Toolkit for the Progressive Trade Alternative Process

What core questions need to be answered during the consultations?

The core of the consultation focuses on the development of a progressive trade alternative and investment policy and therefore should answer:

  1. What should Canada’s trade and investment policy look like based on our principles?
    • Political strategies
    • Trade and Investment Agreements
    • Institutions
    • Other policy areas (Aid, Environment, Migration, etc.)
  2. What alternatives have been proposed on the level of principles (e.g. food sovereignty)
  3. Are there concrete examples where these principles are already implemented or in the making?
  4. What is still missing? Where do reform processes not go far enough? What else is needed to advance the alternatives you are campaigning for?
  5. Where do you see convergence when it comes to alternatives? Where do you see more need for discussion?


You could also consider answering the following questions prior to the consultation:

  1. What is the relevance of your chosen topic for the formulation of Progressive Trade Alternative?
  2. What does the Canadian government prioritize in current trade agreement and how is this reflected in current policies?
  3. Where does the Canadian government’s goals and provisions in free trade agreements conflict with human rights, ecological, development, democracy, gender equality and/or workers rights and migrant rights?


Who should be involved in the consultations?

Ideally the consultations will involve actors from as many sectors as possible. To ensure relevant participation, it might be a useful exercise to map all the relevant actors – either on a national, provincial or municipal level. In all cases, consider:

Active union members: Unions have been on the forefront of development of analysis of trade as it relates to workers and the economy.

Civil Society respresentatives: Bear also in mind organisations that are not always consulted, but represent strong constituencies from different affected sectors, e.g. farming or consumer associations.

Experts: What “experts” on alternatives can you involve, e.g. from research institutes, universities, social movements or from NGOs?

Politicians: We suggest to consider carefully the value and disruptive capacity of including Politicians in the consultations, e.g. we would suggest to include Parlamentarians not as speakers for parties but if you wish to include them they could be invited as “experts” on the issue.

It might be useful to plan with a maximum number of participants. Think about a number of people that could be workable with (25 may be a possible guideline).


How could you prepare the participants?

It might be useful to circulate the background paper to be read by all participants prior to the consultations making an attempt to answering the core questions. That way you could have a shared starting point, that could make the consultation more effective.


How could you facilitate the day?

This is our opportunity to get the core feedback for a Progressive Trade Alternative.

Plan a full day for the consultation and the majority of the time to discuss the core questions on alternatives, rather than the problems of current trade and investment policies. To ensure an inclusive and effective discussion it is also crucial to think about good facilitation methodologies, hand-outs and also good documentation during the consultation itself.

We suggest you use the core questions to structure the day. The groups preparing the consultations might also consider to prepare a draft outcome text to make the facilitation of the day easier.


How to capture the result of your consultation?

A responsible person or group of people ensures the documentation of the day. You can do this by doing short interviews with individual participants from the consultations in written form, but also audio or video. That way we will have interesting campaigning material that we can use to seek support for a progressive trade alternative.

Keep in mind the following when capturing the results:

  • Our proposed core questions could give the structure of the document.
  • Each outcome document should not exceed 3-5 pages.
  • The documentation of the consultation should be sensitive in including and integrating views.

What to do with the outcome of our consultation?

Once your consultation group has finalised the process please fill in the form at

On the basis of your outcomes the writing group will draft a first Progressive Trade Alternative, which will be posted and circulated for further comments and discussion.