Year End Update for Our Union Friends

Dear friends in labour,

I sincerely hope that you and your family, and colleagues have had a wonderful year. The staff and Board of Directors of the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation send their best regards to you and your sisters and brothers.

It’s a pleasure to bring you and your union up to speed on all of our activities and projects we have in the works this year and next. It is my hope that you share this information with your executive board at your next meeting.

As you know, over the last two years we have been working to revitalize the charity that Tommy Douglas himself founded in 1971 so that we can educate people about the merits of Social Democracy and unionization in Canada. This charity is also now the home of Jack Layton’s Legacy - I know Jack would be proud of our mission, and your union’s participation.

Tommy Douglas and Jack Layton believed strongly that social good must come from a collaborative relationship with Labour Unions to educate the public at large. Evidence of this goes all the way back to Tommy’s efforts in bringing the CLC and CCF together in the formation of the NDP, and Jack’s tenacity in the house of commons in loyal defense of unions.

Here’s what our “Partner” union leaders have to say about our strategy to promote social democracy:

“The United Steelworkers union was proud to be the first union sponsor of the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation Union Partner Program. The foundation has an important role in shaping and growing progressive values and our shared hope for a better, more equitable future.”  Marty Warren, National Director, USW Canada

"UFCW Canada is a proud sponsor of the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation Union Partner Program. The Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation is a force for social change, research, and education to help strengthen our movement and our union allies.” Paul Meinema, President, UFCW Canada

“The Foundation is playing an essential role in the promotion of social democracy in Canada and educating Canada’s activists with the latest thinking based on those social democratic values. As part of the labour movement, we’re proud of our support for the Douglas Coldwell Layton foundation.”  Jeffier Carr, President, PIPSC

“Ontario’s Professional Employees are proud to partner with Douglas Coldwell Layton for two key reasons. The research they perform and the education they offer. Good ideas don’t become thoughtful policy without the nourishment of collective opinion, expert input, and careful analysis. Young progressives don’t flourish without the nourishment that comes from learning from the leaders of our social democratic past or without exposure to provocative, progressive policy ideas. DCL provides all of that and more.” Dave Bulmer, President & CEO, AMAPCEO

I am delighted to report our restoration efforts have been a success thanks to the support of labour unions who have stepped up to help. Thank you!

Thanks to this support we have been able to build a solid and stable annual programme of work in the promotion of Social Democracy;

  • Established Seven Annual Events in Six major cities across Canada
  • Developed major research projects on issues related to healthcare and the economy
  • Curating a monthly Podcast on Social Democracy in Action
  • Produced Online Community Leadership Training Modules  
  • Provided Scholarships and Awards to hundreds of Students 
  • Published new books and reports to reinforce our ideas and success
  • Founded a Women’s Leadership Centre to inspire a new generation

You can see more about our initiatives this year in our 2023 Year End Report here.

Friends, although we’ve been successful in the restoration of Tommy’s charity, there is so much more work to be done. We have only just scratched the surface of what is possible.

The reality is that corporate Canada has infiltrated places of learning and higher education, reinforcing a narrative in students that is contrary to the values that you and I share. Every college and university you visit is inundated with a major corporate presence, investment, and influence. We need to be active in this space now, if we want to win in the future.

Through our Lecture Series, peer reviewed research, special events, podcast and publications, grants and scholarships, we are able to break through into these important spaces to share our perspective. And more importantly, have a direct impact on the development of ideas and values while students are learning and forming their ideals.

The encouraging news is that the scope of our work goes beyond - we are determined to educate everyday people across this country about the benefits social democracy has had in their lives and in their communities. Consider for a moment what could be accomplished if our neighbors understood what is truly on offer within our democratic system and the change we could make.  

We are asking you and your union today for financial support. Unlike other charities we do not take government money. We rely solely on donations from individuals and unions like yours so that we can remain within the guidelines of Tommy’s full vision. 

As the Executive Director and a careful steward of our resources, it is vital that I have our finances in order before the end of the year to develop our budget for 2024 - I do not spend what we do not have. A stable cashflow and budget is paramount to our future success.

I am asking you and your executive to please consider making a contribution of $2,000, $5,000, or even $10,000 or more towards our work before the end of the year. Any amount will help and every contribution we receive will guide our education work in 2024.

Over the past two years we have demonstrated that we can deliver results, make an impact on the educational landscape in Canada, promote social democracy and values that we share, and manage Tommy’s charity with diligence, hard work, and respect. We would be extremely grateful for your support. 

Friends, I ask you and your executive to please make a decision in support the vision that Tommy Douglas first had back in 1971 for this charity, and to heed the call to action that Jack Layton gave us in his final letter to Canadians when he encouraged us to be loving, hopeful, and optimistic - because only then can we change the world.

I should add, if your union would be interested in joining our annual union “Partner” program please email me directly at: [email protected]

I’d be happy to send you more information and arrange a meeting with you and your executive.

We look forward to hearing from you and your union in the future and working together towards the goals we have for a more fair and equitable Canada. 

All the best to you and yours.


In Solidarity,

Josh Bizjak, Executive Director


Latest posts

NEW: BC Voter Data by Abacus Data Revealed at DCLF Event

In advance of the event “Trends in Social Democracy” a survey was conducted to test the feelings of BC Voters on issues of concern and solutions offered by Social Democracy as it relates to the upcoming provincial election.

From May 6 to 9, 2024, Abacus Data conducted a survey of 1,000 eligible voters in British Columbia exploring their views on provincial politics and government. 

These are the findings:

Celebrate Women Today and Everyday

Blog Post 


Today is International Women’s Day; a day which I am truly thankful for all the women who have worked tirelessly, past and present, towards a more equitable world where all voices are heard. I take this day to reflect on the women that came before me and the work that we have to continue to do in their honour.

February Newsletter: Gala Highlight Video + Lecture Details and Research

Blog Post 


As promised we’ve got lots of news to share with you this month. The Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation had a banner year in 2023. We produced more special events, original content, research projects, and educational materials than ever before!

This year we’re building from that success. You’ll see us in more places with more exciting programs for you to participate in throughout the year. All of this growth is thanks to our supporters like you.

We hope you enjoy our update this month.

Take action

Dave Barrett Lecture Video
50th Anniversary Dinner Photos
The Alexa McDonough Lecture
The David Lewis Lecture
Audrey McLaughlin Interview
BC Premier John Horgan's Keynote
50th Anniversary Dinner Highlights
2024 Jack Layton Lecture
2nd Annual Mouseland Gala
Alexa McDonough Womens’ Leadership Centre
Become a Member
Make a Donation
Lecture Series
Help Fund Vital Research

Connect with us