Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Canada is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization funded solely by Canadians with a twin focus: to create the political will for a livable planet and to empower people to claim their political and personal power. In Canada, we have been laser-focused on lobbying for carbon fee and dividend since September 2010.
Since September 2010, our volunteers have made thousands of connections with their MPs, through letters, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. Our role in influencing political will toward adopting a comprehensive national carbon pricing policy can’t be understated.
We have shown the world how passionate citizens who are well-trained, organized by ridings, and with a good system of support can more than influence the political process. This is not misplaced pride.
Canada is the first country in the world to issue climate income rebates from its carbon pricing policy, and we are the key reason that happened. Currently, we are continuing to make Canada’s carbon pricing policy stronger and better. Join us, and you will meet some of the best volunteers on the planet.
Marshall Saunders 1939 – 2019
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Founder Marshall Saunders created an organization that is providing perhaps the most essential ingredient for solving the climate crisis: political will. Marshall exemplified the notion of being the change you wish to see in the world. Always kind, always generous, and leading with love, he took it a step further, empowering tens of thousands to be the change. He provided not just hope and inspiration, not just practical skills and training, but an opportunity for transformation.
To truly understand who we are and what we do, please do take the time to watch the videos and read about Marshall Saunders here.
How Citizens’ Climate Lobby came to Canada
In June 2010, Marshall Saunders met Cathy Orlando at the Nashville Summit for Climate Reality Project presenters. You can read more about Cathy’s story here.
Cathy brought CCL to Canada in September 2010 and started the first chapter in Sudbury. Soon after, CCL chapters sprung up in Toronto and Red Lake, Ontario. She has been working as the national director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Canada since October 2011. Her primary duties include volunteer management, all aspects of communications, fundraising, data management, keeping the organization focused, and directing all national lobbying events in Ottawa. In September 2017, Cathy took on additional duties as Director of Programs at Citizens’ Climate International.
Development of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada
Since September 2010, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada (CCL Canada) has been diligently working toward Canada having a carbon pricing policy where the revenue from the pollution fees is returned to citizens. This policy has two names globally: carbon fee and dividend or climate income. They have been meeting and sending out actions to volunteers on a monthly basis since September 2010.
CCL Canada volunteers have been diligently recording their achievements in a database and curating their work on their website at canada.citizensclimatelobby.org.
Between 2010 and 2015, CCL Canada grew to 28 chapters in 70 ridings, conducted 3 national conferences, lobbied about 250 times, produced professional TV commercials, and documented 865 times their words appeared in newspapers. Between 2016 and 2017 they grew to 36 chapters covering 85 ridings, conducted 5 national conferences, lobbied 489 times, recorded 1302 appearances in newspapers, and sent 1,548 letters to parliament. In 2018, they grew to 38 chapters covering about 100 ridings, conducted 2 national conferences, 728 appearances in newspapers, and recorded 525 letters sent to parliament.
In October 2018 they were 13th time lucky lobbying on Parliament Hill. That is when they found out Canada would be enacting a climate income policy. On October 16, 2018, just prior to PM Trudeau’s announcement that it will no longer be free to pollute in Canada, now-retired Albertan Senator Grant Mitchell said to them,
“You are one of the most successful lobbying groups I have worked with because you are about to get what you lobbied for.”
CCL Canada continued to lobby for improvements to the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. In 2020, they secured 1,249 signatures on a Parliamentary Petition sponsored by MP Marc Serre that called for the revenues collected from Canada’s pollution pricing to be distributed as cheques or bank deposits. They were thrilled when the intention of the government to do exactly that was announced in December 2020.
Currently, CCL Canada has 41 active chapters and their volunteers are continuing to lobby for improvements to the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. As of July 13, 2022, CCL Canada volunteers have recorded 54 lobbying sessions, 354 media publications, sent 349 letters to their MPs asking them to act on the GHG pollution problem of the anaesthetic gas Desflurane, and sent 321 letters to the G7 leaders asking them to “Steer Us To Safety”. They also conducted a national conference in May called “Keeping it Polite.”
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#CCCLConf2018 photo on Parliament Hill October 15, 2018. “Digging the Sgt Peppers vibe of the group photo!”
The Five Levers of Political Will
These are the five core activities that all Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapters leverage to bring citizens into the political process and to ensure their contribution is constructive and makes more good possible. We call these activities the “levers of political will.”
- Lobbying: We train citizens on how to lobby in support of our Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal by building friendly relationships with our federally elected representatives.
- Media relations: We train citizens on how to engage with and influence the media. We write letters to the editors and op-eds, meet with editorial boards and work to place stories in all forms of media.
- Grassroots outreach: We recruit and educate the public on climate solutions, citizen advocacy, and how to participate with one’s government.
- Grass tops outreach: We seek to educate, build partnerships with and gain the support of community leaders and non-governmental organizations, both nationally and locally.
- Chapter development: It is through the growth and management of the local CCL group/chapter, that it becomes possible to push on the other four levers for building political will.
Note, we are not “against” anything: we lobby for policies that will enhance and protect Canada’s carbon pricing policies. Carbon pricing policies in Canada will be assessed using the following criteria available in English and in French.
To get a true sense of how we work at Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada and our achievements please take 45 minutes and watch our 2022 video of our online event “Standing Our Ground”.
Standing Our Ground
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To help our volunteers focus and thus, stay balanced and happy, our leaders from across Canada developed these expectations in four national meetings in 2022.
The CCL Canada Membership Expectations for 2022
This year, 2022, is a pivotal year for climate action globally and carbon pricing is a keystone policy for the transformation of global energy and financial systems underway. To respect my personal time and the time of my fellow CCLers, focus is key. All of us will do our best to keep the discussions about the climate crisis, and carbon pricing evidence-based, respectful, and non-partisan and focus on our actions locally because “all politics is local”.
Specifically, we will:
- Empower local group members to join CCL Canada’s 2022 Conference and Lobbying Days either online, in person, or by listening to the recording and thereafter lobby our MP(s) and record that lobbying session in CCL’s Action Tracker.
- Keep our local group’s lobbying efforts, both provincially and federally, almost exclusively focused on what is in the current Interim Leave Behind and thereafter on the Leave Behind we receive in April. Exceptions can be made to spend a very brief amount of time on the interests of the parliamentarian as part of relationship building, if applicable. Special considerations can be made in advance for lobbying provincial parliamentarians in provinces with cap and trade. We will use the CCL methodology when lobbying. If this is the first meeting with our Parliamentarian, our goal will be to get the 2nd meeting.
- Participate in the Canadian Group Leader Calls or check in with the national office at least 4 times a year to provide updates and most importantly build relationships (applicable to group leaders or their appointees only).
- Meet with my local group at least 4 times a year to plan lobbying efforts and/or carry out CCL actions.
- Read the monthly action sheets to develop a clear sense of what is happening in Canada, while keeping in mind:
– Everyone’s time is precious.
– All politics is local, thus building political will locally is our focus.
– We can join CCL Canada Action Teams to help with the national actions.
- Keep up to date with our chapter’s Action Tracker because politicians take note of highly organized volunteers and tracking actions is very empowering.
- Trust that other groups doing their work will create other needed policies, and we can support and celebrate them by cheering them on and attending their events, for example.
- Ascertain, where applicable, that our local CCL social media accounts are maintained, follow the “CCL Way”, and regularly share / retweet / like / comment on CCL Canada’s posts. Specifically, accept cohosting requests for CCL Canada events on Facebook and join and retweet with the CCL Canada Twitterstorm team.
- Join in CCL Community the CCL Canada Group and the CCL International Group Leader’s group (coming soon).
- Lawfully Use the CCL Canada e-mailing lists provided to us from Citizens’ Climate Lobby for CCL purposes only because this is the law of the land under Canadian Anti-Spam Laws.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on improving and harmonizing Canada’s national carbon pricing policy.
These core values guide volunteers along the way:
Focus: We are focused on what we see as the single most impactful solution to climate change — a national carbon fee and dividend. We know it will not solve the problem entirely, and appreciate the work that our friends in other groups are doing. So that we can be effective, we do not let ourselves get distracted by work that does not support our core purpose. After we accomplish our goal, we will tackle the next most impactful solution.
Optimism: We believe that people are good and that democracy works. We are confident that our approach will work because we see progress. We stand for a solution, not in protest of other solutions. We don’t expect perfection from ourselves or others; this is a process, and we know that people can improve. Together, we are a community that offers one another comfort, support, and fun as we work.
Relationships: We take the most generous approach to other people as possible — appreciation, gratitude, and respect. We listen, we work to find common values, and we endeavour to understand our own biases. We are honest and firm. We know that there is a place for protest, but our approach is to build consensus — that’s what will bring enduring change. That’s why elected officials and their staff, no matter what their politics, say they are happy to see us — and mean it.
Integrity: We are prepared and do our research. We are always on time for meetings. Our approach is thoughtful & thorough. We consult experts and use data. We are open to new information; in fact we solicit opposing opinions. We refine our solutions to make them better. We follow up when we are asked. We keep on.
Personal Power: We use our voices to be heard. This simple act transforms us from spectators to engaged citizens, and it reveals the true nature of democracy to us. We are volunteer-driven — trusting volunteers to make important decisions and to create and develop things that will be valued by Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Being Nonpartisan: Our group is open to all who are serious about solving climate change. You are welcome no matter where you live, what you wear, what you do for a living, or who you voted for in the last election. We work with elected officials and community leaders from across the political spectrum because we believe that everyone is a potential ally.
Diversity: We empower everyone in exercising their personal and political power regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability or political affiliation. We seek out, support, and elevate people whose voices may not have been fully heard.