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Lorne Foster :  Biography


Lorne Foster is Professor, School of Public Policy & Administration (SPPA) and holds the York Research Chair in Black Canadian Studies & Human Rights. He is the Director of the Institute for Social Research (ISR), which is a leading university-based survey research centre in Canada. He is past Academic Director, Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC); and was the inaugural Faculty Chair, Race Inclusion and Supportive Environments (RISE). In his university service, he currently serves as the Chair of the Community Safety Council (CSC); and is a member of the President's Advisory Committee on Human Rights (PACHR). Dr. Foster is also Director of the Diversity & Human Rights Certificate (DHRC), which he established in partnership with the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA). This initiative is the first academic-industry partnership sponsored by a regulatory organization.

Today, as a member of the faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), his work on public policy formation and scholarship on the human rights approach to inclusive organizational change ranks among the best in its field and has consistently helped to open doors to new scholarly explorations through a synergistic laboratory of academic-and-industry collaborations. His pedagogical achievements include, curricular selection as an original and active member of the Black Canadian Studies Certificate, introducing a more diverse curriculum to the university’s multicultural student body. In 2019, he was honoured with the creation of eponymous graduate studies Foster-Greene Award for Excellence in Public Policy, Administration and Law – "the commemorative MPPAL Alumni Award named after the program’s two inaugural Directors - Professors Ian Greene and Lorne Foster – who were instrumental to the program’s success.”


A critical part of Dr. Foster’s work is public engagement and building relationships beyond the traditional scope of academia, with the mission to inform public debate, equity policies and inclusive practice. His major knowledge mobilization research initiatives in the last ten years include: (1) In 2021, he became the Co-Lead Investigator for the Peel Regional Police (PRP) Systemic Racism in Policing Study (2021-2024) – examining the full range of Peel police-civilian interactions, for the fifth largest jurisdiction in Canada . (2) In 2019, he became Principal Investigator of a major SSHRC PGD (2019-2022) grant for a project on “Blackness in Canada” – research examining Black Canadian identity, practice and experiences with the intent to build networks aimed at equity policy development, implementation and outcomes. (3) He also served as the Co-Principal Investigator for the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Traffic Stop Race Based Data Collection Project (2016-2019) – comparative research analysis of three years of race data collected by Ottawa Police following the landmark 2013-2015 ‘racial profiling’ study in Ottawa. (4) In 2018, he co-led a whole-of-government review of the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention (WDHP) Program and the Respectful Workplace Policy (RWP) for the Cabinet Office (CO), Ontario Public Service. (5) In 2017-18, he served as a researcher and expert consultant with the Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) and the Government of Ontario on the Anti-Racism Act, which came into force in the province on June 1, 2017 - assisting in the development of the province’s first Race Data Standard as well as the procedural regulations for the collection, use and management of race-related data in Ontario. (6) In 2017-18, Dr. Foster served as a researcher and expert consultant for the Street Check Survey for the Independent Street Check (Carding) Review conducted by Justice Michael H. Tulloch. (7) In 2017, he also co-led human rights training for all Principals and Managers in the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) - the province's third largest school board, with an enrollment of over 122,000 students. (8) In 2016, he was the co-lead academic organizer for the Racial Profiling Policy Dialogue, in partnership with Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and the Institute for Social Research (ISR). (9) In 2015-16, he was the co-principal investigator for the Windsor Police Service (WPS) 'Human Rights Evaluation Project', conducting a human rights review and assessment of all WPS policies. (10) From 2013-2016, he led the York University Research Team in conducting the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project (TSRDCP), the largest race-based data collection study in Canadian policing history. (11) In 2010-16, Dr. Foster was a Canada Research Team Member, SSHRC MCRI Asia Pacific Dispute Resolution Project, housed at the Faculty of Law, UBC (2003-2016) – centred on the dynamic relationship between international trade and human rights law in Pacific Rim countries. (12) In 2010-2011, he was the co-lead academic organizer for the first Canada-China Forum on International Labour Relations and Employment Standards - in Beijing China. (13) In 2010, he also partnered with Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) in conjunction with Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (locally called CCMARD) - to develop and publish an inventory of 'best practice' tools that is now used as a standard for municipalities to combat racism across the province. (14) In 2009-2012, he was the co-lead academic organizer for the Competing Human Rights Dialogue in partnership with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), which culminated in the development of the first competing rights policy by any commission in the world.


Dr. Foster's expertise includes public policy formation (esp. in the areas of ethnicity and race, income policy and human rights); labour market and social policy reform focused mainly on public policy and law; institutions and social policy; intersections between workplace diversity and human rights; and theoretical applications of social justice. 


Dr. Foster has written several academic journal articles and contributed chapters to a number of books. He has written over two-hundred articles for community and knowledge mobilization publications, as a result of which he was nominated for two Media Human Rights Awards, “for alerting, informing and sensitizing the public with regard to the nature and value of human rights in Canada.” He is also the author of a number of books including Turnstile Immigration: Multiculturalism, Social Order and Social Justice in Canada (Thompson Educational Publishing, 1998); and Writing Justice: Voicing Issues in the Third Media (MHSO University of Toronto, 2011); and co-editor of Balancing Competing Human Rights Claims in a Diverse Society (Irwin Press, 2012); and Racial Profiling and Human Rights in Canada: The New Legal Landscape (Irwin Press, 2018). He is currently completing a book entitled, A Pigment of Your Imagination: The Foreign Credentials Crisis in Canada.