What do the UN anti-Genocide Convention, the Advanced Market Commitments for Vaccines Initiative, and the strategy for rebuilding Europe after World War II have in common? Two things.
First, they all directly contributed to making the world a better place. Second, they all got their starts within internationally-renowned think tanks.
Today, the need for think tanks and their work is greater than ever. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is leading the way in finding creative solutions to pressing modern problems. Here's a guide to the CCPA and what every Canadian should know about their work, their goals, and their value to the nation.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) is a respected think tank that focuses on:
Founded in 1980, the CCPA is independent and non-partisan. It serves as Canada's leading progressive voice on public policy. It also:
Its goal in each of these endeavors is to help Canadians, from private citizens to policymakers, make informed decisions and pursue productive social change.
The CCPA's national office is located in Ottawa. It also has branch offices in:
CCPA research is:
All research is directly linked to the CCPA mission and meets the highest international standards for quality on all fronts.
CCPA research specifically seeks to debunk political and media myths. Centre experts proactively work to provide solutions to critical issues that unite and empower Canadians to achieve positive change.
The CCPA also consistently engages with policy-makers, the media, and the public to drive productive and informed debate about key topics such as:
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives pursues a diverse portfolio of research projects and initiatives. Digging into and working on this wide range of topics and issues allows the Centre to not only understand individual issues but to clearly see and account for how they interact with one another at macro and micro levels. This leads to the development of interlocking solutions that promote and support growth across the board.
Currently, CCPA projects include the:
Each project is worth exploring on its own merit.
Perhaps the CCPA's most famous and visible initiative is the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) which is developed and published every year since 1994.
Under this program, CCPA experts break down the annual budget. They explore where money is going and put the numbers into perspective.
They also help Canadians understand who is likely to benefit from a policy or investment and who will lose out. This is critical, since government and media claims often are at odds with the actual results of a budgetary decision and its fallout.
CCPA experts also produce a hypothetical "alternative budget." This document shows what the government could accomplish by spending the same amount of money as in the official budget but spending it differently. The alternative budget highlights:
A powerful exercise in accountability and education, this project is one every Canadian should be aware of.
Through the Good Economy Project, the CCPA explores the question of what makes for a "good economy." It investigates topics such as:
The CCPA then uses its findings to help Canadians and policymakers understand how to implement change in feasible ways to achieve a "good economy."
The Growing Gap project explores the ever-widening gap between Canada's wealthiest one percent and everyone else. It tracks:
The project also produces articles, fact sheets, and other publications that put these issues in perspective. Then CCPA experts, researchers, and economists apply their findings to create viable, actionable solutions everyone can benefit from.
The Labour Matters project promotes public awareness and understanding of the value of unions. It addresses:
The project provides a counter-voice to often inaccurate and harmful portrayals of unions in other spaces.
Since 1996, the critically important Education Project has monitored the breadth and impact of corporate influence on public education. It explores and shines a light on key industry issues and offers:
CCPA's Seniors Care Project champions the rights and needs of Canadian seniors. It sheds light on seniors' biggest challenges and the inequalities they suffer. It promotes policy change and public discussion aimed at:
The CCPA operates a number of other important initiatives, as well.
The Climate Justice Project combines climate change and social justice. It investigates the ways these two seemingly disparate topics are interconnected and how the right solutions can address them both at once. The CCPA's partners in this effort include:
The Making Women Count initiative deals with Canada's persistent gender gap. It:
The Public Interest Project researches trends and up-and-coming issues in several sectors including:
It provides essential information on how to improve policy and take action in every area.
The Resource Economics Project is headed by renowned researcher Ben Parfitt. Parfitt and his team tackle environmental justice issues and develop policy solutions that encompass:
In the Think Upstream project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives digs into the social determinants of health. They map the impacts of and connections between:
They use their findings to design policy options that promote comprehensive health and wellbeing in Canadian communities.
The CCPA's Trade and Investment Research Project (TIRP) brings together trade policy research and Canadian non-governmental organizations. It aims to raise awareness of trade and investment-related issues, as well as promote policies that chart a better way forward.
It is easy to imagine think tanks as academic ventures disconnected from daily life. The CCPA, however, is deeply grounded in real-life issues of vital importance to every Canadian. It works exclusively with issues that affect individuals and households on a daily basis and that powerfully influence the future of the nation, its environment, and its children.
All of the CCPA publications are accessible and designed to empower individuals, activists, and communities to:
The Centre serves as the powerful voice for truth and equality that Canada needs right now.
As an independent voice for change and the premier think tank in Canada, the CCPA relies on private donors for its funding. It is a registered non-profit charity that receives support from more than 12,000 donors each year. It publishes a full breakdown of its funding online to promote transparency and accountability.
Individual donations play a key role in CCPA funding. Every dollar donated helps enable the Centre to continue its work. Without the CCPA's contributions to public discussion and its groundbreaking efforts to identify viable alternatives to entrenched policies, finding new and better ways forward would be impossible.
Individuals and organizations interested in supporting this vital work can explore all the ways to give on the CCPA's website.