2015 Recipient

The Honourable William Davis PC, CC, OOnt, QC, former Premier of Ontario

Bill Davis

The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs is pleased to announce the Hon. William G. Davis, PC, CC, OOnt, QC, as the 13th recipient of the prestigious Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership. The award honours the accomplishments of a Canadian who has demonstrated leadership in public policy. It recognizes exemplary actions taken by an individual to promote policy that has changed the face of Canada or a community within Canada, often in the face of public opposition.

Sponsored by Scotiabank, the 2015 Award recognizes Mr. Davis’ inspirational and principled leadership and, in particular, his work with other Premiers and the Government of Canada to repatriate our Constitution. In addition, as Premier, Mr. Davis combined a business‑like approach to the running of government with a sensitive understanding of the needs and aspirations of the people it serves. Social services were greatly expanded at the same time as the process of government was reorganized and streamlined. Technological initiatives, the key to Ontario's future prosperity, were fostered during his Premiership.

Mr. Davis’ record as Premier of the Province of Ontario from 1971 to 1985 is testimony to his vision of a broad constituency of citizens. On his watch, TV Ontario and Canada’s first Ministry of the Environment were created.

He oversaw direct funding for municipal transit. Ontario’s successful network of colleges of applied arts and technology opened their doors under his tenure. Overall, Mr. Davis consciously and deliberately implemented policies to benefit all Ontarians and made decisions based on what he believed must strengthen and unite the province.

Nationally, his actions had important consequences for the future of Canada, most notably in 1981 when he supported, at considerable political risk, the repatriation of the Constitution and the adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These actions remain a powerful testimony to his fortitude and his ability to unite rather than divide and provide a powerful example of his many contributions to public policy.

“Mr. Davis’ leadership, in Ontario, and in Canada, moved his province, and our country forward in so many important ways, it is a privilege to be able to present him with the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership” noted, Adam Redish, President of the Institute.

Mr. Davis was honoured at the 2015 Couchiching Gala.

Visit the 2015 Gala Photo Gallery.

2016 Summer Conference

The Canada Project

Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

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Couchiching Connects
April 2017
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