The Covid19 Pandemic has caused widespread disruption to many of the activities of the Canadian Fair Trade Network, and the Canadian Fair Trade movement as a whole. While we have weathered the storm relatively well, having squeezed in our 2020 conference, and kept up with most Fair Trade Towns, Campuses, Schools, Workplaces and Faith Groups, which included working with most to complete their 2020 Annual Renewals; the future remains uncertain and many items are on hold, such as origin trips, travel, meetings and conference participation.

While it is exciting to see  the rapid development of vaccines,  many uncertainties remain; from the distribution of vaccines to the timeline for a return to normal. In some ways, this creates more uncertainty, as even a 1-year plan, might not make sense in 6-months. This Plan therefore outlines a series of short-term operational goals.

The stated vision, mission and goals of the Canadian Fair Trade Network are as follows:

Our Vision: To see a fair, sustainable world led by thoughtful, motivated, and informed Canadians.

Our Mission: To inspire and coordinate a network of engaged civil society advocates and volunteers, along with business, institutional, and government leaders, in building a robust social movement that works to advance the values and vision of fair trade.

Our Strategy: We will focus our efforts on three core pillars:

  1. Grow and support an active grassroots movement
  2. Work with the private sector to use fair trade as a tool for sustainable sourcing
  3. Engage our federal government on legislative changes

At this time, we do not see these changing. However, given current realities, a new short-term Operational Plan is needed to guide our work into and through 2021.

2021 Operational Plan

Our overarching short-term goal is to support the fair trade community in Canada

We have 4 focus areas:

  1. Community: Support the existing community, and work to expand it
    1. Ensure multiple interaction points to keep community active and engaged
  2. Business: Support Canada’s fair trade business community
  3. Advocacy: Advance policy priorities through Canada’s economic recovery
  4. Promotion: Promote fair trade

Our action items in each focus area are as follows


  1. Host regular online events, such as virtual get-togethers, webinars, lunch & learns, workshops, trivia, and book clubs
  2. Encourage dialogue within the movement on Facebook groups, zoom, slack, skype, webinars, and a new national resource hub
  3. Build out national resource hub as place to house resources, chat, share stories, learn from each other, identify gaps, co-create knowledge, and identify opportunities for funding.
  4. Build out a new CFTN Website
  5. Support efforts to create regional coalitions and partnerships, between different programs and with external partners (non-profit and business)
  6. Engage with farmers and workers through “virtual origin trips”
  7. Host a series of online events and webinars.
  8. Plan for an in-person conference in spring 2022.
  9. Provide clear guidance and direction on different fair trade labels, as well as on weaker labels such as Rain Forest Alliance and corporate run in-house programs.
  10. Create “5 things to do during Covid” to give direction to Fair Trade Towns, Campuses, Schools, Workplaces and Faith Groups
    1. Such as article writing, Zoom get-togethers, trivia, recruiting & training volunteers, fundraising/grant writing
  11. Shift all program applications and renewals to a semi-automated digital system. Have it in place for renewals that will be due on July 1, 2021


  1. Promote, communicate and share stories about Canadian fair trade businesses, tie in with “buy local”, “buy Canadian”, and Fairtrade Canada’s soon to be launched small roaster/café program.
  2. Feature “best-in-class” and/or case studies of fair trade business/retailer or business/advocate collaborations, to inspire action
  3. Promote e-commerce selling fair trade products on social media
  4. Collect and distribute links to information about resources to assist businesses
  5. Engage with fair trade companies who are not currently “in the fold”, and work on bringing them into the wider movement
  6. Connect and engage with “good” companies outside the fair trade world, to broaden the reach of fair trade and to be part of the broader sustainability community


  1. Work in partnership with Fairtrade Canada and align with Fairtrade International and Fair Trade Advocacy Office policy priorities.
  2. Monitor windows of opportunity, and engage our federal government on:
    1. Sustainable public procurement
    2. Modern slavery legislation & supply chain transparency
    3. Official development assistance and its use
    4. Consumer protection: fair trade and sustainability claims made by companies
    5. Trade policy & agreements
  3. Build advocacy capacity of fair trade movement leaders
    1. Develop training system
    2. Create specific goals and actions for advocacy leads

Promotion (Social Media, Newsletter)

  1. Develop content strategy, focusing on:
    1. Fair trade generally
    2. Impact and importance of fair trade, as systemic change
    3. Stories and values of businesses
    4. Information about the economic impacts of the pandemic
  2. Develop content delivery strategy
    1. Frequency of posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
    2. Frequency of Newsletter

Financial Planning:

The CFTN will look at the following options to support its work in 2021:

  1. Program management contract with Fairtrade Canada
  2. Service provision
  3. Sponsorship of our 2021 Webinar and event series
  4. Grants
  5. Government programs
  6. Membership
  7. Partnerships

Organizational Management:

  1. Host Annual General Meeting in April 2021