CARFAC began in 1968 when a group of Ontario artists headed by Jack Chambers organized themselves for collective action in reaction to the violation of artists' copyright. By 1970, Chambers and two fellow artists, Tony Urquhart and Kim Ondaatje, had published an exhibition fee schedule that outlined various exhibition fees that should be paid to artists, and sent it to exhibiting institutions across Canada. Jack Chambers reasoned that the artist gave art galleries meaning, yet artists were the only resource in the gallery that were not being paid for their services. As a result of CARFAC' s early efforts, Canada became the first country in the world to initiate exhibition fees for artists. In 1976 the Canada Council made payment of artists fees to living Canadian artists a requirement for eligibility for Program Assistance Grants to Art Galleries. CARFAC's role in the establishment of exhibition fees for artists had international influence. The British Arts Council instituted exhibition fees after correspondence with the National CARFAC office, and CARFAC was asked to join the International Association of Art, a part of UNESCO, to represent Canada.

CARFAC was actively involved in the process of Canadian copyright law revision. CARFAC National operates the CARFAC Copyright Collective (established in 1988) to guarantee that artists have the right to control the use of their works and benefit from their exhibitions and reproductions of their artwork. The Copyright Collective negotiates copyright, exhibition rights, reproduction and reprography rights for artist members.

CARFAC SASK was organized in 1983, growing out of an amalgamation of two groups of artists centred around Regina (CARFAC South) and Saskatoon (CARFAC North) who had been meeting informally for several years to address the concerns of visual artists.

Our mandate is to promote the well-being of practising visual artists resident in Saskatchewan, to enhance the development of the visual arts as a profession, to represent artists for the advancement of their common interests, and to assist artists in their negotiations with individuals and institutions.

CARFAC SASK is strongly committed to the development of the visual arts, artists and artistic practice in Saskatchewan. We provide professional and personal development opportunities for visual artists, and stimulate and encourage the production and understanding of artists' work through programs, projects and services. CARFAC is founded on the principles of fair compensation to artists, respect for artists, and  effective and responsive advocacy.