Projects & Initiatives

The National Office houses several ongoing projects: the Alternative Federal Budget, the Education Project, the Growing Gap Project, Making Women Count, Think Upstream and the Trade and Investment Research Project.

Alternative Federal Budget

The CCPA has been coordinating the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) since 1994 with the participation and support of researchers, activists and leadership from a broad spectrum of civil society organizations representing millions of Canadians.

From its beginnings, the fundamental premise of the AFB is that budgets are about choices.

The AFB starts from a set of social justice values—human dignity and freedom, fairness, equality, environmental sustainability, and the public good. AFB participants collectively develop a set of taxation and spending measures that reflect these values, and create a sophisticated and workable budgetary framework within which they are met. This framework acknowledges political and economic realities but nevertheless produces a dramatically different result than the federal government's budget.

The AFB is a "what if" exercise—what a government could do if it were truly committed to an economic, social, and environmental agenda that reflects the values of the large majority of Canadians—as opposed to the interests of a privileged minority. It demonstrates in a concrete and compelling way that another world really is possible. The AFB is an exercise in economic literacy—to demythologize budget making. It is an exercise in public accountability. And finally, it is a vehicle for building policy concensus amongst progressive civil society organizations and providing the policy fuel for popular mobilization.

Education Project

The CCPA Education Project was established in 1996 to monitor corporate intrusion in public education. Since its inception, the project has produced a number of books, periodicals and reports on a wide range of education-related issues, including: the impact of high-stakes testing; voucher and charter schools; education reform; private money in public schools (including user fees, advertising, sponsorship and fundraising campaigns); education finance; and post-secondary education reform.

In 2000 the CCPA began publishing Our Schools / Our Selves, the popular quarterly education journal established in 1988. Our Schools / Our Selves continues to be a lively forum for debates and discussion on a number of topics such as Aboriginal education, anti-racism classroom programs, sex education, peace studies, commercialism, environmental education, child care, and authentic classroom assessment. Additionally, the OS/OS book series was established in 2008.

The Education Project has also produced a number of reports and books, such as Challenging McWorld, Passing the Test: The false promises of standardized testing, MaththatMatters: A teacher resource linking math and social justice, Corporate Initiatives on Campus, Beyond Child's Play: Caring for and education young children in Canada, and Who's Calling the Shots?: Commercialism in Canadian Schools.

Growing Gap

The CCPA's Growing Gap project takes an in-depth and sustained look at one of the biggest challenges of our time: Worsening income and wealth inequality in Canada. Our team of economists and researchers have been tracking household income, wealth, spending and credit data, unearthing a troubling phenomenon.

Canada's income gap between the rich and the rest of us used to narrow during good economic times and widen during recessions. That trend has shifted, as more Canadian households find they're working longer and harder just to keep financially afloat. Many are falling behind. And this happened during one of the most prosperous economic growth periods in Canada's history.

The Growing Gap team will continue to track the changing nature of Canada's economy, work and income trends, and policies that help or worsen the problem of income inequality. The research to date has been clear: Governments have a strong role to play in implementing policies that help keep a lid on growing inequality, to make sure Canada's economy works for everyone, not just a privileged few.

Making Women Count

Making Women Count measures the size of Canada's gender gap and offers solutions to the inequalities that persist between women and men in Canada. Closing the gender gap in Canada will provide a significant engine for long-term economic growth, as well as an immediate increase in the social and economic well-being of women and girls in Canada.  Find out more here.

Think Upstream

Think Upstream is a national project of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. We're working with a growing network of people who recognize that social, ecological, and economic conditions shape people’s health and the wellbeing of our communities. We call these the social determinants of health.

The Think Upstream project is led by Trish Hennessy.

To learn more about Think Upstream, visit their website.

Trade and Investment Research Project

The Trade and Investment Research Project (TIRP) is an independently funded project administered by the CCPA. TIRP pools the trade policy research resources and expertise of Canadian non-governmental organizations from a variety of sectors. It produces expert research on a wide range of important trade and investment policy issues. TIRP’s research  assists member organizations in participating in public debate and decision-making about the impacts of Canada’s international trade and investment obligations, ongoing international negotiations and alternatives. TIRP research also supports members in engaging with the Canadian government on trade and investment policy issues.