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| Copyright Dominique Clément / Clément Consulting

One of our goals was to examine the history of state funding for social movements in Canada and how the relationship between state funding and social movements differs across movements, regions, and time periods. NGOs have a long history in Canada of dependence on public funding. But there is little evidence on the extent of state funding for NGOs. We endeavoured to document how state funding has shaped Canada’s nonprofit sector. We began by collection data from Public Accounts – a government budget published annually that includes a transfer payments section. The transfer payments section includes lists of grants to NGOs. It is the most reliable source for identifying grants to NGOs.

Our team digitized and processed over 20,000 pages using digital cameras and Book2Net scanners, AbbyFineReader (optical-text recognition software), Google’s OpenRefine and FileMaker Pro. Phase I, which is complete, was to collect data on grants to NGOs from the Federal government, British Columbia and Nova Scotia between 1960 and 2014 (from Public Accounts) for the following sectors: Indigenous peoples, the environment, human rights, and women. Phase II, which is in progress, is to secure large datasets from federal, provincial and municipal governments on grants to all NGOs. We have also partnered with the University of Alberta Library to expand our scanning of Public Accounts to include most Canadian provinces.


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The Introduction below provides information on how to use and navigate the database.


This database is based on an innovative new dataset derived from government budgets. Every year, federal and provincial governments...

Field Descriptions

Field Descriptions:   Additional Information Further information on the individual record. Amount Disbursed ...

Data Entry

As our collaboration evolved, the research team developed a methodology for extracting and coding entries based on sectors. Phase I...


  Database and Archive Content Phase I of the database is complete. More data will be incorporated into the database as this project ev...

All information sources from 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]


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

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