Welcome to the FOCAL archive

The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is no longer in operation. This website documents FOCAL's activities and accomplishments throughout its existence. Thank you for your interest in the work of FOCAL.

Our History

In 1990, one year after Canada moved from Permanent Observer to full member of the Organization of American States, the Government of Canada established the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) to complement a new long-term policy for Latin America led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Although it emerged as a byproduct of Canada’s Latin America strategy, FOCAL was created as an independent, non-governmental think tank meant to enhance co-operation and dialogue, create new linkages, and strengthen existing ties between countries of the hemisphere through policy analysis and discussion.

By 1993, the organization had signed its first contribution agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and gained institutional independence, incorporating as an autonomous organization.

In the early 1990s, after becoming a full member of the OAS, Canada began to increase its involvement in hemispheric affairs and its diplomatic efforts with other countries of the Americas. Within that burgeoning diplomatic environment, FOCAL began to emerge as a leader in the creation and promotion of policy dialogue between Canada and the rest of the nations of the Western Hemisphere.

Through its work over the years, FOCAL had much success in providing policy analysis, dialogue and debate to aid policy-makers, academics, development workers and the general public, in Canada and the region, and foster greater understanding of hemispheric issues of importance to Canada.

Despite its many accomplishments, FOCAL continued to experience funding challenges throughout its existence. Its financial reliance on CIDA grew, and its unstable funding model ultimately proved to be unsustainable.

Through its myriad endeavours over the years, which included the production of research, events and publications, FOCAL had tremendous success in fulfilling its mandate of creating and fostering dialogue between Canada and its hemispheric neighbours. FOCAL built a reputation of credibility through its consistent production of quality work, multitudinous achievements and project successes, and leaves behind a strong and impressive legacy of lasting change.

Read the results of the last institutional evaluation conducted by FOCAL for more on our impact and lessons learned.

A View of the Hemisphere



Explore the link between governance and development.