Dear friends of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation,


Kind wishes to each of you, as we all continue to live and experience the first-hand effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in our daily lives. More than ever, this is a time to remember and offer support to all those who are experiencing the most dire aspects of this situation, be it someone who has fallen ill, is struggling to care for someone who is, and for everyone who seeks ways to navigate daily life which has recently become unfamiliar in so many ways.

Specifically, my thoughts turn to those who are isolated at home, perhaps caring for children through this, and otherwise required to adjust comfortable routines as part of the global effort to flatten the curve.

In this challenging time, the values of the Foundation will serve each of us as a companion, bringing comfort through knowledge, and company through community. In that spirit, I wish to share with you some of the meaningful – and hopefully impactful – ways the Foundation and its engaged community members are making a difference.



This unprecedented chapter is demonstrating how deep and wide the areas of research and expertise among our Scholars, Mentors & Fellows are contributing to critical conversations around the effects of COVID-19. From access to justice, to epidemiological impacts on specific population groups, to how the very way we communicate with one another is affected, our community’s research and insights are invaluable to Canadians and the world:

📑 Beverly McLachlin: Justice in the time of social distancing

📑 André Picard:We’re still tackling COVID-19, which means it’s no time for half-measures or abandoning the fight

📑 Kim Tallbear: How to cope with headline stress

📑 Steven Hoffman: How artificial intelligence data mining can help us fight COVID-19

📑 Christian Nadeau: Négociations syndicales, gouvernance autoritaire et droits sociaux (Union negotiations, authoritative governance, and social rights)

📑 Aimée Morrison: The internet can bring us together, but only if we have the resources

📑 Martha Paynter: Coronavirus 'Will Tear Like Wildfire' Through Canada's Prisons

📑 Carlo Charles: Canada’s changing coronavirus border policy exposes international students’ precarious status

📑 Tim Caulfield: Edmonton professor receives grants of $380,000 to combat COVID-19 misinformation

📑 Jocelyn Downie: Rethinking end-of-life decisions because of COVID-19 


In this regard, our leadership programming themes, Power & Knowledge (cohort 2019) and Technology & Ethics (cohort 2020), have become more relevant than ever before in helping to shape and frame the events unfolding around all of us.



Unprecedented global events call for rapid and meaningful innovation when regular practices are no longer possible. Our programs are built around experiential learning opportunities that take Scholars beyond the traditional, as they acquire skills to become Engaged Leaders in their institutions and communities. As gatherings are prohibited and airplanes grounded, this model is something we must set aside for the time being.

In this lie new opportunities and horizons for us to explore together. Over the coming days and weeks, the Foundation will remain as active as ever fostering the dissemination and democratization of knowledge through virtual channels. Tapping into the wealth of our community’s extraordinary range of relevant expertise, we are preparing a series of capsules on various platforms. Robert Steiner, our 2019 Mentor, Director of the Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism at the University of Toronto, and accomplished international journalist, will be conducting a series of interviews with community members on the impacts of the crisis through the themes of our leadership programs. Bringing us all together at a time when we must physically distance ourselves, the Foundation will be offering ways, big and small, to stay connected through ideas that help galvanize our togetherness as a community. We will share more news about these promising initiatives with you very soon. 



One of the favourite parts of my role took place over the last week: proudly announcing the nomination of the newest members of our community! Our 2020 Scholars are exceptional: their academic and community achievements are outstanding but there is more. They are critical thinkers. They show a willingness to take risks. They display radical curiosity in the way they speak and feel the world. They are particularly talented for collaboration. They are committed to building a better and more inclusive world. Our 2020 Fellows are some of the world’s leading experts on “Technology and Ethics”: they are brilliant professors, talented researchers, enthusiastic about our reformed programs and genuinely interested in making knowledge accessible to all. Our 2020 Mentors  come from a broad range of professions and backgrounds: they are wildly successful yet humble; they display real passion about the work they do; they dream big, for the benefit of all; and they inspire others to take unconventional paths. Fellows and Mentors distinguish themselves as Engaged Leaders and innovative actors who will play a vital role in our programs and the life of our community for years to come. Congratulations and a warm welcome to each and every one of you!


As we all welcome the newest members of our Foundation family, I have more exciting news to share. Our outstanding alumni network has never been so engaged and involved in the continued building of our community. To that end, I am delighted to inform you that we are launching a brand new Alumni Newsletter. Alumni network executive members Sophie Thériault (2003 Scholar) and Libe Garcia Zarranz (2010 Scholar) are enthusiastically volunteering to serve as co-editors of this periodic publication that will help share the ongoing stories of our community. We have asked our community to submit an inspiring poem or book; personal or family news to share; or a story about someone who has made a positive difference during the COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t wait to share the first edition of the PETF Alumni Newsletter with you!



Care for one another, nurture compassion for those who are the most vulnerable, and seek new ways of carrying on while protecting the health and safety of yourself and others.

In that spirit, I look forward to pursuing the development of our community of Engaged Leaders in a spirit of Inclusive Excellence in new ways that might have seemed unimaginable a few short weeks ago. The words of wisdom from Leonard Cohen are particularly à propos:

leonard cohen quote small

As we all navigate these unprecedented times, let’s never lose sight of our togetherness, our community, our bond. 



Pascale Fournier

President and Chief Executive Officer