Skip to main content
fisherman holding red starfish

Our Approach

fisherman holding red starfish

Our Mission

Ecotrust Canada works with rural, remote and Indigenous communities toward building an economy that provides for a healthy and resilient natural environment; sustainable and abundant energy, food, and housing; prosperous and meaningful livelihoods; and vibrant cultures and inclusive societies. We call this approach,

Building an Economy that

Provides for Life


A System in Need of Change

We assert that our current economy, which is dependent on ever-increasing growth, resource extraction, and unrestrained consumption, is fundamentally at odds with the social and environmental needs of the world. Climate change, global financial instability, and an ever-widening gap between rich and poor, are just the latest indicators of capitalism’s mounting failures. Unfortunately, this system has behind it the weight and momentum of several centuries of relentless growth across an entire planet. It is a system so dominant in our lives that we can no longer bring ourselves to imagine there are viable alternatives. We have lost sight of the fact that an economy can, and should, be changed to suit the needs of people and planet.

Building Resilient, Local, Economies

As our current economic system breaks apart, it is along the fractured edges that Ecotrust Canada plants the seeds for systems change. Specifically, we work with rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in the places they call home — places that are themselves at the edge, where communities have long been exploited by an economy focused on extraction and commodification. However, we are fortunate that there is a resilience within these communities, born from a deep connection between people and place. It is here that there is the opportunity to build an economy that, instead of destroying life, provides for life’s resilience and abundance.

Proving the Possible through Social Innovation

Our approach focuses on triggering systems change through social innovation.

Our work is social — we support communities in creating change for themselves as active participants who take the lead in defining their own futures.

Our work is innovative — our strategies explore alternative solutions, both new and old, that are outside the bounds of the current economic system. Finally, throughout our programs, we focus on demonstrating change on-the-ground, through real, tangible projects that dare to challenge the status quo.

Learning Lessons and Scaling Success

Over our 25-year history we have had known great success, as well as notable failures, and both are crucial to the innovation process. Our commitment is to learn what worked and what didn’t, and to share those lessons as widely as possible. When it comes to success, our first priority is to deliver benefit to the local communities with whom we are partnered. However, we also know that with every innovation there is the potential to catalyze change across hundreds of communities, and possibly, to revolutionize our entire economic system.

We ensure that local solutions are transferred, replicated, and amplified through coalition building, policy change, market transformation, and well-communicated research. In this change-making spirit, we work with communities as partners in creating a new economic future for all of Canada.

“An economy can, and should, be changed to suit the needs of people and planet.”

CEO and President Chuck Rumsey

Visit Our Impact page
Read the Ecotrust Canada 2018-2021 Strategic Plan