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HomeCanada’s Role on the Global StageSeptember 23: The Impact of COVID-19 on Canada’s Foreign Policy

September 23: The Impact of COVID-19 on Canada’s Foreign Policy

Image credit: Chris Denny

On September 23, the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy (IPD) will be hosting a panel discussion on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada’s foreign policy and international diplomacy. The virtual panel will be held from 3-4 PM EST and can be watched live on Zoom. Registration is required through this page.

How can Canada address the domestic impact of the pandemic while also balancing its international commitments? Caught between rising American-Chinese tension, as well as the prominent impact of the pandemic, what foreign policy strategy must Canada adapt?

Date: September 23, 2020

Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (EST)

This panel is part of the IPD discussions series on the impact of COVID-19 on international peace and security. This discussion series is supported by the Department of National Defence’s Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program.


Hon. Sergio MarchiCanada’s Former Ambassador to the World Trade Organization and the United Nations
Mr. Sergio Marchi currently serves as a Director on a number of Corporate Boards in Canada and internationally. He is also a Member of the Advisory Board to the Canada Institute, a leading think tank affiliated with the Wilson Centre, in Washington. Mr. Marchi serves as an Advisor to the Institute on Governance, headquartered in Ottawa, where he applies his vast experience with governments in Canada and internationally, on dedicated projects. Most recently, he has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), from 2015-2019. CEA is the national body and voice for Canada’s major electricity utilities, which includes companies that generate, transmit, and distribute power, as well as the key sector suppliers. Immediately prior to joining CEA, Mr. Marchi held a number of positions in the private sector, both domestically and internationally, including several board directorships. He is also a frequent public speaker. As it relates to the public service front, the Honourable Sergio Marchi was elected as a Toronto City Councillor in 1982 and was subsequently elected as the Member of Parliament representing the Toronto riding of York West in 1984. During his time in the federal government, he served as Cabinet Minister in three critical portfolios: International Trade; Environment; and Citizenship and Immigration. After voluntarily leaving the political arena in 1999, Mr. Marchi was appointed Canadian Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) Agencies in Geneva, where he served for five years. Mr. Marchi was elected by his international peers as Chairman of the WTO Council. In 2003, he was nominated by the Canadian government and the UN Secretary-General to serve as Commissioner on the UN Global Commission on International Migration, a position he held until 2005. Mr. Marchi graduated from York University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Planning. He is married, with two children. 

Dr. Erica Di RuggieroDirector of the Centre for Global Health at the University of Toronto
Dr. Erica Di Ruggiero is also Director of the Collaborative Specialization in Global Health and an Associate Professor in the Division of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences Division at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. She also holds a non-budgetary cross-appointment as an Associate Professor in the School’s Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation. Dr. Di Ruggiero’s program of research examines how evidence affects global policy agendas related to employment, other determinants and health equity in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. Her work addresses governance-related questions about the roles of public/private partnerships and global institutions in the promotion of health, health equity and the prevention of non-communicable disease and related risk factors. She also studies population health interventions (policies, programs), using novel conceptual and methodological tools to conduct international comparative policy research on global social and health inequities. She holds a Ph.D. in public health sciences from the University of Toronto’s School of Public Health.

Wesley WarkSenior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation
Mr. Wesley Wark is a CIGI senior fellow and an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa’s Centre on Public Management and Policy, where he teaches professional courses on security and intelligence topics. He recently retired from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, where he had taught since 1988. He served two terms on the prime minister of Canada’s Advisory Council on National Security (2005–2009) and on the Advisory Committee to the President of the Canada Border Services Agency from 2006 to 2010. More recently, he provided advice to the minister of public safety on national security legislation and policy. He has appeared on numerous occasions before parliamentary committees and comments regularly for the media on national security issues. He is the co-editor (with Christopher Andrew and Richard J. Aldrich) of Secret Intelligence: A Reader, second edition(Routledge, 2019) and series editor (with Aaron Shull, CIGI’s managing director and general counsel) of the CIGI digital essay series, Security, Intelligence and the Global Health Crisis. He is a former editor of the journal Intelligence and National Security and now serves on the journal’s advisory board. 

Moderator: Catherine Clark, Co-Founder of The Honest Talk Named one of Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 by the Ottawa Board of Trade, Catherine Clark is a nationally respected broadcaster, emcee, writer and the President of Catherine Clark Communications Inc. Through her work in television, radio and print, Catherine has interviewed Canada’s most influential people and is co-founder of The Honest Talk