Canada’s new central bank governor, Tiff Macklem, may be seen by market watchers as an outsider, but the Montrealer is no stranger to the institution and brings with him a background that could prove helpful as the Canadian economy is pounded by the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.
A former senior deputy governor and chief operating officer at the Bank of Canada, Macklem, 59, left the country’s central bank in May 2014 and is the current dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, a top Canadian business school.
Born in Montreal, Macklem graduated from Queen’s university with an honors undergraduate degree in economics in 1983 before pursuing a masters and PhD in economics from the University of Western Ontario.
Macklem has worked for the central bank on and off since 1984 and is known for his interest in the transition to a green economy, a file he has worked on for Canada’s current finance minister.
In April 2018, Macklem was named chair of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, a four-person panel that reported to Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The panel was instructed to look at ways mainstream finance could help with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
In recent months, Macklem also spoken publicly about Canada’s economic recovery from the pandemic, which has seen non-essential businesses shuttered and officials urge people to stay at home.
“When you look forward a few months from now, hopefully the virus has receded and we’re getting back to work. Clearly that’s not going to be a snap back to normal,” he told Reuters in an interview last month.
Climate change policy could also feature in Canada’s economic recovery plan as officials grapple with the economic punch leveled by the coronavirus pandemic, Macklem told Reuters, as Ottawa looks to make big investments to spur economic recovery.
Transitioning to a greener economy could fit that mold.
“Climate change similarly is impacting Canadians all over the country. We are already seeing temperature changes and more extreme weather impact Canadians across the country,” Macklem said.
He was considered by many to be a leading contender to succeed retiring Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney in 2013 but was passed over in favor of now-outgoing Governor Stephen Poloz. Carney would go on to serve as governor of the Bank of England.
Macklem is also a former associate deputy minister for Canada’s finance department.
He has been a member of Scotiabank’s board of directors since June 2015.
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