Seth Klein

Seth Klein served for 22 years (1996-2018) as the founding British Columbia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice.

Seth was hired to open the CCPA’s BC Office in 1996. Under his direction, the office grew to 15 employees, over 6,000 supporters across the province, and publishes regular research reports on topics such as taxes, poverty and inequality, labour policy, the future of BC’s resource sectors, climate change, health care, public education, international trade agreements, the BC economy, and much more. The CCPA–BC has become an important and visible source of policy analysis, and has brought much-needed balance to public policy debates in BC.

Seth is a founder and served for eight years as co-chair of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a network of over 60 community organizations in BC campaigning for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in BC. He is a founder and served for 10 years on the advisory committee of the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families campaign (and was co-creator of the methodology for calculating the living family wage, now used in about three dozen Canadian communities). Seth is a board member with the non-profit Dogwood, and an advisory board member for the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance. And he is a founder, advisor and instructor for Next Up, a leadership program for young people committed to social and environmental justice.

Between 2004 and 2009, Seth was co-director of the Economic Security Project (ESP), a major five-year research project funded primarily by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), led by the CCPA-BC and Simon Fraser University. The project brought together a research alliance of 20 academic collaborators and 24 community partner organizations, with the goal of examining how public policy changes in BC affect the economic security of vulnerable populations. The ESP produced 30 reports, mainly dealing with the impacts of welfare reforms, changes to employment standards, and community health care. Seth has also served on the Executive and Steering Committee for CCPA-BC’s Climate Justice Project (CJP), another multi-year research partnership (this one with University of British Columbia), also funded primarily by SSHRC. The CJP has produced over 40 reports that collectively map out how BC can become carbon-zero in a manner that also reduces inequality, includes just transition for workers, and enhances social justice. The CJP brought together a network of academics, environmental ENGOs and trade unions to model, sector-by-sector and industry-by-industry, how an ambitious GHG-reduction plan can be pursued and paid for.

A frequent media commentator on public policy issues, Seth regularly gives talks across the province and nationally. His research deals primarily with climate policy and climate justice, fiscal policy, taxation, welfare policy, poverty, inequality, economic security, and job creation. His research reports can be found on the CCPA’s website; and his policy commentary can be found primarily on the CCPA-BC’s blog.

A social activist for over 35 years, Seth’s activism started as a high school student in the peace movement, and in the anti-racism movement while attending university. Before returning to graduate school, he taught high school (economics and history) in Toronto, and grade 6/7 at a First Nations school on BC’s north coast. He has lived in BC since 1993, and currently lives in East Vancouver with his partner Christine Boyle and two children.

Seth grew up in Montreal, holds a BA in international relations and a B.Ed from the University of Toronto, and an MA in political science from Simon Fraser University.

Seth has been listed by Vancouver Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful people in the city, and by Homemakers Magazine among the “60 men we love.” He does not know how he ended up on either list, but he humbly accepts the latter.

Related Events

Seth Klein: In Conversation with Joshua Schuster

November 11, 2020 at 7:00pm

See event