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The Council of Canadians

The Council of Canadians
Formation 1985
Type citizen's organization based in Canada
Legal status active
Purpose advocate and public voice, educator and network
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Region served Canada
Official language English, French
Chair Maude Barlow
Website Council of Canadians official website

The Council of Canadians is a left leaning non-profit organization that advocates for clean water, fair trade, green energy, public health care, and a vibrant democracy.[1] The organization is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario with regional offices in Halifax, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver and a network of local chapters across the country.[2]

While primarily focused on national issues, the Council of Canadians also does international work through its Blue Planet Project,[3] which focuses on the implementation of the human right to water and sanitation.


  • History 1
  • Support 2
  • Funding Controversy 3
  • Political Activity 4
  • Illegal Activity 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Council of Canadians was founded in 1985 in the lead up to the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and North American Free Trade Agreement. The Council later expanded its focus to include campaigns on health care, water, public pensions, corporate influence, and energy.[4]

Founding members of the Council included Margaret Atwood, David Suzuki, Farley Mowat, Pierre Berton, Margaret Laurence, several politicians and other prominent Canadians.[5] The Council of Canadians is currently chaired by Maude Barlow, who is best known internationally for her work on water-related issues.[6]

In 2012 $202,000 was transferred from the Council of Canadians to the Maude Barlow Social Justice Fund Account[7][8]

The Council publishes a magazine called Canadian Perspectives, which is published twice a year.[9]


For the 2011-2012 fiscal year the Council received 92 percent of its funding from members and supporters who gave an average of $54.59.[10] An additional seven percent of the annual budget came from foundation grants.[11]

The Council of Canadians receives no money from governments or corporations, however it makes no such claims regards funding it receives from organizations such as political parties, labour unions or environmental activist groups.[1]

Funding Controversy

On April 14, 2014 a report by Sun News Network accused the Council of Canadians of receiving money from USA based organizations to oppose Canadian energy projects.[12] On its website, the Council of Canadians admits to receiving funding from US foundations to engage in activities in Canada.[13]

Political Activity

Due to its overt political activities, the Council of Canadians does not qualify as a registered charity in Canada.[14]

In 2011, The Council of Canadians backed a lawsuit brought by a group of voters against the Conservative Party of Canada. Ultimately the voters lost the lawsuit and decided not to appeal the decision to a higher court[15]

The Council of Canadians will frequently advocate on behalf of unions, such as the BCTF, involved in labour disputes[16]

Brent Patterson is the Political Director for The Council of Canadians[17]

Illegal Activity

On November 20 2014 Brigette DePape,an official blogger and spokesperson for the Council of Canadians, was arrested by the RCMP at Burnaby Mountain, British Columbia for defying a court order. [18]


  1. ^ a b "About Us | The Council of Canadians". Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  2. ^ "Chapter contacts | The Council of Canadians". Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  3. ^ "Blue Planet Project". Blue Planet Project. 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  4. ^ "History | The Council of Canadians". Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  5. ^ "Formation of the Council of Canadians". 1985-03-11. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  6. ^ "Maude Barlow". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  7. ^ The Council of Canadians (PDF), Spring 2013 http://www.canadians.orgs/default/files/publications/annual-report-12.pdf , retrieved 30 September 2014 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Canadian Perspectives
  10. ^ "Ezra Levant questions source of Council donations". 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  11. ^ "2012 Annual Report to Members". Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links

  • Council of Canadians official website
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