How is Electronic Frontier Canada Organized?

Electronic Frontier Canada (EFC) was founded in January, 1994 and later became incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act as a Federal non-profit corporation. The letters patent was submitted December 29, 1994, and recorded on January 18, 1995. EFC is not formally affiliated with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which is based in San Francisco, although we share many of their goals about which we communicate frequently. EFC is focused on issues directly affecting Canadians, whereas the EFF has a clear American focus.

Briefly, EFC's mandate is to conduct research into issues and promote public awareness in Canada regarding the application of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to new computer, communication, and information technologies, such as the Internet. Our aim is protect freedom of expression and the right to privacy in cyberspace.

EFC's Board of Directors is solely responsible for decision-making, policy formulation, and oversight of organization activities. Like many other issue-oriented and advocacy organizations, EFC's Board is not democratically elected, in part to avoid a hostile takeover by groups inimical to our goals. While some may find it inconsistent to have a group devoted to preserving democratic rights and principles governed in this manner, EFC's organization is similar to that of many other issue-oriented groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

In addition to the Board of Directors, EFC also has Supporting Members. Supporting Members assist the goals of EFC financially, through supporting memberships and donations, but do not elect the Board of Directors. However, each year EFC members in good standing elect from amongst themselves a Policy Coordinator, who ensures member participation in decision-making by bringing member concerns to the attention of the Board of Directors, and helping to formulate EFC policies and press releases.

EFC recognizes that not everyone who shares our aims will be able to provide financial support as a Supporting Member. We still welcome the participation of interested people and volunteers in our various activies, such as participating in our on-line discussion group, efc-talk.

Though EFC may, on occasion, assist EFC members whose individual cases merit attention, EFC is not a service organization. In this respect, EFC is not the same kind of organization as the Canadian Automobile Association, where one pays a membership fee in order to receive services such as car towing and free road maps. You join EFC because you feel strongly about preserving Canadian democratic rights and freedoms in cyberspace, and you generally approve of the way we have acted in the past, and you wish to add your support our efforts. Should major disagreements arise between Supporting Members and the Board, Supporting Members are free to attempt to convince the Board of the error of its ways through reasoned argument. If that fails, Supporting Members are always free, of course, to "vote with their feet" and not renew their membership, or start their own organization.