The MEI is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its publications and media appearances, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.
The MEI does not accept or solicit any government funding. It is funded by the voluntary contributions of individuals, private organizations, and charitable foundations that support its mission.
Ranked amongst the 15 top new think tanks in the world
The MEI was awarded the prestigious Templeton Freedom Award Grants for Institute Excellence 2004. These prizes were given to fifteen young think tanks around the world among the 140 institutes from 49 countries that were considered. The recipients were chosen based on excellence in overall performance, including operating practices and public relations. The MEI is the first Canadian think tank to be honoured by this award created by Sir John Templeton.
Sources of funding
Although the MEI discloses the amount and the breakdown of its funding, its policy is not to list specific donors. The confidentiality of such lists is standard practice among non-governmental think tanks in Canada, if only for competitive reasons.
Moreover, no sector of economic activity represents a significant portion of the MEI’s funding, and no company makes a contribution representing more than 4% of its total budget. The MEI therefore has the elbow room to participate effectively in public debates.
When the MEI takes a position, it does so in an entirely independent manner based on economic rationality and the available empirical evidence. As explained in this article from the MEI's President, we have remained consistent and intellectually coherent in our approach since the start of our operations. Those who accuse us of being in the service of donors do not understand the logic of our funding. We do not take positions on particular subjects because certain companies support us; it's the other way around, which is to say that companies support us because we defend coherent positions on topics of interest to them.
As an independent think tank, the MEI maintains a “Chinese wall” between its researchers and its Donors. Its publications and videos are not submitted to Donors or their representatives for approval or editing before they are released.
The MEI is a registered Canadian charity. Our mission is to provide economic education. As such, the MEI does not participate in partisan activities. Its public interventions are meant only to analyze the relevance of public policies, their costs and benefits, and their impact on individuals and on private and public organizations. Our work remains the same regardless of who proposes or opposes specific policies.
In its most recent Annual report, the MEI discloses that its annual revenues amount to 2,3 million dollars. In order to put this amount in perspective, here is a comparison with Quebec labour union revenues.
* The 795 million dollar figure is an estimate for 2008 (the latest year for which data are available) based on data from the Quebec Department of Finance and the Office des professions du Québec, since most central labour unions refuse to disclose their total revenues. See Louis Fortin et al., The Financing and Transparency of Unions, Research Paper, MEI, October 2011, pp. 9-10.