The Canadian Cartographic Association was founded in 1975 with the aims of:
- Promoting interest in maps and related cartographic materials
- Furthering the understanding and knowledge of maps by encouraging research in the field of cartography, both historical and current
- Providing for the exchange of ideas and information and for the discussion of mutual concerns, through meetings and by publications
- Advancing education in cartography and in the use of maps.
Three decades later, the aims remain the same, though the CCA now considers its constituency to extend beyond Cartography to embrace closely related fields such as GI Science. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in any aspect of mapping and members are drawn from the ranks of government, industry, and education, and from the general public.
The CCA plays a leading role in international cartography through its involvement with the Canadian National Committee for the ICA. The CNC, chaired by a CCA nominee, is responsible for coordinating Canadian participation in the International Cartographic Association, and has such specific responsibilities as appointing representatives to ICA commissions and committees, preparing a biannual exhibit of Canadian cartography, publishing a biannual national report on Canadian cartography, and facilitating the submission of technical papers for presentation at meetings of the ICA.
The members elect chairperson for Interest Groups in Analytical Cartography and GIS, Map Use and Design, Cartographic Education, Map Production Technology, and History of Cartography.