On this page you will learn about the beginnings of the Federation, which started as two small research councils meant to support Canadian scholars in the humanities and social sciences and later merged to become the current Federation.

Interactive timeline: History of the Federation

Try our interactive digital timeline! Scroll through our 75-year history with left/right buttons or drag the dates under the timeline with your mouse. Hover over bubbles to see key moments in our history, and click on bubbles to view archival materials and detailed explanations. Click on archival images to enlarge or shrink.

Early in their existence, the Humanities Research Council of Canada (HRC) and the Canadian Social Science Research Council (CSSRC) were non-governmental institutions created by the academic communities in these disciplines. The councils were focused on funding research, connecting scholars, and pursuing independent large-scale studies of their own. On the timeline, you will see some examples of those research projects and programs.

As the Canadian government began establishing its own bodies to support research, first in the form of the Canada Council and then in the form of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the two original councils — the HRC and the CSSRC — shifted towards becoming representatives for academic associations and universities. While certain programs, such as the Aid to Scholarly Publications Program, were still core to their operations, the councils now focused more on being a voice for the Canadian humanities and social science communities, and there was some evolution in their names.

Eventually, in 1996, what by then had become the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and the Social Science Federation of Canada merged. Today, the joint organization is the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, comprised of over 160 institutional, association and  affiliate members, and representing 91,000 Canadian scholars. The Federation remains the principal voice of the social science and humanities community, with a wide array of programming and policy work.

Peruse the interactive digital timeline to view highlights of our first 75 years, and visit the rest of the site to see how to engage with us now and into the future.


Chairs of the Board/Past Presidents (1997- present)

headshot of annie pilote

Annie Pilote
Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Université Laval 

2023 - Present

Headshot of Mike Degagne

Mike DeGagné
President and CEO of Indspire

2021 - 2023 

Headshot of Patrizia Albanese

Patrizia Albanese
Sociology, Ryerson University

2019 - 2021

Headshot of Guy Laforest

Guy Laforest
Political Science, Université Laval

2017 - 2019

headshot of Stephen Toope

 Stephen Toope
Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

2015 – 2017


headshot of Antonia Maioni

Antonia Maioni
Political Science, McGill University

2013 – 2015

headshot of Graham Carr

Graham Carr
Concordia University

2011 – 2013

Headshot of Nathalie Desrosiers

Nathalie DesRosiers
University of Ottawa       

2008 – 2009

headshot of Noreen Golfman

Noreen Golfman
English, Memorial University of Newfoundland

2006 – 2008, 2009 – 2011

headshot of Don Fisher

Don Fisher
Educational Studies, The University of British Columbia

2004 – 2006


headshot of Douh Owram

Doug Owram
History, University of Alberta   

2002 – 2004 

headshot of Patricia Clements

Patricia Clements
English, University of Alberta

2000 – 2002 

headshot of Louise Forsyth

Louise Forsyth
Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Saskatchewan

1998 – 2000

headshot of Chad Gaffield

Chad Gaffield
History, University of Ottawa

1996 – 1998

headshot of John Scott

 John Scott
Philosophy, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador 

headshot of Greg Kealey

Greg Kealey
History, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

1995 – 1996 

CEOs/Executive Directors (1997- present)

Headshot of Gabriel Miller

Gabriel Miller
President and CEO, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

May 2017- present

headshot of Christine Ford

Christine Tausig Ford
Interim Executive Director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

October 2016-May 2017

headshot of Jean Marc Mangin

Jean-Marc Mangin
Executive Director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

2009-October 2016

headshot of Jody Ciufo

Jody Ciufo 
Executive Director, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences 


headshot of Paul Ledwell

Paul Ledwell
Executive Director, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences


Federation speech bubbles from logo

Louise Robert
Executive Director, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences


headshot of Marcel Lauziere

Marcel Lauzière
Founding Executive Director, Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada