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Sunil Johal

Sunil Johal is Policy Director at the Mowat Centre, an independent public policy think tank at the University of Toronto. He leads the Centre's research activities, manages the research team and teaches a variety of executive education courses. He is frequently invited to advise governments and international organizations about disruptive technologies and regulatory and policy issues.

Previously, he was a Director with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation where he led the government's efforts to modernize its regulatory environment. He has also held senior management and policy roles with the Cabinet Office, Ministries of Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs and federal Treasury Board Secretariat. He joined the federal civil service through the Recruitment of Policy Leaders initiative in 2003.

He is frequently invited to speak about the future of work, technology and social policy at conferences in Canada and abroad. He has contributed expert commentary and advice on regulatory and policy issues to a range of organizations and media outlets, including the G-20, World Economic Forum, Brookings Institution, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC Radio and Television, CTV News, The Guardian, Maclean’s, Ottawa Citizen, Policy Options, TVO and the OECD.

Sunil has been a lecturer with Ryerson University’s Department of Politics and Public Administration since 2009, and has taught executive education courses on change management, public policy and disruptive technologies to senior public sector officials from countries including Canada, China and Russia. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics, Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Western Ontario.

More from this author

March 16, 2018 | Sunil Johal

CBC Radio One interview: Lyft vs Uber

Lyft pulls into Ottawa. With another big ride-share company hitting the road, how do other transit options fare? And what does it all mean for how we move around this city? A look at what changes when there's a shakeup in the sharing economy. More
March 8, 2018 | Sunil Johal, Sara Ditta, Jordann Thirgood

Megatrends shaping the future of tourism

In this research contribution for the OECD's Tourism Trends and Policies 2018, The Mowat Centre discusses megatrends affecting the future of tourism. More
February 20, 2018 | Sunil Johal

Conversation: Automation and the future of work

New technologies may lead to millions of job losses in Canada and governments here are not as prepared for change as they are in other countries. Sunil Johal discusses automation and the future of work in Ontario. More
January 18, 2018 | Sunil Johal

Toronto makes Amazon HQ2 short list

Sunil Johal on CBC's On the Money to discuss Toronto making the Amazon HQ2 short list. More
January 11, 2018 | Sunil Johal

How soon will we see driverless cars?

Earlier this week the provincial government proposed changing the rules of it’s 10 year automated vehicle pilot project. How soon could Ontario drivers find themselves in driverless cars? More
January 3, 2018 | Sunil Johal

Technology taking over the government

Technology will make today’s government obsolete. Sunil Johal, policy director at The Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto, says that this is a good thing. More
November 29, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Technology will make government as we know it obsolete – and that’s a good thing

Tech advances should prompt government to radically increase efficiency and effectiveness of programs and services. More
November 13, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Lyft ride-sharing service expanding to Toronto

Sunil Johal discusses the ramifications of the ride-share services’ expansion in Toronto. More
November 13, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Sunil Johal chats with CityNews about Lyft expanding to Toronto market

Sunil Johal chats with CityNews about whether the extra choice for consumers will create a competitive landscape in Toronto. More
October 24, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Are self-scanners taking over?

Sunil Johal discusses the broader context and implications of automating jobs such as retail cashiers. More
October 11, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Video: Jobs in the Green Economy

Sunil Johal discusses Mowat and Smart Prosperity Institute's Decent Work in the Green Economy report, released earlier that day. More
October 11, 2017 | Sunil Johal

AI arms race: The labour costs

Sunil Johal on a panel discussing how the rise of artificial intelligence could impact Canada's workforce and what we need to do to ensure the transition doesn't leave workers behind as the labour market evolves. More
October 6, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Sunil Johal on labour shortages and skills training in the new world of work

Sunil Johal is interviewed and responds to callers on the current and future world of work More
July 6, 2017 | Sunil Johal

From fail-safe to safe-to-fail

Creating a Ministry of Failure in Canadian government

Failure is not an option for government. Public dollars are at stake. Political leaders expect perfection in program design and policy thinking to preserve their re-election hopes. Civil servants hoping to move up the career ladder are loathe to admit mistakes. Yet, if governments don’t fail sometimes, how can they successfully tackle the cross-cutting, complex issues that increasingly bedevil society? More
June 29, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Future jobs: How we’ll earn a living 150 years from now

Canadians have seen the world of work rapidly reshape itself around them in the past 30 years. Globalization, technological change, declining unionization rates and new business strategies are among the forces that have combined to create a labour market characterized by stagnant wages and eroding job quality. More
June 27, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Video: What if you could take your benefits package with you?

Sunil Johal chats with Peter Armstrong about a portable benefits plan for Canadian workers. More
May 30, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Ontario to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2019

Mowat Policy Director Sunil Johal on CBC News Network discussing proposed changes to Ontario's labour laws. More
May 30, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Provincial government to announce new workplace legislation

Mowat policy director Sunil Johal on CBC Radio One Toronto discussing precarious employment and expected changes to Ontario's labour laws. More
May 12, 2017 | Sunil Johal

Video: Sunil Johal on CBC TV’s On the Money discussing Mowat Regulating Disruption paper

Mowat's policy director Sunil Johal on CBC TV's On the Money discussing Mowat Regulating Disruption paper. More
May 11, 2017 | Sunil Johal, Michael Crawford Urban

Regulating Disruption

Governing in an era of rapid technological change

In this report, the Mowat Centre examines the relationship between regulation and innovation in rapidly-changing technological industries. More
November 29, 2016 | Sunil Johal

Sunil Johal on The Scott Thompson Show discussing the future of jobs and automation

Interview with Scott Thompson and Mowat's Policy Director Sunil Johal on the changes to social net due to automation. More
November 22, 2016 | Sunil Johal, Jordann Thirgood

Working Without a Net

Rethinking Canada’s social policy in the new age of work

This report explores the implications of new technologies on Canada’s economy and labour market and the adequacy of current social programs and policies supporting workers. More
October 28, 2016 | Sunil Johal, Jordann Thirgood

An era of precarious employment calls for a new social architecture

Recently, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau elicited strong reactions by suggesting Canadians need to get used to precarious employment because it’s the new normal. But the reality could be much worse. More
August 19, 2016 | Sunil Johal

NewsTalk 1010’s Jerry Agar interviews Sunil Johal

Embrace new transit technology or else, a U of T study says. More
August 19, 2016 | Sara Ditta, Michael Crawford Urban, Sunil Johal

Sharing the Road

The Promise and Perils of Shared Mobility in the GTHA

This report makes a series of recommendations for building a robust and flexible transportation system that can effectively respond to the emergence of “shared mobility” in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. More
April 4, 2016 | Sunil Johal

On Uber, three issues Toronto needs to get right

After 18 months, several traffic-halting protests, two court challenges and thousands of water cooler discussions, the moment of truth is near. Toronto’s city council is expected to develop a regulatory framework for taxis and the ride-sourcing company Uber in April. More
March 30, 2016 | Sunil Johal

How can delivery units work in a federation like Canada?

The federal government is embarking on an ambitious new mandate with over 300 commitments flowing from its election platform and Ministerial mandate letters. More
March 9, 2016 | Sunil Johal, Noah Zon, Jordann Thirgood, Jane Stacey

Policies for the tourism sharing economy

Chapter From OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2016

In this research contribution for the OECD's Tourism Trends and Policies 2016, the Mowat Centre discusses the growth of the sharing economy, considers what it means for the tourism sector and assesses key policy implications. More
February 22, 2016 | Sunil Johal

Trust and the Sharing Economy

Mowat's Policy Director Sunil Johal discusses the sharing economy's trust-based marketplaces and new opportunities for fraud. More
February 4, 2016 | Sunil Johal

The Federal Role in the Sharing Economy

Mowat's Policy Director Sunil Johal discusses the federal government's role in the sharing economy debate. More
January 6, 2016 | Sunil Johal

Technology and the modern workplace

Mowat's Policy Director Sunil Johal discusses trends in today's labour market and the stresses employees face. More
December 16, 2015 | Sunil Johal

Uber ups the ante. So what’s the TTC going to do about it?

Uber is courting controversy again in Toronto. It launched a new service called UberHop this week that permits passengers to share a ride between selected downtown locations. More
July 7, 2015 | Sunil Johal, Sara Ditta

Better Collaboration for Better Government

Collaboration is a powerful concept in the public sector – often talked about and highly valued, but rarely achieved. More
June 23, 2015 | Sunil Johal, Thomas Granofsky

Growing Pains

Childcare in Canada

Despite the evidence that effective childcare policies boost employment and promote child development, most governments in Canada have neglected childcare, leaving a significant gap. More
June 10, 2015 | Noah Zon, Sunil Johal

Getting to yes: Toronto’s legal showdown with Uber

Last week an Ontario Superior Court judge heard arguments in a court battle between the City of Toronto and Uber in a case being watched closely by policymakers and regulators from across the country. More
May 13, 2015 | Thomas Granofsky, Miles Corak, Sunil Johal, Noah Zon

Renewing Canada’s Social Architecture Framing Paper

This paper outlines the focus of the Renewing Canada's Social Architecture project - looking at the ways that Canada has changed and where our social policies and programs have failed to keep pace. More
April 6, 2015 | Mowat Centre, Sunil Johal, Jamie Van Ymeren

Mowat Centre presents on Social Finance to House of Commons Standing Committee

On March 26, 2015, Mowat Centre Policy Director Sunil Johal and Policy Associate Jamie Van Ymeren provided expert testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Their remarks focused on social impact bonds, outcomes-based funding and the role governments can play in providing an enabling environment and supportive infrastructure for social finance and innovative program delivery. These are their opening remarks. More
March 19, 2015 | Sunil Johal

Like Uber, but for public services

The popularity of sharing economy enterprises has exploded because they are delivering services in ways that work well for consumers, offering them convenience and competitive pricing. More
March 12, 2015 | Sunil Johal

Asset Management: An Oral History

A report that the Ontario government is considering selling shares of Hydro One caused us to dust off our laptops and look into the distant past of 2013. More
February 17, 2015 | Sunil Johal, Noah Zon

Airbnb and Uber are here, and they’re growing. It’s time for policymakers to catch up.

Governments around the world are struggling to cope with new "sharing economy" technology platforms that allow people to buy goods and services directly from one another in "peer-to-peer" transactions. More
February 16, 2015 | Sunil Johal, Noah Zon

Policymaking for the Sharing Economy

Beyond Whack-A-Mole

This report looks at the public policy questions raised by the sharing economy and makes recommendations on how governments should approach these new marketplaces. More
December 17, 2014 | Sunil Johal, Nevena Dragicevic, Noah Zon

Merry Nudgemas!

Use science to get what you really want this holiday season.
November 11, 2014 | Sunil Johal, Andrew Galley, Melissa Molson

Reprogramming Government for the Digital Era

This Shifting Gears report explores the promise and perils of digital technologies for the core functions of governments. More
September 25, 2014 | Noah Zon, Sunil Johal, Matthew Mendelsohn

Five ways that federal decisions make it harder for Ontario to balance its books

The budget presented by Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa in July projected a deficit for the seventh year in a row. The province faces difficult choices in order to return to balance. More
September 18, 2014 | Sunil Johal

Income Splitting or Trojan Horse?

The Federal Government’s Proposal and its Impact on Provincial Budgets
This Mowat Note looks at an important but unexpected twist in the story of the federal government's income splitting proposal. More
November 19, 2013 | Andrew Galley, Jennifer Gold, Sunil Johal

Public Service Transformed

Harnessing the Power of Behavioural Insights
This Shifting Gears report is the first to examine how behavioural insights could drive culture change in the public sector. It applies the increasingly prominent ‘nudge’ concept to the public service itself. More
November 13, 2013 | Sunil Johal, Matthew Mendelsohn, Noah Zon

Let’s Talk

Coordinating Economic Development Spending in Canada
This Mowat Note argues for better coordination of the $20 billion per year that is currently spent on municipal, provincial and federal economic development, R&D, and innovation programs and incentives. More
November 5, 2013 | Nevena Dragicevic, Noah Zon, Jennifer Gold, Sunil Johal

Future State 2030

The global megatrends shaping governments
This report outlines global megatrends facing world governments between today and 2030, and highlights necessary transformative changes and appropriate strategies required for successfully responding to these megatrends. More