SPPG Student Events: LGBTQ+ Leadership and Affordable Rental Housing

Beyond the Headlines is produced through the School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG)  which allows us to engage deeply with policy professionals through panels, case competitions, and special guest talks. This episode goes in depth to explore the SPPG events and the insights from our distinguished guests.

Today we will hear from George Smitherman, interviewed by Spectrum Director Marvin JS Ferrer, followed by Sean Gadon, Director of the Toronto Affordable Housing Office, interviewed by one of the 2018 Municipal Policy Action Case Competition (MPACC) Directors Lina Pulido.

Spectrum – LGBTQ+ Leadership Series

Spectrum is a student initiative aimed at professional and career development for LGBTQ+ students at SPPG.  

On January 15th, Spectrum hosted a discussion with two prominent LGBTQ+ leaders in the field of public policy: Toronto City Councillor Kristyn-Won Tam and Former Deputy Premier George Smitherman. Visit the SPPG website to learn more about the event and the initiative.

In conjunction with Beyond the Headlines, Spectrum Director Marvin JS Ferrer sat down with George Smitherman following the event for a quick interview.

George Smitherman represented the riding of Toronto-Centre as Ontario’s first elected openly gay MPP from 1999 to 2010, where he served in Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet as Minister of Health and Long Term Care, as well as Energy and Infrastructure. He was also Ontario’s Deputy Premier from 2006 to 2009. [interview at 1.03]

2018 Municipal Policy Action Case Competition

On January 19th, Master’s students from the School of Public Policy & Governance (SPPG) and the Department of Geography and Planning took part in the 2018 Municipal Policy Action Case Competition (MPACC). MPACC is a student-led case competition geared towards tackling municipal policy problems. Its design provides students with an opportunity to address local issues from the perspective of policy makers at a municipal level.

This year, 46 students making up 11 teams took part in the competition aiming to solve a pressing problem facing the City of Toronto: affordable rental housing. 

“I was absolutely thrilled to participate …and I thought it [the competition] was a really fresh way to explore ideas without the usual confines that we find in government itself,” – Sean Gadon, Director of the City of Toronto Affordable Housing Office

To elaborate on this issue from a municipal perspective, one of the 2018 MPACC Directors Lina Pulido sat down with Sean Gadon. Sean is the Director of the Affordable Housing Office at the City of Toronto, where he oversees the delivery of a wide range of affordable housing and renovation initiatives. He also leads the delivery of Mayor Tory’s Open Door Initiative to accelerate affordable housing construction across the City. Previously, Sean served as President of Raising the Roof and as Executive Assistant to two housing ministers for the provincial government. Sean was also a judge in this year’s MPACC, where he evaluated the competitor’s proposals regarding affordable rental housing in the City of Toronto. [interview at 24.47]


Amanda Lane, Host, Technical Producer
Dimitri Treheles, Host, Technical Producer
Marvin JS Ferrer,
Lina Pulido, Reporter
Ian T. D. Thomson, Executive Producer

Music Credits
by Fifth Harmony
The Wide Song 
by Jagguar

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