Biography by N. Shore
On Canada began in March 2020 under the name of ON COVID-19, with the directive of providing reliably sourced COVID-19 information to Millennials and Gen Z via the social media platforms those generations accessed most. It was a solo pursuit at first for Samanta Krishnapillai, but not for long. The work grew fast, and help arrived in the form of Millennials and Gen Z who were drawn to the work and the values behind it.
While powerful and privileged voices were still spouting platitudes about “being in the same boat,” Samanta and the people on her growing team were building an equity-oriented vessel steered by navigational principles that aligned with their own.
“An authentic existence means being who we are, acting on what we care about, and having our values valued. We take a decolonized approach to a feminist business model. That's not only the sort of organization we want to have, but the world we want to exist in.”
When Samanta sought training to level up on the technical aspects of business, grant-writing, and communications, she found a kindred spirit in WOSEN’s Women in Social Enterprise program. The coaching she received from Mariam Waliji reflected the exact kind of empowerment Samanta wanted to deliver back to her team and their audience. It wasn’t about being told what to do: it was about being given the space, tools, and encouragement it takes to go out and do it.
Samanta's vision for a compassion-centred workplace culture - where the whole self is welcomed, where the value and values of each member can flourish rather than be wrestled into unnatural packaging – stays the course of On Canada's growth. That sentiment is echoed by the members themselves, who speak of finding the work incredibly meaningful, but the environment supportive, and the learning experiences profound. For many whose plans and goals had been swept away to varying degrees by the pandemic, On Canada became a channel for their energy and passion.
And it shows.
“It's the most fulfilling role I've ever had. I've never felt as value-aligned, or as fulfilled, or driven as I do with the work we're doing now.”
As their project expands its mission to challenge and ultimately change social inequities embedded in Canadian systems, On Canada's team recognizes among its growing audience that people want to walk the talk of social justice, and want to work together as a community to solve problems. What is needed are organizations that grasp compassion as a tool for dismantling status quo systems that have failed too many people for far too long. That's where On Canada looks to its commitment to an authentic existence – rooted in compassion, understanding, and growth – as a critical ingredient in the alchemy of social change.