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This project produced the first systematic examination of the breadth of state funding for NGOs in Canada. In addition to the archive and database, there were numerous other deliverables that emerged from this study.

The relationship between the governments and NGOs in Canada has been rapidly changing in recent years. Funding for the nonprofit sector is being substantially reduced. Yet governments in Canada continue to depend heavily on NGOs to deliver services such as crisis response, education or health programs. Many NGOs are responding to the cuts with innovations in organizing, advocacy, and community fundraising while others are diminishing in size or disappearing under these new conditions. These developments make this an ideal moment to study social movements and their relationship with the state. If NGOs are essential to democracy and facilitating citizen engagement, then changes in state funding raises profound questions about how NGOs advocate for the interests of their constituents.

Our team developed a methodology for collecting data on government grants to NGOs. Thousands of pages were scanned and processed using optical-text recognition software and then converted into spreadsheets. These spreadsheets were processed using Google OpenRefine software to adjust for errors in formatting and spelling in order to identify funding patterns. Each page was then reviewed to manually extract individual entries based on names of organizations that match one of four movement sectors. The review included any organization associated with the four sectors, such as the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) or the Canadian Institute for Climate Studies. Whether or not an organization was included in one of the sectors was based on one of two factors: membership and/or mandate. Self-identified human rights or civil liberties organizations, for instance, were coded as human rights (e.g. Powell River Civil Liberties Association or B.C. Human Rights Council). Similarly, organizations were included if their primary mandate fit within one of these sectors, such as transition homes or family crisis centres. At the same time, organizations whose membership was primarily Aboriginal peoples or women were included, such as the Victorian Order of Nurses (although the mandate of the latter is not explicitly to advocate for women’s rights, it has historically been one of the most prominent women’s organizations in the country and often promotes women’s issues). If an organization fell into multiple sectors – for instance, the Native Women’s Association – it was counted in both categories. The data collection excluded grants to governments (e.g, municipalities), government agencies, individuals and for-profit organizations (see Data Entry for further details in our methodology).

The research team for this project included:

Principal Investigators


Dr. Dominique Clément
Department of Sociology
University of Alberta
Dr. Pascale Dufour
Department of Political Science
Université de Montréal
Dr. Catherine Corrigall-Brown
Department of Sociology
University of British Columbia
Dr. Dominique Masson
Institute of Women’s Studies
University of Ottawa
Dr. Howard Ramos
Department of Sociology
Western University


Governments in Canada began funding large numbers of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the 1960s. Through funding, the state...


We are committed to reaching out and working with communities in their own spaces. Social movements produce their own unique knowledge....

All information sources from statefunding.ca and the database should be acknowledged by the User and cited as follows:


  • Clément, Dominique. “Title of Page or Document.” State Funding for Social Movements. Accessed [date accessed, e.g. 28 July 2020] www.statefunding.ca.


Clément, Dominique. State Funding for Social Movements Database. Accessed [date accessed, e.g. 28 July 2020] www.database.statefunding.ca

This project was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. It also received generous financial support from the University of Alberta Library’s Digital Initiatives, the Arts Resource Centre and the Kule Institute for Advanced Studies.

Readings lists on the topic of state funding for social movements