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Jan 27, 2010

Mowat Centre’s Official Launch: An Important Time for Ontario

January 27, 2010

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty welcomes guests to the official launch of the Mowat Centre.

The Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, housed at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto, had its official launch on January 25th, 2010 with Premier Dalton McGuinty in attendance. Bringing together over 250 thought leaders from municipal, provincial and the federal governments, along with the non-profit and business sectors, the launch generated considerable interest in the new Mowat Centre and its upcoming research projects.

The Mowat Centre is conducting policy research on the federal policies that will most strongly affect Ontario’s prosperity and quality of life in the next century. The Centre will develop its knowledge collaboratively by connecting leading public policy researchers with government decision-makers and practitioners to ensure that research is relevant and timely.

Premier McGuinty described the Mowat Centre as “an exciting new think tank based in Ontario and offering an Ontario perspective”. He referred to the Centre’s inspiration, Oliver Mowat, as Ontario’s longest serving premier and a Father of Confederation.

“I share with Mowat the belief that a strong Ontario is necessary for a strong Canada,” he said. “Mowat knew that strong federal and provincial governments were not necessarily mutually exclusive.”

McGuinty commended the centre’s founding director, Dr. Matthew Mendelsohn, his former deputy minister for intergovernmental affairs noting that while no longer serving in government, Mendelsohn is still working hard for Ontarians.

“I’m proud to say that in Canada in the arena of new ideas we have a new champion: the Mowat Centre,” he said. He welcomed the centre as a positive new force for change.

“Whenever there is an issue of public policy, universities are called upon to do the research and to think through every possible approach to complex issues of the day. Regularly, our Munk Centre for International Studies, our School of Public Policy and Governance and our Martin Prosperity Institute are consulted for their perspective on pressing social issues,” she said. “The University of Toronto is enormously proud that The Mowat Centre now joins this illustrious group”.

Dr. Mendelsohn says that policy changes are required to ensure that Canada is well-positioned to prosper in the global economy while ensuring the public services citizens rely on are preserved.

“We need to modernize some of our most important national policy frameworks, like employment insurance. And these changes have to be informed by the new Ontario realities. The extent of redistribution from Ontario to other parts of the country is no longer justifiable, and is no longer affordable,” he says.

Dr. Mendelsohn also desribed the Mowat Centre’s new vision for public policy research in Ontario in a recent article in The Toronto Star. Click here to read the opinion piece.