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| Copyright Dominique Clément / Clément Consulting

Phase I of the project focussed on extracting grants from three jurisdictions (federal, British Columbia, Nova Scotia) that related to four sectors: environment, human rights, Indigenous peoples, and women. The focus was on extracting grants to NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and excluding, for instance, for-profit corporations. The full list of exclusions – data that was not included in the database – is listed below.

Public Accounts is a rich source of data. But it is also a highly complex source that has changed in form and content many times since 1960. For instance, the federal grants data is often organized around programs whereas most provinces do not have funding programs (only a list of grants); the federal data also includes cities/provinces for the recipients but the provincial data does not include this information. Similarly, our collection of the federal data is limited to a dozen ministries (albeit, those that provide the bulk of funding), which change over time (eg. names change or ministries’ merge or are divided). The content in Public Accounts can also differ across time periods or jurisdictions. The information below provides details on our methodology.

Exclusions: Public Accounts

Recipient names have been revised to produce more consistency among the recipients in all three jurisdictions. However, users can search the original recipient name field to search names in their original text. For instance, Indigenous people’s organizations, including band/council/first nations, were revised to band. So, in the case of Ahousaht, the following have all been revised to “Ahousaht Band”: Ahousaht Band Council, Ahousaht Band, Ahousaht First Nation, Ahousaht Indian Band. In each case, we revised the name to the one most commonly used (i.e. the largest number of references) in Public Accounts.

The following exclusions applied to all three sample jurisdictions. These types of organizations were excluded from the database.

Sports associations/teams
Schools and universities/colleges
Nurseries and day care centres
Family and community services societies
Neighbourhood houses
Wood preservers
Tree service
Funds, allowances or salaries or expenses or trusts
Seed companies
BC Treaty Commission
Forest services
Forest products
Forest industries (not Associations)
Field party expenses
Ministries (monies to govt ministries)
Bottle depots
Grasshopper control committee
Recreation commissions
Camps (recreation, eg. Camp Wallace but included Camp Polatch)
Park Boards

The focus of this project was nongovernmental organizations. For this reason, we excluded transfer payments to following international organizations:

World Meteorological Organization
United Nations Conference On Environment And Development
Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations
Inter-american Institute For Global Change Research
United Nations Centre For Human Rights
United Nations Commission On Human Rights
United Nations Conference On Human Rights
United Nations For The Convention In Trade Of Rare And Endangered Species
United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change
United Nations Office Of The High Commissioner For Human Rights
World Health Organization
World Meteorological Organization

Federal: Public Accounts

Data for Federal grants was extracted from the following ministries:

Canadian Heritage (1996-2014)
Citizenship and Immigration (1995-2014)
Employment and Immigration (1979-1994)
Employment and Social Development (2014)
Environment (1972-2014)
Fisheries (1980-2014)
Forestry (1990-2014)
Human Resources (2003-2013)
Indian Affairs (aka DIAND) (1972-2014)
Labour (1972-1995)
Manpower and Immigration (1974-1978)
National Health and Welfare (aka Health) (1979 – 2014)
Secretary of State (1972-1994)

Data was collected from the Professional and Public Services section for the years 1972 to 1977 (there was no Grants and Contributions section during these years). For 1978, data was collected in both the Professional and Special Services and the Grants and Contributions sections of Public Accounts. For the years following 1978, data was collected from the Grants and Contributions (or, later renamed Transfer Payments) section. The description for this section of Public Accounts reads as “payments by recipient with individual payments over…” (1970s), or “total expenditure by recipient or class of recipients with individual payments of $25,000 or over” (1981), or “total expenditure by recipient or class of recipients, together with a detailed listing of (a) individual payments of $25,000 or over or (b) the aggregate of all payments to a recipient that totals $25,000 or over” (1983) or “total expenditure by recipient or class of recipients, together with a detailed listing of individual payments of $50,000 or over” (1984)

Thresholds: Public Accounts only reports transfer payments above a specified threshold. The amounts listed below are based on information published in Public Accounts and, for years when the information was not published (e.g., 1993 to 1994), correspondence with the office responsible for federal Public Accounts. At times, although rarely, some records appear that are below the threshold in Public Accounts (e.g. International Geographical Union, 1979, $1050) – these entries appear arbitrary rather than a systemic practice.

1972-1977: $2,000 (Professional and Public Services – there is no Grants and Contributions section)
1978: $2,000 (Professional and Public Services & Grants and Contributions)
1979: $10,000 (Grants and Contributions)
1980-1983: $25,000 (Grants and Contributions)
1984-1988: $50,000 (Grants and Contributions)
1986-1988: $50,000 (Transfer Payments)
1989-2014: $100,000 (Transfer Payments)

Coverage: For the following years, the city was extracted but we failed to also extract the province/territory: 1982-1983, 1985-1989. Our data collection was further incomplete for the years 1972-1981 and 1990-2002. There were also errors in the original published version of Public Accounts for the year 1994. For instance, in the published document, the following record is listed as New Brunswick when, in fact, the organization is from Nova Scotia  “Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselling Association of NS Cape Breton NB”. This was a systemic problem in the original source for the 1994 Public Accounts. In addition, it was common in the 1980s for the federal Ministry of Employment and Immigration records to include the city but not the province or territory. To address this gap in the data, we matched records with the same recipient/city to import the province or territory from other records. Moreover, we manually searched the city/recipient to fill any gaps in province/territory. In most cases, those records that are still missing a reference to a province or territory are those for international institutions, other countries or national organizations that did not have a province identified in the original records. In sum, only a small sample (less than five per cent) of federal records are missing data on province or territory.

Parent Program: For 1972-1978 and 1996-2014, we did not collect Parent program data. This information is available in the Archives. Most records dating after 1996 have no Parent Program except to identify the Department/Ministry budget. Parent Program data is available for 1979-1987 in all records (with the exception of a few hundred records). For 1988 to 1994, Parent Program data is available for all but 1200 records.

Some years of Public Accounts, including the 1980s to 1990s, include an individual program name (eg. “Grants to…”). For these years of Public Accounts, there are two levels of program titles.  First, there is a broad program that encompasses several smaller programs. For instance, in the federal 1992 Public Accounts, the Ministry of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has a program titled “Indian and Inuit Affairs Program”.  Second, there are programs listed within these programs.  For example, within the Indian and Inuit Affairs Program, several programs such as “Grants to individuals to protect Indian and Inuit Children” appear. In years when this system was in place, the former program title was entered into the “Master Program” field and the latter program title into “Program” field.

Program: This data is available in all but approximately 1600 records. Most of these outstanding records did not contain a Program field in the original source. For instance, Employment and Immigration had a Parent Program (Employment and Insurance) but was sub-divided by region rather than Program. Most of the entries listed as N/A are from Employment and Immigration or National Health and Welfare.

City: Every year of federal Public Accounts included the city name at the end of the recipient name (and the province or territory) in most but not all records.  In many cases, these record with N/A in the city field are for national organizations or international recipients. 

Amount Dispersed: For later years – when data was extracted from Excel/CSV field rather than scanned form hardcopy – a small number of grants include cents. In these cases, the amount was rounded up or down.

RecipientOrg: Name: In circumstances when the recipient names include “via” and a city (eg. via Vancouver), the word ‘via’ was deleted and the city was added to the city field. In some circumstances for the years 1980/1 and 1993/4, the french language characters (e.g. accents) are missing in the text. In some circumstances, the recipient name begins with ‘and’ or ‘et’. Although it appears incomplete, this is how the record appeared in the original source.

“Data available in original PDF in PA Archives table”: Refer to the original document in the Archives table.

Notes on specific years:
1960-1971: There are no substantive lists of grants from 1960 to 1971 in Public Accounts. There are also few funding programs.

1972-2000: The number of entries in transfer payments in federal Public Accounts increases dramatically in 2001.

1991: Federal Public Accounts was missing pages 7 to 25, but these pages are for a ministry not within scope of this study.

1993-1994: Transfer Payments for the years 1993/1994 in federal Public Accounts were not published. They were secured through direct request to the federal Public Accounts office.

1996-2002: The files for federal Public Accounts for these years were secured through an access to information request.

Federal Public Accounts sources:

Digitized versions: Digital Versions of federal Public Accounts are available on-line: prior to 1995 they are held at and after 1995 they are available at the Library and Archives Canada.

British Columbia: Public Accounts

Thresholds: Public Accounts only reports transfer payments above a specified threshold. The amounts listed below are based on information published in the Public Accounts. However, the database includes entries below the threshold because the threshold only applies when the total amount for an organization is below the threshold. Therefore, if an organization received two grants from different ministries, of which one is below the threshold but the total combined amount is above the threshold, then both grants were reported in Public Accounts:

1960-1983: $500
1984-1989: $2000
1990-1997: $10,000
1998-2014: $25,000

Notes on specific years:
The province divided grants to NGOs by ministries beginning in 1988.

Between 2002 and 2014, Public Accounts included a separate section at the end titled “Government Transfers – April Report.” These sections were excluded from the database because these grants were reported again in the following year’s Public Accounts.

Beginning in 1983-84, Public Accounts included a section titled “Payments to Individuals, Firms and Corporations for Supplies or Services Rendered” or “Other Services.” In some years, there were also separate sections for payments to municipalities and hospitals. These sections were excluded from the database. These sections, however, are available in the scanned PDF files for 1984 to 1997 (for 1998-2014, see the on-line Public Accounts for this section).

Several homemakers organizations are listed as both service or society – for instance, the “Nakusp and District Homemaker Service” and the “Nakusp and District Homemaker Society”. These names were not revised.

Editing: “&” was replaced with “and”

British Columbia Public Accounts sources:

Nova Scotia: Public Accounts

Nova Scotia Public Accounts Thresholds: Thresholds are based on information published in Public Accounts. For 1960 to 1975, there was no formal page stating the threshold; however, there are notes throughout the document. For all other years the threshold is explicitly identified in Public Accounts.

1960 to 1964: $100
1965 to 1969: $300
1970: $500
1971 to 1975: $1,000
1976 to 1987: $3,000
1988 to 2014: $5,000

Some grants in Nova Scotia Public Accounts are not listed in a transfer payments section but, rather, under the heading ‘Other’.

ParentProgram field: If the transfer payment was identified as having been provided by a government agency such as the Human Rights Commission or Nova Scotia Status of Women Council, the information was identified in the Parent Program field for Nova Scotia. These records will also indicate a government ministry in the FundingOrg: Name field. For example, records with “Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission” in the ParentProgram field include “Public Service” in the FundingOrg: Name field.

Program field: Most Nova Scotia transfer payments identified in Public Accounts do not include program information. Some information was shifted to the Program field when appropriate, such as grants listed as for “Maintenance of Juvenile Delinquents”.

Digital versions of Public Accounts are available for 1996+ at:

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]