The Council of Canadians is a national public interest research, education, and lobby group. It was founded in 1985 and has grown to be a strong voice for the Left on the Canadian political scene. Despite its tremendous growth in membership and profile during the past thirteen years, The Council remains almost exclusively white. The questions posed in this paper are: why isn’t The Council of Canadians more racially diverse and how can The Council of Canadians move towards becoming a truly multicultural organization? The paper begins with a brief description of the life experiences which brought the author to this topic. Then, as a backdrop to the discussion of the historical development of The Council, it examines the roots of racism and how racial oppression has been and continues to be manifested in the Canadian context. A literature review provided theories and practical applications of anti-racism and diversity management strategies. Semi-structured interviews with the chairperson, executive director, and a board member of The Council helped to establish an understanding of the organization’s history and its vision of the future, and semi-structured interviews with experts in anti-racism work helped in gathering possible strategies for change. A survey of Council of Canadians chapters across the country provided information on what possibilities exist for diversification at The Council’s activist base. These research methods supplied the information necessary to develop a diversity plan tailored specifically to The Council’s needs and aspirations. The paper concludes that, if The Council of Canadians is going to survive and thrive as a broad-based citizens’ movement, it must be proactive in keeping up with the demographic changes that Canada will be experiencing in the next decades. The Council has everything to gain from becoming a multicultural organization which values diversity and works both inside and outside its walls to combat racial oppression.


Race and Ethnicity