March Newsletter 2023

Blog Post


We have had a very fast-paced exciting March, talking to people across the country from all walks of life about social democracy as part of our Lecture Series and at the Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit discussing our latest research publication on Mental Health. 


It has been terrific connecting with our supporters this month, whether you attended one of our events in person or online, thank you for your support. We hope you follow along for the rest of our events we have planned this year.

This month we’re going to recap our events and make some announcements including our first three featured speakers for our Women’s Leadership Showcase, our latest Community Leadership Training sessions available to you, and express our gratitude for our newest union partner AMAPCEO!

We will wrap up this month’s newsletter by remembering the incredible legacy of our dear friend Terry Grier.

March Recap:

The Blaikie-Knowles-Woodsworth Lecture

At the beginning of March we hosted our inaugural annual Blaikie-Knowles-Woodsworth Lecture at the University of Winnipeg, highlighting the intersections of theology and social democracy. We were so lucky to be joined by Wab Kinew, the Leader of the Official Opposition in Manitoba, and Dr. Gary Dorrien, a leading historian in the social gospel movement. 

The lecture tied together English Christian Socialism, social gospel in the United States, and the CCF/NDP story from the past to the present. Dr. Dorrien discussed the neoliberal race to the bottom and regressive conservative policies which Bill strongly resisted as he knew it hurt people. Bill’s faith strongly supported his politics and ensured a strong sense of moral character. He believed in family, community, looking after one another, and leaving no one behind. 

We heard the importance of challenging power structures and how the values of socialism are still relevant today, moreover how they are embedded in our social services and the trade movement.

To watch the lecture and learn more click here: 

The Jack Layton Lecture:

Last week we hosted our inaugural Jack Layton Lecture with the Max School of Public Policy at McGill University, addressing the cost of living crisis and inflation. Diving into what can be done with the rising costs of groceries, transportation, home heating and much more that are leaving Canadians feeling pinched. We were honoured to be joined by expert economists Armine Yalnizyan and Frances Donald to help us better understand what is going on

The lecture emphasized that this is a crisis of affordability and that workers must be valued and protected. We must look out for one another and invest in protectionary measures so that Canadians can save for retirement and put food on the table without stress. To learn more about what can be done to protect low and middle class Canadians click here

DCLF at The Progress Summit

The DCLF attended The 2023 Progress Summit in March engaging with hundreds of progressives focused on advancing social democracy. We were able to have a strong presence at the event, demonstrating the need for a social democratic educational charity in Canada so that folks are not succumbing to the far right ideology that seeks to divide and results in people being left behind.

Executive Director Josh Bizjak in conversation with Labour Minister Seamus O’Ragan on the Mental Health crisis facing workers in Canada.

We presented our full Mental Health and Wellness in the workplace report to union leaders and other stakeholders and attendees. 

Some of the big takeaways:

  • Almost 6.5 million Canadians suffer mental distress related to work
  • 78% of those surveyed who identified as being negatively impacted by work feel burned out or constantly tired - the percentage increases to 97% for persons who are suffering on a regular basis
  • Union members are less likely to report negative mental health, than those not in a union
  • Additionally those not in a union believe being in a union would help mitigate stress.

Stakeholder Relations Officer Emily Scott engages the audience during the DCLF presentation on Mental Health and Wellness in the Workplace with Tom Parkin (at the lectern). 

To learn more about how the data can support your union members, please contact Josh Bizjak: [email protected] 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Women’s Leadership Showcase:

This year the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation for Social Democracy will conduct a series of video recorded interviews with social democratic women from across Canada in the hope of inspiring other people across the country to become changemakers themselves. 

The initiative will be tied to the Alexa McDonough Women’s Leadership Centre as we hope to build upon her legacy. Alexa was a tenacious leader who opened up doors for many other women and ensured those doors remained open. We have to focus our energy on empowering women, so they feel they have the opportunities needed to be successful. Moreover, that we give them the space needed to flourish into the leaders they are meant to be. 

We are excited to announce we have secured Audrey McLaughlin, Marit Stiles, and Rachel Notley as our first set of speakers. These interviews will take place live online so that people can join us from anywhere in the country. Sign up here to make sure you get all the details.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Leadership Training: Passion to Action, Advocating for Social Housing

The DCLF is partnering with the Institute for Change Leaders to provide community leadership training to folks looking to learn more about how to advocate for social housing. This will be a 6 part zoom workshop that will be held every Tuesday night from 6-8pm starting April 11th- May 16th. 

The training will be lead by Melanie Matthews and Robb Johannes who will teach participants how to: 

  • Tell your story
  • Recruit and keep volunteers
  • Structure your team to avoid burnout and facilitate growth
  • Design a strategy that gets the change you want
  • Choose tactics that move decision-makers 

Participants will learn through lectures and small group activities that will allow you to practice the skills being taught. Participants would finish the course ready to tell their story, with a developed organizing statement, and tools to plan your organizing project’s strategy and tactics.

Please click here to register: 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Welcome to the Partnership AMAPCEO!

We are very excited to announce that AMAPCEO has joined our union partnership program. A special thanks to AMAPCEO President Dave Bulmer and members of the Executive for choosing to support our educational work on an annual basis.

A special thanks to our other generous Partners; USW, UFCW and PIPSC, as well the Founding Partner of the Dave Barret Lecture LiUNA Local 1611. All of our events and activities would not have been possible without their support.

For more information on how your union can support our initiatives please contact our Stakeholder Relations Officer Emily Scott: [email protected]

Remembering Terry Grier

Our dear friend Terry Grier passed away on Monday March 13th. Terry Grier devoted his lifetime, along with his loving wife Ruth to helping grow the New Democratic Party. In 1961, Terry settled in Ottawa as the Federal Secretary where he would lead both national and provincial campaigns across the country. In 1966, Terry and the family moved to Long Branch, in Toronto, in order for Terry to pursue his political ambitions as an NDP candidate. Terry's first attempt at federal election in 1968 failed, and with a young family to feed, in 1969 answered an ad in the paper and was hired to teach political science at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute where he would later in his career become President of the University. All the while he continued his work with the NDP (as did his wife Ruth, who was elected an Etobicoke councilor in 1969 and in 1985 to the Ontario Legislature and served as the Minister of the Environment and then of Health) and he was elected to Parliament as the member for Etobicoke Lakeshore in 1972. There he shared the benches with his political heroes and mentors such as Tommy Douglas, David Lewis and Andrew Brewin (father to his great, lifelong friend, John) - and also established a deep friendship with Ed Broadbent. Terry was defeated in 1974, and while he never again ran for office, worked with Broadbent as head of the NDP's election planning committee from 1977-84. His efforts helped the party to key electoral advancements in 1979, '80 and '84. He was a close advisor to Broadbent during the turbulent Charter of Rights and constitutional battles in the early 1980s. Terry will be remembered for his commitment to social justice, perseverance, compassion, love of outdoors, and the deep love he had for his family. 

Please take a moment to read Then and Now: The Amazing Griers” a lovely tribute to Terry and Ruth Grier on the DCLF website penned by their good friend Robin V. Sears - Click Here.

That’s a Wrap!

Needless to say March was a very busy month for us here at Tommy’s charity. We are so happy to have been able to provide you and our supporters with an exciting schedule of events and activities that educate people about social democracy just as Tommy Douglas had intended.

Of note: our Annual General Meeting will be taking place in June and is open for members to attend. If you would like to attend please feel free to become a member of the charity today:

For membership inquiries please contact Development Officer JJ Sandler: [email protected]

Please stay in touch.

All the best,

Latest posts

In memory of Ed Broadbent

Blog Post


The Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation Board of Directors and Staff along with friends and family mourn one of Canada’s prominent and influential social democratic thinkers. We offer our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to our country and everyone who loved our dear friend Ed Broadbent.


Year End Report 2023

2023 has been a banner year for the charity that Tommy Douglas founded over 50 years ago. Thanks to our members, donors, and supporters like you, we've been able to produce more important educational projects and special events to promote the benefits of social democracy than ever before! We hope you’ve enjoyed the exceptional content of our programme this year. It was a pleasure for our staff and board members to meet and greet thousands of people across Canada to introduce them to the value of our charity. All of our good work can be found for your convenience on our website:

Please take a moment to review all of our good work this past year while you consider making a kind and generous Year-End donation to our charity and the promotion of social democracy in Canada. 

Charitable Year-End donations can be made using this link:

Take action

Alexa McDonough Womens’ Leadership Centre
Become a Member
50th Anniversary Dinner Photos
BC Premier John Horgan's Keynote
50th Anniversary Dinner Highlights
The Alexa McDonough Lecture
Dave Barrett Lecture Video
Audrey McLaughlin Interview
The David Lewis Lecture
Lecture Series
Help Fund Educational Research
Make a Donation

Connect with us