Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

Queen's International Institute on Social Policy
Queen's International Institute on Social Policy


August 20 - 21, 2019

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Kingston, ON


Expand to view a list of the presentations from the 2019 Queen's International Institute on Social Policy


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

​​​Session 6

Session 7


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Videos of the most presentations will be available soon on YouTube.  



For decades, the trend line of economic progress, as measured by aggregate indicators such as GDP growth, has been positive across OECD countries. Most economies have recovered from the global financial crisis of 2008. When you look beyond the aggregates, however, a different picture emerges; the benefits of economic prosperity have not been equally distributed:  income levels and growth have become increasingly unequal; some sectors, occupations and regions have thrived while others have not; labour’s share of income has declined; and wealth has become highly concentrated at the top of the distribution.

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If anything, these trends will be amplified in the years ahead as technological change risks further polarizing labour markets, more low and middle income families struggle to make ends meet, and work becomes increasingly precarious for many. In sum, economic growth has become decoupled from broad-based societal benefits. Some people are being left behind. Others feel they can’t get ahead. Many feel the ‘system’ is not fair.  

Social integration is also at risk.  Economic pressures threaten to deepen fissures in the fabric of Canadian life, dividing the highly skilled and the less skilled, the young and the elderly, the native born and newcomers, people in different regions, rural and urban communities. If trust in each other and in governments is weakened, if levels of conflict grow, our ability to handle the technological and demographic challenges before us will be compromised.

For the first time in decades, many are turning their attention to finding pathways for more inclusive growth. Economic dogma and fixed pro-market prescriptions are being assailed from the ‘right’ and the ‘left” and by professional economists. But if traditional liberal economic policy frameworks have failed, what policy approaches will be more effective at advancing economic inclusion, opportunity and prosperity?

The 2019 Queen’s International Institute on Social Policy (QIISP) will explore this policy frontier. For decades, policymakers, whether focused on trade or infrastructure or innovation or housing or social programs, have used standard policy frameworks premised on trade-offs between efficiency and equity. The rationale for public policy has typically been predicated on narrow view of market failures, surgical interventions and after-the-fact consideration of distributional and adjustment issues. Now is the time to turn conventional thinking on its head – to look at how the rules of the market and the design of public policies can work better for everyone.

The School of Policy Studies at Queen's University and the conference organizers
gratefully acknowledge the following sponsors:


2019 QIISP Sponsor logos: ESDC, IRCC, Region of Peel, CIty of Toronto