Series 1 - Communications and Operations

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Title proper

Communications and Operations

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of series.

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Reference code

CA EDM MS-323-1

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Physical description area

Physical description

73 cm of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1939 - current)

Administrative history

The idea of a social planning agency for Edmonton first originated in 1928 when the Social Services Council of Canada and concerned citizens and church organizations formed a social services council for Northern Alberta. Unfortunately, the depression of 1929 delayed any efforts to form such an agency for the next ten years. Due to pressing social issues, the idea re-emerged in 1939 and local social service agencies agreed to the formation of the Edmonton Council of Social Agencies. At the time, the Council of Social Agencies was created to help coordinate social services and prevent redundancies.

Due to the Second World War and Canada’s involvement, the Council worked to provide relief services in the 1940s. In 1941 the Community Chest of Greater Edmonton was established to facilitate a central collection of funds for various social agencies associated with the council.

In 1950 the Council changed its name to the Edmonton Council of Community Services. In 1953 the Council and the Edmonton Community Chest merged, in order to provide a centralized location for funds for social agencies. The Community Chest would be re-named in 1960 to the United Community Fund of Greater Edmonton.

Throughout the years, the Council has changed its orientation in order to adapt to changing social conditions. In its early years, it acted as a coordinating body for other social agencies but relinquished this role in the 1960s in order to become more involved with research and planning. The Council looked to take on more advocacy work for marginalized communities including the Boyle Street population, Indigenous people, women, and youth. The Council conducted a wide range of studies on social issues in Edmonton including daycare, aging, the juvenile court system, family, disabilities, addiction, and inner city problems. These studies influenced the formation of social policies at both the provincial and municipal level. In 1963 the Council changed its name to the Edmonton Welfare Council, before being renamed once again in 1967 and finally becoming the Edmonton Social Planning Council. In 1968 the Council published the Bluebook in order to assist youth in understanding their legal rights.

In the 1970s, looking to apply the research and planning it conducted, the Council began to advocate for organizations and neighbourhood groups throughout Edmonton. Through these activities the Council assisted in the establishment of the Sexual Assault Centre, the Society for the Preservation of Architectural Resources in Edmonton, and the Catalyst Theatre. The Council also helped organize the Mayors Neighbourhood Planning Conferences, the Citizen and the Citizen Participation Program of the City’s General Municipal Plan.

In the 1980s the Council worked to evaluate both existing and proposed social policies and to meet both the organizational and skill development needs of voluntary agencies. In 1982 the Council published the first issue of its newsletter, First Reading, which would run until 1998.

The Council's role has been continually modified in order to deal with the current needs of the Edmonton population. It has continued to approach emerging social issues, to search for solutions, and to undertake numerous worthy research projects. The Council today is an independent non-profit organization which conducts research on social issues, creates public awareness and understanding of current social issues, and encourages participation through creating social policies and implementations of programs. In the 2000s the Council began to focus on low income and poverty, as well as advocating for data-driven social policy analysis.

Executive Directors of the EPSC:

  • Lillian Thomson - 1940
  • Hazeldine Bishop - 1944
  • C. Ashby (acting director) - 1951
  • Jack Anguish - 1952
  • William Nicholls - 1955
  • Gus de Cocq (acting director) - 1963
  • Stewart Bishop - 1964
  • Bettie Hewes (acting director) - 1970
  • Peter Boothroyd - 1970
  • Elwood Springman - 1975
  • Alan Shugg - 1977
  • Trevor Thomas - 1978
  • Hope Hunter (acting director) - 1980
  • Peter Faid - 1981
  • Jonathan Murphy - 1990
  • Brian Bechtel - 1995
  • Nicola Fairbrother - 2003
  • Susan Morrisey - 2005

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of records related to the operational functions of the Edmonton Social Planning Council (E.S.P.C.) and its communications and interactions with external organizations. During the E.S.P.C.'s early years, it acted as a coordinating body for other social agencies, therefore the series includes records pertaining to the council's interactions with a wide variety of organizations, government offices and persons. These include the Canadian Welfare Council, Youth Services, The John Howard Society, University of Alberta, Canadian Mental Health Association in Alberta and the Edmonton School Board, along with many others. Records include correspondence, reports, minutes, news clippings, and reference documentation. Minutes include those from related organizations and councils that the E.S.P.C. worked with, as well as the various committees within the council. Some of the records including, newsletters, programs and bulletins, relate to external organizations, at local, provincial, national and international levels. These records provide context for the E.P.S.C's work and interactions with these external organizations.

The series also includes records pertaining to the United Community Fund of Greater Edmonton (formerly Community Chest) which merged with the E.P.S.C. in 1953 and early correspondence with Charlotte Whitton, who founded the Canadian Council on Child Welfare in 1920.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Files are arranged in the order in which the accessions were received. Where possible original order was kept.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright may apply.
Reproduction restrictions may apply.

Finding aids

File list available online.

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Related materials


Further accruals are expected.

General note

Series contains discriminatory language. Content warning: some content discussed and found within this series may be offensive to researchers.

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City of Edmonton Archives

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Rules for Archival Description (RAD)
Archives Society of Alberta Subject Terms


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