It was on a snowy morning in October, 1919 that four teachers met in a little lumber room in the old Board of Trade building during a Conference on Education, Character and Citizenship in Winnipeg to consider matters of common interest to the teachers of the four Western provinces of Canada.
Harry Charlesworth, secretary of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation proposed to E.K. Marshall of Manitoba that a federation of teacher organizations in the four Western provinces be formed. That meeting in the little lumber room thus marked the beginning of the Canadian Teachers' Federation.
During the year, the teachers of Alberta and Saskatchewan were approached and it was agreed to hold an organizational meeting in Calgary during the summer of 1920.
Representatives from the four Western provinces convened a meeting in the Calgary Public Library on July 27, also attended by two representatives from Ontario. The Western alliance was discarded in favour of a national organization with support from the Maritime provinces and Québec. The movement was launched with an initial membership of approximately 9,000 teachers.
To this date, the purpose of the alliance was to create an organization "to provide machinery by which the various provincial and territories organizations could be kept in touch with one another, and through which mutual assistance could be quickly and readily given". This remains the main objective of the Canadian Teachers' Federation.
In 1946, CTF incorporated under the provisions of Part II of the Companies' Act.
In January 1948, CTF established a central office in Ottawa and appointed a full-time secretary-treasurer. In 1970, the presidency of CTF became a full-time position.
The humble dream of a few farsighted educators in 1920 has become a well-respected voice on education matters and issues of social justice at the provincial/territorial, national and international levels.
First Executive of the Canadian Teachers' Federation
Calgary, AB — July 27, 1920