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Scouting in Canada

     Unlike the United States, Canada has at least twenty-five Scouting Associations. However, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) is structured to recognize only one Scout association per country. In many countries, the national association is a federation of various Scout associations. In Canada, this is partially the case. Since the WOSM will only recognize one association it has spawned the growth of independent Scouting Federations.
     Some of the Scout associations listed below are affiliated with Scouts Canada, which is a WOSM member association. The other associations are not and as such their members are not members of the WOSM. Some of these associations are members of other international Scout organizations, such as the Federation of Scouts of Europe (FSE) and the World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS).

     As the largest and only WOSM-affiliated association is Scouts Canada, we will focus on the membership requirements (Gays, the Godless, Girls) of this organization, as being BSA's equivalent counterpart in Canada.
     However, Canada has at least twenty-five other Scouting Associations. To many Americans, such a concept might comes as a surprise. If Canada has at least twelve, why does the United States have only one? The answer is the Congressional Charter (This can be downloaded as a .doc file by clicking here.)!

     In the early years of Scouting in America, there were several other Scouting organizations (National Scouts of America, Peace Scouts of California, Polish National Alliance Scouts, Rhode Island Boy Scouts, United States Boy Scouts, Lone Scouts, and many more), like there are in Canada today. However, once BSA was granted the Congressional Charter in 1916, BSA used the provisions in the charter granting BSA exclusive rights to the name Boy Scouts, to file lawsuits against all of their rivals. Until they were the only one left standing by 1920.
     The Congressionally granted trademark status makes it impossible to start any organization that is at all similar to the Boy Scouts. If the United States Scouts, bankrolled by William Randolph Hearst could not stand up to BSA's legal team in the 1910's, who can do so today?
     The Girl Scouts got around the problem by obtaining their own Congressional charter with similar rights in 1951. But the BSA has been vigorous in going after any organization that uses the word scout anywhere in its name or literature. As recently as 1989, BSA threatened the the small Wilderness Scouts of Blairsville, Georgia. Even the YMCA, who started BSA, can't use the word scout anywhere in its materials, even though scouts were an important part of the Native American community that the Y Indian Guides were supposed to be emulating.
     It is interesting to note that BSA complains about lawsuits against their membership policies and claim that they just want to be left alone. However, when another group even thinks of using the Scouting program for those children they reject, then BSA has no trouble in suing them. So, when someone says why don't the "gays start a gay scouting organization?" just point to the Congressional Charter prohibiting such action.

     Below is a list of some of the Scouting Associations operating in Canada. A "Traditional Scouting association" would typically ban gays, non-theists, and girls from all of its programs. Unfortunately, unless noted below, the "Traditional Scouting associations" do not mention on their web sites any non-discrimination membership policies. When the UKSA adopted a non-discriminatory policy the UK, the "traditional" Baden-Powell Scouting Association (BPSA) denounced it.
     We've received an e-mail from a Canadian asserting that Canada's Charter of Rights would preclude a Scouting association from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or religion. This is given as the reason as to why there are no non-discrimination policies on their web site. However, as we continually read of legal challenges in Canada to provide equal treatment under the law for all persons -- regardless of sexual orientation -- it is impossible to state that a "Traditional Scouting association" does not (will not) discriminate without some form of documentation. Since Scouts Canada specifically states their non-discrimination policy in their "Duty to Care" policy, these other associations must have something to hide.
     This web site does not claim to be an expert on the myriad of Scouting organizations operating in Canada. The information below is taken from various web sites. If you have any official documentation asserting the non-discriminatory nature of any non -Scouts Canada association, please
e-mail us, so this page can be updated.

Association des Eclaireurs Baden-Powell (AEBP) - A Traditional Scouting association founded in 1973 and a member of the Federation of Scouts of Europe. There are about 2000 members, mostly in Québéc. The association is partly English-French bilingual with a emphasis on French.

Association de Scoutisme d'Actions (ASA) - A Traditional Scouting association in Québéc of about 300 members. Founded in 1996.

Association des Scouts du Canada (ASC) - A French language Scout association affiliated with Scouts Canada.

Association Québécoise des Aventuriers de Brownsea (AQAB) - A Traditional Scouting association of about 800 members, mostly in Montréal. Founded in 1991, they offer six program sections: Beavers (ages 7-8), Boy Cubs & Girl Cubs (ages 9-11), Scouts and Guides (ages 12-16), and Rovers (ages 17 and up).

BPSA Canada (BPSAC) - A Traditional Scouting association and  a member of the World Federation of Independent Scouts. There are three provincial councils: British ColumbiaOntario and New Brunswick. Givent ha lack of information on their web site, it is impossible to determine to what extent the organization practices or denounces discrimination on the basis of religious belief and/or sexual orientation.

Le Federation des Action Scoutisme - Other than that this is a French language Scouting Association located in Québéc, not much is known about this organization.

Plast Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada (Plast) - A Ukrainian Scout association with chapters in eight major cities across Canada.

Salvation Army Life Saving Scouts (SA Scouts) - The Scout association of the Salvation Army church. Affiliated with Scouts Canada. Given the Salvation Army's well-known anti-LGBT position, it must be assumed that it discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation at least, and possibly religious belief.

Scouts Canada (SC) - Canada's largest Scout association and National Member Association of the WOSM. Scouts Canada was incorporated by act of the Canadian parliament in 1914. There are about 142,000 youth members and about 46,000 adult members (August 2000). Scouts Canada offers modern Scouting programs in all parts of Canada. There are five program sections: Beavers (5-7), Wolf Cubs (8-10), Scouts (11-14), Venturers (14-17), and Rovers (18-26). Scouts Canada is formally co-ed, though implementation of this is sparse.

Les Scouts de Quebec (FQGS) - A French language Scout association affiliated with ASC and through them, Scouts Canada.
 

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