The Energy Probe Research Foundation is one of Canada’s leading environmental and public policy research institutes. Our divisions — Energy Probe, Probe International, Environment Probe, Urban Renaissance Institute, Environmental Bureau of Investigation, and the Margaret Laurence Fund — are well known public-interest defenders. The goals of the Foundation are to provide the public, media, business, and government with information on resource-related issues, to promote sustainable resource use, to encourage individual responsibility and accountability, and to help Canada contribute to global justice and prosperity.
EPRF’s senior public policy researchers have been with us for 20-30 years, demonstrating extraordinary commitment to the environment, showing tenacity in pushing for fundamental rights, and winning honours including entries in Canada’s Who’s Who, recognition by Time Canada of Canadians likely to make a difference to the country, membership in Ontario’s Independent Market Operator, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and various conservation awards. But the foundation is much more: Over the years it has been assisted by a motivated team of interns, volunteers, and administrative staff and supported by tens of thousands of Canadian donors from all walks of life.
Our work is also distinguished by its academic standing. Our books — published by academic publishers in Canada, the United States, and France — have been adopted by university courses, and our work appears in leading university texts. Our books have also been translated into the Spanish, Bengali, Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Estonian, and Finnish languages.
Like our staff, our board of directors has shown a long-term commitment to our foundation and to the environment. Over the years, board members have included leaders of Canadian society such as Thomas Berger, George Erasmus, the Right Reverend Lois Wilson, George Ignatieff, Jane Jacobs, Margaret Laurence, Walter Pitman, and David Suzuki.
Probe International is an independent environmental advocacy group that fights to stop ill-conceived aid, trade projects, and foreign investments. But more importantly, we work to give citizens the tools they need to stop these projects – the rule of law, democratic processes, and honest and transparent accounting.
Probe International goes where few others tread. We resurrected the doctrine of odious debts to challenge the enforceability of today’s Third World debts; we argue that markets can work to improve people’s living standards and protect their environment when they are decentralized, competitive, and governed by the rule of law; we maintain that state-to-state aid has undermined political accountability and promoted a culture of corruption in both the donor and receiving nation and should be abolished; we have warned for the past decade that carbon credit schemes will threaten Third World environments; and we think the best way to protect the environment is to entrench and enforce the individual and collective property rights of citizens.
Energy Probe is the consumer and energy research team at EPRF, active in the fight against nuclear power, and dedicated to resource conservation, economic efficiency, and effective utility regulation. Most recently, with Lawrence Solomon’s blockbuster book, The Deniers [link], Energy Probe has led the charge that the science of man-made global warming is not settled and defended those scientists who work to enlighten and inform the debate.
The Urban Renaissance Institute is dedicated to helping cities and their regions flourish by removing the many impediments to their proper functioning. To accomplish this, URI does research to measure and reveal the wealth that cities generate, to examine the organized complexity of cities, their parts and their features, to promote diversity of uses within cities, to investigate policies that foster thriving, sustainable city regions, and to demonstrate why sound urban policies are indispensable to wilderness and farmland protection.
Environment Probe works to expose government policies that harm not only Canada’s forests, fisheries, waterways, and other natural resources but also the economy. It is committed to developing and promoting alternative resource policies that are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.
Launched in 1989, Environment Probe worked for a Free Trade Agreement that improved environmental standards and now works to tap market mechanisms to protect the environment. Central to its policies is the promotion of property rights and decentralized decision making to empower individuals and communities to protect natural resources. It is also a sharp critic of subsidies to resource industries.
Where markets cannot be relied on to protect the environment and public health – where property rights cannot be assigned or enforced, or where natural monopolies exist – Environment Probe advocates the strict enforcement of statutes and regulations. The organization works for regulatory processes that internalize risks and costs, enhance efficiency, and promote accountability and transparency.
Environment Probe researchers work both to inform public opinion and to influence decision makers by publishing books [link], contributing chapters to others, authoring studies, writing op-ed pieces for the national press, and participating in environmental assessments, public inquiries, and regulatory consultations.
The Environmental Bureau of Investigation is dedicated to the protection of public resources through the application and enforcement of environmental laws: investigating and prosecuting environmental crime, assisting individuals and groups in their fight against polluters, developing public education tools to empower citizens to stop pollution, and publishing and publicizing information on pollution sources and sites. In recent years, EBI has focussed on maintaining its on-line Citizens Guide to Environmental Investigation and Prosecution, providing the public with invaluable advice on researching and documenting pollution in their communities, on determining whether the contaminants violate a law or regulation, on pressuring governments to take action, and on starting legal proceedings if governments refuse to act.
Margaret Laurence Fund for Peace and the Environment
In the last decade of her life Margaret Laurence turned her talent and passion to the cause of peace and the environment. Many of her efforts were directed through her work at EPRF, where she served with distinction as a director.
To celebrate her accomplishments and carry on her work, our Foundation, with the support of her family, established the Margaret Laurence Fund. Through this fund, grants and scholarships are made to foster an understanding of peace and the environment upon which the fate of this fragile planet rests. Recipients of the grants and scholarships are limited to students, authors, researchers, and publishers, working with the Foundation in collaborative projects approved by the directors.