Energy Probe Research Foundation (EPRF) is one of Canada's most respected independent think tanks – home to a dedicated group of public policy researchers, assisted by a motivated team of interns, volunteers, and other support staff, working in diverse areas of concern to Canadian citizens.
EPRF – considered one of the most effective organizations of its kind by The Canadian Encyclopedia – first took form in 1970 as the Energy Team of Pollution Probe. In 1980, Energy Probe separated from Pollution Probe and became incorporated as the Energy Probe Research Foundation.
The Foundation has been called a maverick, as we have taken positions that are often out of step with other citizens' groups. One vital component of our work is our dedication not only to fighting against ill-advised projects but also to fighting for sound, democratic processes. The Foundation has always championed property rights and market mechanisms to protect consumers and the environment, has often criticized foreign aid and other forms of unaccountable international lending, and believes that an informed public can best ensure lasting environmental protection.
EPRF and its divisions are best known for their research exposing nuclear power as uneconomic, their promotion of renewable energy, their documentation that the science behind competing theories of global warming is not yet settled, their criticism of large-scale foreign aid, which undermines political accountability and promotes corruption, and their 24-year-long campaign against China’s Three Gorges Dam.
To inform public opinion, EPRF has been a founder of numerous organizations: locally, Ecology House; nationally, Friends of the Earth Canada; and internationally, the World Rainforest Movement and the International Rivers Network.
The Foundation is made up of several distinct divisions, including Energy Probe, Probe International, Environment Probe, and the Urban Renaissance Institute.
Energy Probe was one of only two "pressure" groups cited by the inaugural edition of The Canadian Encyclopedia for being effective in influencing our country's policies. The Canadian Encyclopedia added: "despite its low budget, Energy Probe is respected for its scrupulous research."
Our work often distinguishes itself by its academic standing. Most of our books have been adopted by university courses, our work appears in leading university texts, and it is published by academic publishers in Canada, the United States, and France. A number of our books have been translated into the Spanish, Bengali, Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Estonian, and Finnish languages.
EPRF also influences policy decisions. Our views are heard by provincial and federal legislative committees, environmental assessment boards, and other regulatory agencies when we testify at hearings on a wide variety of pressing issues. Our factual, non-ideological studies are cited favourably by political parties of all stripes; similarly, our common-sense positions receive plaudits from both Ralph Nader organizations and right-wing think tanks such as the Fraser Institute.
And with the public we continue to have a major influence. Hundreds of thousands encounter our research through our best-selling books and our frequent media appearances, including Lawrence Solomon’s weekly column in the National Post. We reach thousands more through our electronic newsletters. We also maintain Canada’s most popular – and most intensively used – environmental web site. According to Amazon’s Alexa metric, Canadians are more likely to stay on our site after arriving than they do on other environmental groups’ sites. They view many more of our pages, and they spend more time reading our material. In fact, visitors to our site stay with us four times as long as with the next most engrossing site.
The Foundation is an outspoken watchdog organization that is financially independent of governments, corporations, and unions. The bulk of our funds comes in the form of foundation grants and individual donations from the general public. The Foundation also earns income from publications sales and fees for articles, studies, speaking engagements, and participation in hearings.
Donations are tax creditable and may be directed to the general work of the Foundation or to Energy Probe, Probe International, Environment Probe, or Urban Renaissance Institute. Each division has its own budget and each depends on the continued respect and support of the Canadian public for the funding of its operations.