The Mowat Centre, a non-partisan think tank located at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, will be closing by June 30, as announced by Director Andrew Parkin on April 29. The closure comes in light of the provincial government’s cancellation of the Centre’s funding agreement.
Established in 2009, the Mowat Centre reported on public policy topics related to Ontario and Canada. Previous research covered nonprofits, immigration, income and employment trends, the digital revolution in the health sector, and education. It ultimately aimed to “suggest new but practical ways of looking at long-standing public policy challenges, free from the constraints of short-term political pressures or policy choices of the past.”
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Christine Wood, Press Secretary for Economic Development Minister Todd Smith, wrote that “the government cancelled funding to all think tanks” as part of an effort to balance the 2019 Ontario Budget.
While the budget does not explicitly mention the cut, it does cite research from the Mowat Centre in a section on regional economic development.
Two projects, the Mowat NFP and the Research Initiative on Education + Skills, are expected to be relocated within other agencies, according to Reuven Shlozberg, the Centre’s Knowledge & Outreach Coordinator. These projects focus respectively on research and analysis of issues within the nonprofit sector; and education, skills, and labour markets in Canada.
There are still no details on how and where the initiatives will be relocated.
The Centre’s most recent budget showed that much of its $2.8 million budget was covered by a $1 million grant from the Ontario government. Close to $1.9 million of the expenses went toward salaries and benefits for the Centre’s staff. Eleven staff stand to be directly affected by the closing of the Centre.
In his letter, Parkin wrote that the Centre’s closure is happening at a time when the “challenges of transforming government and strengthening the federation are perhaps more acute than ever.”
He hopes that “the work that the Mowat Centre has conducted since its inception will continue to be a useful resource for all of us working to address these issues.”