The Anti-Slavery Society of Canada was formed in Canada West (now Ontario) in 1851 to promote the global abolition of slavery and provide relief to African American refugees seeking freedom in Canada. Led by influential residents of the province from Black and White communities alike, the society was active until the early 1860s. It helped shape a sympathetic view of the abolitionist cause of the northern United States in the decade leading up to the American Civil War.
Throughout the Diaspora, the Scots have been enthusiastic organizers, forming various types of ethnic or national societies in their places of settlement. These associations were bulwarks in the preservation of identity, culture and class for their group. The creation of St. Andrew’s Societies as with those of Highland, Caledonian and Burns clubs followed specific patterns, and served specific cultural and social needs. With the exception of the early Highland Societies, which were allied with the Highland Society of London, these associations were organized independently of one another and usually remained that way through their existence, although many created and maintained informal links which were stressed at key celebrational events. From the first society founded in Saint John in 1798, St. Andrew’s Societies have been an important part of Scottish associational life in Canada.
The Canadian disability rights movement arose in the latter half of the 20th century. It includes multiple social movements that take a similar but distinct approach advocating civil rights for almost four million people with physical, sensory and cognitive impairments — nearly 14 per cent of the Canadian population.2
Founded in 1966, the Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ) (Québec Federation of Women) brings together women who are individual activists or members of an activist association. This feminist lobby group is active in the political arena in calling for equality between the sexes and defending women’s rights. The FFQ is the driving force behind large-scale feminist rallies such as the Bread and Roses March (1995) and the World March of Women (2000).
The Fédération nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste (FNSJB) was at the centre of key movements that shaped contemporary feminism. With roots in both maternalism (based on caring for others) and equality between women and men (but in the context of the specific role attributed to women in society), the Fédération waged battle on two main fronts: for equal legal rights and suffrage, and for the protection of mothers and their families. In doing so, it helped to bolster the government’s prerogatives, particularly with regard to the social policies that underpinned Québec’s welfare state from the 1920s on. The FNSJB was part of the process of women’s individuation, a crucial period in the advancement of women’s status in the 20th century.
Women are considered LABOUR FORCE participants only if they work outside the home. In the past women have been expected to be in the labour force only until they marry; this reflects the historical, idealized notion of a society in which the man is the breadwinner and the woman the homemaker.
Founded in the United States in 1882 and arriving in Canada in 1897, the Knights of Columbus are a lay Catholic fraternal service organization committed to charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. They are devoted to mutual aid through an internal insurance system, to the promotion of the Catholic Church, and to social welfare through community voluntarism and charitable public works.
The Association des Frères-Chasseurs was a secret society that aimed to free Canada from British rule. It was founded by Patriote exiles following their defeat in 1837. The association took several cues from the Masons, including a variety of rituals, oaths, hand signs and passwords. Commanded by Dr. Robert Nelson, the association quickly spread throughout the American borderland and Lower Canada. The association played a major role in the second phase of the Canadian rebellion, planning and leading the failed invasion of Lower Canada in November 1838. The Frères-Chasseurs and Hunters’ Lodges were part of the same general association with similar aims, practices and rituals. While one was organized by American sympathizers, the other was organized by Lower Canadian Patriotes.
The Royal Canadian Legion is a non-profit, national organization that serves Canadian war veterans and their families and lobbies government on their behalf. It is best known for selling poppies every fall, and organizing Remembrance Day ceremonies across the country. In recent decades the Legion has struggled with a declining membership, as the generation that fought the Second World War passes on.
The term “Lost Canadians” refers to people who either lost the Canadian citizenship they had at birth, or didn’t qualify for citizenship that would normally have been theirs by right in Canada. This was the result of various haphazard and discriminatory laws and attitudes surrounding Canadian citizenship since Confederation. Much progress has been made reforming the law in the 21st century, however, some Lost Canadians still remained without citizenship as of 2017.3
The Orange Order was a political and religious fraternal society in Canada. From the early 19th century, members proudly defended Protestantism and the British connection while providing mutual aid. The Order had a strong influence in politics, particularly through patronage at the municipal level, and developed a reputation for sectarianism and rioting.
Established in 1969–70 as the Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories, the Dene Nation (renamed in 1978) is the political organization that represents the Dene, or northern Athabaskan-speaking peoples and their descendants, of Denendeh, which includes the Mackenzie River Valley and the Barren Grounds in the Northwest Territories, in the settlement of outstanding land and governance issues with the Government of Canada.
Jeunesses Laurentiennes (also known as Jeunes Laurentiens; both expressions mean “Laurentian youth”) was a French-Canadian nationalist youth movement founded in 1936. With a traditional vision of society, in which the Catholic religion played a central role, Jeunesses Laurentiennes organized conferences and celebrations, published a magazine, and occasionally acted as a pressure group. Until the organization was disbanded in 1950, it served as a training ground for many young militant French-Canadian nationalists.
Founded in 1974, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is an organization that supports the socio-economic, political and cultural well-being of Indigenous women in Canada. Dedicated to the principles of humanitarianism, NWAC challenges the inequalities and discrimination that Indigenous women face by remaining politically engaged in causes such as education, housing, child welfare and more.
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction — better known as the Ottawa Treaty or the Mine Ban Treaty — resulted from Canada’s leadership and its cooperation with the International Campaign To Ban Landmines (ICBL). In 1992, six non-governmental organizations launched an awareness campaign with the goal of banning landmines worldwide. In October 1996, at the first Ottawa Conference, Canadian minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy launched the Ottawa Process, which led to the ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty, signed by 122 countries at the Second Ottawa Conference in December 1997. The Ottawa Process was an innovative, unprecedented initiative that required a strategic partnership among countries, non-governmental organizations, international groups and the United Nations.
Women have looked to the law as a tool to change their circumstances, while at the same time the law is one of the instruments which confirms their dependent status as citizens (see Status of Women). The first phase of the Women's Movement, in proclaiming that women were capable of reason as well as reproduction and nurturing, claimed a place for women in the public sphere, while also relying upon the concept of "separate spheres" to delineate their areas of strength and competence.
The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste (SSJB), founded in Montréal in 1834 by Ludger Duvernay, is the oldest patriotic association in French North America. With branches at one time located throughout the continent, it has long been engaged in fighting the linguistic and identity battles of francophones in North America. Since the 1960s, the SSJB network has played a crucial role in developing and defining contemporary Québec nationalism.