Congress 2020

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and Congress 2020

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and Congress 2020


Video address by Federation President and CEO Gabriel Miller


Download the script | Visit the FAQ page | Comments or questions:


Refund of payments made for Congress 2020 accommodations at Western University
Individuals that have made payments for on campus accommodation for Congress 2020 can request a refund by email at anytime. The $25 admin fee has been waived for all reservations. If you have not yet requested a refund, we would encourage you to do so by emailing us at
Your patience is requested as we continue to process refunds accordingly, we will get back you as soon as possible.
If you have any other inquiries concerning on-campus accommodation, please contact

Updated on March 31


Click here to see the latest update on refunds.

Updated on March 25


Webinar for associations: sneak peek of a virtual Congress - Monday, March 23, 2020 at 16:00. Contact us at for more information.

Updated on March 23 


The refund deadline has been extended from April 15 to April 30, 2020 and the Federation is waiving the $25 administration fee. If your association has withdrawn their Congress participation, there is no need to email us; we will process individual Congress fee refunds as soon as possible and send you a confirmation email. Refunds of association conference fees will be managed on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with associations.We will also be reaching out to recipients of Congress funds with more information in the next few days. We thank you all for your continued patience.


Updated on March 20 


Important update regarding Congress 2020

Dear Federation members,

First, I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your collaboration and patience as we worked together to determine a contingency plan for Congress 2020.

After extensive consultations with members and key partners and a thorough evaluation of all possible scenarios, the Federation – in close collaboration with Western University – has decided there will not be an in-person Congress in 2020. However, we have developed a proposal to move Congress online, and will be working closely with associations who wish to participate.

Our number one priority is protecting public health and the health of all Congress participants. By taking Congress online, we can help “flatten the curve” while providing associations with alternate options for disseminating their members’ research. We will continue to encourage multidisciplinary engagement through association programming and open events, all under the 2020 theme Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism, which remains at the heart of our plans. 

We will be consulting members on ways to achieve a strong focus on this important theme.

Early next week, we will be hosting a webinar for associations’ representatives who wish to get a preview of what a virtual Congress will look like. More details will follow, as will more information about our cancellation and refund procedures. 

In order to move forward with logistical preparations, we will be asking associations to confirm their participation in a virtual Congress 2020 by March 27. We are committed to working closely with all of you as we make this transition, so that together we can ensure you are best equipped to host a successful online conference.

Moving Congress online is going to be a learning curve for everyone involved, but also a unique opportunity we can embrace together. Thank you, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you to bring a virtual Congress to life.

Gabriel Miller
President and Chief Executive Officer
Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Click here to download the PDF update

Updated on March 19 


Today the Federation held a conference call with association Presidents and Executive Directors to consult them about planning for Congress 2020. More information will follow this week.

Updated on March 18


Read the update from the March 13 special briefing with associations. 

Updated on March 14


Special briefing documents about COVID-19 and Congress 2020:

Updated on March 12


A summary of discussions that took place during the first special briefing about COVID-19 and our preparations for Congress 2020, along with questions and answers will be posted on this page as soon as possible.


The refund deadline has been extended to April 30, 2020. The Federation is waiving the $25 administration fee for those not attending due to COVID-19 concerns. If Congress does not go ahead, all attendees will be eligible for a full refund of their Congress fee. Refunds of association conference fees will be managed on a case-by-case basis, based on association’s contingency plans. 

Updated on March 11


The Federation advises attendees travelling to Congress 2020 from abroad as well as associations hosting international speakers and attendees to check the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) travel advisories and take note of the self-isolation requirements

Updated on March 10


The Federation is holding two special briefings about COVID-19 and our preparations for Congress 2020 on March 11 and 13, 2020 at 13:00 ET. During these special briefings, updates on the steps we are taking and our collaboration with Western University’s Pandemic Planning Group will be shared. It will be an opportunity for association presidents to ask questions, offer suggestions and share information. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to A summary of discussions and Q&A will be posted here by March 14.

Updated on March 9


The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and Western University are committed to providing a safe and healthy space for all Congress participants, speakers, attendees, exhibitors and partners. To that end, we are closely monitoring advice regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Government of Canada’s travel advisories, and the World Health Organization (WHO), and working with Western University’s Pandemic Planning Group on contingency plans for all scenarios.

Currently, PHAC has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada, including London, Ontario and we are moving ahead with our normal preparations for Congress 2020.

Congress participants who cannot attend the event due to illness, exposure to COVID-19, and/or COVID-19 travel restrictions should contact for refunds and other questions.

Congress participants who will be speaking at Congress should contact their association directly if they are unable to present as planned. 

All participants can help prevent the spread of infection by:

  • washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • avoiding touching their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • coughing or sneezing into their sleeve and not their hands; and
  • staying home is they are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.

Additionally, another concern regarding COVID-19 is the stigmatization of specific populations and the rise of harmful stereotypes. As per the WHO, stigma occurs when people negatively associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a specific population. The Federation considers stigmatization and stereotyping to be a form of discrimination as described by the Code of Conduct, and as such all Congress participants should refrain from these behaviours.

The above information will be reviewed regularly in the lead-up to Congress. Participants can also view the latest information from Western University at

Updated on March 3, 2020