KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives is a Canadian faith-based ecumenical organization effecting social change through advocacy, education and research programs in: Ecological Justice, Ecological Economy, Women of Courage, Resource Extraction , and Indigenous Rights. These programs are informed by, and networked with, approximately 21 partner organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East; about eighty local grassroots groups across Canada; as well as with countless other organizations, churches and individuals.
Member Churches & Memberships
On July 1, 2001 KAIROS brought together the work of ten previous national ecumenical coalitions whose work ranged geographically from the Americas (including Canada) to Asia, Africa and the Middle East; thematically from human rights to economic justice, ecology, and aboriginal rights; and in practice from research to education and advocacy.
The KAIROS national Board is made up of representatives from its member churches and religious organizations:
- Anglican Church of Canada
- Christian Reformed Church in North America
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
- Presbyterian Church in Canada
- United Church of Canada
- Religious Society of Friends
- Development and Peace
- Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Canadian Religious Conference
- Mennonite Central Committee of Canada
- Primate's World Relief and Development Fund
KAIROS is also a member of the Halifax Initiative, a coalition of Canadian non-governmental organizations for public interest work and education on international financial institutions, as well as the Canadian Council on International Cooperation, Mining Watch, and many others.
KAIROS' primary occupation is to help people to change current structures that allow hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and human rights abuses to occur. As such it supports positive structural transformation at a grassroots level, rather than providing humanitarian aid.
KAIROS closely partners with small NGOs in a variety of Countries of Concern (particularly Colombia, DR Congo, Palestine/Israel, Sudan and the Philippines, building up long-term relationships, to carry out its programs.
Since 2011 KAIROS has increased its focus on Indigenous Rights in Canada, starting with its 2011-12 Campaign on 'Truth, Reconciliation & Equity': working towards the realization of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Canada. It has been actively promoting and educating on the 'Free, Prior and Informed Consent' (FPIC) provision of the UNDRIP (with specific focus on Resource Extraction issues), strongly supported the 'Idle No More' movement in Canada, and explicitly engaged in the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to witness and support those impacted by the Residential School system.
KAIROS' 'Women of Courage' program, which seeks to increase the capacity of women and women’s organizations in their work against militarization and for human rights, engages in 'Living Courage Tours' bringing partners from Colombia, Congo, Israel/Palestine, Philippines, and Sudan to help Canadians understand and respond to these issues.
KAIROS promotes its grassroots education and action campaigns via about 100 ecumenical community groups across Canada. KAIROS also works very closely, via its Global Partnerships Program, with grassroots organizations around the world with which it has built long-standing relationships.
- Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (EcuVoice); Philippines
- KONTRAS; Indonesia
- JATAM; Indonesia and Northern Philippines
- Pacific Conference of Churches; Kiribati, Tahiti, Tuval
- RIMM/Innabuyog;Indonesia and Northern Philippines
- African Initiative on Mining, Environment and Society (AIMES); Ghana, Mali and Tanzania
- African Women’s Economic Policy Network (AWEPON); Tanzania, Uganda
- All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC); DRC, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia
- Héritiers de la Justice; DRC, Kenya and Sudan
- Oilwatch Africa; Ghana, Mali and Nigeria
- Sudan Council of Churches (SCC); DRC, Kenya and Sudan
- World Student Christian Federation; DRC, Kenya and Sudan
- Acción Ecológica; Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia
- CEIBA – Guatemala; Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia
- CIEPAC; Mexico
- Latin America Council of Churches (CLAI); Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia
- Popular Feminist Organization (OFP); Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia
- Tepeyac Human Rights Centre; Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia
- Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees
- Jerusalem Centre for Women
- Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre
- Wi'am: Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre
Defunding by the Canadian International Development Agency
On November 30, 2009, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) informed KAIROS that its $7 million 2009-2013 program proposal had been rejected.
On December 16, 2009, Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, spoke at the ‘Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism’ in Jerusalem. As an example of its fight against anti-Semitism, he said his government had “defunded organizations … like KAIROS for taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign” against Israel. KAIROS' executive director said Kenney's statement was based on incorrect information and described "label[ling] someone anti-Semitic because they criticize a government" as "outrageous".
Facing open criticism from all of Canada's mainstream churches, dozens of civil rights and development organizations (including a direct letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu), all of the federal opposition parties, as well as intense media scrutiny, International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda explained that KAIROS no longer fit in with CIDA's priorities. Prime Minister Stephen Harper supported Oda's decision.
Another reason for KAIROS' defunding may have been its Resource Extraction program which includes consistent support and advocacy for Indigenous Rights in Canada and abroad. Specifically, KAIROS strongly advocated for Canada's signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) which includes provisions for 'Free, Prior and Informed Consent', and Bill C-300 which would hold Canadian-based mining companies accountable for their activities abroad. These campaigns have been at odds with federal objectives strongly supporting Canadian resource extraction abroad, as well as the federal government's very strong advocacy for the Alberta Tar Sands  (KAIROS has called for "No further approvals for tar sands projects." ).
Minister Oda's "NOT"
In December 2010 "documents emerged showing that CIDA’s senior civil servants, including the agency’s president, Margaret Biggs, had recommended a new grant for Kairos, but the word “not” was inserted after they signed it – changing it to a rejection". Minister Oda's handling of the document involved in KAIROS' defunding led to her being severely rebuked by the Speaker of the House of Commons  and to subsequent formal accusation of contempt for misleading the Commons. The national election of May 2011 precluded the outcome of that accusation.
- KAIROS website page 'Who We Are': http://www.kairoscanada.org/en/who-we-are/
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
- 'Anti-Semitic' charge angers aid group, by Les Whittington, www.thestar.com, Published On Fri Dec 18 2009
- KAIROS and CIDA Funding http://www.kairoscanada.org/get-involved/kairos-cida-funding/
- PM says Oda made right move on Kairos
- KAIROS Resource Extraction http://www.kairoscanada.org/sustainability/resource-extraction/ Resource Extraction program
- Oxfam Guide to Free, Prior and Informed Consent http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/none/oxfam-guide-free-prior-and-informed-consent
- Defeat of responsible mining bill is missed opportunity, Globe & Mail, Nov. 03 2010 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/defeat-of-responsible-mining-bill-is-missed-opportunity/article4348527/
- Canadian government doubles advertising spend on tar sands, The Guardian, May 16, 2013 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/may/16/canadian-government-doubles-advertising-spend-tar-sands
- KAIROS and the Tar Sands http://www.kairoscanada.org/sustainability/tar-sands/
- Bev Oda's serious transgression, Globe & Mail Editorial Feb 15, 2011 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/editorials/bev-odas-serious-transgression/article566487/
- Speaker rebukes Bev Oda over document in Kairos case, Globe & Mail, Feb 10, 2011 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/speaker-rebukes-bev-oda-over-document-in-kairos-case/article1903110/
- Opposition steps up pressure for Oda resignation over altered document, Globe & Mail, Feb 16, 2011 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/opposition-steps-up-pressure-for-oda-resignation-over-altered-document/article1910111/