He was a paid political consultant in Southwestern Ontario for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, and in 1994 helped to form the Reform Association of Ontario (Reform Ontario). Ainslie has conducted polling for the federal and provincial Conservatives and municipal candidates & incumbents since 1985. He polled the Reform Party of Canada in 1993.
He co-founded Reform Ontario with Reg Gosse of Kitchener in 1994. Reform Ontario attracted membership from most ridings across Ontario. The association was denied party status by the Ontario Election Commission in 1995.
In July 1995, Ainslie moved his residence to the state of Florida and continued his research and consulting practice in the U.S and Canada.
Five years later, he was appointed Senior Research Analyst at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee FL, and a year later Entitlements Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C..
He has been president of Nordex Research since its founding in 1985. Its predecessor company was Nordex Group, a public management consulting firm founded in 1977.
Ainslie has also worked for the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan, Energy Probe in Toronto and was an occasional editorial writer for the National Post in 2002. He has written extensively on small business and venture capital policy in Canada, and on Canadian urban transportation, medical transportation and privatization, corporate welfare, social policy, charter schools and education.
As Entitlements Policy Analyst for the Cato Institute from 2001-2002, he wrote on U.S. welfare reform and workforce development policy. Ainslie criticized the George W. Bush Administration for insufficient attention to small business, for socializing workforce policy, for pressuring single mothers on social assistance to commit to marriage, and he encouraged the use of asset development for the working poor.
His commentary and interview remarks have appeared in the Washington Post, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the London Free Press, the K-W Record, and websites at Fox News, CBS.com, and National Public Radio. He remains a frequent commentator on talk radio in London, Ontario.
From 2003 to 2005 he was a consulting executive to a ground transportation company in London, Ontario.
Ainslie has been adjunct professor of political science and public administration at universities in United States and Canada since 1979. In August 2007, The Copenhagen Institute published his book Financing the Gap: Small Capital and State Economic Development in Canada, 1943–2005.
From 2007 to 2008 Ainslie served as full-time intervenor at the Ontario Energy Board where he presented arguments on 15 rate and policy cases.
In 2010, he developed a nationally innovative, online civic engagement model, a project that later attracted 770 registrants and more than 2600 submissions over a 7-month period in a major municipality in Southwestern Ontario on matters related to the environment, conservation and the economy.
In August 2012, Ainslie published "Canadian Energy Politics and Canada-U.S. Relations, 1970-2012," in the Canadian journal Geopolitics of Energy, later referenced by the Financial Post.
He continues his professional practice in market research, public opinion polling, and market development consulting.