World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute is a charity. It has been described as politically conservative[1][2][3] and libertarian.[4][5] The Institute is headquartered in Vancouver, with offices also located in Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal, and ties to a global network of 80 think-tanks through the Economic Freedom Network.[6]

In April 2012, economist Niels Veldhuis was appointed president.[7]

According to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), Fraser is number 23 (of 100) in the "Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-U.S.)", number 19 (of 150) in the "Top Think Tanks Worldwide (U.S. and non-U.S.)" and number 1 (of 30) in the "Top Think Tanks in Mexico and Canada".[8]


  • History 1
  • Political stance 2
  • Funding 3
  • Research and publications 4
    • Economic Freedom 4.1
    • Waiting Your Turn 4.2
    • Survey of Mining Companies 4.3
    • Global Petroleum Survey 4.4
    • Canadian Provincial Investment Climate 4.5
    • Stance on firearms legislation 4.6
    • School Report Cards 4.7
    • Tax Freedom Day 4.8
    • Periodicals 4.9
    • Other notable studies 4.10
  • Education programs 5
  • Other initiatives 6
    • Children First 6.1
    • Donner Awards 6.2
    • School Chain Showcase 6.3
  • Governance 7
  • Associated people 8
  • Controversies 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The Fraser Institute was founded in 1974 by Michael Walker, an economist from the University of Western Ontario, and businessman T. Patrick Boyle, then a vice-president of MacMillan Bloedel. It obtained charitable status in Canada on October 22, 1974, and in the United States in 1978.[9] Its stated mission is "to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals."[10] The Institute is named for the Fraser River.[6]

Sir Antony Fisher, previously instrumental in setting up the UK's Institute of Economic Affairs, was appointed acting director in 1975, until Walker became executive director in 1977.[9] In its first full year of operation, 1975, the Institute reported revenues of $421,389.[9] In 1988, revenues exceed $1 million, and in 2003, $6 million.[9]

Political stance

The Fraser Institute describes itself as "an independent international research and educational organization",[11] and envisions "a free and prosperous world where individuals benefit from greater choice, competitive markets, and personal responsibility".[10]

Forbes has referred to the think tank as libertarian.[12] The New York Times has described the Institute as libertarian[13] and conservative.[2] The Calgary Herald called it conservative,[3] Langley Times classified it as right-of-center libertarian.[5]


As a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency, the Institute files annual registered charity information returns. In 2010, the Institute reported having $4.5 million CAD in assets and $10.8 million in annual revenue.[14]

The Institute does not accept government grants or payments for research, but depends on contributions from individuals, organizations, and foundations.[15] As the institute is a registered charity, individual donors may claim tax credits for donations, and corporate donors may claim tax deductions.

According to journalist Murray Dobbin, 31% of the Fraser Institute's revenue come from corporations and 57% from "business-oriented charitable foundations" such as the Donner Foundation and the free-market-oriented John Dobson Foundation.[16] In addition, a report stated that Fraser Institute received $120,000 in funding from oil giant ExxonMobil.[17]

From 2001 through 2010, the Institute received $4.3 million in foreign funding.[18] Prior to 2008, a Canadian subsidiary of Koch Industries made regular contributions to the Fraser Institute, according to Fraser Institute founder Walker.[19] Koch Industries accounts for 25% of Canadian oil sands imports to the United States.[19] From 2008 through 2010, the US-based Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, another of the Koch family foundations, provided a total of US$500,000 to the Fraser Institute.[20][21]

Research and publications

Economic Freedom

The Institute is well known for its annual Economic Freedom of the World[22] index, which ranks the countries of the world according to their degrees of economic freedom. The Institute has also published regional and sub-national reports ranking the economic freedom of North America, Latin America, the Arab World, and the Francophonie.[23] These reports are distributed worldwide through the Economic Freedom Network, a global network of 80 think-tanks.[6]

Waiting Your Turn

Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada[24] is the Institute's annual report on hospital waiting times in Canada, based on a nationwide survey of physicians and health care practitioners. The twentieth annual survey, released December 2010, found that the total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and delivery of elective treatment by a specialist, averaged across 12 specialties and 10 provinces surveyed, had risen from 16.1 weeks in 2009 to 18.2 weeks in 2010.[24]

Survey of Mining Companies

Every year, the global Survey of Mining Companies[25] ranks the investment climates of mining jurisdictions around the world, based on the opinions of mining industry executives and managers.

Global Petroleum Survey

An annual survey of petroleum executives regarding barriers to investment in oil- and gas-producing regions around the world.[26]

Canadian Provincial Investment Climate

A series of reports measuring the extent to which Canadian provinces embrace public policies that contribute to, and sustain, positive investment climates.[27]

Stance on firearms legislation

The Fraser Institute issued a number of articles and statements opposing Canadian gun control laws,[28][29] including firearms registry.[30]

School Report Cards

Every year, the Institute publishes a series of School Report Cards ranking the academic performance of schools in

  • Official website
  • Economic Freedom Network
  • School Report Cards by the Fraser Institute
  • Children First: School Choice Trust
  • Donner Canadian Foundation Awards for Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services
  • School Chain Showcase
  • Profile: Fraser Institute
  • Canada Revenue Agency registered charity information database: The Fraser Institute
  • Organizational Profile – National Center for Charitable Statistics (Urban Institute)

External links

  1. ^ R.-O. Schultze, R. Sturm, D. Eberle (eds.). Conservative Parties and Right-Wing Politics in North America: Reaping the Benefits of an Ideological Victory? Opladen 2003, p. 244
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Kai Nielsen. Equality and Liberty: A Defense of Radical Egalitarianism. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Allenheld, 1985, p. 216, footnote 13
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b c Economic Freedom Network Fraser Institute
  7. ^
  8. ^ Other "Top Think Tank" rankings include #68 (of 85) in Defense and National Security, #45 (of 80) in Domestic Economic Policy, #5 (of 30) in Domestic Health Policy, #5 (of 25) in Global Health Policy, #18 (of 50) in International Economic Policy, #18 (of 50) in Social Policy, #8 (of 40) for Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by a Think Tank, #5 (of 47) for Best Policy Study/Report Produced by a Think Tank (2013–2014), #24 (of 55) for Best Think Tank Conference, #16 (of 60) for Best Think Tank Network, #16 (of 60) for Best Use of Social Networks, #23 (of 50) of Think Tanks with the Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program, #16 (of 40) for Best Use of the Internet, #14 (of 30) for Most Innovative Policy Ideas/Proposals, and #27 (of 70) for the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy.
  9. ^ a b c d The Fraser Institute at 30: A Retrospective Fraser Institute
  10. ^ a b Mission Fraser Institute
  11. ^ Who We Are Fraser Institute
  12. ^
  13. ^ With Interest: Turning the tables on reform The New York Times
  14. ^
  15. ^ Funding Overview Fraser Institute
  16. ^ Murray Dobbin. The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen: Canada and Democracy in the Age of Globalization. Toronto, Ontario: J. Lorimer, 2003, p. 186
  17. ^ Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science, accessed 29 March 2012.
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ School Report Cards Fraser Institute
  32. ^ Compare School Rankings Fraser Institute
  33. ^ a b
  34. ^ Personal Tax Freedom Day Calculator Fraser Institute
  35. ^
  36. ^ Magazines Fraser Institute
  37. ^
  38. ^ Education Programs Fraser Institute
  39. ^ a b
  40. ^ Children First: School Choice Trust Fraser Institute
  41. ^ a b Donner Canadian Foundation Awards
  42. ^ School Chain Showcase Fraser Institute
  43. ^ Board of Directors Fraser Institute
  44. ^ Walter Block curriculum vitae on, p. 2.
  45. ^ a b CBC News Indepth: Fraser Institute
  46. ^ a b c Fraser Institute letter of 28 January 2000 to British American Tobacco chairman Martin Broughton, Letter to Martin Broughton regarding research program in emulation of the social affairs unit, disclosed via Legacy Tobacco Documents Library.
  47. ^ a b c Donald Gutstein,, 14 October 2009, Following the money: The Fraser Institute’s tobacco papers
  48. ^ John Luik and Gio Batta Gori (1999), Passive Smoke: The EPA's Betrayal of Science and Policy, Vancouver: Fraser Institute
  49. ^ Eric Beauchesne, CanWest News Service. "Legalize Marijuana, Fraser Institute Advises $2-Billion Tax Source: Group Says Move Would Seize Control From Criminals", National Post, 9 June 2004. Southam Inc, 2004.
  50. ^ [1], accessed June 14, 2014.


The United Nations International Labour Office issued a report which criticized the Fraser Institute for making methodological errors and having "a strong conceptual bias." [50]

In 2004, the Fraser Institute issued a statement of support for the legalization of cannabis and its sale on the market.[49]

In 1999, the Fraser Institute was criticized by health professionals and scientists for sponsoring two conferences on the tobacco industry entitled Junk Science, Junk Policy? Managing Risk and Regulation and Should Government Butt Out? The Pros and Cons of Tobacco Regulation. Critics charged the Institute was associating itself with the tobacco industry's many attempts to discredit authentic scientific work.[45]

In late 1997, the Institute set up a research program emulating the UK's Social Affairs Unit, called the Social Affairs Centre. Its founding Director was Patrick Basham. The program's funding came from Rothmans International and Philip Morris.[46] When Rothmans was bought by British American Tobacco (BAT) in 1999, its funding ended,[47] and in 2000 the Institute wrote to BAT asking for $50,000 per year, to be split between the Social Affairs Centre and the Centre for Risk and Regulation.[46] The letter highlighted the Institute's 1999 publication Passive Smoke: The EPA's Betrayal of Science and Policy,[48] "which highlighted the absence of any scientific evidence for linking cancer with second-hand smoke [and] received widespread media coverage both in Canada and the United States".[46] At this time the CEO of BAT's Canadian subsidiary, Imasco, was also on the Fraser Institute's Board of Trustees.[47] The Fraser Institute ceased disclosing its sources of corporate funding in the 1980s.[47]

According to an article published in CBC News Online, some people allege that Michael Walker helped set up the Institute after he received financial backing from forestry giant MacMillan Bloedel, largely to counter British Columbia's NDP government[45] then led by premier Dave Barrett. The CEO of MacMillan Bloedel at the time supported wage and price controls.


The Institute has attracted some well-known individuals to its ranks, including founding member Friedrich Hayek and politicians such as former Reform Party of Canada leader Preston Manning, former Progressive Conservative Ontario premier Mike Harris, former Progressive Conservative Alberta premier Ralph Klein, and former Liberal Newfoundland & Labrador premier Brian Tobin. From 1979 to 1991, the Institute's senior economist was Walter Block.[44]

Associated people

The Institute is governed by a board of trustees. Current members of the board include Peter Brown (chairman), Mark Mitchell (vice-chairman), and Edward Belzberg (vice-chairman).[43]


A global database of school chains, the multilingual website allows anyone to connect with school chain operators around the world.[42]

School Chain Showcase

Canada's largest non-profit recognition program, the Donner Canadian Foundation Awards for Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services[41] recognize non-profit social service agencies that, despite budget limitations, excel in terms of management and service delivery. Winners are selected every year in a variety of categories, and share in $60,000 prize money.[41]

Donner Awards

Canada's first privately funded program of its kind, Children First: School Choice Trust,[40] offers tuition assistance grants to help parents in financial need send their children to an independent school of their choice. The program was discontinued in 2012.

Children First

Other initiatives

The Fraser Institute also offers an internship program, to which more than 431 individuals applied in 2010.[39]

The Institute periodically hosts free seminars across Canada for students, teachers, and journalists, focusing on key economic concepts and timely issues in public policy.[38] In 2010, the Institute hosted eight one-day student seminars, attracting more than 775 participants.[39]

Education programs

In March 2010, the Institute released Did Government Stimulus Fuel Economic Growth in Canada? An Analysis of Statistics Canada Data,[37] a report critical of the Harper government's Economic Action Plan, concluding that the stimulus package did not have a material impact on Canada's economic turnaround in the latter half of 2009.

Other notable studies

The Institute publishes three magazines: Fraser Forum, a bi-monthly review of public policy in Canada; Perspectives, a French-language review of public policy in Quebec and la Francophonie; and Canadian Student Review, a look at current affairs written for students, by students.[36]


The Institute's annual Tax Freedom Day report calculates the day the average Canadian family can "start working for themselves" after having paid off the total tax bill imposed on them by all levels of government.[33] In 2011, Tax Freedom Day was June 6.[33] The Institute also offers a personal Tax Freedom Day calculator.[34] It is however important to note that averaging the tax burden of high and low income earners does not accurately reflect the burden carried by ordinary Canadians.[35]

Tax Freedom Day


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.