Federal funding for research project to counter radicalization to violence

News release

July 24, 2018
Ottawa, ON
Public Safety Canada

The Government of Canada is working to address radicalization to violence by supporting research initiatives that strengthen our understanding of the issue.

Today the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, on behalf of the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced approximately $250,000 from the Community Resilience Fund to the University of Waterloo to support a research initiative on why individuals radicalize to violence.

The University of Waterloo received funding over three years for its project, Foreign Fighter Radicalization: Advanced Primary Data Acquisition, Analysis and Modeling. By studying the backgrounds, experiences and perspectives of Canadian and Western foreign fighters, along with the role of social media in their recruitment, this project will offer a better understanding of why individuals became involved in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Findings from this project will help develop Canadian programs to counter radicalization to violence and will also contribute to better resources and training for law enforcement and government officials.

The Community Resilience Fund supports the efforts of the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence to deliver on Public Safety Canada’s commitment to prevent radicalization to violence.


“The factors that lead individuals to radicalize toward violence vary. That is why it is so crucial we support a research initiative that looks into the wide array of elements – including the personal, psychological and social conditions – that leave individuals vulnerable to extremist messaging and ultimately push them to carry out terrorist acts. Funding to the University of Waterloo will inform future programs of prevention and intervention in Canada and help keep Canadians from harm’s way.”   

-   Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament

“Much has been written about how and why Westerners become foreign fighters, but little of the research is based on primary data, on interactions with those who actually travelled. Gaining a clearer sense of their backgrounds, motivations, and experiences provides valuable insights to help prevent the radicalization of others, and respond effectively to the return of some fighters to Canada and elsewhere.”

-   Lorne Dawson, University of Waterloo

Quick facts

  • This project will consist of interviews with former foreign fighters and their families, and analyzing data in order to address the current gap in knowledge about people engaged in radicalization to violence, and those close to them.

  • The Community Resilience Fund had $2.4 million in funds for existing and new projects in 2017-2018 and $4.4 million in 2018-19. For 2019-20 and beyond, this fund will have $7 million available each year for existing and new projects.

  • The Canada Centre provides funding to organizations that work to counter radicalization to violence in Canada through the Community Resilience Fund. Projects under the Community Resilience Fund will improve Canada’s ability to address radicalization at the local level by supporting intervention research and programming, information sharing, and outreach activities.

Associated links


Scott Bardsley
Senior Advisor for Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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