2021: Our Year in Review

Looking back on the School's 2021 milestones

The Max Bell School has had a productive past year, cementing our role as a policy leader through our events and research, and ensuring we maintain the high quality of our MPP program while navigating the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have now graduated our second cohort of MPP students and welcomed our third class. Just a few short months after graduation, members of the Class of 2021 have secured positions at prestigious organizations across Canada and the world, including StrategyCorp, the World Food Programme, the International Rescue Committee, and Natural Resources Canada.

We have assembled this end-of-year recap to showcase some of the many highlights of the past 12 months. We hope you enjoy catching up on what we've been doing.


A person takes notes at a conference

Our roster of events over the past year has been extensive, from addressing crucial issues including racial profiling in policing, policy solutions to the climate crisis, and the future of Canada’s monetary policy.

Racial Profiling in Policing

March | Discriminatory profiling and the stereotypes underpinning them have been denounced for decades, and yet there is no national law or standard in Canadian policing that prohibits random stops and similar practices that lie at the core of police racial profiling everywhere.

In March, this online conference brought together speakers with expertise and personal experience to discuss innovative policy solutions and to foster community trust among marginalized and racialized communities, including Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour. The conference was moderated by Pearl Eliadis, Associate Professor (professional) at Max Bell, and was the first major event organized by the School’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Read more.

Regulating the Internet

March | The rise of mis- and dis-information, the deepening of political polarization, and the amplification of extremist content and incitements to violence, have spurred governments around the world to explore legislative action to regulate online platforms and the internet more broadly.

Moderated by Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy Director and Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications at the Max Bell School, Taylor Owen, this event brought The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin (P.C., C.C.), former Chief Justice of Canada, in conversation with leading Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne to discuss whether the government should regulate the internet. This event was co-hosted with the Max Bell Foundation. Read more.

The Road to 2050: Policies for a Net-Zero Future

April | Which policies will best lead us to a world with much lower greenhouse-gas emissions? In a country as sprawling, complex, and economically diversified as Canada, getting to net-zero GHG emissions is a Herculean task. It will require innovation in science and technology and collaboration among diverse stakeholders across all provinces and territories. It also demands bold public policies.

Back in April, Chris Ragan—director of the Max Bell School and former chair of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission—moderated a panel which brought together expert stakeholders from the private sector, politics, academia, and civil society to discuss Canada’s path to net zero. Read more.

Afghanistan in Crisis

September | The Taliban are back in power in Afghanistan, a strand of ISIS is using the country as a base to attack Westerners, and an American president is vowing to bring the terrorists to justice. In this light, it is hard to see the West's nearly two-decade effort to try to build a stable, democratic Afghan state as anything but a tragic failure. What, if anything, was accomplished? What does this all mean for Western institutions such as NATO? And above all, where does this leave Afghans themselves?

This online discussion was moderated by Max Bell School Professor Andrew Potter, with concluding reflections from Professor Jennifer Welsh. Read more.

Down to the Wire for the Bank of Canada’s Mandate Renewal

November | The Bank of Canada’s mandate renewal is right around the corner; there are many available choices but only a few leading contenders. The Max Bell School recently hosted a panel comparing the two mostly likely choices: the status-quo inflation targeting framework, and a new mandate that would see the Bank of Canada target both inflation and unemployment. Read more.

MPP Program

The Max Bell School's third cohort of MPP students

This past year we graduated our second cohort of Master of Public Policy students and welcomed our third. Here are some of the activities that both cohorts organized or participated in.

Fireside Chat with Paul Martin

February | In an event organized in February by the Public Policy Association of Graduate Students (PPAGS), the Right Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada, joined our MPP students for an intimate fireside chat. Read more.

Policy Scholars Program

July | Meet Nayantara Sudhakar, Ricardo Chejfec, and Udita Upadhyay: three outstanding recent MPP graduates who comprise this year's cohort of Max Bell Policy Scholars. Learn more about their accomplishments and the work they're doing at the Canada West Foundation, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, and the C.D. Howe Institute, respectively. Read more.

MPP Policy Labs

August | A capstone element of our MPP program is the Policy Lab. As part of the Lab, sponsors were selected from among corporations, government departments, and NGOs to provide students with specific policy challenges. This year, our MPP students worked in teams to tackle issues including housing discrimination, educational gender inequality, the social acceptability of drones, and more. Read more.

Graduation of our Second Cohort

August | The Max Bell School is proud to recognize the hard work and many achievements of the Class of 2021. Catch up on our second cohort’s virtual celebration, hear what advice our guest speakers had to offer to the graduates, and join us in congratulating this remarkable group of MPPs! Read more.

Introducing our Third Cohort

September | In September, we welcomed 36 accomplished individuals, representing 22 countries, to our 2021-22 MPP program. Meet a few of our new students and learn about the paths and passions that brought them to McGill. Read more.

Convocation for the Class of 2021

November | McGill honoured our recent MPP graduates at a convocation ceremony last month. Afterwards, in recognition of the cohort’s accomplishments, the Max Bell School hosted a celebratory dinner. Read more.

Research and Initiatives

Composite image of protestors outside a legislative building and a person walking past a wall of code

Our faculty members continue to be prolific in their initiatives and research on public policy. Here’s some of what they’ve been up to over the past 12 months.

Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy

Throughout the past year, the Max Bell School’s Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy has published research findings on topics ranging from climate AI and tech justice, platform governance, facial recognition, the impacts of technology on kids, and much more. The Centre has also hosted virtual events on some of the most pressing issues of our time. Read more.

Media Ecosystem Observatory

August and September | Housed under the Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy, the Media Ecosystem Observatory is an interdisciplinary collaboration between McGill University and the University of Toronto aimed at studying information ecosystem health through an evidence-based model. Earlier this year, the Observatory published a series of memos on mis- and disinformation in the federal election campaign. Read more.

The Research Network on Women, Peace and Security

September | Co-directed by Max Bell School professor Jennifer Welsh, the recently launched Research Network on Women, Peace and Security (RN-WPS) is an international, bilingual research hub that will investigate the gendered impacts of defense. Its main mission is to facilitate knowledge exchange among researchers working in Canadian institutions, as well as support and initiate innovative and multidisciplinary research. Read more.

The MAX Policy Series

Tackling the complexity of today's pressing policy issues requires innovative and sometimes provocative approaches. Straight from the minds at the Max Bell School, the MAX Policy features fresh ideas, designed to encourage bold thinking and spur conversation. In 2021, the series featured commentary on critical issues such as the policing of Indigenous communities, foreign policy in Afghanistan, the renewal of the Bank of Canada’s mandate, and the future of liberalism. Read more.

Options for the Bank of Canada’s Mandate Renewal

While the Bank of Canada is likely weighing just two possible paths for its mandate renewal, we have published a series of papers exploring the full gamut of options—from switching to GDP level targeting to integrating macroprudential policy. Read more.

Max Bell School logos falling like snow in a gif

We're looking forward to continuing success and innovation in our academics and research in 2022!


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