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December 6, 2019 – Hugh L. MacKinnon, Chair of the C.D. Howe Institute’s Board of Directors, announces the appointment of Rick Ekstein as the newest member of the Board. Ekstein was elected when the Board met on November 27, 2019.

“I am pleased to welcome Rick to the Institute’s board,” said MacKinnon. “Rick is an experienced and astute business leader with a wealth of policy insights. We look forward to collaborating on the Institute’s goal of improving the lives of Canadians through fact-based policy research.”

“The C.D. Howe Institute has always provided me with incredible learning and networking opportunities, which I deeply appreciate,” said Ekstein. “The Institute does tremendous work towards maintaining Canada’s status as – I believe – the greatest country in the world.”

Rick Ekstein is the President and CEO of Phaze 3 Management.

Before establishing Phaze 3 Management, Inc. in 2016, Rick was President and CEO of Weston Forest Products, and the Weston Forest Group of Companies, conducting business in over 40 countries on 4 continents. Weston companies have repeatedly won a variety of awards including Canada’s Best Managed Companies, Profit 500’s Fastest Growing Companies and Waterstone Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures.

The Phaze 3 Asset Management/Investment team is primarily engaged in managing various industrial and commercial real estate properties, investing in residential and commercial green-field and redevelopment projects, as well as private companies in both the Venture Capital and Private Equity spaces.

Along with the Phaze 3 Philanthropy team, Rick and his wife, Lillian, co-founded the Together We Stand Military Families Foundation to honour and thank Canadian military families for their service. In its first two years of operation, Together We Stand has distributed more than $2 million in gifts to military families with a loved one deployed overseas during the December holiday season and led the Canadian Parliament to declare the 3rd Friday of each September as Canada’s official Military Family Appreciation Day.

The Phaze 3 Advocacy Team works on behalf of various organizations to further their causes with governments, and on behalf of individuals who find themselves in need.

Rick sits on the Boards of Elevate Financial, Weston Wood Solutions, Brookside Capital Partners, the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the Regimental Council of The Queen’s York Rangers, the Association for Lumber Remanufacturers of Ontario - which he also founded - and The Logic, an online publication covering the Canadian innovation economy.

Rick is also a past Board Member of the National Hardwood Lumber Association, a former Chair of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association, and founder and former Chairman of the Canadian Lumber Remanufacturers Association. He has served on the Conference Planning Committee of The Manning Centre, and has chaired each of the Honorable Peter Kent’s campaigns.

“Rick has been a highly involved member of the C.D. Howe Institute,” said William Robson, President and CEO of the Institute. “He brings business acumen and passion for better policy to the table. We are delighted that he is joining our board”

To see the full list of the Board of Directors of the C.D. Howe Institute, please visit: https://www.cdhowe.org/board-directors


The C.D. Howe Institute is 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 trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review.

For more information please contact: C.D. Howe Institute at 416-865-1904; email: media@cdhowe.org.