The Rideau Institute was founded in October of 2006 (federally incorporated as the Rideau Institute on International Affairs) and commenced operations in January 2007. It is a registered non-profit organization, and is located in Ottawa on the historic Sparks Street Mall, one block from Parliament Hill. Its modest offices are in the Hope Building overlooking the Langevin Block, the home of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The Institute’s primary activities are independent research, advocacy and consulting. It aids decision makers, opinion leaders, and the public through research, analysis and commentary on public policy.
As well, it provides professional media relations, online engagement, and government relations services to civil society, assisting non-profit organizations and unions in achieving their policy, communications and other organizational goals.
Our government’s international focus, whether it be on matters related to defence, trade, diplomatic, security or environmental issues, has become the focus of intense debate. In particular, since the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, Canada has come under pressure to accept American leadership in world affairs.
This pressure is coming not only from Washington, D.C., but from inside Canada as special interests in the Canadian business and defence lobbies have used their influence to move the government closer to the U.S. world view.
In Ottawa, the government and the foreign policy establishment appear to have acquiesced. In some areas, Canadian policy has become unclear, or has shifted to mirror U.S. priorities.
The Rideau Institute conducts research and provides analysis to decision makers, opinion leaders, and the public to assist them to knowledgeably participate in the national debate. Further, it advocates for independent policy priorities that enjoy broad public support and are consistent with Canadian values.
Sources of Funding
The Rideau Institute utilizes three types of funding to achieve its objectives: individual donations, special project funding, and commissions.
Individual and Organizational Donations
More than a thousand Canadians make donations to the Rideau Institute and its affiliated programs, such as the Rideau Institute Research Fund (a charitable fund registered with Tides Canada), Ceasefire.ca and its 20,000 peace supporters, and RightOnCanada.ca and its 15,000 supporters interested in promoting human rights.
Both Ceasefire.ca and RightOnCanada.ca are community outreach and organizing projects that primarily use the Internet to facilitate public education and advocacy on contemporary policy issues. Because of the programs’ advocacy role, contributions are not tax deductible under Canada’s tax laws.
Special Projects Funding
The Rideau Institute receives funding for specific projects, often from a single institution or foundation. These projects can range from a single conference to a multi-year educational project. While similar to professional service contracts, special projects differ in that the project is conducted under the auspices of the Rideau Institute, or through a collaboration between the Rideau Institute and the funding institution. The Rideau Institute does not receive project funding from any level of government.
Because of the Institute’s expertise and experience, other organizations frequently ask the Rideau Institute to provide special services to them as clients; these services include research, government and media relations, and campaign design and implementation.
Clients are chosen carefully, and in every case share the same values and public policy agenda as the Rideau Institute supports. Most often, the client is working in the field on foreign policy, contributing to the same policy agenda as the Rideau Institute’s.