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Ford government dismissal of Chief Scientist echos start of previous federal war on science

Ottawa (July 4, 2018) - New Ontario Premier Doug Ford dismissed Ontario’s Chief Scientist this week. The role of Ontario’s Chief Scientist was announced in June 2016 by the previous Ontario government, and Dr. Molly Shoichet was hired to fill the position in November 2017.

“This is very disappointing news, and signals a worrying pattern,” said Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, “Premier Ford has been in power for less than a week and has already dismissed Ontario’s Chief Scientist, cut government subscriptions to scientific publications, and reduced all travel for public servants, including to scientific conferences.”

Dr. Shoichet was in charge of coordinating Ontario’s research strategy, and ensuring important science made it into the hands of decision-makers. Also in her mandate was working with the science community to advance Ontario as a hub for research and science.

It’s not clear at this point if the Ford government is eliminating the position or plans to replace Dr. Shoichet. The government’s cabinet no longer includes a Minister of Research or Science. Staff who previously reported to Dr. Shoichet are reporting to the Deputy Minister for Economic Development until further updates are provided.

“So much of provincial policy directly affects Canadians’ health, environment, education, and economic prosperity. It’s unfortunate to see Premier Ford shift robust evidence and science-based policy down his list of priorities.” said Kathleen Walsh, Director of Policy at Evidence for Democracy.

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For more information, contact:

Kathleen Walsh, Policy Director

kathleen@evidencefordemocracy.ca

613-282-7573

Or

Katie Gibbs, Executive Director

katie@evidencefordemocracy.ca

613-866-6921

 

 

 

Katie Gibbs

Executive Director

Katie Gibbs is a scientist, organizer and advocate for science and evidence-based policies. While completing her PhD at the University of Ottawa researching threats to endangered species, she was one of the lead organizers of the ‘Death of Evidence’ rally - one of the largest science rallies in Canadian history. Katie cofounded Evidence for Democracy and now serves as its Executive Director. She has a diverse background organizing and managing various social and political campaigns at the local and national level. Katie is frequently asked to comment on science policy issues and has been quoted and published in numerous media outlets, including the CBC, The Hill Times, the Globe and Mail and the National Post.