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Honorary degree citation - Sylvia Ostry

By: Steven H. Appelbaum, June 1986

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Dr. Sylvia Ostry, distinguished academic, eminent researcher, author and renowned public official.

Dr. Ostry is Ambassador for Multilateral Trade Negotiations and Personal Representative o the Prime Minister for the Economic Summit. She is Senior Advisor to the Government on the Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTN) and Senior Official Participant in international multilateral meetings related to the Economic Summit of the seven industrialized nations and the MTN (Quadrilateral) Trade Ministers' Meeting, OECD Ministerial annual meetings and senior official meetings in the OECD and the Gatt.

Dr. Ostry is a native of Winnipeg, and after attending Winnipeg public schools she took two years of pre-medicine and a year of medicine at the University of Manitoba, before switching to McGill University and Economics. She obtained her B.A. (honours economics) from McGill in 1948 and M.A. in 1959 and her Ph.D. from McGill (with residence in Cambridge) in 1954. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from fourteen universities, including the University of Western Ontario, the University of British Columbia, McMaster University, Queen's University, McGill University, York University and the American University of Switzerland. In 1978 she was named Officer of the Order of Canada.

She taught labour and manpower economics at four Canadian universities (McGill, Carleton, Sir George Williams and the University of Montreal) and was a Research Officer at the University of Oxford Institute of Statistics in the late 1950's and early 1960's. In 1964 she was named Assistant Director for Research in the Labour Division of DBS, and from 1965 to 1969 she was Director of Special Manpower Studies for the Bureau. She has authored and co-authored over 80 publications, covering a range of empirical and policy-analytic subjects.

A third edition of her textbook on labour economics (co-authored with Professor Mahniood Zaidi of the University of Minnesota) was published in 1979.

In 1969, Dr. Ostry was appointed Director, Economic Council of Canada, where for three years she directed a large proportion of its research related to Canada's medium term economic future. She was appointed Chief Statistician of Canada in June 1972. In February, 1975, she was appointed Deputy Minister, Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada, where she was responsible for the overall administration of the various laws, programs and activities designed to foster a healthy, competitive market system.

Dr. Ostry became Chairman of the Economic Council of Canada on February 1, 1978. As Chairman, she was responsible for fulfilling the dual role assigned to the Council, that of providing independent economic advice to the government and of increasing the level of understanding of the Canadian public of the economic issues facing the country.

Dr. Ostry was appointed Head of the Department of Economics and Statistics of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on January 1, 1980. She was responsible for directing the work of the Department, which examines the main problems facing economic policy makers in Member countries, the options open to them and the likely international repercussions of particular interest.

Dr. Ostry was appointed Deputy Minister of International Trade and Coordinator for International Economic Relations on January 2, 1984. She was responsible for directing the work of the Department of External Affairs with respect to trade promotion, trade development and trade policy. As Coordinator, she was responsible for injecting international economic considerations into the review of domestic policy and enhancing the role of Canada in the multilateral economic environment..

Dr. Ostry is listed in the following publications:

  • Who's Who in America
  • Who's Who in the World
  • Who's Who in France
  • The Blue Book: Leaders of the English Speaking World
  • The World's Who's Who of Women
  • Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans
  • Dictionary of International Biography
  • Community Leaders of America
  • Contemporary Authors
  • Who's Who of American Women
  • Who's Who in the East
  • International Who's Who in Community Service
  • Who's Who in Authors
  • Canadian Who's Who
  • Who's Who in Canadian Finance
  • Financial Post of Toronto: Directory of Directors
  • International Who's Who
  • Communications Plus
  • Who's Who of Canadian Women
  • Who's Who in World Jewry
  • International Businessmen's Who's Who
  • International Register of Profiles
  • Who's Who in Canadian Business
  • The American Biographical Institute, Inc. - Personalities of the Americas
  • Two Thousand Notable American Women

The higher education community in general and the Public Administration community in particular is indebted to Dr. Ostry for giving administrative education and practice a stronger profile at the national level.

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Dr. Sylvia Ostry, that you may confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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