The Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) is an independent,
non-partisan organization which facilitates networking among those who
share its concern with protection, preservation and restoration of the environment and promoting ecologically sound and sustainable ways of life.

Date and Location of Annual General Meeting Announced


The Canadian Environmental Network(RCEN) is holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) March 8, 2014 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This AGM marks the third annual general meeting since the federal government unilaterally cancelled its funding agreement with the organization in 2011. Without funding the organization has continued to operate on a volunteer basis, coordinating national caucuses on issues ranging from mining to health and biodiversity.

The RCEN is celebrating 37 years of networking, organizing and helping to build an environmental movement that stretches across the country. Non-profit organizations interested in joining can do so by contacting the RCEN Secretary ( Individuals may also support the network by joining as non-voting members.

This AGM will operate under the new bylaws that were approved at the 2013 AGM. Download the new approved bylaws here.

This change in bylaws was necessitated by the severe setback in October 2011, when the federal government unilaterally cancelled its longstanding funding agreement with the RCEN. For three decades, the RCEN provided the federal government with world-recognized consultation services. The agreement also provided funding to help sustain regional affiliates (MEN, OEN, SEN etc). The loss of funding was catastrophic – RCEN was forced to lay off all its staff and has survived over the past year thanks to the hard work of its volunteer Board of Directors and members.

Despite challenges, the need for a national network is greater than ever. We are at the threshold of a planetary emergency which scientists tell us, if crossed, could send our global ecosystem and civilization into a tailspin from which recovery would be improbable. Meanwhile, governments at all levels continue to pursue policies derived from the unlimited economic growth paradigms of the 20th century. The loss of important science-based environmental institutions such as the Experimental Lakes Area and the curtailment of federal environmental assessment legislation have put the environment at even greater risk.

It was in this context that the Canadian Environmental Network held its 2013 AGM in Toronto.  Environmentalists from across the country gathered with renewed optimism in the state of the environmental movement and affirmed the importance of a national network for connecting our grassroots and for working collaboratively across Canada's diverse regions.

Significantly for member groups, the AGM voted to accept this new set of bylaws that will help us rebuild and strengthen within our current framework in which we have no staff, minimal funding, and a challenging political environment.

The new bylaws will mean a more direct relationship with our member organizations. Up until now, the RCEN has had a complex federated governance structure, based on a symbiotic relationship with our regional affiliates. The RCEN provided a conduit for funding and consultations opportunities to the regions from the federal government, while relying on affiliates for member recruitment. This relationship broke down when the federal government cut off funding to RCEN in 2011.

Issue caucuses like water, toxics, biodiversity and agriculture, and regional affiliates organizations will continue to play an important role in the RCEN. However, the need for streamlined governance means that we are asking environmental non-governmental organizations to sign up directly as member groups of the RCEN in addition to their membership in their provincial affiliates.

Member groups will have the opportunity to join caucuses, participate in RCEN governance and will receive regular e-newsletter updates. As well, RCEN continues to have a strong global reputation and receives accreditation to send delegates for international, UN level conferences on climate change, biodiversity and other environmental issues.

We are looking for member organizations which are interested in collaborating, networking and sharing resources with others at a national level. If your environmental non-government organization wishes to apply for membership as a voting member, it should complete the Membership Form (  Individuals can also join as non-voting members through completion of the same Membership Form. Please contact myself ( or the RCEN Secretary, John Coombs ( if you have any questions concerning participation in RCEN.

Josh Brandon, Chair, Canadian Environmental Network

Navigating North America’s energy future

How quickly, and to what extent, can we make the transition to cleaner and renewable energy in North America? Do you have ideas or concerns on the policy pathway to a low-carbon future by 2030?

This is your chance. Act now and register before 13 April to participate in the public forum on “Powering a Low-carbon Economy for 2030 and Beyond,” organized by the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). Read more

What do Canadians think?: The final report on Rio+20 National Civil Society Consultations

Final Report Launch

What do Canadians think?
Beginning in May 2011 and running through November, 11 dialogues took place across the country in the following cities: Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Halifax, Quebec, Fredericton, St. John’s, and Ottawa, and intended to brief Canadians on Rio+20, its themes, its goals, as well as to gather public opinion and make recommendations on behalf of Canadians and civil society.  Read more

Registration for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

The Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) invites ENGOs to nominate delegates interested in representing civil society at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), taking place between June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Read more

Environmental Groups Support Environmental Commissioner’s Call for Transparency: Open Data and Better Public Consultations Needed

December 14, 2011

OTTAWA—Environmental groups are pleased that the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD)’s report emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability, and the need to better integrate scientific knowledge into federal decision making. The groups argue that public consultations need to be meaningful, and supported by open data. Read more

Public Appeal: Call for Action and Contributions

The Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) needs your support to continue providing a voice to 640 community organizations that conserve and enhance our country’s natural environment. Please consider making a secure online contribution and appealing for the restoration of our 34-year financing arrangement with Environment Canada (click here)


RCEN Living History Series Vol. 8

Watch this interview with Mark Butler, from Nova Scotia's Ecology Action Centre.

RCEN E-Bulletin


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