About the Federation

Giving voice to the humanities and social sciences across Canada

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences promotes research and teaching for the advancement of an inclusive, democratic and prosperous society. With a membership now comprising over 160 universities, colleges and scholarly associations, the Federation represents a diverse community of 91,000 researchers and graduate students across Canada. The Federation organizes Canada’s largest academic gathering, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, bringing together more than 8,000 participants each year. 

See the members page for information on our membership.


The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences helps to build an inclusive, democratic and prosperous society by advancing understanding of peoples, cultures, institutions and social relations.


The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences convenes an active network of scholarly associations and postsecondary institutions to promote dialogue on ideas and issues that are critical to the public and research communities.

An influential national voice

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is a not-for-profit charitable organization. As a membership organization, we work with and for scholarly associations, academic institutions and other organizations with a direct interest in social sciences and humanities scholarship, to:

  • Promote the interests and concerns of humanities and social science (HSS) researchers to the federal government, policy makers, and the media
  • Engage actively on various communications platforms to help scholars’ voices reach policymakers, policy influencers and the Canadian public
  • Organize Canada’s largest annual gathering of academics, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Bring leading scholars to the forefront of the national dialogue on public policy and public relevance in our Big Thinking lecture series, on Parliament Hill, on the Road, and virtually.
  • Support the publication and sharing of new ideas through our Awards to Scholarly Publications Program
  • Provide policy analysis on issues that affect Canada’s scholarly community
  • Offer membership benefits ranging from help with association membership renewal to insurance programs

What are the humanities and social sciences?

Although definitions can vary across scholarly institutions and groups, generally the humanities are those disciplines that investigate the human condition, using primarily analytical, critical or speculative methods. The humanities include — but are not limited to — ancient and modern languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion and visual and performing arts, such as music and theatre.

Closely related to the humanities, the social sciences are fields of study that may involve more empirical methods to consider society and human behaviour, including — but not limited to — anthropology, archaeology, criminology, economics, education, linguistics, political science and international relations, sociology, geography, law and psychology.

How do our fields of study influence society?

Now more than ever, Canada and the world need agile and well-rounded thinkers who can assess and adapt to change, analyze trends, communicate effectively and consider the past to better prepare for the future.

To those ends, education and research in the humanities and social sciences prepares Canadians for the rapid transitions that mark the knowledge economy with a deeper understanding of the complex and pressing issues of the day.

Thriving humanities and social science sectors help to ensure that Canada produces both the human resources and the innovative ideas needed to spur new companies, jobs, investments and insights for an ever-changing world. Our ability to broadly educate and empower talented individuals and use university research effectively is a key driver for today’s Canada, spurring innovation and giving a competitive edge to our industries.

Strategic Plan

Informed by consultations that began in 2014, the Strategic Plan 2016-2020 sets out the mission, vision and strategic directions of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the next five years. As part of this planning process, the Federation assessed progress against the 2011-2015 strategic framework, consulted with members and partners, and undertook an environmental scan. The environmental scan included a review of the alignment of our human and financial resources to our strategic goals and our capacity to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the dynamic environment affecting Canadian scholarship and education.


Annual reports

Financial statements

Corporate policies