Matthew Mendelsohn

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Matthew Mendelsohn
Born Canada
Residence Canada
Nationality Canada
Alma mater McGill University, Université de Montréal
Occupation Professor
Employer University of Toronto

Matthew Mendelsohn is a Canadian public policy expert and civil servant. He is the deputy secretary to the cabinet (results and delivery) in the Privy Council Office of Canada. He was the founding director of the Mowat Centre,[1] a Canadian public policy think tank. He also served as a deputy minister in the Ontario Public Service, a political science professor at Queen's University, and a senior advisor with the government of Canada. He serves on a number of not-for-profit volunteer boards, was a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media.

Mendelsohn lives in Ottawa with his wife and two children.

Early life[edit]

Mendelsohn grew up in Montreal, QC, Canada. He received a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the Université de Montréal. While attending university, Mendelsohn was president of the McGill University Debating Union and Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate, and won the award for Top Speaker at the 1987 Canadian National Debating Championship.[2]

Public service and academic careers[edit]

In 2016, Mendelsohn was appointed to the Privy Council Office of Canada as deputy secretary to the cabinet (results and delivery).[3]

After completing his Ph.D. in 1993, Mendelsohn spent a year at the University of British Columbia as a SSHRC post-doctoral fellow, before taking up a position as an assistant professor of political science at Queen’s University. From 1996 to 1998, he served as a senior advisor in Canada's Privy Council Office, directing public opinion research activities for the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. He returned to Queen’s University, where he became an associate professor in 2000. In 2001, Mendelsohn was appointed Director of Canadian Opinion Research Archive at Queen’s University.

In 2004, Mendelsohn left Queen’s University to take up a position as Deputy Minister and Head of the Democratic Renewal Secretariat with the Government of Ontario. Mendelsohn was appointed the deputy minister of the Ontario government's Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs in 2005, and Associate Secretary of the Ontario Cabinet in 2007. As an Ontario Deputy Minister, he led the creation of Ontario's Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform (Ontario).

In 2009, Mendelsohn founded the Mowat Centre, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think tank located at the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto.

Research publications and areas of expertise[edit]

Mendelsohn’s areas of research expertise include Canadian politics, Canadian federalism, democratic institutions, public opinion, and government transformation.

Mendelsohn is co-editor of Referendum Democracy: Citizens, Elites, and Deliberation in Referendum Campaigns[4] (Palgrave, 2001) and Shifting Power: The New Ontario and What it Means for Canada[5] (Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, 2013). His academic articles have appeared in the academic journals Canadian Journal of Political Science,[6][7][8][9][10][11] Health Affairs,[12] International Journal[13][14], Nationalism and Ethnic Politics,[15] Canadian Public Policy,[16] British Journal of Political Science,[17] Political Communication,[18] International Journal of Public Opinion Research,[19] American Review of Canadian Studies,[20] the Journal of Politics,[21] Electoral Studies,[22] Canadian Journal of Communications,[23] and others.

At the Mowat Centre, Mendelsohn has supervised and provided expert advice and leadership on over 100 papers and reports. He has authored or co-authored 18 of the Centre’s reports, among them:

  • Rebuilding Canada:[24] Proposes a new framework for renewing Canada’s 20th century nation-defining infrastructure for the 21st century.[25]
  • Better Outcomes for Public Services:[26] Looks at the growing global trend toward outcomes-based program funding and provides key recommendations for governments to realize the potential of outcomes-based funding.[27]
  • The Politics of Pipelines:[28] Analyzes the political and economic context of pipeline development in Canada and outlines Ontario’s stake in the national debate.[29]
  • A Viable Path to Senate Reform?:[30] Outlines a practical and realistic path for Senate reform that would lead to a more democratic and better functioning institution.
  • Back to Basics:[31] Argues that Canada’s system of fiscal arrangements is misaligned with current economic realities.[32]
  • Fiscal Sustainability and the Transformation of Canada’s Healthcare System:[33] Analyzes how Canadian governments can improve their ability to deliver high-quality healthcare even in times of fiscal constraint.
  • Voter Equality and Other Canadian Values:[34] Identifies the constitutional, legislative and policy reasons why Canada so dramatically deviates from the principle of voter equality.[35]
  • Help Wanted:[36] Assesses how well Canada’s Employment Insurance system performed during the most recent recession compared to previous recessions, focusing on regional inequities.[37]
  • The New Ontario:[38] Examines the shifting attitudes of Canadians towards the Canadian federation.[39]

Public appearances, expert consulting, and volunteer work[edit]

During his time as Director of the Mowat Centre, Mendelsohn was a frequent media commentator and was routinely invited to provide expert advice to public officials and politicians. Mendelsohn was part of a weekly panel of political experts on Toronto newstalk radio station CFRB 1010’s Moore in the Morning[40] show with John Moore. On television, Mendelsohn has appeared on CBC’s The Exchange,[41][42] TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin,[43][44][45] CTV's Power Play with Don Martin,[46] and others. On radio, Mendelsohn appeared on multiple CBC affiliates and newstalk radio stations across Canada. His op-eds have appeared in the Literary Review of Canada,[47] the Globe and Mail,[48][49] National Post,[50][51][52] Toronto Star,[53][54][55][56] Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen, and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.

Mendelsohn served as an invited expert witness to the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs’[57] during its study of the Fair Representation Act, and to the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities during its study on the renewal of labour market development agreements.[58] He acted as a non-partisan advisor to then Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau on policy and platform development prior to the 2015 federal election campaign,[59][60] and served on the Prime Minister Designate’s transition team following the 2015 elections.[61]

Mendelsohn serves on the board of trustees of the United Way Toronto & York Region,[62] the board of CIVIX,[63] the steering committee of CivicAction,[64] the advisory board of the Forum of Federations, and the academic advisory committee of the Canadian Opinion Research Archive.[65] He had previously served as the chair of the board of the Council of the Great Lakes Region[66] and in volunteer leadership and advisory roles on Serve!, the Council of the Federation, the Banff Forum, the Canadian Journal of Political Science, the Globe and Mail New Canada Series, Canada's Commission on the Future of Medicare, and the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network.


  1. ^ School of Public Policy and Governance appoints founding Director of the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation (University of Toronto Press Release, May 2009)
  2. ^ "Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate". 
  3. ^ "Mowat Centre head appointed deputy secretary to cabinet". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2016-01-12.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew; Parkin, Andrew (2001-01-01). Referendum Democracy: Citizens, Elites, and Deliberation in Referendum Campaigns. Palgrave. ISBN 978-0-333-91889-0. 
  5. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew; Hjartarson, Joshua; Pearce, James, eds. (2013-02-01). Canada: The State of the Federation, 2010: Shifting Power: The New Ontario and What it Means for Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-1-55339-200-2. 
  6. ^ Wolfe, Robert; Mendelsohn, Matthew (2005-03-01). "Values and Interests in Attitudes toward Trade and Globalization: The Continuing Compromise of Embedded Liberalism". Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 38 (01): 45–68. doi:10.1017/S0008423905050055. ISSN 1744-9324. 
  7. ^ Petry, François; Mendelsohn, Matthew (2004-09-01). "Public Opinion and Policy Making in Canada 1994-2001". Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique 37 (3): 505–529. 
  8. ^ "Public Brokerage: Constitutional Reform and the Accommodation of Mass Publics". ResearchGate. doi:10.1017/S0008423900000093. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  9. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew (2000-09-01). "Models of Public Brokerage: A Reply to Professors Ajzenstat and Lusztig". Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 33 (03): 603–608. doi:10.1017/S0008423900000238. ISSN 1744-9324. 
  10. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew; Nadeau, Richard (1997-03-01). "The Religious Cleavage and the Media in Canada". Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 30 (01): 129–146. doi:10.1017/S0008423900014967. ISSN 1744-9324. 
  11. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew (1994-03-01). "The Media's Persuasive Effects: The Priming of Leadership in the 1988 Canadian Election". Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique 27 (1): 81–97. 
  12. ^ Abelson, Julia; Mendelsohn, Matthew; Lavis, John N.; Morgan, Steven G.; Forest, Pierre-Gerlier; Swinton, Marilyn (2004-06-01). "Canadians confront health care reform". Health Affairs (Project Hope) 23 (3): 186–193. ISSN 0278-2715. PMID 15160816. 
  13. ^ Wolfe, Robert; Mendelsohn, Matthew (2004-04-01). "Embedded Liberalism in the Global Era: Would Citizens Support a New Grand Compromise?". International Journal 59 (2): 261–280. doi:10.2307/40203926. 
  14. ^ ""Probing the After-Myth of Seattle: Canadian Public Opinion on International Trade, 1980-2000" by Wolfe, Robert; Mendelsohn, Matthew - International Journal, Vol. 56, Issue 2, April 1, 2001 | Online Research Library: Questia". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  15. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew (2002-09-01). "Measuring national identity and patterns of attachment: Quebec and nationalist mobilization". Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 8 (3): 72–94. doi:10.1080/13537110208428670. ISSN 1353-7113. 
  16. ^ "Globalization, Trade Policy and the Permissive Consensus in Canada" (PDF). 
  17. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew; Cutler, Fred (2000-10-01). "The Effect of Referendums on Democratic Citizens: Information, Politicization, Efficacy and Tolerance". British Journal of Political Science 30 (4): 685–698. 
  18. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew (1998-04-01). "The Construction of Electoral Mandates: Media Coverage of Election Results in Canada". Political Communication 15 (2): 239–253. doi:10.1080/10584609809342368. ISSN 1058-4609. 
  19. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew; Nadeau, Richard (1996-12-21). "The Magnification and Minimization of Social Cleavages by the Broadcast and Narrowcast News Media". International Journal of Public Opinion Research 8 (4): 374–389. doi:10.1093/ijpor/8.4.374. ISSN 0954-2892. 
  20. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew. "Introducing Deliberative Direct Democracy in Canada: Learning from the American Experience". American Review of Canadian Studies 26 (3): 449–468. doi:10.1080/02722019609481196. 
  21. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew (1996-02-01). "The Media and Interpersonal Communications: The Priming of Issues, Leaders, and Party Identification". The Journal of Politics 58 (1): 112–125. doi:10.2307/2960351. 
  22. ^ Nadeau, Richard; Mendelsohn, Matthew (1994-09-01). "Short-term popularity boost following leadership change in Great Britain". Electoral Studies 13 (3): 222–228. doi:10.1016/0261-3794(94)90019-1. 
  23. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew (1993-02-01). "Television's Frames in the 1988 Canadian Election". Canadian Journal of Communication 18 (2). ISSN 0705-3657. 
  24. ^ "Rebuilding Canada | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  25. ^ McGrath, John Michael. "Infrastructure funding needs overhaul, a report urges | QP Briefing". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  26. ^ "Better Outcomes for Public Services | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  27. ^ Valorzi, John. "In funding efficiency debate, a case for outcomes over inputs | QP Briefing". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  28. ^ "The Politics of Pipelines | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  29. ^ "Ontario must stand ground on pipeline projects, report says". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  30. ^ "A Viable Path to Senate Reform? | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  31. ^ "Back to Basics | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  32. ^ " - Connecting People Through News". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  33. ^ "Fiscal Sustainability and the Transformation of Canada’s Healthcare System | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  34. ^ "Voter Equality and Other Canadian Values | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  35. ^ "Fewer new House seats than expected for Ontario, B.C.". National Post. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  36. ^ "Help Wanted | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  37. ^ "Cancelling extra five weeks of employment insurance a mistake: McGuinty". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  38. ^ "The New Ontario | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  39. ^ "Unravelling Canada's crazy quilt -". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  40. ^ "NEWSTALK 1010 - IN-DEPTH RADIO :: Moore in the Morning". Newstalk 1010. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  41. ^ "Problems with equalization". CBC Player. 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  42. ^ "Ontario-Quebec alignment". CBC Player. 2014-11-21. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  43. ^ "Transcript: Policy for Precarious Times | Oct 07, 2014 |". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  44. ^ "Transcript: Jobs Reality Check | Jan 29, 2014 |". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  45. ^ "Transcript: Policy-Making in a Big Data World | May 31, 2013 |". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  46. ^ "EI Reform: New Rules to Redefine Suitable Employment | The Mowat Centre". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  47. ^ "Big Brother No More | Literary Review of Canada". Literary Review of Canada. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  48. ^ "Providing shelter for the unemployed". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  49. ^ "Four changes to the TFW program that would help Canadian businesses". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  50. ^ "TRIEC | Helping newcomers adjust to Canada". TRIEC. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  51. ^ "Bringing coherence to our fragmented EI system | Social Policy in Ontario - Your complete resource for everything relating to social policy in ontario". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  52. ^ "Oliver's flawed facts: Ontario a net contributor to Canada, Ottawa's assertions notwithstanding". Financial Post. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  53. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew (2010-02-24). "Two of the defining features of Canada's federal makeup since World War II have been Ontarians' lack of provincial identity, along with a sentiment among Ontarians that the federation generally worked in Ontario's interests. New public opinion data suggest that some of these attitudes are shifting.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  54. ^ Choudhry, Matthew Mendelsohn and Sujit (2011-10-30). "Even after the latest reforms, votes in the bigger provinces will count for less.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  55. ^ Mendelsohn, Noah Zon and Matthew (2013-03-30). "Big national programs like equalization and employment insurance drain money from the province.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  56. ^ Mendelsohn, Matthew (2014-06-15). "All evidence suggests the federal government is actually tinkering with allocation formulae and fiscal transfers to weaken Ontario’s balance sheet.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  57. ^ "Legal, Issue 8, Evidence - December 15, 2011". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  58. ^ "House of Commons Committees - HUMA (41-2) - Evidence - Number 026". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  59. ^ "How Justin Trudeau and his advisers devised their Senate plan". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  60. ^ Hepburn, Bob (2015-04-04). "Liberal rank-and-file increasingly uneasy with Justin Trudeau’s leadership.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  61. ^ "Canada's Liberals brace for potential transition to power". Mail Online. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  62. ^ "Board of Trustees - United Way Toronto & York Region". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  63. ^ "Who We Are | CIVIX". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  64. ^ "CivicAction Steering Committees - CivicAction". CivicAction. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  65. ^ "Canadian Opinion Research Archive". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  66. ^ "The Council of the Great Lakes Region | CGLR is a regional organization to coordinate and support ongoing regional collaboration efforts and responses to emerging regional challenges.". Retrieved 2016-01-12.