Mandate and History


To bring together and build upon a broad-based community dedicated to social, economic and environmental justice. OPIRG – is concerned with the contribution that students, the university and the community can make towards social change.


Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) have existed throughout Ontario, across Canada, and all over the U.S. since their foundation by Ralph Nader in 1971. Our lovely PIRG at the University of Ottawa was founded by a student referendum on November 10, 1977 with support from over 75% of student voters. An office space was established and OPIRG Ottawa opened its doors officially in the Fall of 1978. The Resource Centre was established in 1980, and the Research Program was launched in 2012. In 2011, graduate students voted to join their undergraduate counterparts in contributing to funding OPIRG. We are also proud to count on a fellow PIRG chapter at Carleton University.

Since our foundation, we have addressed issues of public concern such as tuition fees, environmental justice, social justice, war and occupation, sexism, racism, Indigenous sovereignty, and more through events like movie nights, guest speakers, forums, debates, clothing swaps, fair trade cafés, and information tables. We have supported the work of dozens of action groups on these and other issues throughout the years. As we are a non-partisan group, unaffiliated with any political party, we have focused on awareness, education and action for positive change.