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School of Public Policy and Democratic Innovation (SPPDI)

Focusing on Public Policy, Democracy and Civic Engagement

The School will build on Toronto Metropolitan University's strong community engagement, acclaimed research programmes and centres, and extensive understanding of advocacy work to create a unique and positive impact on public policy and democratic engagement.

As part of our broader mandate to heighten democratic engagement and promote a truly inclusive democracy, we recognize that people need to have a fuller understanding of public policy, and its relationship to democracy and governance. The School of Public Policy and Democratic Innovation will be true to the university’s identity as a metropolitan school with a commitment to practical and current experiential education, equity and social justice. The School will bring academic rigour to the analysis of public policy with a focus on the impacts on racialized, low-income, sexual minority groups, Indigenous communities, women, and other intersectional identities.

How is public policy established? What becomes policy and what does not? Importantly, in what concrete ways does policy shape the quality of people’s lives? Do we dare to reimagine public policy making while at the same time, understanding the social, political and economic realities in different societies? In short, our goal is to strengthen democratic processes, and engage different groups of people more fully and equitably.

The School of Public Policy and Democratic Innovation will:

  • Foster and support interdisciplinary and collaborative research across faculties.
  • Put public good at the centre, with a focus on building, nurturing and sustaining a robust democracy.
  • Give greater prominence to current strengths in policy research in areas such as health care, food security, technology, the environment, cybersecurity, Indigenous governance, employment and economy, immigration and settlement, and more.
  • Advocate for government attention to issues of social equity and inclusion in policy-making.
  • Build respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples.
  • Critically assess the relationship between power, politics and policy, including the perpetuation of colonialism.
  • Engage with regional, federal and international partners to co-create knowledge to shape evidence-based policy change.
  • Bridge academic policy research and curricula with community-based work and community-led policy initiatives.
  • Connect policy experts and non-experts, bridging the policy community and other innovators, and community change makers.
  • Enhance public accountability through open and rigorous data, evaluation metrics, etc.