The original mandate of the RSC was set out in the statute of the Parliament of Canada that incorporated the RSC. The Preamble to that statute enumerated the objects of the RSC as follows:
“First, to encourage studies and investigations in literature and science; secondly, to publish transactions annually or semi-annually, containing the minutes of proceedings at meetings, records of the work performed, original papers and memoirs of merit, and such other documents as may be deemed worthy of publication; thirdly, to offer prizes or other inducements for valuable papers on subjects relating to Canada, and to aid researches already begun and carried so far as to render their ultimate value probable; fourthly, to assist in collection of specimens with a view to the formation of a Canadian Museum…”
As Canada’s senior National Academy, the RSC exists to promote Canadian research and scholarly accomplishment in both of Canada’s official languages, to mentor young scholars and artists, to recognize academic and artistic excellence, and to advise governments, non-governmental organizations, and Canadians generally on matters of public interest.
Mission and Vision
While the specific activities of the RSC have changed over its 130 year history, the Society has remained true to its statutory mandate as reflected through the years in its vision and mission statements. Today the vision of the RSC can be expressed as follows:
“The RSC is the recognized pre-eminent body of independent scholars, researchers and creative people in Canada whose Fellows comprise a collegium that can provide intellectual leadership for the betterment of Canada and the world.”
The mission of the RSC is:
“To serve Canada and Canadians by recognizing Canada’s leading intellectuals, scholars, researchers and artists and by mobilizing them in open discussion and debate, to advance knowledge, encourage integrated interdisciplinary understandings and address issues that are critical to Canada and Canadians.”
These vision and mission statements provide a compass for orienting the activities and programmes of the Society and its Fellows. They also identify the key objectives that the Society seeks to pursue in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations, public and private-sector institutions and likeminded associations both in Canada and internationally.