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Neil Thomlinson

Associate Professor Emeritus
EducationPhD (Political Science): Toronto


Dr. Neil Thomlinson is Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University.  He joined the Department in 1995 as a sessional instructor; was appointed an Assistant Professor in 2000; and was transferred to tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2005.  He served as Undergraduate Program Director (UPD) for both undergraduate programs from 2002 to 2006; as Department Chair from 01 July 2006 to 30 June 2011; as interim UPD for the Politics and Governance BA program from August 2016 thru December 2017; as interim UPD for the Public Administration and Governance BA program from January 2018 thru June 2019; and as CE Academic Coordinator for the Public Administration and Governance Certificates, as well as for CPOG and CPOL courses offered through the Chang School from July 2017 until his retirement on 31 August 2021. 

In addition to a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, Neil holds a Master of Arts (MA) in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science from the University of Calgary.

Throughout his career, he was a frequent media commentator on urban, Canadian, sexual politics, and public policy.

Over the course of three sabbaticals (2011-12, 2014-15, and 2019-20), he was affiliated with the UFRJ - Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (external link, opens in new window)  (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) through its IPPUR - Instituto de Pesquisa e Planejamento Urbano e Regional (external link, opens in new window)  (Institute of Urban and Regional Planning and Research), which includes the Observatório das Metrópoles (external link, opens in new window) .  He also worked with the leadership of the GPDES - Gestão Pública para o Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Public Management for Social and Economic Development) program - to establish exchange agreements that would facilitate student and faculty exchanges and collaborative research. A  (PDF file) Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions was signed in Toronto on 27 June 2012.

  • Privatization won’t save Canada Post (external link) .” Toronto Star, 09 January 2016, IN7.  Response to R. Michael Warren, “Time to stop Canada Post’s slow-motion death march (external link) ,” Toronto Star 23 December 2015.
  • Review of The Merger Delusion: How Swallowing Its Suburbs Made and Even Bigger Mess of Montréal by Peter F. Trent (Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012): 672pp. Canadian Journal of Political Science 48:4 (December 2015): 980-982.
  • Response to Jørgen Bøytler, 2014 Walter Vivian Moses Lecture: “Unity in Diversity: Challenges to the Worldwide Moravian Unity.”  The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church 21:1 (external link)  (Fall 2015):  33-34 (lecture at pp. 3-24).
  • Review of Democracy and the Culture of Skepticism: Political Trust in Argentina and Mexico by Matthew R. Cleary and Susan C. Stokes (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006): 264pp. Canadian Journal of Political Science 41:2 (June 2008): 512-14.
  • "Church Governance: On Bringing 'Politics' (back) In." The Hinge: A Journal of Christian Thought for the Moravian Church 13:2  (external link) (Spring 2006): 2-18; and "The Author's Final Word," pp. 28-31.
  • “Two-tier Health Care, Education and Policing: a Comparative Analysis of the Discourses of Privatization” (with Wendy Cukier). Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 47:1 (January 2005): 87-126.
  • “Race and Faith in the Moravian Church.” The Hinge: A Journal of Christian Thought for the Moravian Church 10:2  (external link) (Summer 2003): 21-26.
  • Review of Laboring for Rights: Unions and Sexual Diversity Across Nations, ed. Gerald L. Hunt (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999): 302pp. Labour/Le Travail 48 (Fall 2001): 322-324.
  • “When Right is Wrong: Municipal Governance and Downloading in Toronto.” In Restructuring and Resistance: Canadian Public Policy in an Age of Global Capitalism, ed. Mike Burke, Colin Mooers & John Shields, 226-260. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2000.
  • Review of The Pink and the Black: Homosexuals in France since 1968 by Frédéric Martel, translated by Jane Marie Todd (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999): 442pp. Canadian Journal of Sociology Online September - October, 2000.
  • “Gay Concerns and Local Governments.” In The Politics of the City: A Canadian Perspective, ed. Timothy Thomas, 115-136. Scarborough: I.T.P. Nelson, 1997.

Neil Thomlinson's areas of interest are public policy, local government and politics, Canadian government institutions and politics, and Brazilian government and politics.

Neil Thomlinson has been honoured with:

  • Deans' Service Award recognising exceptional or distinguished service to the Department, Faculty and the University (2015)
  • Certificate of Appreciation (G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education) for support of Continuing Education 2002-2011 (2011)
  • Distinguished Service Award - Ryerson Faculty Association (2007).
  • “Popular Prof” in Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities (each year from 2003 until Ryerson withdrew from participation in the Guide).

Before entering the world of academe, Neil was the Parts Manager of a successful Ford dealership, while also serving as a municipal councillor, Mayor, and Chair of a Regional Planning Commission in Northern Alberta. He continued to work as a partsman while completing his BA and MA, and also continued to serve his community as a board member, Treasurer, and President of AIDS Calgary. In recognition of that volunteer service, he was awarded the Canada Volunteer Award by Health and Welfare Canada in 1991.

Neil's volunteer commitment continued throughout his career, with service to the profession of Political Science, to Ryerson, and to the broader community.


Served on the Editorial Board of The Hinge (external link)  from 2007 until retirement in 2021.

For the Canadian Political Science Association (external link)  (CPSA), served as:

  • Section Head for the Poster section for the annual conference of 2021.
  • Local Arrangements Coordinator (LAC) for the 2017 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, held at Ryerson University in 2017.
  • elected member of the Board of Directors (2013-15).
  • Section Head for the Local and Urban section for the annual conferences of 2011 and 2015 (the latter jointly with Duncan MacLellan).


  • elected (Faculty of Arts) member of Senate (2020-2021)
  • Senate Priorities Committee (2020-21; 2017-19; 2009-11)
  • Provost's Academic Advisory Group drafting the 2020-25 Academic Plan (2019-20)
  • co-Chair, Academic Policy Review Committee (2018)
  • Curriculum Implementation Committee of Senate (2016-2018)
  • elected (at large) member of Senate (2017-2019; 2013-14)
  • Provost's "kitchen cabinet" drafting the 2014-19 Academic Plan,  (PDF file) Our Time to Lead (2013-14)  
  • Senate Task Force on Interdisciplinary Programs (2013)
  • Senate Review (2007-8) and Restructuring (2008-9) Committees
  • elected (Faculty of Arts Chairs) member of Senate (2008-2011)
  • Chairs/Directors’ Council of the Ryerson Faculty Association (2007-11)
  • chair, Provost’s Committee on Timetabling (2006-11)
  • Faculty of Arts Teaching Standards Committee (2009-2011) and its predecessor Faculty Local Norms Committee (2005-2009)
  • Executive of the Ryerson Faculty Association (2004-6)    

He has also served on a variety of other standing and ad hoc committees within the University, Faculty, and Department.