Canada India Foundation

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Canada India Foundation
Canada India Foundation logo.jpg
Established 2007
Ajit Someshwar
Website Canada India Foundation

The Canada India Foundation is a Canadian non-profit organisation established in 2007.[1] The main stated objective of CIF comprises promoting Canada-India relations through their active intervention in public policy which would cover domestic policies and bi-lateral issues affecting the Indo-Canadian community, including issues such as culture, education, trade and investment, immigration, diplomatic, political, and strategic relations.


The idea of an organization that would harness the collective influence of the Indo-Canadian community and Canadian friends of India to promote the development of public policies aimed at stronger ties between Canada and India, was mooted by a number of prominent Indo-Canadians based in Greater Toronto, in 2007. The discussion resulted in the incorporation of Canada India Foundation, a non-profit corporation, whose membership would be based on invitation and include industrialists, senior executives and top tier professionals, with track record of achievement as well as passion for Canada-India ties. Its first initiatives were the organization of a Gala with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and India's former President Abdul Kalam as chief guests and the creation of the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award. Initial members of the Foundation came from the Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver areas, with the objective to have representation in all provinces of Canada, and also to have an Indian presence.


Canada India Foundation has taken a leadership role in fostering support for stronger bilateral relations between Canada and India, greater engagement of the Indo-Canadian community in Canadian politics and public policy and increasing awareness of the changing face of India.

1) CIF works to foster stronger bi-lateral relations between Canada and India. Through active participation in the public policy debate and active engagement with Parliamentarians, CIF positions the need for a strategic partnership between Canada and India as critical to Canada's future

2) CIF works towards raising the profile of Indo-Canadian community by facilitating:

       - Participation by qualified members of the community in the policy-making and the legislative process,
       - Engagement with federal and provincial legislators in areas such as immigration, professional accreditation and security
       - increased representation of the community within crown agencies, government boards and judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals

3) CIF takes an active role in increasing the awareness of Canadians about the changing face of India, and the promotion of Canada's interest in India.


CIF is managed by a Board of Directors. The number of Directors in the Board is decided for each term by the full membership. The number of directors for the 2015-2017 term is 11. The Directors appoint Officers of the corporation, namely Chair, Vice-Chair, National Convenor, Secretary and Treasurer. The Chair and National Convenor in consultation with the rest of the Board are responsible for establishing the directions of the organizations and approving initiatives for any year. All operational aspects of the Foundation are managed by the Executive Director, appointed by the Board. The Board is elected for a 2-year term.

The following is the list of Chairs and National Convenors who have served CIF since its inception:

2007-2009 Chair: Surjit Babra ; National Convenor: Ajit Someshwar

2009-2011 Chair: Ramesh Chotai ; National Convenor: Aditya Jha

2011-2013 Chair: Barj Dhahan ; National Convenor: Rahul Shastri

2011-2015 Chair: V.I. "Lucky" Lakshmanan ; National Convenor: Laj Prasher

2015-2017 Chair: Ajit Someshwar ; National Convenor: Anil Shah


As a public policy organization, CIF has engaged in dialogue with leaders in the Government to understand the policy perspectives of the Government and to provide input where appropriate. CIF has met and held discussions with Canadian and Indian national and regional ministers, the Canada India Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group, High Commissioners of Canada in India and India in Canada and others in public and private sector. CIF was privileged to organize three visits by India’s former President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, including a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper. CIF Members have accompanied Prime Minister Harper on both his delegations to India, in 2009 and 2012.

CIF instituted the first Award of its kind to honour one individual of Indian origin, whose accomplishments make the entire Indian diaspora proud. The Canada India Foundation ("CIF") Chanchlani Global Indian Award, which carries a cash prize of $50,000 towards a charity of the recipient’s choice, has been presented to Sam Pitroda, Tulsi Tanti, Ratan Tata, Deepak Chopra and N.R. Narayana Murthy. Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Abdul Kalam were honoured guests at CIF’s first Award Gala. In addition, CIF and its Charter Members have helped establish and support India-focused studies in Canadian universities.

CIF organized 2 visits by Dr. Kalam to Canada, in 2008 and 2010. A compilation of his talks, titled "Prosperity and Peace for the Twenty-First Century", was published in 2012 by CIF.

Canada India Forums[edit]

One of Canada India Foundation's main initiatives is the organization of theme based Canada India Forums, highlighting specific sectors of opportunity for Canada and India to collaborate, both in trade and in non-trade related areas such as research, social policies etc. To-date, Canada India Foundation has organized 4 Forums:

Canada India Energy Forum (2009) - Toronto;

Canada India Mining Forum (2010) - Toronto;

Canada India Agriculture and Food Processing Forum (2012) - Vancouver and Saskatoon;

Canada India Infrastructure Forum (2014) - Ottawa and Toronto

Canada India Healthcare Summit (2015) - Toronto

Canada India Foundation Higher Education Forum (July 2018) - Toronto

The Forums bring senior public and private stakeholders from both Canada and India together to dialogue and make policy recommendations that can be implemented by the two countries for mutual benefit.


CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award[edit]

Award Trophy

The CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award is an annual award for an Indian or person of Indian origin. It was established in 2008 by the Canada India Foundation to recognize excellence and celebrate achievement in the global Indian diaspora. The award is presented to a recipient who has demonstrated global leadership, vision and professional excellence that has made all people of Indian origin extremely proud of their Indian heritage.The award is in the form of a trophy accompanied with donations of $50,000.00 to approved charities in the name of the award recipient. The awards principal sponsor is Toronto-based businessman, the late Vasu Chanchlani.[4] Several members of Canada India Foundation also make contributions towards each year's Award amount.

Award recipients[edit]

Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and former Indian president Dr. Abdul Kalam presented the inaugural CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award. [8][9][10]


  1. ^ IANS (2008-10-21). "Canada-India Foundation's novel way to lobby Canadian MPs". Samachaar. Retrieved 2009-04-11. [dead link]
  2. ^ PTI (2008-04-19). "Canada calls for stronger economic ties with India". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  3. ^ Officer of the Prime Minister (2008-10-18). "Prime Minister urges stronger trade relations with India". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  4. ^ PTI (2008-04-19). "Canada calls for stronger economic ties with India". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  5. ^ "Deepak Chopra To Receive "CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award"". Canada India Foundation. 
  6. ^ The Economic The Hindu (2010-05-17). "Ratan Tata Honoured". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  7. ^ The Economic Times (2009-04-02). ""Wind man of India" to receive Global India award". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  8. ^ Gurmukh Singh, Indo-Asian News Service (2008-03-13). "Global Indian award for Sam Pitroda". Yahoo. Archived from the original on 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  9. ^ The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper (2008-04-18). "Prime Minister urges stronger trade relations with India". Prime Minister of Canada. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  10. ^ His Excellency Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam (2008-04-18). "Address at the Canada India Foundation, First Annual Gala, Toronto, Canada". Former President of India. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 

External links[edit]