In the spring of 1981, Director of Development, John Lockyer, Pickering College, chaired the first “informal” annual conference of development officers from Ontario member schools of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). This was the beginning of what is now known as ISAP Canada, Independent School Advancement Professionals Canada.
From 1981 to 2003 development officers met annually (with the exception of one year). Attendance grew to include representatives from member schools from across Canada. Today, ISAP Canada is truly a national organization providing professional development, networking and mentoring opportunities for all directors, officers, and support staff in independent schools in Canada.
At their annual conference in 1988, development officers were asked by then CAIS president Roy Napier to prepare a brief on corporate giving to independent schools for presentation at the upcoming conference of the Institute for Donations and Public Affairs Research. A committee was struck and the brief was duly prepared and presented. Following this request from CAIS, a number of development officers felt that perhaps the time had come for their group to organize itself along somewhat more formal lines. Benefits would include the enhancement of communications between development officers and CAIS as groups (versus individuals or individual schools), and the general growth of professionalism among those working in the field of independent school advancement.
Accordingly, at the annual business meeting of the 1988 conference, all members present authorized a steering committee consisting of Michael DesRoches (Appleby College), Susan Smith (St. George’s School, Montreal) and Brian Duclos (Strathcona‐Tweedsmuir School) to draw up suggested guidelines for an association of development and advancement professionals and volunteers to be known as The Association of Canadian Independent Schools Development Officers.
In 2003, a new name for the organization was adopted to reflect the broadening membership to include all advancements professionals. The Canadian Association of Independent Schools Advancement Professionals (CAISAP) was approved and adopted by the membership in January 2003. In addition, the membership decided to meet every two years. In 2009, the Executive Committee of CAISAP proposed the guidelines be amended to reflect the current operations.
In 2011 at the CAISAP AGM it was proposed and passed that the term “Executive Committee” be changed to “Board of Directors.” The term Executive Committee would be used to refer to a smaller group of the Board of Directors and other advisors selected by the President from the CAISAP membership.
In February 2011, the Canadian Association of Independent Schools changed its name to Canadian
Accredited Independent Schools. By association, CAISAP was renamed the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools Advancement Professionals at the 2013 AGM.
In February 2017, to better reflect the broadening membership of all advancements professionals in any Canadian independent school and the current mandate of the organization of continuing to provide professional development, networking and mentoring opportunities to all advancement colleagues, the board passed that the organization's name be changed to ISAP Canada - Independent School Advancement Professionals Canada.