Search for "QIAP" | Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)

May 102015

I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.

Rufus Jones, Quaker Faith and Practice, Britain Yearly Meeting, 1995:24.56


Trade and Intellectual Property Issues

From 2001 until 2008, the Quaker International Affairs Programme (QIAP) (a special program of CFSC described below) worked on trade and intellectual property issues. In the last 20 years, new rules on the scope and territorial extent for intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.) expanded beyond national and existing multilateral arenas (i.e. World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)) to bilateral, regional and World Trade Organization (WTO) trade agreements.
These new rules apply to a range of biologically based materials, including life forms (such as microorganisms, seeds and plants), that many countries may not have previously been obliged to protect.
This will impact key development areas important for social and economic prosperity such as: food security, agriculture and access to genetic resources, biodiversity, environment, health and access to essential medicines, and the protection of traditional knowledge, folklore and cultural property.
QIAP’s aim was to enhance the fairness of the negotiating process by providing information to decisions-makers and facilitating off-the-record dialogue. In 2008, the Quaker International Affairs Programme (QIAP) began the transition from work on trade and intellectual property issues to work on the commons.
QIAP’s many publications are available below as PDFs.

Background: Quaker International Affairs Programme (QIAP)

The Quaker International Affairs Programme (QIAP) arose from the concerns of Canadian Quakers and its priorities were determined, in part, by the agendas of the organizations and participants with which QIAP worked. QIAP’s work was supported by CFSC, Canadian Yearly Meeting, Monthly Meetings across Canada, the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva, other groups and individuals. QIAP’s work was also supported by grants from the: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); International Development Research Centre (IDRC); Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS); Peace Research Institute – Dundas (PRI-D); and the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID).

Ways of Working

QIAP employed a facilitative, non-partisan methodology used by the Quaker United Nations Offices in Geneva and New York. The methodology brings information and various perspectives to decision-makers, along with opportunities for informal and off-the-record dialogue and works with stakeholders on all sides of an issue.
QIAP worked with many different organizations including Quaker agencies; government officials and diplomats; intergovernmental officials (United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, etc.); civil society groups; groups directly affected by an issue or conflict (e.g. Indigenous peoples); and academics and experts.


The Future Control of Food: A Guide to International Negotiations and Rules on Intellectual Property, Biodiversity and Food Security, edited by Geoff Tansey and Tasmin Rajotte

Tasmin Rajotte, QIAP Representative, and Geoff Tansey with "The Future Control of Food", their award-winning book.

The book is the first wide-ranging guide to the key issues of intellectual property and ownership, genetics, biodiversity, and food security. The book, which won a distinguished book award in 2009, is published by Earthscan and can be purchased through Earthscan in the UK and UBC Press in Canada.

The Future Control of Food was recently spotted in China

The Future Control of Food was recently spotted in China

Issue Papers (focus on specific problem areas and policy options)

  • Regional and bilateral agreements and a TRIPS-plus world: the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by David Vivas-Eugui (August 2003)
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Supplementary Table: Simple legal text comparison of the TRIPS Agreement and FTAA Draft IPRs Chapter Here
  • Special and Differential Treatment of Developing Countries in TRIPS by Constantine Michalopoulus, October 2003
  • Multilateral agreements and a TRIPS-plus world: the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO)by Sisule F. Musungu and Graham Dutfield, December 2003
  • Bilateral agreements and a TRIPS-plus world: the Chile-USA Free Trade Agreement by Pedro Roffe, October 2004
  • Rethinking innovation, development and intellectual property in the UN: WIPO and beyond by Sisule F Musungu, August 2005


Discussion Papers (Broad technical overviews)

  • Food Security, Biotechnology and Intellectual Property: Unpacking some issues around TRIPS by Geoff Tansey, July 2002
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Sui Generis Systems for Plant Variety Protection: Options under TRIPS by Biswajit Dhar, April 200
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property: Issues and options surrounding the protection of traditional knowledge by Carlos Correa, November 2001
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Trade, Intellectual Property, Food and Biodiversity: Key issues and options for the 1999 review of Article 27.3(b) of the TRIPS Agreement by Geoff Tansey, February 1999
  • English


Occasional Papers (Technical Briefs)

  • Protection of Intellectual Property and Public Health within the framework of the Chile-U.S. Free Trade Agreement by Carlos M. Correa, October 2004
  • English
  • Key Issues for the relationship between the Convention on Biological Diversity & the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture by Kathryn Garforth and Christine Frison, July 2007


Background Papers (General public)


Papers produced by the Quaker United Nations Office-Geneva


Articles by Quakers

(The views expressed in the following articles are the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CFSC)

  • Is Saving Seed a Human Right? Quaker International Affairs Programme and the Human Future by Keith Helmuth Here
  • Trade, Patents, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Beyond by Carol Dixon and Tracey McCowen, Here

Our History

Protesting for justice - a longstanding Quaker tradition. Pictured: Rally in support of a US war resister in front of the Federal Court, 2010.

Protesting for justice – a longstanding Quaker tradition. Pictured: Rally in support of a US war resister in front of the Federal Court, 2010.

In 1931, members of three Quaker yearly meetings were led to create Canadian Friends Service Committee so they could have a shared place to engage in peace and justice work.

Friends’ participation in wartime and post-war relief and witness generated deep commitment to the peace and justice work CFSC came to stand for. Younger Friends and newcomers who, during World War II had done Quaker service abroad as conscientious objectors, supporting Friends’ relief, reconstruction, and ambulance work came to serve on CFSC.

In 1947, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) received the Nobel Peace Prize for Quaker service work during war. All of the Quaker Service Committees’ work is honoured by the Prize and the ethics that garnered it continue to inform our work today.

Peace work

From 1963 to 1976, CFSC operated a Friends Peace Education Centre on Grindstone Island, south of Ottawa, providing imaginative peace and reconciliation programs for Friends and many others seeking a better world. Programs included training in nonviolence, French-English dialogue, conferences for diplomats and Quaker-UNESCO seminars organized by the Canadian Peace Research Institute.

During the Vietnam War many war and draft resisters came to Canada from the United States. Some participated in Grindstone Island programs; some were assisted by Quaker Meetings, individual Friends and families; and some settled in Canada and became Friends.

CFSC General Secretary Jane Orion Smith and Conscientious Objector to the Iraq war Kim Rivera, Toronto, 2012

Former CFSC staff Jane Orion Smith and conscientious objector to the Iraq war Kim Rivera, Toronto, 2012

During the Vietnam War, CFSC sent medical aid to Vietnam to be used by victims on all sides of the conflict in accordance with Friends’ tradition of relief work that cuts across the boundaries of war and conflict. Many American Friends knowingly contravened U.S. law by contributing to this work through Canadian Friends.

For some the program was controversial, but for many it was a labour of love in war-time. It provided considerable aid to the sufferers and served as a witness against war.

In 2004, CFSC began welcoming a new wave of US war resisters, those fleeing the Iraq War. CFSC continues to work towards their ability to stay in Canada.

At the same time we have continued to develop our understanding of peacebuilding and how Canada can contribute constructively to making our world more peaceful. In particular our recent thinking has been influenced by support of grassroots peacebuilding efforts in Kinshasa, DR Congo, and Friends’ trauma healing and community building work in the Africa Great Lakes region.

Development work

In the 1950s and 1960s, two Canadian Quaker families served at the Friends Rural Centre, Rasulia, India, supported by CFSC and Friends Service Council (now Quaker Peace and Social Witness) in London, UK.

By the 1970s the development work that Canadian Friends had done in Rasulia changed to financial support for a larger number of projects in collaboration with other development agencies, later including the Canadian International Development Agency (now within Global Affairs Canada).

CFSC maintains this tradition of supporting small but creative projects that promote human rights and peace in countries around the world.

Indigenous People’s human rights

Friends have a long-standing concern for the rights of Indigenous peoples. In 1974, individual Friends at Yearly Meeting went to Kenora in Northern Ontario to attempt reconciliation in a confrontation over mercury contamination of the waterways. A Quaker physician treated Indigenous people suffering from mercury poisoning and documented the problem. CFSC’s Quaker Committee on Native Concerns (now Quaker Indigenous Rights Committee) was born out of this as well as work amongst Friends in western Canada.

Photo credit UBCIC

Since then, CFSC has supported Indigenous community building initiatives, and urged governments to live up to their legal commitments to Indigenous peoples. Some of this work has also been done in collaboration with other churches through KAIROS.

In the 1990s and 2000s, CFSC worked with Indigenous partners and human rights organizations like Amnesty International Canada, towards the negotiation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UN adopted the Declaration in 2007, and CFSC now focuses on its implementation.

Canadian Quakers have criminal justice concerns that stretch back centuries - here's the history

Quaker Elizabeth Fry reading to the prisoners in Newgate, 1816. CC-BY British Museum

Criminal Justice

In the 17th century members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) experienced being imprisoned for their beliefs. The worldwide community of Quakers has worked on concerns related to criminal justice ever since. This has included founding organizations such as the Elizabeth Fry Society and the Alternatives to Violence Project, promoting restorative justice processes, and participating in the establishment of norms and standards at the United Nations.

In Canada, CFSC began work in justice issues following a 1972 call from British Friends to support abolishing the death penalty in the United Kingdom. From this call, Canadian Friends worked to campaign for the end of capital punishment in Canada until its abolishment in 1976. Canadian Friends then began to broaden their work in criminal justice to the wider prison system and eventually, prison abolition. In 1978, the Quaker Committee on Jails and Justice (QCJJ), a working group of Canadian Friends Service Committee, was established to continue this work of Canadian Friends. Ruth Morris was a key Canadian Quaker who advocated for prison abolition and was active with CFSC.

In 1981, the Religious Society of Friends became the first religious body to endorse prison abolition in the Canadian Yearly Meeting minute (PDF). The work of CFSC and Ruth Morris also led to the establishment in 1982 of the International Conference on Prison Abolition, now called the International Conference on Penal Abolition.

CFSC worked to encourage prison visiting, provide programs and supplies to prisoners, seek alternatives to prisons, raise awareness of the roots of crime and violence in society, and provide small grants to other organizations in support of prisoners and their families. In 1996, CFSC began to focus on alternatives to prison and promoting restorative justice. As one alternative, it supported the establishment of the Alternatives to Violence Project in Canada.

CFSC has now reaffirmed Friends’ commitment to penal abolition and fostering just and compassionate ways of life as a long-term vision. Friends across Canada continue to work towards penal abolition through individual and collective work in prisons and criminal justice.

For more details see this two page history of CFSC’s work in criminal justice.

QIAP book The Future Control of Food

QIAP book The Future Control of Food

Quaker International Affairs Program

In 2001 a Quaker International Affairs Program was established in Ottawa, building on earlier work in facilitating dialogue in international affairs, such as the diplomats’ conferences held at Grindstone in the 1960s. It worked in collaboration with the Quaker United Nations Offices based in Geneva and New York, bringing together diplomats, government officials, and international non-governmental organizations.

The Quaker International Affairs Program had to be laid down in 2011, its 10th year of work, when funding dried up. Many of QIAP’s publications on intellectual property rights, food security, and traditional knowledge remain in use, trusted for their expertise and balance.

Further reading

A more detailed background on CFSC can be found in a 2011 issue of the magazine The Canadian Friend, which celebrated our 80th anniversary.

You can also read this brief summary of CFSC’s history (PDF), written in 2007.