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Economic Policy Courses

A New Coordinated and Contemporary Approach by the Department of Economics

Senator Tony Loffreda discussing the Fall Economic Statement 2022 with economics professor, Dr. Anthony Noce. The Senator continued the conversation with Dr. Noce on January 30, 2023, at Concordia University.

The Department of Economics is pleased to publicise that its economic policy courses, ECON 318 Canadian Economic Policy and Institutions and ECON 319 International Economic Policy and Institutions, will be fully coordinated.  

The mode of delivery and student performance evaluation have been changed in order to align the quality of learning to larger trends and substantial challenges facing society and to link the courses to Concordia University’s strategic initiatives. The policy courses are distinguished from the other B.A. courses in the Economics programs, which commonly provide more abstract technical training, with less opportunities to apply theory to “real world” policy problems.

  • To present current and ongoing issues and/or debates in economic policy debates
    • For example, Climate Change and Increasing Income Inequality are and will be important public policy issues for many years to come. Some of the issues that dominated economic policy debates in the past were mostly local in scope, but their importance has generally retroceded.
  • To understand that economic policy choices of the future are the ones which you, as citizens, will need to analyze
    • Therefore, these courses have two major themes: economic growth and environmental sustainability.
  • To debate the merits of the different policy alternatives as presented by experts
  • To understand the sources and drivers of economic growth
  • To establish links between economic theory and the current economic situation
  • To critically analyse current societal challenges using the tools of economics

The Department of Economics' policy courses present three unique features:

In Canada, civil servants prepare “briefing notes” (BNs) on the advantages and disadvantages of specific policy options, for presentation to a Cabinet minister, who then suggests a policy to Cabinet. These policy choices are debated privately within government and then subjected to public critique by the opposition. To mimic this process, the economic policy courses will teach students to write well-prepared briefing notes that quickly and effectively inform a decision-maker about a (complex) issue.

Want to best your opponent? Evidence-based arguments are necessary, but not sufficient. Extensive classroom discussions on complex, interdependent  issues will help the student have the confidence to speak in public with logic, improve their the ability to read an audience’s reactions; and, perhaps most importantly, incline the student to a willingness to hear others’ opinions, and to respond to them.

In ECON 318

i. What policy changes should Canada undertake to significantly offset population aging?
ii. Does Canada require more pipelines?
iii. Should Canada relying heavily on immigration for its continued economic growth?
iv. What effects does increased immigration have on the natural environment (i.e. the ecological footprint)?
v. Why do so many people think that the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is on shaky ground? The second question: are they wrong?

In ECON 319

i. Has trade liberalization promoted development around the world?
ii. Should countries always specialize only in the production of goods & services in which they have a comparative advantage?
iii. Should the U.S. government subsidize high technology industries?  Should Canada subsidize Bombardier?
iv. Compared to rich-country standards, environmental standards in low- and middle-income countries are lax. Should we oppose free trade for this reason?
v. Economist Jeffrey Sachs and geographer Jared Diamond argue that tropical climates are more prone to infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, which result in poverty. Do you agree?
vi. Do Donald Trump and Brexit represent the end of trade agreements?

At least one subject-matter expert from government, a think-tank, academia, business, and/or the Bank of Canada will be invited as a guest speaker on certain topics each semester. The topics that a guest speaker may address are fluid.  They may speak to Canada’s energy policy, Canada's taxation policy, the manner in which budget estimates are compiled by Finance Canada, Canada's participation in world institutions or the role of international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) play in economic development. Please see link below on past, current and future guest speakers.

photo of guest speaker François-Philippe Dubé

Financing for development, innovative finance, and pathways out of poverty
François-Philippe Dubé, Deputy Director, Climate Finance Division, Global Affairs Canada, Government of Canada

Monday, October 30, 2023: register now!
10:15 to 11:30 a.m.
Room H-507
5th floor, 1455 De Maisonneuve W, Montreal (QC) H3G 1M8
This in-person lecture is only accessible to students currently registered in ECON 318, ECON 319, or POLI 486 (Zeitz).

François-Philippe Dubé works as deputy director for programming in Global Affairs Canada’s Climate Finance division. After joining CIDA in 2005, he focused his career on developing projects, programs and policies aimed at economic development and poverty reduction, both at headquarters, and in field postings (Mali, Mozambique). This has led him to represent Canada for three years on a G20 working group on financial inclusion; to act as Global Affairs Canada’s focal point on women's economic empowerment; to co-write its Growth that Works for Everyone policy; and, since August 2021, to structure blended finance projects in financial inclusion, access to renewable energy, and adaptation to climate change. He holds a master's degree in international relations from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Economic Policy and Institutions: An Armchair Discussion with Senator Tony Loffreda

Monday, January 30, 2023
Watch this event's recording

The Department of Economics was proud to welcome Senator Tony Loffreda to Concordia for an armchair conversation about economic policy and governmental institutions. Anthony A. Noce, coordinator for economic policy courses and faculty member with the Department of Economics, led the discussion.

Mr. Tony Loffreda was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2019 by the Governor General of Canada on the advice of the Prime Minister.  He is the first Canadian born Senator of Italian descent. 

He currently sits on the Senate’s National Finance Committee and its Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee.  He also serves on a number of Senate Working Groups and is Vice-Chair of the Canada-Italy Interparliamentary Group.  He is a member of the Independent Senators Group.

Prior to his appointment, Senator Loffreda was a Vice Chairman and Executive at RBC. He brings to the Senate over 35 years of experience in the financial industry.

Senator Loffreda has served on various boards and committees including, but not limited to, the Concordia University Board of Governors; the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montréal; Montréal International; the Italian-Canadian Community Foundation; the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada; and the executive committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal. 

Once nominated to the Canadian Senate, Senator Loffreda retired from RBC and resigned from the twenty-one boards he was serving on.

He is a leading philanthropist, active in service to many communities, having chaired fundraising activities across the province for various causes such as the Giant Steps School; the Montréal Jewish General Hospital; McGill University Goodman Research Centre; the Montréal Cancer Institute and many more. He is also a frequent and sought-after speaker on economic and community issues. 

Among his many awards and distinctions, he is a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Québec’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Merit; the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; the Governor General of Canada Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers; the Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association’s Person of the Year Award; the Philhellene of the Year Award by the Hellenic Community of Greater Montréal; and the Senate of Canada 150th Anniversary Medal which he received prior to his appointment.  He was also inducted as an administrator into the Montréal-Concordia Soccer Hall of Fame.

Senator Loffreda passed the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Final Exam and earned a USA - Certified Public Accountant designation through the University of Illinois.

Senator Loffreda also holds a Chartered Global Management Accountant international designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

He earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in accounting from the University of Concordia.


Economic Policy and Institutions: An Armchair Discussion with Senator Paul J. Massicotte

Monday, November 21, 2022
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
MB Conference Centre, Room ABCD
9th floor, 1450 Guy, Montreal (QC)

The Department of Economics was proud to welcome Senator Paul J. Massicotte to Concordia for an armchair conversation about economic policy and governmental institutions. Anthony A. Noce, coordinator for economic policy courses and faculty member with the Department of Economics, led the discussion.

Born in Manitoba, Senator Massicotte obtained his Bachelor of Commerce (Dean’s Honour List) in 1974, from the University of Manitoba.

In 1976, while working at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, he earned the designation of Chartered Accountant from the Manitoba Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the following year he became a member of the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec/Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec. In February 2005, Senator Massicotte was granted the title of Fellow from the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec/Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec, the profession’s highest honorific designation.

From 1977 onwards, he was successively appointed to senior executive positions with commercial real estate development firms in Western Canada, before moving to Montreal in 1985 to join the Alexis Nihon Group, a major commercial real estate owner. Senator Massicotte was President and co-owner of Alexis Nihon from 1985 to 2006. He was also the owner of Attractions Hippiques from 2006 to 2009.

Senator Massicotte was appointed to the Senate on June 26, 2003, on the advice of the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien. He has joined the Independent Senators Group in October 2017. He is currently Chair of the Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources and a member of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. He has previously served on numerous other committees including the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Special Committee on Senate Modernization, the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and on the Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. Senator Massicotte’s committee memberships allow him to work towards the causes that matter deeply to him, such as international trade, action against climate change, and improving Canada’s economic conditions to contribute to the prosperity of all Canadians. He is also actively committed to efforts for the Senate modernization.

Senator Massicotte is also very active in interparliamentary work. He is the Co-Chair of the Canada-China Legislative Association, the Vice-Chair of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Association and a member of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Association. In these capacities, he regularly represents Canada at various meetings with his counterparts in such places as Washington, D.C. and Japan.

In the past, Senator Massicotte contributed as Director and Lead Director of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada and was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Agellan Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust. He was also a member of the Advisory Committee of Mercantile Bancorp Limited. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Real Property Association of Canada, the Canadian Home Income Plan, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal Foundation and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Senator Massicotte has also been Chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization (Quebec Chapter), past member of the Canadian Board of the Young Presidents’ Organization, as well as a member of the Regional Council of the Société du Quartier International de Montréal. He was a founding Director, Chairman and President of the Urban Development Institute of Quebec. He was also a Board member of the insurance company La Solidarité, and a member of the Study Committee on Fiscal Equity at the Municipal Level in the Montreal area.

Senator Massicotte also acted as Honorary Co-Chair at fundraising campaigns for the George Stephen House Trust Fund and was one of the Honorary Patrons for the financial campaigns of Quebec women shelters Le Chaînon. Senator Massicotte and his wife organized different fundraising activities including a fashion show benefitting the Centre d’Action Bénévoles de la Vallée de la Richelieu. Most recently he sat on the Board of Directors of the Ste-Anne’s Hospital Foundation. He is still active with several other social and charitable institutions.

Building a Career in Policy
Kayley Lenders, Policy Analyst, Public Safety Canada

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Room H-535
5th floor, 1455 De Maisonneuve W, Montreal (QC) H3G 1M8
This in-person lecture is only accessible to students currently registered in ECON 318 or ECON 319.

Kayley Lenders is a young professional currently working as a policy analyst at Public Safety Canada on Indigenous policing issues. After graduating with a Bachelors of Global and International Studies from Carleton University, Kayley’s passion for social change, education and travel is what propelled her into a career in social policy. 

As a student, Kayley was afforded the opportunity to work as an intern for the Uganda Law Society in Kampala, Uganda, while also studying at Makerere University. Kayley later worked with Insight Global Education, a social enterprise, sharing her knowledge of social justice and responsible tourism by leading educational experiences for Canadian youth in Costa Rica and the Yukon.

Kayley began her career as a public servant at Health Canada as a policy analyst, engaging with health stakeholders across Canada to inform and develop innovative health products and food policy. She is now on an assignment with Public Safety Canada working to co-develop a legislative framework for indigenous policing. In her spare time, Kayley enjoys cycling, practicing yoga and experiencing new cultures. 

Mr. Glenn Purves
Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management Sector, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Glenn Purves has a vast range of experience in expenditure management and fiscal policy, having served at Finance Canada for almost two decades.  Most recently, he served as Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of the Federal-Provincial Relations and Social Policy Branch.  His previous roles at Finance included Director General of Fiscal Policy Division in the Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch and Senior Director in the International Trade and Finance Branch, with responsibility for international economic analysis and supporting the G7/G20 process. 

Glenn also served at the Canadian High Commission in London, UK representing both Finance Canada and the Bank of Canada during the 2007-08 financial crisis and at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. in the Canadian Executive Director’s Office.

He holds double master's degrees in Economics and Public Administration, from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Guest lectures:
Expenditure Management: The Treasury Board role in resource allocation and reporting
Overview of the International Money Fund (IMF)

The Intersection of Energy, Transportation and Environment: Selected Issues

Dr. Lawrence McKeown, Division Chief: Environment, Energy and Transportation Statistics Division, Statistics Canada

Dr. Lawrence McKeown is a division chief and principal researcher for the Environment, Energy and Transportation statistics programs at Statistics Canada. He started with Statistics Canada over 25 years ago as a regional advisor in the Toronto office and has since worked with both household and business surveys. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Dr. McKeown has also worked as a research associate at Dalhousie University, an assistant professor at McMaster University and as a senior research associate at Imagine Canada.​

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