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#1 Awarded Think Tank in Canada

The C.D. Howe Institute is a registered charity, and an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies. Widely considered to be Canada's most influential think tank, the Institute is a source of trusted policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review.

The Institute is Canada's top think tank in worldwide IDEAS/RePEc and TTCSP global rankings and is the winner of seven Douglas Purvis Prizes for excellence in Canadian economic policy writing.

60+ high-quality research reports annually

80+ private, off-the-record policy events annually

The C.D. Howe Institute's research is national in scope and we host policy events across the country. View our list of trusted experts here.


The C.D. Howe Institute’s roots trace back to Montreal in 1958 when a group of prominent business and labour leaders organized the Private Planning Association of Canada (PPAC) to research and raise awareness of issues related to public economic policy. The PPAC served as the Canadian co-sponsor for the Canadian-American Committee (CAC), established in 1957 to study and discuss economic relations between Canada and the United States.

Under the leadership of Robert M. Fowler, the PPAC built a reputation as a research institution by publishing, alone or with the CAC, such renowned economists as Harry Johnson, Robert Mundell, Ed Neufeld, Grant Reuber, Ed Safarian, David Slater, and David C. Smith during the 1960s.

In 1973, the PPAC became dormant. Its assets and activities became part of the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation, created in 1961 to memorialize the late Right Honourable Clarence Decatur Howe (left).

The Foundation adopted the name C.D. Howe Research Institute. Headed by Carl E. Beigie, the organization greatly expanded the scope of its research, notably into energy, fiscal policy, labour policy, and monetary policy.

In 1982, the Memorial Foundation reverted to its former name, focusing directly on memorializing C.D. Howe, and the PPAC was revived with the name that survives to this day: the C.D. Howe Institute.

After more than 20 years in the Sun Life Building in Montreal, the Institute moved its headquarters to Toronto. Executive Director Wendy Dobson’s force and dynamism guided the Institute through the early to mid-1980s. In 1986, Maureen Farrow, became president. Throughout the 1980s, the Institute was a major voice on such key challenges as inflation control, budget deficits, and Canada-U.S. trade liberalization.

In 1989, Thomas E. Kierans became president of the Institute. Over the next 10 years, the Institute cemented its reputation as a leader among Canadian think tanks. Among its landmark projects during those years were a series of studies on social policy and Canada’s constitution.

From 1999-2006, Jack M. Mintz headed the Institute. He spearheaded influential work on the impact of taxation on investment, jobs and economic growth, and the Institute made signal contributions in North American economic and security cooperation, labour markets and financial services. In 2006 William B.P. Robson took the helm. Under his leadership, the Institute enhanced its leadership in monetary policy, fiscal and tax policy, and financial services, and launched new policy councils dealing with retirement saving and income, international economics, healthcare, energy, competition policy, human capital, and business cycles. The Institute has become a respected and sought-after authority on issues affecting the dynamism of Canada’s economy, opportunities for individual Canadians, the stability and sustainability of public programs, and the quality of our institutions. Its publications have won awards from the Canadian Economics Association and the Donner Canadian Foundation, and its network of academic and senior fellows is the best in the country. Whether offering analysis relevant to solving pressing present-day problems, or exploring emerging challenges, the C.D. Howe Institute’s mission to enhance Canadian prosperity and living standards through policy research and public education is as relevant as ever.


CEO's Message



For more than 60 years, the C.D. Howe Institute has researched and published on policy challenges and potential solutions aimed at improving the performance of Canada’s economy and raising Canadians’ living standards. We are independent and nonpartisan. We are a registered Canadian charity: the generosity of our members and supporters makes our work possible.

Among the highlights of the C.D. Howe Institute’s work over the years are liberalization of trade and investment in North America, the development of inflation targets, putting the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans on a sustainable footing, and reforms to personal, business and sales taxes. Improvements in areas as diverse as immigration policy, healthcare, fiscal accountability, and retirement saving show how the Institute’s work continues to help Canadians and governments at all levels address key challenges. With the most rigorous expert review process in the industry, the Institute consistently attracts top-calibre academics and leaders from both the public and private sectors as contributors.

Beyond its written output, the C.D. Howe Institute’s efforts to support good policy extend to our forums for informed discussion. Our policy councils, roundtable luncheons and special events bring leaders from business, government, academia and the professions together to exchange facts, analysis and different points of view. Here too, the Institute both thrives in, and contributes to, Canada’s tradition of open and civil debate.

The Institute takes great pride in its contribution to Canada’s standing as a top-ranked country in which to live, work, invest, and innovate.  

Welcome to the C.D. Howe Institute.

William B.P. Robson 



The C.D. Howe Institute is a pre-eminent source of trusted policy intelligence. For more than six decades, its record of providing definitive analysis for major issues of the day has solidified its status as "required reading" amongst senior decision makers from coast to coast. Institute policy intelligence has laid the intellectual ground for such achievements as:

  • The development of continental free trade;
  • Ending the unsustainable deficits of the 1970s and 1980s;
  • The development of rigorous inflation targets and tactically effective monetary policy;
  • The reform of the Canadian and Quebec pension plans;
  • Lower and more competitive tax rates; and
  • Innovations in vehicles for saving and drawing down income.

Diversity and Inclusion

The C.D. Howe Institute is committed to a working environment that promotes dignity and respect for everyone. We strive to give employees, regardless of race, gender, disability, country of origin or sexual orientation, the opportunity and support needed to succeed.

The Institute supports diversity and inclusion in its hiring, events and affiliations. It provides a safe, inclusive and accessible physical office space that ensures everyone is able to participate and work to his or her full potential. 

The Institute reviews its policies and procedures regularly to ensure they effectively promote diversity and inclusion.