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Bold Ideas

Bold Ideas: Policy Beyond Canada 150

As Canada marks its 150th birthday this year, Canadians have a historic opportunity not only to celebrate a century and a half of accomplishments, but also to look forward to what we can achieve in the future. The Mowat Centre is releasing a series of short written pieces and video interviews that look ahead and present a variety of bold, potentially transformative policy ideas.

Mowat asked a number of thought leaders in Canada and our own researchers what bold steps could be taken to tackle emerging policy issues that Canada will face in coming decades. Should Canada finally adopt a universal pharmacare program? Make our taxes public? Join the EU? Stay tuned as we look beyond the sesquicentennial and explore the bold ideas that could transform Canada over the next 50 years.

You can follow along – and join the conversation – by using the hashtag #boldideas

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 | Ige Egal

Let’s get in the game

Revitalizing Canada’s sport sector

Canadians certainly have a passion for sport. Not only for the sake of entertainment: many of us – 85 per cent to be exact – feel that participation also has the potential to build stronger communities. Therefore, it was appropriate when Governor General David Johnston declared 2015 the “Year of Sport” in Canada. 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
June 27, 2017 | Jordann Thirgood

What if you could take it with you?

A portable benefits scheme for all Canadian workers

Imagine it’s the year 2067. Fifty years from now, what it means to work and have a career has changed entirely and Canada’s labour market is nearly unrecognizable. Innovation and investment have left the economy booming and labour productivity has hit a record high, but almost no one works in the once-standard nine-to-five form of employment. More
June 22, 2017 | Elamin Abdelmahmoud

Video: Bold Ideas – Making post-secondary education available at no cost to all Canadians

In the latest release in Mowat’s Bold Ideas series, Buzzfeed’s Elamin Abdelmahmoud proposes making post-secondary education available to all Canadians – at zero cost. More
June 20, 2017 | Sara Ditta

Many happy returns

Sharing your tax data could be a gift to equality for Canada’s 150th

What if we could all know what everyone else made and how much income tax they paid? What if we did so by making public certain information from the income tax returns of all Canadians? More
June 13, 2017 | Mel Cappe

Canada needs more of the world

Rethinking the nation state in the 21st century

The next 50 years will see new global challenges arise – largely driven by technological, demographic and environmental change. We have already begun to see these trends manifest themselves in areas such as cyber-warfare, mass migration and rising rates of poverty and inequality. More
June 8, 2017 | Richard Carlson

Connecting Canadians through a renewable energy supergrid

Just like the rest of the world, Canada faces the big challenge to decrease the carbon emissions that result from our energy use. One way to do this is to produce more low-carbon renewable electricity while at the same time rapidly electrifying other sectors, like heating and transportation. More
June 7, 2017 | Ted Graham

Video: The Uber of Public Policy with Ted Graham on CBC’s On the Money

Ted Graham, Head of Open Innovation at General Motors, on CBC's On the Money discussing his Mowat bold idea to embrace disruption in modernizing government policymaking. More
June 6, 2017 | Ted Graham

Video: Bold Ideas – “The Uber of public policy”

In the latest release in Mowat's Bold Ideas series, Ted Graham, Head of Open Innovation at General Motors, calls on Canadian governments to embrace disruption and lessons learned through the sharing economy to modernize the policymaking process. More
May 30, 2017 | Elizabeth McIsaac

Bringing human rights back into balance

The case for social and economic rights in the Charter

With all the commotion around the Charter’s 35th birthday this year, you would be forgiven for thinking that human rights in Canada are a fait accompli. You would also be forgiven for, upon reading the words “human rights” just now, thinking first and foremost of the civil and political rights that our constitution explicitly sets out to define and protect. After all, most conversations around rights in Canada revolve around our civil and political liberties. More
May 24, 2017 | John Stapleton

An Old Idea is New Again

A Royal Commission on a new amending formula for Canada’s Constitution to fix our fiscal imbalance

May 17, 2017 | Alan Broadbent

Cooperation Rather Than Coercion

An Informal Approach to Effective Regional Governance in Canada

For the last few decades, there has been a growing commentary on Canada’s anachronistic approach to its biggest cities. Over the 150 years of our country’s history, our large cities have become economic, social and cultural engines. More
May 15, 2017 | Michael Morden

Video: Morden on CBC discussing his Bold Idea regarding closer ties with the EU

Mowat policy associate Mike Morden on CBC TV's On the Money discussing his Bold Idea regarding closer ties with the EU. More
May 15, 2017 | Michael Morden

Canada Should Join the EU (sort of)

Canadians have always aspired to a kind of open, cosmopolitan citizenship. Wilfrid Laurier said freedom was our nationality. Pierre Trudeau declared himself a citizen of the world. More
May 9, 2017 | Jennifer Keesmaat, Mowat Centre

Video: Jennifer Keesmat on CBC TV’s On the Money discussing her Mowat Bold Idea

City of Toronto chief planner and executive director Jennifer Keesmat on CBC TV's On the Money discussing her Mowat Bold Idea on the future of governance and finance in major Canadian cities. More
May 9, 2017 | Jennifer Keesmaat

Big Cities Need New Governance

Cities should represent progress. More than half of the global population now lives in cities and, according to the World Health Organization, this number continues to climb by 60 million people a year. The urbanization of our world should be a sign of our evolution as a species. But is it? More
May 2, 2017 | Danielle Martin

Mature Medicare

A Prescription for Canada's 150th

In 1957, Canada was just ten years shy of celebrating its centennial—still an adolescent nation, wrangling with domestic soul-searching and trying to carve out a name for itself in the international community. That year would see government pass the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act. More