Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the questions below to see answers to key questions about Tides Canada.

Tides Canada is a leading national charity that enables community-led transformation advancing environmental, social, and economic justice.

In 2000, Carol Newell and a group of visionary social entrepreneurs and philanthropists asked: how can we foster a healthy planet and just Canadian society?

At the time, donor support for these urgent issues was not growing significantly. And so, Tides Canada’s founding board created a national public foundation to grow the capital and build the community dedicated to solving the key environmental and social justice issues of our time.

Since then, thousands of partners including donors and community-led initiatives have transformed this vision into the vibrant network and unique organization that is Tides Canada today.

We provide strategy, networks, expertise, and tools to help our partners get from vision to impact.

Tides Canada’s partners include community initiatives, foundations, Indigenous organizations, philanthropists, governments, and diverse communities from coast to coast to coast.

We offer:

A home to over 60 unique projects across the country. By joining our shared platform, projects benefit from strategic advice, governance, human resources, financial, and grant management, allowing them to more effectively achieve their missions.

Advisory services ranging from strategy and consulting through to management and implementation, for a wide range of partners.

Donor advised funds that minimize charitable administration costs and maximise the impact and flexibility of funding for environmental, economic, and social justice.

Strategic grantmaking programs that invest in community-led solutions to integrated environmental, social, and economic challenges in specific regions, like the North and Coastal BC, or on specific issues like food sovereignty, Indigenous rights and authority, and land-based wellness.

Tides Canada is comprised of two unique charitable organizations. Tides Canada Foundation (TCF – BN 868947797 RR0001) is a charitable foundation and Tides Canada Initiatives (TCI – BN 130560188 RR0001) is a registered operating charity and shared platform.

Tides Canada and Tides US are separate organizations with no legal, financial or governance ties. When Tides Canada was founded in 2000, its founders were inspired by the Tides US foundation model, hence the name. Over the two decades since then, we have evolved into unique organizations.

A shared platform is an innovative organizational model – multiple charitable projects join a shared platform as an alternative to operating stand-alone charities.

Tides Canada pioneered the shared platform model in Canada in 2000, recognizing that solutions to complex problems often come from the communities most affected, but that many community initiatives struggle to manage the demands of a stand-alone charity.

By joining Tides Canada, our projects benefit from shared governance; financial management; human resources; risk management; strategic advice and grants administration. Our projects also gain opportunities to work together and learn from each other. By receiving the supports they need, project teams can apply more time and money towards achieving greater impact.

Tides Canada, its projects, and grantees, often work to inform public policy to achieve our mission done in full compliance with the laws and policies governing charities in Canada. Recognizing that charities play an important role in public policy dialogue and development activities, in 2019, the Canada Revenue Agency removed any restrictions around allowable political activities, when they are aligned with an organization’s charitable objectives.

Tides Canada does not engage in partisan political activity and does not provide funding for other organizations to do so. Tides Canada has never supported, directly or indirectly, through making grants or other means, any political party, politician, or candidate for office.

Like a university, Tides Canada is free to house and support multiple positions and perspectives. At times, Tides Canada takes a position on an issue. At other times, we hold space for the diverse perspectives of our projects and partners.

We embrace open discussion and welcome a good debate. If we cannot sit down at the table with people who see the world differently than us, we will see increasing polarization and an inability to create solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges. Tides Canada’s role is to bring together different views, even within our organization.

Since 2005, approximately 1% of Tides Canada’s funding has gone towards pipeline and oil sands-related initiatives. This support went to Indigenous communities and environmental organizations as they address the impacts that such projects would have on their communities and the environment, two things that are deeply connected.

Tides Canada, along with the scientific community and a rapidly growing population of Canadians, believe Canada must transition to a clean energy economy. We support activities that move us in that direction.

Tides Canada receives funding from a wide range of partners including individuals, governments, foundations, charities, non-profits, and businesses. Our donors help us connect and empower a wide range of transformational community-led initiatives that advance environmental, social, and economic justice.

Like many other Canadian foundations and charities protecting the environment and building sustainable livelihoods, Tides Canada receives donations from Canadian and international donors – all of which are within the CRA guidelines. Between 2015-2018, Tides Canada received 43% of its total revenue from international contributions.

Because important global issues like land, freshwater, oceans, and species conservation and climate change cross borders, international foundations often support work in other countries to further their mission. This is neither new nor surprising.

Funding that Tides Canada receives from international donors goes to environmental conservation programming and grant-making to community-led initiatives.

For example, we received the following international funds:

$3,883,998 to support Indigenous communities in the Great Bear Rainforest region strengthen their culture and ability to steward their traditional territories.

  • These funds went to rebuild the Koeye Sanctuary Lodge ($750K), used by the Heiltsuk First Nation to heal their people and their land via kids cultural camps and community gathering.

$3,406,361 to support Northerners address the rapid social and environmental change they are facing today.

  • These funds supported Dene Nahjo’s urban hide tanning camps – which address the loss of traditional knowledge of tool-making and hide-tanning by bringing together master tanners and urban dwelling Northerners who may not be able to get out on the land. Dene Nahjo, a group of young emerging leaders in the North, is a project of Tides Canada.

$14,873,200 for the conservation of wild salmon ecosystems in British Columbia over five years.

  • These funds supported the BC Freshwater Initiative – a collaborative of water funders that exchange knowledge and learning to advance freshwater protection in BC. The Collaborative includes the Government of Canada and the Real Estate Foundation of BC and other funders. It is a project housed at Tides Canada.

$10,443,900 for a marine planning partnership between 17 First Nations and the Province of BC. The partnership led to an integrated plan for protecting the ocean environment in a way that also protects jobs.

  • These funds went to launch and support the implementation phase of the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast, a model and partnership that has been getting global attention as an innovative model of marine planning that could be implemented around the world.

Tides Canada Foundation operates with a donor-advised fund model, much like community foundations across the country. For the hundreds of grants we make across Canada each year, fund holders at Tides Canada made grant recommendations to support the charitable activities that align with the fund’s purposes (which are, in turn, aligned with Tides Canada’s vision of a healthy economy, social justice, and economic prosperity for all Canadians).

We include a full list of our donor advised funds on our website and annual reports. Tides Canada Foundation coordinates the grantmaking process and provides oversight and administrative supports associated with managing the fund.

For some issues and places in Canada like Coastal BC, the North, and Northern Manitoba, Tides Canada hosts strategic grantmaking programs, acting like a bridge-builder by connecting doers and donors, and fostering participatory philanthropy enabling community-led transformation for social, environmental, and economic justice.

Tides Canada is not an endowed foundation and so the funds we hold are either donor advised or restricted to specific mission aligned initiatives. We do not accept unsolicited proposals or make discretionary gifts.