue with few to no slides and 15 min Q/A.

Please note that all formats above will be conducted live unless there is a situation where the speaker cannot be present at the time the session is scheduled. This year’s conference will have an estimated attendance 1000+ attendees. Sessions will be available online to watch for 3 months post-event.


Please complete the online application form by first creating an account. Once your account has been created, scroll down to complete the application. It is important that your abstract be comprehensive and detailed enough (within the limitations of the word count) for the program committee to be able to evaluate your proposed session, including why you feel it is compelling, relevant and timely. 


Abstracts will be reviewed by the program committee, and you will be contacted with the committee's decisions between the end of November and mid-December.

Deadline to Apply

The deadline for abstract submissions is November 2, 2020.


Please email: