Skip to main content

Canada Mowat Centre think-tank to shut down after Ontario government eliminates funding

In an e-mailed response, Christine Wood, press secretary for Economic Development Minister Todd Smith, seen here on Nov. 29, 2018, cited Ontario’s high debt and the Progressive Conservative commitment to balancing the budget.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

The Mowat Centre, a public policy think tank, is shutting down as a result of cuts from the Ontario government.

In an announcement posted online on Monday, director Andrew Parkin said the non-partisan centre would be closing because of the cancellation of its funding agreement with the province. Established in 2009 and associated with the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, the Mowat Centre conducts research projects related to public policy on a wide variety of topics including education, immigration and climate change.

“I am sure that it is not lost on any of us that the Mowat Centre is closing at a time when the twin challenges of transforming government and strengthening the federation are perhaps more acute than ever,” he said in the post. The organization declined further comment.

Story continues below advertisement

In an e-mailed response, Christine Wood, press secretary for Economic Development Minister Todd Smith, cited Ontario’s high debt and the Progressive Conservative commitment to balancing the budget.

“There are a number of think tanks across the province that are able to conduct independent public interest research without depending on taxpayers’ dollars,” she wrote. “As a part of the 2019 Ontario Budget, the government cancelled funding to all think tanks.”

The budget makes no explicit mention of the cut. It does cite a Mowat Centre report in a section addressing regional economic development.

Ms. Wood said that if the government requires the services of a public policy think tank, “a temporary one-time contract could be signed.”

According to its 2017 annual report, the Mowat Centre’s $2.8-million budget was primarily covered by a $1-million grant from the province. Other sources of income included about $750,000 in other grants and $400,000 from research contracts.

In the field of Canadian think tanks, the shutting of the Mowat Centre is a “serious loss,” said Graham Fox, president and CEO of Montreal-based think tank Institute for Research on Public Policy.

“Under the leadership of Andrew Parkin, the Mowat was an active contributor to advancing national debates but always with the perspective of Ontario,” he said. Mr. Fox said the centre was a strong partner in advancing dialogue on important issues for Canadians “from coast to coast.”

Story continues below advertisement

Another think tank, the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, announced two weeks ago that it would also be closing as a result of an end to provincial funding.

“The Ford government has established a pattern where they have ignored sound evidence and research and now have gone one step further by eliminating those institutes," said NDP innovation critic Catherine Fife.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter