To advance, promote and protect the interests of our community through effective advocacy, communications and education.
Integrity, accountability, respect and philotimo, through these values, the Congress strives to achieve its objects and to contribute to the quality of life of all Canadians.
The objects of the Congress include: • To advance and promote Hellenism, Democracy, Human Rights and Civic Responsibility • To foster unity, represent and promote the interests of Hellenes in Canada
• To enhance solidarity and unity among Hellenic communities and their organizations throughout Canada
• To facilitate and ensure the continuity and development of Hellenic culture, language, custom, tradition, spiritual and social heritage in Canada
• To encourage and assist in the creative development of Hellenic language, social and cultural life throughout Canada
• To promote and support Hellenic education and the development of Hellenic values
• To facilitate and ensure Hellenic continuity and transmittal of Hellenic legacy from one generation to another.
• To assist Hellenic communities in strengthening their Hellenic identities
• To foster, support and participate in inter-cultural dialogue
• To represent, advocate and act on behalf of the Hellenic communities and their organizations and the Hellenes in general before government institutions and authorities.
• To promote and encourage the involvement of Hellenic Canadians in public affairs.
• To facilitate the establishment and operation of educational, cultural, social and medical institutions and community centers in order to meet the needs of children, families and seniors.
MEMBERSHIP AND STRUCTURE
The membership unit of the Congress is the organization. The organization could be communities, associations, societies, federations, professional groups and individuals.
Membership in the Congress is voluntary and it is open to any non-profit and non-political democratically constituted organization whose members are of Hellenic descent, and whose aims or purposes are similar to those of the Congress.
Individuals of Hellenic descent can also be members of the Congress.
Membership to the Congress is through the provincial congresses and it is through these congresses that members are represented at the National Assembly. Currently, there are five established and recognized provincial congresses. These are: Hellenic Canadian Congress of British Columbia; Hellenic Canadian Congress of Alberta; Hellenic Canadian Congress of Manitoba; Hellenic Canadian Congress of Ontario; and Hellenic Congress of Quebec.
In Atlantic Provinces and Saskatchewan members have a direct membership to the Congress.
The Congress is a democratically elected communal institution for and representative of the Canadian Hellenic community on public policy issues.
The Congress is organized as a two-tier system of government consisting of a national and provincial/regional levels.
At the national level, the Congress functions are administered by two principal organs: The National Council and the National Assembly.
The National Council is the board of directors of the Congress and comprises of 26 elected persons and the immediate past president that come from a variety of backgrounds with a range of knowledge and experience of community affairs, education, culture, government, administration, public policy, social services, and science and technology. Elections are held every three years. Members of the National Council represent provinces/regions.
The National Council elects the officers and serves as the administrative, management and executive authority of the Congress and develops programs and policies in accordance with the objects and the policy resolutions of the National Assembly.
The National Council provides leadership by:
• developing and effectively advancing the views and concerns of Canadians of Hellenic heritage on public policy issues; and
• informing and educating governments, non-governmental organizations, the media and the public about Hellenism and the Canadian Hellenic community.
The National Council appoints the Executive Committee and any policy and operational committees that are necessary to carry out its functions and mandate.
The National Assembly is comprised of 100 delegates selected by the member organizations from across Canada. The National Assembly meets once a year.
The number of delegates from each province is mandated by the Constitution and the selection of delegates is assigned to the provincial congress and, where there is not provincial congress in place the members are meeting in caucus select their delegates. Further, where a provincial congress is inactive for any reason, or delinquent in its membership obligations, the members in that province are entitled to be directly represented at the National Assembly.
The National Assembly is the highest legislative body of the Congress, and inter alia, it has the power to elect the directors, establish the Congress’ general policies and reviews the work and actions of the National Council.
At the provincial level, the Congress functions are administered by the five provincial congresses in accordance with its own Constitution and bylaws, save and except, where there is a conflict between the policies, actions, procedures and bylaws, the Constitution of the Congress prevails.
Each provincial congress serves and protects the interests of the Hellenism and the Canadian Hellenic community by representing and advocating for and on behalf the community at the provincial and municipal levels of government and related bodies.
Each provincial congress has two principal organs: The Provincial Council and the Provincial Assembly. These organs are constituted in accordance with their own constitutional arrangements and procedures and provided that such rules and procedures are not contrary to the Constitution of the Congress.
The provincial assemblies and provincial councils are analogous to the National Assembly and National Council respectively, and have similar powers and functions.
The Congress is committed to building collaborative and productive working relationships with governments, agencies, and community organizations.
To ensure the voice of the Canadian Hellenes and their communities is heard on issues affecting them and to advance in general the interests of Hellenism, the Canadian Hellenic Congress, is a member of the Canadian Ethnoculural Council and partners and collaborates with many other organizations.
EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
For over 30 years, the Congress has been in the forefront of advancing and protecting the national Hellenic interests through presentation to federal, provincial and municipal governmental authorities, other government entities, national conferences, and national community mobilizations.
The Congress has held national conferences on Greek language instruction, education, youth issues, socio-economic issues and building trade relations between Canada and Greece.
The Congress has made representation to municipal governments about the FYROM and flag raising recognitions.
The Congress with our partners (Canadian Jewish Congress, National Congress of Italian Canadians) contributed to our country’s constitutional challenges by organizing and holding cross country consultations on the constitutional arrangements, i.e. Charlottetown Accord.
The Congress with our partners (Armenian National Federation of Canada, Cypriot Federation of Canada, and Serbian National Shield of Canada) organized and held conferences on Balkan and Mediterranean security issues.
• Community mobilization and demonstration at Parliament Hill against the recognition of FYROM by the Canadian government.
• Advocated and made presentations to the Mulroney and Chretien governments on FYROM, held several meetings with Federal ministers and members of the opposition.
• Worked with the Federal government and extended the period on Greek Veterans pensions.
• Representation to the Canadian Olympic Committee about the use of the name “Olympic” by Canadian Hellenic business.
• Pier 21 – Special plaque commemorating and honoring the Greek immigrants who enter Canada through this Halifax port pier.
• Advocated against the sale of Canadian nuclear reactors (CANDU) to Turkey.
• Presentation and submission on Canadian security legislation
• Advocated ethnic broadcasting in Canada
• Her Majesty’s The Greek Immigrant Exhibit, commemorating the contributions of Greeks immigrants.
• Supporting our partner, the Armenian Community, in its efforts to get Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
• Ongoing events and communication strategy to raise awareness about historic events such as the Battle of Crete, Greek Pontian Genocide, etc
• Working with governments to acknowledge and recognize the tragic and destructive events of August 1919 against Greek Canadian business. Toronto City Council passed a resolution to that effect at its July, 2015 meeting.
• Establishment of the Greek Pontian Genocide Memorial Park
• Establishment of Centers for Hellenic Civilization: History, Language, Culture, Heritage, Democracy and Tradition
• Advocacy for the integrity and security of the Hellenic sovereignty: several communications with Prime Minister Harper and Leaders of the Opposition
• Represent the community on the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Working Group on the Greek Gods Garden project
• Represent the Hellenic community on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council
• Working with the Coptic Community on the Syrian and Iraqi Refugees
• Working with Toronto City Council to declare May 19th as a Greek Pontian Genocide Memorial Day