Its leading members were F.R. Scott, Frank Underhill, Graham Spry, Eric A. Havelock, and Eugene Forsey. The LSR was critical of capitalism and advocated democratic socialist reforms and a planned economy. Though the group was never formally part of a political party it had J.S. Woodsworth as its honorary president and was heavily involved in the founding of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1932 and in the drafting of the Regina Manifesto in 1933. The LSR dissolved in 1942 as most of its members had transferred their political activism to the CCF.
The LSR made its views known through the magazine New Commonwealth (formerly the Farmer's Sun, publication of the United Farmers of Ontario until purchased by Graham Spry). The group further contributed to Canada's political and intellectual fields with two books, Social Planning for Canada (1935) and Democracy Needs Socialism (1938). Canadian Forum was saved from bankruptcy by the LSR, which was acquired in the journal in 1936 and continued its publication. With these texts, social and economic change policies were popularized.