WOW!! Look who else has been lobbying Trudeau and the Liberal government

cija lobbyAll lobbyists in Canada must file an annual report with the Commissioner of Lobbying indicating WHO they lobbied and WHAT they lobbied about. The report filed from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs shows the breadth of its concerns and the strengths of its contacts with the Liberal Party and senior government officials. Read more…

According to the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, there are over 5000 registered lobbyists in Canada trying to influence the policies of the Federal Government. Many  corporations lobby to seek commercial advantage. But when it comes to foreign policy, few groups are more influential than the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). CIJA describes itself as “the official representative organizational voice of the Jewish community of Canada” which “articulates the community’s perspectives on key issues of national scope and significance regarding Canada-Israel relations.”

CIJA gets funding from over a dozen local Jewish Federations across Canada. Its total budget is a closely guarded secret. Its head, Shimon Fogel, was identified by Embassy Magazine as “one of the 50 most influential voices” in Canadian foreign policy.

cija lobbyists

CIJA has offices in a dozen Canadian cities including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. Most of its estimated 50 or so staff are located in Ottawa, where top political leaders and our foreign policy bureaucracy is concentrated, and in Toronto, the home of the largest community of Canadian Jews.

A good deal of CIJA lobbying takes place in the form of free trips to Israel for influential Canadians, including MPs, university presidents, Chiefs of police and other decisionmakers. In fact, MPs take more free trips to Israel than to any other destination – all paid for by CIJA.

CIJA lobbies the full alphabet of Canadian federal departments and agencies from Agriculture to Veterans Affairs (there is no department whose name starts with a Z), often in defence of Israel’s interests.

cija who is being lobbied

These are the first 14 entries in a very long list of departments and agencies lobbied by CIJA last year.

The Lobbying Commissioner’s report notes 165 meetings with a total of 208 federal parliamentarians and bureaucrats between January and November 2018.  That’s an average of two contacts each day that Parliament sat during that period.  Of course, the report ONLY notes the work of CIJA with respect to the Canadian federal government and bureaucracy.  None of its extensive lobbying work with provincial or municipal governments is included.

Interesting reading…

Lobbying the government is a perfectly legal activity, and exists in all democracies. Contrary to popular opinion, effective lobbyists cannot and do not “twist arms” of politicians. The most effective ones are able to present themselves as allies to politicians scrambling for votes and money.

But some lobbies are better funded and more effective than others. For anyone who wonders why the defenders of Israel seem to have more influence on the Trudeau government than those who defend human rights for Palestinians, the Annual report by the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying makes for interesting reading.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. If we have our facts wrong, please help us. We encourage brief comments (under 100 words) from serious readers. To learn more about what we do, contact us at





  1. Hi Peter,

    Excellent that you reported on this latest CIJA lobbying summary. I believe there may well be a case for accusing CIJA (or MPs who accept CIJA paid trips to Israel) of violating the Conflict of Interest Act.



  2. Very revealing since more than half of the extensive lobbying interests and subjects carried out by Cija relate directly to support of Israel and its policies including expanding relations with Canada particularly in trade, defense counterterrorism relations as well as undoubtedly maintaining tax status for any charities investing in Israel ieJNF. Essentially Cija focuses on Canada taking and maintaining unquestioning support for Israel in all domains from nuclear weapons to voting at the UN to activity on the ICC even though such positions might run against traditional Canadian positions . Cija is against Canada pushing forward its policy of a 2 state soln to resolve the issue when not in accord with Israel policy.and actions and wants to constrain any Canadian criticism of Israel whether on settlements, treatment of Pals, nuclear wpns etc.

    These tasks could and should be more appropriately carried out by the embassy of Israel in Canada which is undoubtedly working hard on them. But there is no indication of how Cija is working with the Israeli government and embassy in carrying out this lobbying.and whether there is any payment by the Israeli govt to Cija as a lobbying organization.

    Registered lobbyists for Palestine and opposing Arab countries may exist in Ottawa but cannot compare with the power and financial resources brought to bear by Cija and other elements of the pro Israel lobby. In the US such lobbyists would need also to register as agents for foreign governments. There has been a debate as to whether AIPAC should be required to register as a foreign agent.

    Canada’s lobbying register presents an opportunity for greater transparency for Cija and 5000 other orgs. But there is still a lack of information. There is a case that Cija should have to explain who is paying for this service and whether there is an association with the Govt of Israel – just like paid lobbyists for Saudi Arabia, Palestine or any entity.

    1. George, CIJA has a way to camouflage the sources of its funds. JFC-UIA, an umbrella organization, is identified as CIJA’s parent organization. According to CIJA’s website, if you donate to CIJA, your receipt comes from JFC-UIA. Thus, on the record, only JFC-UIA gives money to CIJA.

  3. According to the CIJA website, “Tax receipts for donations to CIJA will come from JFC-UIA.”. That means that this lobbying organization is subsidized by our tax dollars.

    1. This is a really eye-opening revelation. Along with the JNF Canadian taxpayers are unwittingly supporting two major pro-Israel lobby groups. IJV – Canada hasn’t taken on this issue AFAIK. But, since we are all taxpayers, it is our responsibility, too.

    2. Yes it certainly looks that way if tax receipts are given for contributions to Cija by JFC-UIC. Someone should ask CRA to investigate this situation as so much of Cija’s time is spent lobbying for Israel in Canada. No other paid Canadian lobbyist for a foreign country could be in a position to offer charitable or political tax receipts to Cdn contributors. Let’s investigate with CRA.. Seems that Canada talks Israel Palestine has a better right to be registered as an educational charity than CIJA..

  4. This lobby has virtually nothing to do with Canadian citizens, but rather the State of Israel’s interests, one of which we all know is to continue it’s practice of carving off more and more Palestinian lands so as to grow the non-Palestinian population by erecting “settler settlements” populated by militant and armed newcomers more willing than anyone else in Israel to use violence as the first response to anything.

    Canada continues to have policy that reflects the UN position the “settler” settlements on Palestinian lands are illegal, so it strikes me as quite sad, the CIJA gets to lobby on behalf of a foreign power and the federal Liberals look the other way when discussions about new settlements happen.

  5. Agree that there is no evidence that Israel govt is contributing to Cija, although collusion and cooperation in lobbying for Israel is another matter.
    CIja would have to report govt of Israel contributions if that were the case. It is mainly Canadian citizens who are contributing to Cija and may or not get tax benefits depending on whether Cija gets a charitable education status from CRA. Heather Reisman was a founder of Cija and the Chapter Indigo and Onyx Empires may be contributing. Would be useful if Cija could be more transparent on financing and goals.

    1. George,

      If you chase down the links on the CIJA website, you will see that it claims that those who contributing to CIJA are already getting tax benefits because the receipt comes from its “parent organization”, JFC-UIA. I don’t think that they want their funding to be transparent because I had to click a lot of links to find the information. We need to find a tax expert to find out if this is legal. CIJA says that it does have an office in Israel.

      1. Agree there are charitable educational organizations that might employ registered lobbyists for which tax receipts are given for donations which describes CiJa case. Cija lobbies for Israel and for social educational causes affecting Jews and others in Canada. My argument is that tax receipts for that portion of Cija work that relates specifically to a foreign country’s Israel interests should not be given tax credit. We have no foreign agent’s registration act FARA in Canada like the USA but lobbyists for foreign countries have to register and do not usually get tax benefit.. Cija would argue that they are lobbying for Canada Israel relations not Israel interests when in practice they are lobbying for purely Israeli govt positions. Lawyers in our CTIP network might want to comment. It is somewhat similar but not equivalent to the JNF campaign being led by IJV and their views would be crucial.

  6. Hi Peter

    Excellent article and most revealing re the number of free trips taken by MPs to Israel and paid for by CIJA. I wonder if any of the jaunts include visits to settler settlements, which according to the UN position, are illegal , and a position which Canada continues to adhere to. Are these MP’s required to file a report of their trips and how comprehensive are they?

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