The Canadian Business History Association and the OHC


The Canadian Business History Association (CBHA/ACHA) held its first Annual General Meeting in Toronto on 3 May 2016. Elected to its first Board of Directors were two long-time supporters of the Oral History Centre in Winnipeg: Joe Martin and Janis Thiessen. Talks by Andrea Schneider, Douglas McCalla, Amy Korczynski, and Stephen Salmon are available on the CBHA/ACHA YouTube Channel.


The first annual conference of the CBHA/ACHA was held 5–6 May 2016, supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the University of Kent, the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship, the Rotman School of Management, and the University of Toronto Department of History. The conference theme was From Public Interest to Private Profit: The Changing Political and Social Legitimacy of International Business; participants tweeted at #Public2Profit and @cdnbizhistory



The keynote was delivered by Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein, recently retired from the Supreme Court of Canada. He highlighted several recent cases regarding duties of directors, class actions, punitive damages, tobacco advertising, and transfer pricing.

Other highlights included the signing of a reciprocal membership agreement between the CBHA and the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte e.V. (GUG, the German business history association).


The Oral History Centre has extensive experience in business and institutional history, having conducted projects with the Fraser Valley Credit Union, Old Dutch Foods, Friesens Corporation, and W.T. Hawkins, among others. The OHC is funded largely by donations from prominent members of the business community who appreciate its commitment to excellence and its growing international reputation. Also, the OHC is fortunate to have advisors from corporate Canada assisting with its development, including Sandy Riley (Winnipeg), Gary Leach (Vancouver), and Joe Martin (Toronto).


There are many potential synergies between the OHC and CBHA. The CBHA promotes excellence in business history and the OHC has the capacity to assist in assuring such quality in all research related to interviewing. The OHC is an academic leader in its field. Its best practices ensure interviews and projects of lasting historical value, and the archival preservation of those interviews for generations to come.


The Oral History Centre is in the process of identifying areas of collaboration with the CBHA, and looks forward to having details to report in the near future.


Janis Thiessen


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