From 1999-2006, the Institute benefited from the able leadership of President and CEO Jack M. Mintz, a tax specialist and University of Toronto professor. In 2006, he was succeeded by Bill Robson, formerly Senior Vice President and Director of Research. Finn Poschmann became Vice President, Research.
Key focuses of the Institute’s work during the 2000s have been tax competitiveness, North American economic and security cooperation, sectoral studies in such areas as financial services, monetary policy – including the innovative Monetary Policy Council, which provides advance recommendations on the Bank of Canada’s policy-rate setting – and social policy. In all these areas, the Institute has fostered high-level interaction among leaders in business, academia and the public service, and has promoted public awareness of the critical importance of good public policy to Canadians’ wellbeing. The subsuming of the Western and Quebec Committees in a national Regional Advisory Committee in 2005 reflected the Institute’s growing commitment to presence in, input from, and relevance to every part of Canada.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, the Institute addressed both near-term issues emerging from the downturn, and longer-term monetary, fiscal and demographic issues that will affect Canada long after the downturn is over. Quite apart from the enduring benefits of the work noted above, our efforts on other fronts have yielded tangible results. Examples include:
the removal of capital gains tax on gifts of appreciated securities;
the phasing out of tariffs on capital goods;
announcement of, and improvements in, harmonized sales taxes in Ontario and British Columbia;
an improved venture capital climate through the extension of tax treaty provisions on foreign investment; and
more liberal rules on foreign investment in the telecommunications sector.
While other individuals and organizations also deserve credit for these changes, the C.D. Howe Institute’s authoritative and timely advice clearly makes a difference.
Looking ahead, the challenge facing the Institute’s board, staff, and members is to continue influencing Canada’s policy agenda in a direction that builds comparative advantage and leads to a strong economic future. And we need to do this in a markedly different domestic and international environment
It is one thing for a think tank to produce a high volume of work – but quite another for a think tank to produce work that is analytically tight and pertinent enough to be taken seriously at the highest policy levels. Our work continues to demand priority attention among policy leaders across the country, and it is our members who provide the support and guidance that make that possible. As our country faces a series of policy challenges – some well known, and others which yet require substantial research and dialogue to elevate on the national agenda – the Institute will continue to make a tangible contribution to the development of smart, evidence-based, public policy in Canada.