Communications + Public Relations Foundation

Public Relations Research Will Shape the Profession Now and in the Future

The world is changing quickly in light of digital technology, globalization, the economy, immigration, the aging workforce and increased demands for corporate transparency. These factors continue to transform how we communicate and build relationships in our daily work, and redefine our industry. Now is the time for public relations practitioners and business communicators to ensure that our profession is well positioned for what lies ahead.
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Have you ever thought about your chosen career recently, and how your life experience has contributed to your accomplishments and success? If you haven't, then this might be the time to think not only about the past, but also about the future of the public relations industry and how you can make a difference.

The Communications + Public Relations Foundation can help you celebrate your achievements and growth since you entered the profession.
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Torchia Scholarship
Click here to learn more about this student scholarship.

Who We Are
The Communications + Public Relations Foundation, established in 1979, is a recognized, not-for-profit, charitable organization that:

  • is committed to increasing public knowledge and awareness of the role of public relations and communications through support to educational initiatives and conduct of original communications research;
  • promotes the advancement of public relations and communications as a vital function in society; and
  • is dedicated to the public interest.

What We Do
We work with partners through the gifts of individuals, foundations, organizations and corporations to develop and implement educational initiatives that focus on the value and power of public relations. We

  • accept gifts toward the development of scholarships, awards, lectures, publications and the conduct of original communications research;
  • issue income tax receipts for all gifts;
  • encourage the establishment of educational initiatives to honour public relations practitioners.

The Past
In its early years, the Foundation raised money to advance the profession through:

  • Donating public relations texts to public libraries
  • Sponsoring a Foundation lecture at the CPRS national conference
  • Publishing of a public relations reference text book
  • Establishing the Jack Yocom Profile Collection with the CPRS College of Fellows

The Present
Currently, the Foundation manages a number of initiatives established in partnership with individuals and organizations and has initiated a national fundraising campaign to expand its support to original communications research:

  • Ruth Hammond Scholarship in co-operation with Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
    [2013: Leanne Tremblay, Bedford, Nova Scotia]
  • Lou Cahill Scholarship in Communications in partnership with Enterprise Canada, Toronto, and Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario.
    [2013 Recipient: Saron Fanel, London, Ontario]
  • Torchia Scholarship in Public Relations/Communications in partnership with Torchia Communications
    [2013: No recipient]
  • Calgary Legacy Scholarship in partnership with CPRS (Calgary), Calgary, Alberta
    [2014 recipient: Natalie Brodych, Calgary, Alberta]
  • Denis Racine Bursary in partnership with CPRS (Vancouver Island), Victoria, British Columbia
    [2014 recipient: Tedi Vermeulen, Victoria, B.C.]
  • APEX Scholarship in Public Relations in partnership with APEX Public Relations and Humber College, Toronto.
    [2012 and 2013 recipient: Cole Douglas, Toronto]
  • Susan Francis Prize in Public Relations/Communications in partnership with John Francis and family, Calgary, Alberta; and in collaboration with CPRS (Calgary).
    [2013 recipient Hailey Laycraft, Calgary]
  • Research project in collaboration with corporate donors across Canada
    The research will establish important baseline information about what the public relations workforce looks like in terms of academic background, skills and experience. It will investigate what employers in different sectors of public relations and communications management are looking for now, and in the future, to ensure the employees they hire have the required education, training and experience to contribute to overall corporate or organizational objectives.  Results will be available in mid-2014.
    [2012 recipient: McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., Terry Flynn, PhD, team leader]
  • GAP Study

    Conducted by CPRS Inc. in partnership with the Global Alliance and funded by the Foundation, the research focusses on Canadian public relations in a global context. This second wave of research will analyze public relations in Canada against global norms and explore sector specific analysis of public relations/communications management. The international results will be available in Fall, 2014.

    [2013 recipient: Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, N.S.]

  • Diana and Charles Tisdall Lecture in Communications in partnership with Tisdall family, Toronto, and donors nationwide, and in collaboration with Canadian Public Relations Society.

    • 2013 - 25 Years of Story Telling: Perspectives on the Short Trip from PR to Novels
      Terry Fallis
      Public relations practitioner, author and founder of Thornley Fallis
      June 10, 2013, Gatineau, Quebec
      View the video
    • 2012 - Financial Sector Communications in an Uncertain Economic Environment
      Lindsay Gordon
      President & CEO, HSBC Bank Canada

      June 12, 2012, Victoria, British Columbia
      View the video
    • 2011 - Getting to Maybe
      Eric Young
      Founder and President, E-Y-E | The Social Projects Studio

      June 7, 2011, Saint John, New Brunswick
      View the video
    • 2010 - Communications in a Policing Environment: It's Complicated
      Sheila Bird
      Executive Director, Public Affairs
      Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

      June 15, 2010, Regina, SK
      View the video
    • 2009 - Vision, Mission and Leadership - A CEO's Perspective on Communicating Tough Messages in Tough Economic Times
      Courtney Pratt
      Chair and CEO, Toronto Region Research Alliance

      June 8, 2009, Vancouver, BC
      View the video
    • 2008 Getting Kicked While You Are Down - The Truth About Citizen-Generated News & Its Role in Public Relations
      Leonard Brody
      Chief Executive, NowPublic

      June 9, 2008, Halifax, Nova Scotia
      View the video
    • 2007 - You Can't Spin Mother Nature
      Jim Hoggan, APR
      President, Hoggan and Associates
      June 14, 2007,Edmonton, AB

      View the video
    • 2006 - The Power of Communications in Society
      Chantal Hebert
      Political Columnist
      June 13, 2006, Niagara Falls, ON

      Audio (MP3) (35 minutes)
    • 2005 - Substance Sells: Aligning Corporate Reputation and Corporate Responsibility
      Bennett Freeman
      Global Corporate Responsibility, Burson-Marsteller

      June 16, 2005, Calgary, AB.
      Transcript (PDF)
  • Collaborative projects with Victoria Foundation and CPRS (Vancouver Island) featuring professional development and contribution of books to Greater Victoria Public Library

Annual Reports
The Foundation publishes an annual report that includes an outline of initiatives and its financial statement.

The Foundation is governed by a national board of communications professionals and those from the business sector. It is a separately incorporated organization with a strong relationship with the Canadian Public Relations Society through its founders. Directors are elected annually at the organization's annual general meeting held in June,and may serve up to three, three two-year terms.

Chair: Gordon K. McIvor, PhD, APR, FCPRS; Toronto
First Vice-Chair: Robert Paddon, APR, MA, MBA; Vancouver
Second Vice-Chair: Bruce MacLellan, APR, FCPRS; Toronto
Secretary/Treasurer: Laura Balbinot, B.Com, CMA; Toronto
Nancy Arab, APR, ABC, FCPRS; Calgary
Robert Batherson, BPR; Halifax
David Brodie; Vancouver
Marlene Klassen, APR, FLMI; Winnipeg
Joel Levesque, APR, FCPRS; Saint John
David Milliken; Toronto
Andrew Molson, BA, MSc; Montreal
Bernard Motulsky, PhD; Montréal
Blair Peberdy, APR; Toronto
Chitra Reddin, PhD; Toronto
Mark Seland, APR; Calgary
Carol Sharpe, BA; Montreal
Norman Stowe, BA; Vancouver
Karen Dalton APR, CAE; Toronto

Director Emeritus:

Ruth Hammond, B.A., APR, ABC, FCPRS(H); Toronto

Executive Director:
Barbara Sheffield, B.A., APR, FCPRS; Toronto

Foundation Sponsors
The Foundation acknowledges, with thanks, the following sponsors who make our operational work possible:

Annual Report translation – Centrik, Montreal, Quebec    
Annual report art and design – NATIONAL Public Relations, Toronto, Ontario
Brochure art and design – NATIONAL Public Relations, Toronto, Ontario
Brochure translation – Centrik, Montreal, Quebec
Brochure printing – Environics Communications, Toronto
News release distribution – CNW Group, Toronto
Web page - Canadian Public Relations Society Inc., Toronto


Foundation Donors
The Foundation acknowledges, with thanks, the following research donors:

  • Platinum - $10,000
    Environics Inc., Toronto
    Great West Life Assurance Company, Winnipeg
    NATIONAL Public Relations, Montreal, Quebec
  • Gold - $5,000
    CP Rail, Calgary
    Imperial Tobacco Canada, Montreal
  • Silver - $2,500
    Bombardier Inc., Montreal
    CNW Group, Toronto
    Canadian Public Relations Society Inc., Toronto
    Hudbay Minerals, Toronto
    Leger Marketing, Toronto
    Tim Hortons Inc., Oakville
  • Bronze - $1,750- $1,000
    Agence LG2, Montreal
    Alliance des Cabinets de relations publiques du Quebec, Montreal
    APEX Public Relations, Toronto
    Argyle Communications, Toronto
    CN, Montreal
    CISION Canada Inc., Toronto
    Cohn & Wolfe, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal
    Desjardins, Montreal
    Fondation Daniel Lamarre, Montreal
    Morin relations publiques, Montreal
    Teck Resources Ltd, Vancouver
  • Diamond - $500
    ACJ Communication, Montreal
    GCI Canada, Toronto
    Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
    Communication Casacom, Montreal
    Ecole de technologie supérieure, Montreal
    Marlene Klassen, APR, Winnipeg
    Colleen Killingsworth, APR, FCPRS, Calgary
    McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, Toronto
    Molson Coors Canada, Toronto
    Newalta Corporation, Calgary
    Maureen Payne & Associates, Calgary
    Rider & Company Communications, Thornhill
    TD Financial Group, Toronto
    Ernest Yee, Vancouver
  • Other
    Diane Begin, APR, Toronto
    Dalton Communications, Toronto
    Don LaBelle, APR, FCPRS, Ottawa
    Joel Levesque, APR, FCPRS, Saint John
    Philip Mulder, APR, St. Albert
    Blair Peberdy, APR; Toronto
    Janet Sherman, Toronto
    Deb Trouten, APR, Toronto
    Guy Versailles, ARP, Montreal

The Foundation acknowledges, with thanks, the following donors who have made gifts to our work in 2012/13:

  • Individuals
    Robin Alford, APR, FCPRS; Nanaimo
    Luc Beauregard, CM, ARP, FSCRP; Montréal
    John Challinor; APR, Milton
    Roberta Corey; Toronto
    David Eisenstadt; APR, FCPRS, Toronto
    Robert Ellis, APR, FCPRS; Regina
    Frank Florio, APR; Stoney Creek
    John Francis, APR, FCPRS(H); Calgary
    Judi Gunter, APR, FCPRS; Calgary
    Susan Jamieson-McLarnon; APR, Vancouver
    Ginny Jones, APR; Ancaster
    Walt Judas; Vancouver
    Don LaBelle, APR, FCPRS; Ottawa
    Corinne LaBossiere, APR; Toronto
    Jeff Lake; Burlington
    Antoine Landry, ARP, FSCRP; Laval
    Nancy Cahill Leger; Brockville
    Marilee Tisdall MacFarlane; Toronto
    Bruce MacLellan, APR, FCPRS, and Karen Girling; Toronto
    Janet MacMillan, APR, FCPRS; Halifax
    Ev McCrimmon, APR; Picton
    Gordon K. McIvor, APR, FCPRS; Cambridge
    John McHugh, APR; Toronto
    Sheridan McVean, APR; Calgary
    Philip Mulder, APR; Calgary
    C. Edmund Murray, APR FCPRS(H); Halifax
    Terry O’Malley; St. Catharines
    Robert Paddon, APR; Vancouver
    Blair Peberdy, APR; Toronto
    Daniela Pizzuto, APR; Montréal
    Vincent Power, APR; Burlington
    Janice Robertson, APR; Calgary
    Louise Rousseau, ARP; Montréal
    David Rowney, APR; Georgetown
    Wayne Roznowsky, APR; Grande Prairie
    Don Savaria; Regina
    Carol Sharpe; Montréal
    Barbara Sheffield, APR, FCPRS; Toronto
    Janet Sherman; Toronto
    Sharlene Smith, APR, FCPRS; Victoria
    Amy Thurlow, PhD, APR; Halifax
    Eileen Tobey, APR, FCPRS; Toronto
    Sydney Tomchenko, APR; Coquitlam
    Deborah Trouten, APR; Toronto
    Richard Truscott, APR; Calgary
    Guy Versailles, ARP; St. Laurent
    Anita Wasiuta, APR; Victoria
    Patricia Waters; St. Catharines
    Martin Waxman, APR; Toronto
    William Whalen, APR; Moncton
    Ernest Yee; Vancouver
  • Corporations or organizations
    APEX Public Relations; Toronto
    CP Rail; Calgary
    CPRS Inc.; Toronto
    Dalton Communications; Toronto
    Enterprise Canada; Toronto
    Joel Levesque Public Affairs Counsel; Saint John
    Peggy Sheffield & Associates Inc.; Toronto
    Torchia Communications; Montréal
    Victoria Foundation; Victoria

How you can become involved
Consider a gift to the Foundation to support one or more of its many initiatives. You might make a bequest to the Foundation in your will to support communications education or research; you might, in collaboration with others, establish an award, scholarship or educational offering in memory of one of our pioneers or honour a current leader in our profession. We can help you with ongoing management and funding. Your ideas and suggestions are most welcome.

Any new initiative requires the donation of gifts to support its launch.

Contact Us
To contact the Communications + Public Relations Foundation for more information, or to how to make a gift, or how to establish an educational offering:

Barbara Sheffield BA, APR, FCPRS
Executive Director
Communications + Public Relations Foundation
Suite 1515
73 Widdicombe Hill Blvd
Toronto, Ontario
M9R 4B3
Phone: (416) 242-6146
FAX: (416) 242-6146
Email: or