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Ian Shugart

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Ian Shugart is regarded as one of Canada’s top public sector leaders with a career in government spanning over 40 years. Most recently, he served as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet.

Mr. Shugart started his career on Parliament Hill in the 1980s as a policy advisor, then a ministerial chief of staff, working on the patriation of the Constitution and the development of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, child care, labour market agreements, and the Meech Lake Accord, among other issues.

Mr. Shugart joined the federal public service in 1991 and held increasingly senior leadership positions. He was Executive Director of the Medical Research Council from 1993 to 1997, Visiting Assistant Deputy Minister in the Health Protection Branch of Health Canada from 1997 to 1999, and Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Policy at Health Canada from 1999 to 2006. In these roles, he shaped the modernization of public health, helped lay groundwork for today’s Canadian Institutes of Health Research, supported legislation on new reproductive technologies, and oversaw three major health accords with provinces and territories. Mr. Shugart is the former Chair of the Global Health Security Action Group and Chair of the Health Task Force of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. He also served on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization.

From 2006 to 2016, Mr. Shugart held successive Deputy Minister positions at Environment and Climate Change Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and Global Affairs Canada. He provided leadership on international climate change negotiations and the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions as well as major initiatives affecting income security and the labour market. As Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, he shaped Canada’s relations with its international partners, and managed sensitive national security issues and key bilateral relationships.

In 2019, Mr. Shugart was appointed the 24th Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet. As Head of the Public Service, he served as the principal link between the Prime Minister and the public service of Canada, and was responsible for the delivery of expert, professional, and non-partisan advice and service to the Prime Minister, Cabinet, and all Canadians. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his leadership was instrumental in helping the federal public service protect the health and safety of Canadians.

Mr. Shugart holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Economy from Trinity College at the University of Toronto. He teaches at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

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