The Interns Meet the Information and Privacy Commissioner


This past Thursday, the interns gained valuable insight on the role(s) of the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, Brian Beamish and the Assistant Commissioner David Goodies. Established in 1988, the IPC oversees the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).

We learned that the Information and Privacy Commission plays a fundamental role of ensuring these Acts are effective with government and the public. FIPPA applies to provincial ministries, most provincial agencies, boards and commissions, as well as to universities and colleges, while MFIPPA covers municipal institutions such as municipalities, police, library, health and school boards, and transit commissions. We also learned that PHIPA regulates the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information within Ontario’s health-care system.

Together, these three Acts establish the rules for how Ontario’s public institutions and health care providers may collect, use, and disclose personal information. Furthermore, the Acts provide the public with a right of access to information. How does the IPC manage to ensure all of this runs smoothly?

The role of a Commissioner is fascinating, given that the Commissioner is an Officer of the Legislature, who is appointed by and reports to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and is independent of the government of the day. Both the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner shared the significance of liaising and collaborating with the public and private sector to raise awareness about privacy-invasive communications as well as data processing technologies. They also discussed the role that information technology plays in collecting and storing data in Ontario. According to the Commissioner, “times are changing and we have to change with it”.

Thank you to the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner for taking the time to meet with us, and for sharing their expertise on privacy and information issues. We are certainly inspired by the way in which you regain Ontario’s position as the leader in Canadian privacy and information protection!





It feels like centuries ago that our cohort, the 2017-2018 OLIP interns, was standing awkwardly outside the southeast entrance of the Main Legislative Building, sharing in first introductions. Over the previous eight days, we have been extremely busy meeting government officials, administrative staff at the Legislative Assembly, and officers of the legislature. These meetings have given us an inside look into the workings of the legislature and Ontario’s political process. In the process, we have also learned about each other and the topics we’re most passionate about. Each intern has a diverse academic and personal background, which makes our conversations fascinating and puts our cohort at an advantage. The Guardian outlined these benefits of diversity as, “collaboration [results in] more rounded individuals, encouraging our pupils to see things from different perspectives and helping them to make informed decisions, acquiring transferable skills that will remain with them for life.” In other words, having the ability to consider things from different perspectives. Here is a short glimpse into the interns hopes for OLIP:


Harmeet Sandhu: “Since I began the internship, I have remained perpetually in awe of the energy at Queen’s Park, the monumental accomplishments of Legislative Assembly staff members who are critical for the administration of the provincial parliamentary process, as well as the diverse strengths of my fellow peers who I hope to develop life-long connections with.”


Josef Méthot: “I am excited to learn about parliamentary procedure and see the legislative process in action! It’s a topic I’ve always been interested in, and I have to admit I am really impressed at how the Clerks and the Speaker keep everything organized and running smoothly. I look forward to learning even more about the work they do.”


Shireen Salti“It has been both a privilege and an honour getting to know the Ontario Legislative Assembly staff, independent officers, as well as the other 9 highly unique interns. I look forward to  enhancing my knowledge of provincial politics, developing life-long connections, and expanding my network with the upper echelons of the Ontario Legislature.”


Danielle Prapavessis“Being curious by nature, I hope to ask all of the necessary questions to understand firstly the interplay between politicians and the public in the legislative process and secondly how Ontario’s government works to satisfy the diverse needs of Ontarians across our gorgeous, yet vast province.”


Kassandra Loewen“My primary hope for the next ten months is that it will be an incredible learning experience. Namely, that I will be able to continually learn from my fellow Interns, from all the talented people who take the time to meet with us, from our study tours, and – last but certainly not least -from my work with MPPs on both sides of the House.”


Ana Qarri“I hope that the next 10 months will be filled with fascinating people and challenges. I’m especially looking forward to learning more about Digital Government and the impact of new technologies and innovation on a wide range of provincial policies.”


Matthew Klassen“I am eager to build my knowledge of the legislative process, particularly the work of standing committees and legislative staff.  I also look forward to better understanding the different geographical and socio-economic realities that impact legislation and the political landscape in Ontario.”

jas (8).JPG

Jaskiran Shoker“It is an honor to be a part of OLIP’s 42nd cohort. I look forward to serving the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. I am also very excited to gain a comprehensive perspective of the legislative process through a comparative lens!”


Daryl Gonsalves: “My hope from OLIP is to build lifelong connections and directly learn about the political process in way which no textbook or class can allow for. I look forward to a year of learning, having interesting conversations and contributing to the combined effort of the legislature to create positive change for Ontarians.”

MT 11

Mackenzie Taylor: “I look forward to learning from my fellow interns. We are fortunate to have a diverse and supportive cohort. Furthermore, I hope to gain a greater understanding of parliamentary government, specifically pertaining the role(s) of legislative officers and convention.”

A Final Word from the 2016-2017 Cohort

olip logo

The start of September means that the time has come to pass the torch to a new group of OLIP interns. To help bolster the excitement of the new crew, here are a few last words from the 2016-2017 cohort about our experience in the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme. Here are each of our OLIP experiences wrapped up in 10 words: 

Hannah Forsyth.: Don’t make politics personal, never forget the person in politics.

Sara Gajic: Appreciating politics for and in spite of all its complexities.

Hannah Iles. Discovered ways to make Ontario a better place for everyone.

Jacob Larocque-Graham: Lived my best non-partisan life alongside great friends and colleagues.

Stephanie Lowe: Broadening knowledge, broadening horizons and most of all broadening friendships!

Leslie Muñoz: Work-integrated learning at its finest – an experience unlike any other!

Rachel Nauta: Left stuck between running for, or away from, political office.

Alex Overton: Ran out of Cards to build my House with, bye.

Kyle Sholes: Unpredictable challenges with extraordinary results.  The experience of a lifetime.

Emily Trudeau: Learned about my home, myself, and the mechanisms of government.


Farewell from the 2016-2017 OLIP interns!

We want to thank everyone who took the time to meet with us both in and outside of the Ontario Legislative Assembly and to everyone who supported us throughout our year in the Pink Palace.

Make sure to watch the hallways of Queen’s Park this week for the new group of interns. We wish them all the best in their fabulous year ahead!

Planes and Trains (but not Automobiles): Building the Canadian Transit Brand with Bombardier


Everyone is talking transit at Queen’s Park, with huge infrastructure announcements what seems like everyday. That made the timing of our meeting with Pierre Pyun and Alice Trudelle from our sponsor Bombardier especially good! Pierre and Alice took us through the stages of a true Canadian success story, which started out as a small family snowmobile business, and evolved into the transit sector giant that it is today.

Bombardier has become an internationally known and trusted name in rail and air transit, and while it remains proudly Canadian with manufacturing facilities around the country, it has also expanded to locations in other continents, with a major transport HQ in Berlin and 73 other sites across 29 countries. Pierre and Alice candidly shared with us that it has not always been smooth sailing, as Bombardier has struggled to compete in a very competitive global environment, both on the aerospace and the rail side. But with the new C-series Bombardier planes, which have been airborne for the past year, we may be seeing a lot more of the “l’évolution de la mobilité” running the skies.

After flying through Bombardier’s history and the unique challenges of handling government relations for a company that has to consider the connections between its domestic performance and the international market, we continued into a casual conversation on rail transit and where Ontario is headed on that front. As several of our interns lamented, Ontario is woefully behind on extensive, fast rail lines, despite housing a domestic company that services some of the most successful rail transit in the world.

As it always goes with our meetings, too soon we were out of time and we had to bid farewell to our guests and return to our placement offices. Thank you Alice and Pierre for giving us an insider’s look on how Bombardier works, and maybe there is a site visit to your Kingston facility in store for a future cohort!

Remember to return regularly to see our ongoing adventures in the real version of House of Cards.


Pierre Pyun and Alice Trudelle of Bombardier with the 2016-2017 OLIP Interns

Engineering Public Affairs Success with PEO



If there are two things that I consistently hear around Queen’s Park it’s that Howard Brown (of Brown & Cohen) is everywhere and Professional Engineers of Ontario throw a darn good reception.

Our ten months at Queen’s Park certainly proved both to be true as we became well-acquainted with Mr. Brown and had the pleasure of attending PEO’s fall reception early on in our tenure at the Pink Palace. That in mind, our meeting with Jeannette Chau of PEO, and Howard Brown and Blake Keidan of Brown & Cohen, was more like a meeting of good friends than our typical sponsor-catch up sort of deal. That’s not to say we didn’t learn a lot, as the opposite is true. Jeannette quickly took us through a bit of PEO’s history and mandate, culminating in their realization roughly a decade ago that they needed to build government relations capacity to get engineers into policy-making. Partnering with Brown & Cohen, PEO established the Government Liaison Program (GLP), a highly successful initiative to bring information and engagement to Queen’s Park and ensure decision-makers are well-informed of the work of engineers and how their industry functions. The GLP quickly expanded with local chapters across the province and started finding innovative ways to bring politics into a historically insular industry. From “take your MPP to work” days, to invitations to town halls and chapter meetings, PEO is a government relations success story, going from relatively unknown in political circles to being a widely recognized stakeholder at Queen’s Park.

After our brief information session, we took a whirlwind tour around the building to see where it all happens. Interestingly to the aspiring lawyers of our cohort, PEO (like other self-regulated professions) has an internal arbitration system for its members, all ran out of their Toronto office, complete with a court-styled hearing room. We also enjoyed some great conversation over lunch graciously provided by our hosts and discussed the recent happenings at the Legislature as well as our future plans with our expiration date not so far off.

Thank you to Jeannette, Howard, and Blake for showing us the inner workings of PEO and for your excellent advocacy for engineers in Ontario. We hope to see more engineers taking up political positions in the future following the work you’ve done to pave the way!

Engineering a Career: A Meeting with the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers


The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers is the provincial body representing engineers in the province of Ontario. A small, dynamic team, they are certainly no strangers to government, with their mission to focus on public policy and elevate the public profile of all Ontario engineers. They are also no strangers to OLIP, and have been long-time, generous sponsors of the programme. What’s more, OLIP alum Patrick Sackville now leads policy and government relations at the organization, along with his colleague Catrina Kronfli.

We had the opportunity to meet with both Catrina and Patrick to discuss everything political and government relations in the Ontario context. It was a wonderful to hear about the experiences of someone who has been through OLIP and come out the other side, as well as to hear about Catrina’s experiences within the public services. Our alumni and sponsors have always outstanding, never shying away from giving a helping hand, and Patrick and Catrina were no different. We really appreciated the time they both took to talk careers, government and politics with us. We wish them all the best, and want to thank OSPE for their continued support.


Patrick Sackville and Catrina Kronfli of OSPE with the 2016-2017 OLIP Interns


Stop the Presses! The OLIP Interns Go Behind the Scenes of Metroland Media

OCNA logo

From the communities of Meaford to Mississauga, Metroland Media reaches over 75 per cent of households in Ontario. For countless Ontarians, community newspapers are essential tools which operate as lifelines to local news and events which ultimately help to foster community cohesion.

Thanks to our sponsor, the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) and their Executive Director, Caroline Medwell, we were able to learn a lot about the print media industry in Ontario. The Ontario Community Newspapers Association is a well-known non-profit industry association founded in Toronto in 1950 and now encompasses about 300 member newspaper associations across the province. Earlier this year, Ms. Medwell kindly escorted us to Metroland Media where we were able to explore their print houses and learn about how they reach over 5.6 million readers each and every week.

With the journalism industry changing so rapidly, we were fascinated to learn about the changes Metroland Media is making from the frontlines of their newsroom through use of digital media and also how their print publications have grown and continue to expand. In conjunction with our many discussions with members of Metroland’s team, we were able to see first-hand how much work, personnel and logistics it takes to produce GTA papers and package flyers distributed all over the province. As we walked through the mazes of giant paper rolls and climbed the stories-high printing press, we learned how Metroland Media continually does its best to reach each and every one of their customers to get them the news.

Thank you very much to Ms. Medwell and the team at Metroland Media for such a comprehensive and fascinating tour and thank you to the Ontario Community Newspapers Association for your continued support of the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.