Sassan Sanei, Humanist Officiant
I became a wedding officiant because I love celebrations! There is an everlasting beauty in the exchange of marriage vows between two people who want to share their lives together.
I also became an officiant to offer freedom of choice.
Historically in Ontario, couples had only two choices: a religious ceremony in a church, or a civil ceremony at city hall. Each has its own religious rules or legal requirements that must be followed, restrictions that must be adhered to, and limited choice in the style and wording of the ceremony.
This is unfair. It is your wedding and you deserve the ceremony you want, not the ceremony someone thinks you need.
Humanist weddings are different. We will plan and write your wedding ceremony together. As a Humanist Officiant, I have the freedom to create a unique, personalized ceremony for you that symbolizes your commitment to each other. There will be no unwanted religious elements, no pressure to do things a certain way, and no dry legal wording.
Your ceremony will be based on your own preferences and allow you to express your individual personalities, because everything will be said in accordance with your wishes.
Canada is also a land of people from all over the world, for whom cultural identity is closely intertwined with religious beliefs. Many couples ask me to create a unique ceremony that includes their cultural traditions—just without the religious elements. I would be happy to work with you to design a meaningful ceremony that reflects you and the values that bring you together.
Officiants with Humanist Canada undergo background checks, character references, interviews, and training. We are selected on the basis of education, life experience, writing and presentation skills, and ongoing commitment to Humanist principles.
I have been a Humanist my entire life. The basic premise of Humanism is the belief in ourselves as intelligent human beings who can think and act for ourselves, without needing guidance from a divine being.
My parents, by their own example, taught me from a young age that a truly egalitarian society must by its very nature be both secular and inclusive. They raised me to believe in the importance of education, academic research, critical thinking, and evidence-based decision-making. Our family's moral standards are rooted in kindness, reason, and compassion.
My educational background includes a Toronto French School diploma as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) degree in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Philosophy, both from the University of Waterloo.
I spent 16 years of my engineering career at Research In Motion (aka RIM or BlackBerry), managing application development, strategic design and initiatives, and various training programs. I designed one of the earliest devices for wireless credit card transactions and invented systems and methods for radio-modems to communicate with host servers securely. I subsequently became CTO and co-founder of a tech startup building a social marketplace for digital artists. I am the creator of international keyboard layouts for Mac OS as well as algorithms used in large number factorization for cryptography.
My personal interests include photography, languages, classical literature, writing, 8-bit computing, playing Scrabble, binge-watching The Office on Netflix, and playing piano on my Steinway Model O.
I'm an Officiant and Lifetime Member of Humanist Canada, a non-profit secular human rights organization founded in 1968 by Dr. Henry Morgentaler. I also serve on the board of directors in a volunteer capacity. Our mission is to promote and protect the separation of religion from public policy, to foster the development of critical thinking through secular education, and to provide community support for all Canadians. In short, a secular Canadian society shaped by science and compassion. I am also a member of the Society of Freethinkers (SOFREE), a secular humanist society centred in Waterloo Region with members in the surrounding areas of Southwestern Ontario.
I am legally authorized to solemnize marriage in the Province of Ontario by the Deputy Registrar General (Ministry of Public and Business Delivery), pursuant to the Marriage Act. In addition to writing and officiating your ceremony, my service includes signing your marriage licence and registering your marriage with the Ontario government.