The Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) facilitates networking among environmental organisations and others who share its mandate to protect the Earth and promote ecologically sound ways of life. The RCEN works directly with concerned citizens and organisations striving to protect, preserve, and restore the environment.
New membership structure to renew Canadian Environmental Network
New RCEN Bylaws approved at 2013 AGM (Bylaws will go into effect once approved by Industry Canada)
Download the approved bylaws.
The Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN), and the environmental movement across the country, suffered a severe setback in October 2011, when the federal government unilaterally cancelled its longstanding funding agreement with the organization. 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 economic policies derived from the unlimited 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 is in this context that the Canadian Environmental Network held its AGM in Toronto March 2 and 3. 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 a 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 local 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 you are part of an environmental NGO, please contact us to find out how you can participate.
Josh Brandon, Chair, Canadian Environmental Network
March 2, 2013: Save the date for the Canadian Environmental Network AGM
RCEN is celebrating 36 years of networking, organizing and helping to
build an environmental movement that stretches across the country.
Despite financial, organizational, and political challenges in the
last two years, RCEN is ready for renewal. Today, we need a national
environemtnal network more than ever.
Please plan to come to Toronto on March 2 and help us plan the road
ahead. For those who cannot attend, we are hoping to make arrangements
to participate virtually or by phone. Location and agenda to be
We need to elect new board members, discuss bylaw changes and
strategize how to organize effectively across the country to protect
Please contact John Coombs, Secretary of the RCEN at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are interested in helping organize this event
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.