Alex Paterson Headshot

Alex Paterson

Communications & Program Coordinator

Alex Paterson holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Carleton University and an Honour’s Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Western Ontario. He wrote his MA’s major research project on the links between innovation, productivity and international education.

Alex has worked in a variety of communications and policy roles both in Canada and overseas. He has served as an Associate Producer for CBC Newsworld, a communications strategist for Greenpeace, a consultant for various government departments, companies and NGOs, and has lived and worked overseas in South East Asia.

At Canada 2020, Alex oversees the organization’s communications strategy and implementation of various programs including Canada 2020′s policy approaches, events calendar, and research agenda.

Members of the public and the media can contact Alex at (613) 789-0000 x 224.


Advisory: Canada 2020 to host Ottawa’s marquee progressive policy conference

Canada’s leading, independent, progressive think-tank will host the #Can2020 Conference on October 2nd and 3rd 2014 at the Ottawa Convention Centre
Friday, September 26, 2014 (OTTAWA) – At a crucial moment in the Canadian political cycle, Canada 2020 is set to bring together some of the most influential thinkers, organizers, policy developers and business leaders from around the world for the #Can2020 Conference.
“Right now, Canada is at an inflection point: the marketplace for ideas is open, and as we head into an election year, the progressive policy community needs a forum to discuss and debate the major policy challenges of our time,” …

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Updated: Canada 2020 launches new federal policy paper series

Eleven in-depth federal policy papers to be published spring and fall 2014 on
Canada 2020, Canada’s leading independent progressive think-tank, has launched a new policy paper series about the federal government choices that must be made in the coming years to ensure Canada’s economic prosperity and social well-being.
Published spring and fall 2014 on, this suite of papers cover topics ranging from large global themes (energy politics, Canada’s foreign policy future, economic inequality) to more granular process issues (democratic reform, renewal of the public service, intergovernmental relations).
Comments about the series:
“Canada’s marketplace for new ideas is about to rapidly expand and …

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Advisory: Canada 2020 hosts U.S. Ambassador for first keynote speech to Canadians

(May 28, 2014) OTTAWA – Recently-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Bruce A. Heyman, will deliver his first official speech to Canadians at a dinner event on June 2nd at the National Gallery of Canada. The event will be hosted by Canada 2020, Canada’s leading, independent, progressive think-tank and the Embassy of the United States of America in Ottawa.

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Canada 2020 hosts Ontario Votes Speaker Series

Ontario is going to the polls in June, and Canada 2020 wants you to hear from the 3 major candidates seeking your support.
Click below to view speeches and purchase tickets to upcoming events:

Liberal Candidate: Premier Kathleen Wynne (May 8 2014)

Watch her speech here

Progressive Conservative Candidate: Tim Hudak (May 13 2014)

Watch his speech here

NDP Candidate: Andrea Horwath (May 23 2014)

Watch her speech here

Read more »


Opinion: Un geste significatif

En annonçant hier un plan de lutte sérieux contre les changements climatiques, le président américain Obama a posé l’un des gestes les plus significatifs de sa présidence. L’objectif annoncé par l’Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) de réduire de 30% d’ici 2030 les émissions de carbone par rapport à celles de 2005 représente le plus grand effort jamais entrepris par le gouvernement américain de s’attaquer aux changements climatiques. Si le plan est mis en oeuvre, cela impliquera une réduction de 500 millions de tonnes métriques de carbone annuellement.

Opinion: Why the US and Europe must stand together

President Obama’s trip to Europe is an opportunity to build on the vision he outlined in his West Point speech last week, and to set out a plan to renew the transatlantic relationship. This backbone of an alliance of liberal democracies across the globe, and the foundation of the post-war order, faces fresh challenges today. Over the past few years, though, this alliance has suffered from neglect which is troubling, as the inexorable triumph of liberal democracy is not inevitable – it requires constant work and vigilance.

Opinion: Excellence and Equity in Skills and Higher Education in Canada

Canada has been a strong performer in post-secondary education and skills development for many years. On key measures we are at or near the top of international rankings and highly skilled Canadians contribute to economic prosperity, social innovation, and political and community well-being. But there are signs that Canada’s performance may be deteriorating and, despite a commitment to equality, opportunities and achievement in skills and higher education have been poorly distributed across regions and groups.

Global Progress: Making Progressive Politics Work

“Making Progressive Politics Work: A Handbook of Ideas” is a collection of essays from the organizations and thinkers that are a part of Global Progress, an international exchange of ideas that will fuel the creation and implementation of progressive policies around the world. The handbook, organized and published by the U.K.-based Policy Network. Divided into two sections – Future Wealth Creation, and Jobs, Wages and Skills of the Future – the publication is required reading for Canadian progressives.

Archives: Philipe Couillard on our health system

In 2011, Canada 2020 asked Dr. Philippe Couillard to provide some historical context on Canada’s “broken” health care system. Then, Dr. Couillard was out of politics, working as an adviser at the SECOR Group. Today, he is the newly elected Premier of Quebec, having just won an impressive majority mandate for the Quebec Liberal Party. His essay, Lessons from 2004, Perspectives for 2014, offers a glimpse into the new Premier’s policy thinking, not just on the issue of health, but on his overall approach to making choices in government.

Speech: Brian Mulroney on “The Next Big Thing” for Canada

On April 8th, 2014, Canada 2020 invited the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister, to answer the question: “What is the next big thing for Canada?” His speech focused on the importance of natural resource development, and stressed the importance of bold leadership that places national interest ahead of electoral success – something Mr. Mulroney knows quite a bit about. Click here to read his address, as well as stream video of the speech.

Analysis: Who is Matteo Renzi?

At just 39 years of age, Matteo Renzi became Italy’s youngest-ever prime minister in late February. The dramatic events that led to this meteoric rise are nothing new for Renzi. Over the course of his relatively short political career, the former lawyer and regional counselor earned the nickname “il Rottomatore”—meaning “the bulldozer” or “the demolition man”—thanks to his reputation for taking on the establishment and pushing through political reforms.

Research: How Canadians (vs. Americans) feel about climate change

Researchers from Canada and the United States have partnered with Canada 2020 to publish their key findings from the Canada-US Comparative Climate Survey, conducted in the fall of 2013. This report delves deeper into the data, analyzing key trends and preferences across a variety of indicators including region, partisan divide, and others. For interactive maps and other data, visit

Research: Are we ready for universal childcare in Canada?

Is Canada ready for a universal childcare system? If so, what does ‘universal’ look like? Canada’s current childcare system is a fragmented and patchwork landscape that has been recognized internationally as a serious human development concern. Set against the backdrop of increased media and policy attention to social mobility, Canada 2020′s Analytical Commentary No. 6 focuses on the relationship between income inequality, equality of opportunity and universal childcare.

Research: Getting TPP Right

As China begins challenging the U.S. for political and economic dominance in the pacific region, establishing free trade agreements with the rest of the continent is imperative for Canada. This makes the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a free trade deal that would span the Pacific Ocean but notably does not include China, an essential component of Canada’s long-term trade agenda.

Graphics: How Canadians really feel about climate change

Canada 2020 and the University of Montreal have released a new survey showing Canadians are more concerned, more informed, more willing to pay, and more demanding of federal action on climate change than Americans. The full survey, interactive maps, and other resources are posted at In this post, we have selected some of the more surprising results.

Opinion: The Canada-China relationship – how we keep up the momentum

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives’ Ailish Campbell reports from our joint event, “The Canada-China Relationship: Keeping up the momentum” on Tuesdsay, October 29th. At the event, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall joined a panel of experts to talk to way forward for our two economies. In this post, Campbell summarizes 5 thoughts on how to keep up the momentum.

Opinion: It’s not unemployment, it’s underemployment

As short as 20 years ago, our combined attainment of education, work experience, and connections would place many young Canadians on a secure career track that would allow us to pay back our loans, save for a house, and contribute to the overall productivity of this great country. Today, that’s more or less not the case, and an increasing number of young Canadians are caught in a veritable limbo state of underemployment.

Summer Reading: Reports on equality, mobility, education and more

With Parliament Hill adjourned for the summer, Ottawa is a much quieter place, giving us time to catch up on a number of fantastic reports that have been published by organizations in our network. We have scoured the web and come back with six must-read reports to add to your summer reading list. Featuring work from the Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress, the International Institute for Sustainable Development and more.

Summer Reading: 10 infographics you should see

We love infographics at Canada 2020 – and there’s no better time to browse and read them then over the long summer office hours.
Here’s 10 online features from The Guardian, The Economic Policy Institute, The White House and more than you should catch up on. Topics include tracking and comparing national carbon outputs, measuring exactly how inequality is rising in North America and answering what makes Canadians sick.

Opinion: Industrial policy is back — except in Ontario

Countries with robust industrial policies — especially in Asia and other emerging markets — have seen superior growth performance post-recession.

Canada 2020′s Eugene Lang looks at the sad-state of affairs in Ontario’s, Canada’s former manufacturing heartland and the things governments can do to promote investment, industrial development and economic growth.

Opinion: Searching for Canada’s Michelle Obama

Canada needs to confront its crisis in public health, and quickly determine how we can come together to combat obesity and related chronic diseases. Canadians are up against the same public health challenges as our American neighbours.

The First Lady of the U.S. has provided a very visible rallying point in that country. Here in Canada we do not have such a figure, but, encouragingly, we do have a federal government that is becoming more active in this space.

Opinion: The modern university: relevant? Yes, but is this enough?

On May 9, 2013 Canada 2020 staff attended a speech by University of Ottawa President, Allan Rock on “The Skills Mismatch and the Myth of the Irrelevant University”.

Rock stressed the continued relevance of universities, especially in today’s knowledge economy. This is beyond dispute but, upon further reflection, I wonder if perhaps we should be asking another question: is simply being ‘relevant’ enough?

Blog: So you want to build a progressive movement in Canada…

In Canada think tanks have generally been thin on the ground, and typically associated with specific political parties.

We launched Canada 2020 in 2006 because we wanted a space for progressives of all stripes to meet, discuss, and share ideas in an environment that was free of the partisan mentality of old. We’re proud of the work we have done and the voices and ideas that we have featured.

Think Tank Round Up Vol. 6: May 2, 2013

In the past two weeks the world learned that austerity might not be all it’s cracked up to be. The Reinhart-Rogoff ‘affair’ has occupied a lot of airtime (if you haven’t caught up, here’s a good primer from The New Yorker), with good cause. Governments across the developed world must make hard choices as we continue on a shaky road to recovery: it is essential to ensure that these choices are based on the best available information.

Event Summary: Recasting the carbon debate in Ottawa

This past Wednesday, over 500 people packed the Chateau Laurier’s ballroom, and hundreds tuned in online to watch ‘How to sell carbon pricing to Canadians’ – our call to re-cast the carbon pricing conversation in Canada. It was, by all measures, our largest event to date.

Think Tank Round-Up, Volume 5: April 19, 2013

In this round-up: coverage of our carbon event, the EU ETS under fire, biofuel use in the UK, tracking clean energy progress through the IEA, measuring inequality, taking aim at gender wage gaps and inequality, and Canada’s place on the innovation and productivity spectrum around the world.

Opinion: How to talk about a carbon price – without panicking

A more active dialogue is developing around Canada’s future as a large-scale energy exporter – with much of the open, constructive debate happening beyond our borders and not at home where it is most needed. Blame for inaction lies at the feet of all federal parties: quite simply, now is the time to move on.

Think Tank Round Up Volume 4: April 3, 2013

Easter has come and gone, and while you may have been resting, we at Canada 2020, have been working away to produce your latest bi-weekly think tank round up.

A pipeline rupture in Arkansas on March 29th led to 10,000 barrels of Canadian crude being spilled in a residential area, raising ever more questions about the merits of building new pipelines.

Opinion: #Budget2013 – Market intervention, conservative style

The reviews of Budget 2013 are in. It is a big yawn. A nothing Budget, a one- day wonder in terms of press interest, most of the new measures in it having been leaked beforehand. This misses a core point. Budget 2013 is remarkable for one thing—the Conservative government has embraced a degree of market intervention we have not seen before.

Think Tank Round Up Volume 3: March 22, 2013

It has been a busy week here in Ottawa with the presentation of the 2013 budget (Take a minute to look at our co-founder, Tim Barber’s, reaction to the budget.)

This Economic Action Plan placed a major focus on skilled trades and the need for professional training, topics which are close to our heart at Canada 2020.

Opinion: Climate change impacts on Canadian agriculture – no time for complacency

There is much to applaud in the agri-sector. We’re seeing greater diversification and a change in farming practices to become less environmentally damaging. But we need to ask ourselves if there is more we can do, both to maximize the potential of the sector and to help it prepare for a very uncertain future.

Blog: Why ‘Asia – it’s big!’ won’t cut it

Our conversations on Asia are stuck in a rut – and that’s a problem. If we’re going to help each other be engaged members of the policy community that shapes and forms opinions and decisions, we need to be smarter in how we talk about the opportunities and risks in engaging the new pacific century.

Think Tank Round-Up Volume 2: March 6, 2013

It has been a busy week for us at Canada 2020, with our Equality of Opportunity panel and our Skilled Trades in the Energy Sector conference. But just as we’ve been very active so too have other organizations in our network. Here’s another round-up of the policy thinking and writing from Canadian and international think tanks from the past two weeks.

Event Summary: Panelists get to grips with the Canadian dream

Over 350 people came out to the Château Laurier Hotel on February 26 where they were treated to a lively, progressive and sometimes contentious debate about the various options for governmental action to help ensure continued economic mobility in Canada.

Think Tank Round-Up Volume 1: Feb. 19, 2013

As Larry Summers noted when he spoke at our Ottawa event in November 2013, “much of what political leaders say is the result of a careful study, a well placed op-ed, a strategically targeted email from an important and influential think tank.”
It is easy to miss what is going on in this vibrant world, so we have decided to produce a bi-weekly round-up.

PODCAST & PHOTO: Canada 2020′s Year in Review 2012

Canada 2020′s Alex Paterson sits down with Vice President of Research Diana Carney to review The Canada We Want in 2020 project from the past year, as well as preview what is planed for 2013.

Blog: The carbon conversation we’re ready to have

Carbon pricing was eviscerated in 2006, and has been portrayed as scorched earth ever since – a dead policy from a dead party leading to a dead end. But it’s not, really. Industry is ready to talk about it. The federal government is not – and that’s a problem.

Opinion: Inequality – defining the defining issue of our time

Diana Carney analyses the facts, figures and sentiment behind our growing concern with inequality. The story is not as simple as one might think.

Event Recap: Panelists confront ‘the new state capitalism’ at Buying Canada event

To watch this panel, visit the event page & click ‘Watch this video’

17 October 2012 (Ottawa) – On Wednesday, October …

Canada 2020 Podcast: Don Newman and Dr. Eric Topol talk modern medicine

Last month, Canada 2020 and AMGEN brought Dr. Eric Topol to Ottawa to talk about his new book ‘The Creative …

Issues: Strategic industries, state-owned enterprises and the national interest

On Wednesday October 17 2012, Canada 2020 hosted a panel discussion on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) buying into strategic industries in Canada. This deck provides an introduction to the main issues at stake.

Opinion: The New Deal for Skills-Based Graduates

By George Burton
Canadore College President
Unemployment rates remain high and the latest data shows an uptick. Why is this, when so …

Opinion: International education the missing piece of Canada’s innovation agenda

When asked why they would want to study abroad, most Canadian university or college students give a variation on the …

Capacity crowd attend income inequality panel

Ottawa  – The  gap between rich and poor is at a record high, according to a new global economic study, …

Income inequality: a top global risk

Inequality of income is one of the hot button issues of our time. 2011 saw the rise of the Occupy …

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