A Voice for the Humanities and Social Sciences

A continuous conversation

2015 - A continuous conversation

As an overarching and enduring commitment, the Federation continues to play a key role in sustaining a continuous, persuasive and positive conversation about the value of the humanities and social sciences with public agencies, governments, the private sector, civil society and the public. As a convenor of people and ideas the Federation seeks to articulate the value of a liberal arts education and to assemble and articulate the community’s priorities on issues ranging from federal research policy, granting councils’ programs and funding, Aboriginal reconciliation, innovation, digital infrastructure, the need for a long-form mandatory census, the role of libraries and archives, copyright, student mobility and experiential learning. Through initiatives such as Congress and the Big Thinking lecture series, the Federation continues to leverage the power of the whole network of its members and...

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Breakfast on the Hill

October 1994 – Big Thinking breakfast lectures on Parliament Hill

Both Federations continually explores opportunities to raise public awareness of research. They host the first Breakfast on the Hill at Parliament on the topic of violence in society. Also, in 1994, the Social Science Federation of Canada also holds a large symposium on Violence as a Public Issue. Today, the Federation hosts Big Thinking on the Hill, formerly Breakfast on the Hill. The series celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2014.

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Federations fight to save SSHRC

June 1993 - Senate Saves SSHRC

The Mulroney Government attempts with Bill C-93 to merge the Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) back into the Canada Council. The Social Science Federation of Canada and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities advocate against the bill, arguing that it will hurt Canadian research. In 1977, they welcome SSHRC for its specific focus on Humanities and Social Science Research. Both federations petition their members to write to senators and to advocate against the abolition of SSHRC. With a Conservative majority, and much to Mulroney’s dismay, the Senate defeats Bill C-93 in June 1993. 

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Postal subsidy for publications under threat

1989 - Postal subsidy for publications under threat

The Publications Distribution Assistance Program is a government subsidy to reduce the cost of distributing Canadian published material such as books, newspapers and magazines. In 1989, the Department of Communications headed by Minister of Communications Marcel Masse begins to reorganize the subsidy program. The Social Science Federation of Canada petitions their members to write Masse urging him to re-evaluate the decision to reduce the Assistance Program. Nevertheless, the Minister of Finance announces a starting $45 million reduction to the program. In 1992-1993, the government aims to replace subsidies with grants. Since much of the Assistance Program aids scholarly works, the Federations are greatly affected by the reduction. The program exists today as the ...

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SSHRC studies the federations

Dec 7 1987 - 1989 - Courtney, Paquet, and Ledwell Committees

Towards the end of the 1980s, three separate reports are produced by the Courtney, Paquet, and Ledwell Committees. These committees analyse federal funding to the federations. The Courtney report examines strategic funding and suggests cutting the Research Grants Program. In 1988, Gilles Paquet heads the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) task force on priorities to examine strategic funding for the Social Science Federation of Canada’s research themes. SSHRC appoints Frank Ledwell in December 1987 as chairman of the Federations and National Associations Review Committee. Ledwell examines the federation’s impact and relevance to its members. He proposes a cut in funding to the federations. Alongside lobbying for funds, the Social Sciences Federation of Canada (SSFC) and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities also must respond to reports...

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A national network of lobbyists

April 10, 1989 - National network of lobbyists

The Social Science Federation of Canada and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities lobby the government for years to increase representation and protect against funding cuts. By 1989, however, the Federations need to synchronise and centralize a lobbying strategy. As a result, on April 10 the National Lobbyist Network meets for the first time to discuss how members will petition Members of Parliament in each region. The new strategy utilizes research strategies, profiles MPs, and increases information distributed to members about lobbying efforts. 

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Keeping the disciplines on the federal radar

May 25, 1988 - Networks of Centres of Excellence Program begun by tri-councils

The Federal Government announces the creation of National Networks of Centres of Excellence in May 1988, to be administered by the three granting councils, the Medical Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Both federations lobby to have social sciences and humanities included in the network. Through the network, SSHRC provides the Canadian Federation for the Humanities a grant in 1988 for a project on Applied Ethics. 

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A magazine for the social sciences

January 1987 - SSFC proposes a general-interest magazine to publicize social science research in Canada

From the early 1980s, the Social Sciences Federation of Canada (SSFC) realizes the importance of communication to stay relevant and representative. The federation wants to communicate scientific information to the non-scientific community. In 1982, Executive Director Alex Michalos considers the issue through media such as radio, TV or a magazine. In January 1987, the SSFC commissions a feasibility study for a magazine to popularize Canadian social science research. 

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A social science radio show

December 7, 1985 - SSFC begins plan for radio program

The Social Science Federation of Canada (SSFC) has considered a radio program for the general public since the early 1980s. The program gains traction following the Ministry of State for Science and Technology’s (MOSST) 1984 proposal of a federal Public Awareness Program for science and technology. The radio program launches in 1985 with interviewers Mildred Macdonald and Mari-José Dancoste. While the program will be based in Ottawa, they do not want to remain focused on Ottawa. MOSST gives the SSFC $15,000 for the show under their Public Awareness Program. Some members also provide funding for the show. They will produce 10 two-minute clips per week—5 English, 5 French. The show is scheduled to start broadcasting on January 1, 1986. Macdonald and Dancoste interview visiting scholars. The pitch of the show is called “‘Did You Know That…?’ a new weekly series of interviews on...

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The social sciences in English and French Canada

1968 - SSRCC publishes Timlin-Faucher reports on social sciences in Canada

In 1968, Mabel Timlin and Albert Faucher publish two separate reports on the social sciences in Canada. The Timlin report is published in English and Faucher’s report in French. Faucher and Timlin review French and English speaking universities, respectively. The reports examine the state of Canadian social sciences. Timlin and Faucher find that the social sciences in Canada are underfunded and need more financial autonomy with the Canada Council, as well as greater communication and expanded research efforts. 

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