Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls

Ford+Munk 2022 took place virtually in March 2022. Participants were challenged to further their understanding of the issue of MMIWG in Ontario and Michigan by participating in a workshop, attending an expert panel discussion, and analyzing the case. Groups presented their policy proposals for addressing root causes of violence while prioritizing survivors’ wellbeing.


  • Jennifer Brant, University of Toronto
  • Cora McGuire-Cyrette, Ontario Native Women’s Association


  • Rebecca Ramsarran, Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs
  • Robert Falcon-Ouellette, Former Member of Parliament, Winnipeg Centre
  • Ann Chih Lin, University of Michigan
  • Amy Harris, University of Michigan


The Social Impact of Health Inequities

Across the world, urgent health inequities are rooted in conscious and unconscious biases and perpetuated through institutions which were created by historically privileged groups. Many of these inequities have been exposed and exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, as individuals in marginalized groups have experienced higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death. The multifaceted nature of these inequities poses complicated policy challenges for Canada and the United States. Intersectional differences in race and ethnicity, sex and gender, age, and socioeconomic status affect individuals’ ability to maintain a healthy life. Disparities in life expectancy, access to healthy food, water, medication, reliable internet, and one’s ability to trust their country’s healthcare system all differ depending on one’s belonging to various social groups.

During this year’s case competition, participants were asked to respond to a mandate letter from the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for the Americas with a policy recommendation which would:

  • Allow the United States and Canada to mitigate the impact of current health inequities and promote equitable health policies in the future;
  • Discuss specific policy tools to tackle these challenges, as well as a proposed timeline for implementation;
  • Address financial feasibility for proposed initiatives and demonstrate possible funding models as required;
  • Develop a framework to identify and mitigate potential risks to policies;
  • Explain how success will be defined once the policy is implemented.

Special thanks to our key note speakers (see below), faculty advisors and judges, and the executive board teams at Ford and Munk that made this conference possible.


  • Rhonda McMichael, Ontario Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Isaac Bogoch, University of Toronto & Toronto General Hospital
  • Christina Dendys, Results Canada
  • Dr. Ashley Lacombe-Duncan, University of Michigan
  • Dr. Lynn McIntyre, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Mathew Wixson, University of Michigan


  • Drew Fagan, University of Toronto & McMillan Vantage Policy Group
  • Dr. Paula Lantz, University of Michigan
  • Dr. Ann Chih Lin, University of Michigan
  • Dr. Peter John Loewen, University of Toronto


Climate Change: A Policy Problem Beyond Borders

The 11th annual Ford+Munk case competition took place in at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy the weekend of February 1, 2020.

This year’s case competition tackled climate change and its growing environmental and economic impact on the Great Lakes region. Focuses within the topic included how changes in temperatures and increased severe weather events affect certain industries such as agriculture, energy, and tourism as well the inequities across populations affected.


  • Rick Smith, Broadbent Institute
  • Dr. Miriam Diamond, University of Toronto
  • Doug Anderson, Invert Media
  • Alex Wood, Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks
  • Rhonda McMichael, University of Toronto


  • David McGowan, Canadian Business Coalition for Climate Policy
  • Drew Fagan, University of Toronto & McMillan Vantage Policy Group
  • Sarah Buchanan, Environmental Defence
  • Brian Topp, gt&co & McGill University
  • Dr. Ann Chih Lin, University of Michigan


Two Nations Overdosed: Tackling the Opioid Crisis

The 2019 Ford+Munk case competition kicked off on March 15th at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This year’s case focused on the Opioid Epidemic, specifically the supply and demand of opioids, the increasing role they play as prescription and non-prescription medicine and the lives of impacted by ongoing opioid crisis. Participants were asked to develop a policy proposal to help address the far-reaching impacts of the opioid crisis on both sides of the border.


  • Jimena Loveluck, Ontario Ministry of Health
  • Molly Welch-Marahar, Centre for Health and Research Transformation
  • Jared Welehodsky, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services


  • Brendan Nyhan, University of Michigan
  • Dr. Carol Boyd, University of Michigan
  • Joshua Rivera, University of Michigan
  • Kyle MacIntyre, University of Toronto


What the Tech? Unpacking the Challenges and Opportunities of Disruptive Technologies

Ford+Munk 2018 was hosted in Toronto on Friday, March 9th – Saturday, March 10th, 2018. Titled What the Tech?: Unpacking the Challenges and Opportunities of Disruptive Technologies, our panelists set the stage of what to expect, both the good and the bad, as emerging innovations continue to alter our existing social structures.

In preparation for the case, the students at Munk also hosted a pre-conference workshop on Friday, February 9th, 2018. The Pre-Conference event began with two workshop sessions, led by Munk’s own Professor Janet Mason and 2016/17 OPS Visiting Fellow Rhonda McMichael. With these workshops, our student delegates learned the basics of how to frame a compelling case, and had the opportunity to develop and practice their presentations skills. In the expert panel that followed, delegates and the wider Munk community heard from a set of speakers engaged with our case theme of disruptive technologies.


  • Linda White, University of Toronto
  • Helen Kontozopoulos, University of Toronto
  • Creig Lamb, Brookfield Institute
  • Matthias Oschinski, MaRS Discovery District


Immigration: Integration and Mobility in a Populist Era

The 8th annual Ford+Munk case competition took place at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan on March 25, 2017.

The case competition focused on an important topic that poses central concerns to policy making in both Canada and the U.S. “Immigration: Integration and Mobility in a Populist Era” explored the themes of economic mobility, multiculturalism, and human rights through an analysis of immigration and refugee policy.

The case competition asked students to develop state-centered solutions to facilitate the economic empowerment and social integration of refugees in Michigan. The winning team was comprised of Samantha Chu and Michelle Rubin from the Ford School and Blake Lee-Whiting, Priscilla Mak, and Ali Nasser-Virji from SPPG. Focusing on revitalizing employment opportunities, they utilized a three-pronged approach that would be spearheaded and coordinated by the Michigan Office for New Americans. Their strategy began by creating pathways for refugees to start small businesses by providing financing opportunities through existing refugee development organizations. This would be complemented by sponsored mentorship programs that would connect high-skilled underemployed refugees to jobs in high growth sectors through specialized internship programs. The final part of their strategy concentrated on helping refugees build on their skills by connecting them to community organizations, consequently supporting the local economy.

To learn more about the 8th annual case competition, read the 2017 Case!


  • Bing Goei, Michigan Office for New Americans
  • Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit
  • Hardy Vieux, Human Rights First
  • Cliff Martin, University of Michigan


  • Pamela Bryant, University of Toronto
  • Alan Deardorff, University of Michigan
  • Ann Chih Lin, University of Michigan
  • Rhonda McMichael, University of Toronto


Closing the Gap: Reviving the Ameri-Can Dream

The 2016 Ford+Munk case competition took place at the University of Toronto.

In this year’s case competition, participants were pushed to make tough choices, weigh trade-offs and make bold policy recommendations in order to help a government address an aspect of inequality within its borders. Delegates presented their recommended policy solutions to a panel of expert judges.


Building Resilient Cities: Addressing Crisis and Ongoing Stress

The problems facing cities today can be daunting, and the global economic recession that began in 2008 has highlighted many of these challenges that extend beyond the scope of any single catastrophic event. Resilience is about more than our preparedness for shocks like natural disasters or sudden human conflict. It is also about proactively engaging the ongoing stresses that fracture communities, neighbourhoods, commerce, and the exchange of information and ideas – and these stresses span the policy areas of governance, education, infrastructure, affordable housing, unemployment, community cohesion, and beyond. The United States and Canada share more than simply a border or the coastlines of the North American continent.  We enjoy tremendous trade opportunities, the exchange of ideas, shared cultures and languages, the vast natural resources of the Great Lakes, and a commitment to partnering on issues of regional and global importance like the health and resilience of our cities.  So, we ask ourselves: how can we enhance the resilience of our cities? But we know that just identifying solutions isn’t enough. In this multi-stakeholder case competition, students were not only pushed to convey complex information and ideas but integrate them into viable plans of action.


  • Joseph Schilling, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Douglas Kelbaugh, University Michigan




Big Data: Progress vs. Privacy?


Arctic Sovereignty

The 2013 case competition was held in Michigan and was framed around the theme of Arctic Sovereignty.

The Arctic is in retreat. Rising temperatures and receding ice will create new challenges, and new opportunities, for countries with a stake in the territory. Governments laying claim to the Arctic see a boon in the melting ice: the region is believed to be stocked with minerals such as palladium and zinc, as well as an estimated 30% of undiscovered natural gas and 13% of undiscovered oil reserves. The quest for these resources may endanger some of the largest untouched ecosystems left on the planet, threatening natural habitats and the Native populations who depend on the Arctic for their livelihood.

But these changes are also creating opportunities for international trade and shipping; melting ice will grant passage through previously inaccessible shipping lanes, trimming the shipping distance between Europe and Asia by more than a third. Under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (CLOS), Arctic countries are scrambling to redraw their national borders, giving new relevance to lingering territorial disputes.Even with little sea ice, the Arctic will remain frigid, remote, turbulent and expensive to navigate—but the time to plan is now.  During the fourth annual US-Canada Conference, students tackled the issues of the Arctic in a policy-driven case competition and simulated negotiation format to develop innovative policy recommendations and address natural resource extraction, international trade, the environment, and national security.


  • Henry Pollack, scientist and Nobel Laureate
  • Tom Clynes, author and photojournalist


  • Check out this article written about the conference.
  • See pictures from the day here!


Prosperity and Partnerships in the Great Lakes Region

The focus of the 2012 conference, entitled Prosperity and Partnership in the Great Lakes, was on the future of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence region, an area that faces a number of challenges with respect to economic development and environmental protection.

The Vital Commonsa report commissioned by the Mowat Centre, highlighted the need for collaboration and cooperation in the Great Lakes region. According to the report, the region, consisting of eight states and two provinces, must find ways to collaborate on a number of important policy-related areas, like cross-border trading and water preservation, to remain competitive and sustainable.

The Great Lakes region possesses a multitude of natural, cultural, and place-defining attributes, making the region an attractive place to live and work. However, the communities in this region have not fared well in the past three decades with decreases in auto, steel, chemicals, machine tools, electronics, paper, and durable goods manufacturing. Globalized patterns of production and trade have fundamentally restructured these industries and altered the communities dependent upon them. In response, the region is utilizing the capital, talent and innovation produced in the 20th century to produce new industries such as financial and health services, food processing, energy, aerospace, information and communications technology, transportation and pharmaceutical.

These realities can, if leveraged, turn the conventional narrative of economic decline. In this spirit, the U.S.-Canada Conference 2012 aimed to identify ways to:

  • Increase the collaboration across the border;
  • Ensure the prosperity and sustainability of the region;
  • Devise policy measures to tackle the region’s challenges;
  • Capitalize on its significant opportunities.

Students were assigned teams  and case studies relating to the specific policy challenges in the Great Lakes region. They were responsible for identifying and understanding the policy issue, designing an implementation plan, and presenting the key recommendations to a panel of policy experts.


  • Jeffrey Izzo, United States Consulate in Toronto
  • Laura Dawson, Dawson Strategic
  • Jared Welehodsky, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services



Eroding North America’s Borders

The U.S.-Canada Conference 2011 was the second annual conference jointly organized by the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance and the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. This year’s conference focuses on human capital development as a policy tool to address the most important public policy issues that confront the United States and Canada.

Student participants were divided into groups to work on policy case studies on one of three issues: equitable access to healthcare, sustainable urban growth, and the role of private business in spurring innovation. Participants devised policy options and presented their findings to a panel of experts for feedback.


  • Dr. Roy B. Norton, Consul General of Canada in Detroit


American and Canadian Policy in the 21st Century: Is What Unites Us Still Greater than What Divides Us?

The inaugural Ford+SPPG Conference was hosted at the School of Public Policy & Governance in Toronto. 

The state of Michigan and the province of Ontario are closely linked geographically, economically and through similar policies that affect the residents of both jurisdictions. On a larger scale, the United States and Canada face similar problems and opportunities in regards to public policy. Despite this geographical proximity, Ontario and Michigan and the countries to which they belong are too often viewed as disparate. In many cases, each is defined for its dissimilarity with the other as regards issues as healthcare, social welfare, economic regulation, attitudes toward immigrants and overarching fundamental values that guide policy development, strategy and execution.


  • Mark Stabile, University of Toronto
  • Barry Rabe, University of Michigan
  • Josh Hjartarson, University of Toronto
  • David Wolfe, University of Toronto

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