Retooling of Canadian advocacy groups needs more study


TORONTO (JTA) — Plans to restructure some of Canada’s Jewish advocacy groups have been delayed, granting a reprieve to the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Meeting Sunday night in Montreal, the board of United Israel Appeal Federations Canada voted unanimously that plans to streamline and centralize Jewish advocacy groups should be studied further. The board asked for a final report addressing outstanding issues due by June.

The delay is good news for the 91-year-old Canadian Jewish Congress, which had voiced fears it would be dissolved under the reorganization plans.

Concerns had been raised that a single new agency, whose structure, funding and mandate are contained in a report kept secret from all but top community officials, would spell the end of the venerable Canadian Jewish Congress. The Congress had argued that its demise would represent the loss of a name and a brand that have entered the Canadian Jewish psyche.

Spearheaded by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, the advocacy agent of the United Israel Appeal Federations Canada, the consolidation plans have been in the works for months. The council oversees and coordinates the advocacy work of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canada-Israel Committee, the Quebec-Israel Committee, National Jewish Campus Life and the University Outreach Committee.

Some reports said the advocacy council was considering a single agency with one board of directors and possibly cross-country "regional councils" that would work with, and possibly under, local Jewish federations.

Among the concerns sounded were that Canadian Jewish Council’s human rights work would be abandoned to its chief rival, B’nai Brith Canada.

One observer told JTA that "a lot more people now want answers about the whole process and the potential loss of the CJC brand."

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