Canadian Council for International Co-operation

Canadian Council for International Co-operation

What Happened

CCIC received support for its work strengthening Canada’s NGO sector and analyzing federal policies for almost four decades, however, in July 2010, the Council received word funding would no longer be available.

CCIC received public funding support for its work on strengthening Canada’s NGO sector and monitoring and analyzing federal policies on foreign affairs, aid, peace-building, trade and human rights for almost four decades. The Council received word funding would no longer be made available in July 2010 and was forced into a round of dramatic restructuring – laying off about two thirds of its staff team.

The decision was widely seen as “payback” for CCIC’s advocacy of public policy positions that had run at cross-purposes with those of the government. CCIC had been a key organizer in NGO protests following the defunding of KAIROS. They raised the issues of transparency and reliability in respect to the standards used by CIDA to determine whether or not funding would be extended to Canadian NGO partner organizations. Most CCIC member organizations include advocacy for better aid policy in their programs. Gerry Barr, head of the CCIC protested against the defunding of Kairos, saying that such cuts were causing a "chill" within the NGO community. CIDA’s decision to defund  CCIC cost the organization about $1,8M annually - two thirds of the organization’s total budget- what Mr. Barr called the “politics of punishment”. The funding cuts forced the CCIC had to lay off 17 of its 25 employees.

Relevant Dates:

  • November 30 2009: KAIROS receives a call from CIDA informing them that the proposal had been rejected.
  • July 2010: The CCIC is defunded, and is forced to restructure the organisation dramatically: two thirds of the staff are laid off.

Role or Position

The Council is a coalition of Canadian voluntary sector organizations working globally to achieve sustainable human development. CCIC seeks to end global poverty and to promote social justice and human dignity for all.

Implications and Consequences

  • Democracy: The CCIC has survived with other sources of funding, but has lost significant areas of programming including some of its capacity in policy research and analysis.
  • Free Speech: Though CCIC has survived the cuts, the termination of public funding might have meant the loss of a critical and well-respected voice for the world’s poor.
  • Free Speech: Defunding of the CCIC was another clear message to Canadian organizations that there would be a price to pay for public criticism of government policy and actions; the decision contributed to a growing chill effect in the NGO community.
  • Transparency: Accountability in Canada’s aid program was undermined as NGOs lost confidence in the transparency and reliability of standards used at CIDA to judge the merits of funding proposals for programs overseas.
  • Democracy: Effectivness in aid spending is sacrificed when partisan politics are able to “elbow out” public criteria  for aid spending.

Published on: 28 March 2013