Update on the University of Toronto Government Relations Office (PDAD&C #19)

From: Andrew Thomson, Chief of Government Relations
Date: October 4, 2018
Re: Update on the University of Toronto Government Relations Office (PDAD&C #19)

I am pleased to announce some recent changes to the Government Relations Office (GRO), including a new organizational structure and welcoming new staff to our team.

Over the past year, the Government Relations Office has been developing capacity in a number of areas toward more proactive, coordinated, and strategic advocacy and relationships with governments, external stakeholders, and with other institutions and third-party actors in the post-secondary sector.

The Government Relations Office (formerly the Office of Government, Institutional, and Community Relations) is now organized into three units:

University Relations, led by Amanda Pautler. As announced earlier this year, Amanda is serving as Director of Operations and Chief of Staff, and will lead our sector based university relations work. This unit is responsible for enhancing the University’s engagement with sector-wide initiatives and tables such as Council of Ontario Universities, Universities Canada, and U15, driving the University’s positioning at sector tables. University Relations is supported by Susan Mazza, Special Projects Officer.

Government Relations and Public Policy, led by Forrest Parlee. Forrest was most recently the VP of National Partnerships for Mitacs and has previous experience working for federal and provincial government officials in Ottawa and British Columbia. This unit is responsible for all direct advocacy and advice on legislative, regulatory, and policy issues impacting our federal, provincial, and municipal governments, working closely with Research & Innovation, University Operations, the Provost, and other divisions. Please feel free to reach out to Forrest on all matters directly related to advocacy issues and government policy. Government Relations and Public Policy is supported by Alex Irving, Senior Policy Advisor, Aytan Farrokhyar, Senior Policy Advisor, and Mark Maloney, Municipal Affairs Advisor.

Engagement and Strategic Initiatives, led by Alex Beduz. Alex was most recently Chief of Staff to Board of Trade Chief Executive Officer Jan de Silva, and has experience working for elected officials in both Ottawa and at Queen’s Park. This unit is responsible for community and stakeholder engagement. This includes working with Research & Innovation, International, and where required University Operations, the Provost, and Deans, on issues involving community outreach. In addition to coordinating inbound delegation visits and events, this unit will be the lead for us with community partners like the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade, and other community based organizations. Engagement and Strategic Initiatives is supported by Simona Chiose, Senior Policy Advisor, Stakeholder Engagement, and Kenzie McKeegan, Research Analyst and Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator.

As you may be aware, Marny Scully, Deputy Chief of Government Relations, is currently on secondment with the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities as Executive Lead/Special Advisor, Strategic Mandate Agreements.

Across these units, the GRO is working to support productive relationships with our government partners. Our goal is to ensure that governments recognize, enable, and publicly articulate the unique role played by the University of Toronto in civic, provincial, and national capacity-building.

We will be providing additional updates to you over the coming months on our major initiatives. As always, I encourage you to reach out to me or Munira Tayabali in my Office should you have any questions or comments.