Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has been described as a very left leaning think tank policy research institute in Canada. It concentrates on economic policy, international trade, environmental justice and social policy. It is especially known for publishing an alternative federal budget on an annual basis. The CCPA claims that its estimates of budgetary surpluses have consistently been more accurate than those of the government. The CCPA has charitable status. The CCPA is based in Ottawa but has branch offices in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Regina, Toronto and Halifax. It is funded primarily through individual donations, but also receives research grants, and has institutional support from trade unions. The CCPA has recently launched a new research and public awareness campaign called the Growing Gap. Its research claims to demonstrate the growth of income inequality in Canada and offer solutions.
The CCPA was founded in Ottawa in 1980 by a group of largely Carleton University professors who wished to re-create something akin to the League for Social Reconstruction which in the inter-war period had promoted social, economic, and political change for Canada. Michael Kelway Oliver, a former professor of Political Science at McGill and President of Carleton University was the first CCPA president. He was succeeded by Peter Findlay, a professor of Social Work at Carleton. In 1987 Duncan Cameron, then at the University of Ottawa, became president; he was succeeded by Larry Brown, NUPGE Secretary Treasurer, in 2000.
The CCPA began with funding from trade unions and individual members. The first Executive Director was Robert Clark, who was succeeded by Jim Davidson, and then Sandra Sorensen. Bruce Campbell is the current Executive Director.
In 1997 the CCPA opened its Vancouver office with Seth Klein as B.C. Director. This was followed by Winnipeg, Regina, and Halifax.
The CCPA publishes books, research studies, reports, and distributes media commentaries. Its flagship publication is the CCPA Monitor edited by Ed Finn.
Initially housed at 251 Laurier West in Ottawa, the national office is now at 251 Bank St. From modest beginnings, an operating budget of $125,000, and a full-time staff of two, the CCPA began to grow in the late 1980s until today it has a multi-million dollar budget and a staff of over 20.