Dominique Gross: A Tribute to a Distinguished Career in Public Policy

By: Nancy Olewiler

In August 2021, Professor Dominique Gross retired after a significant and varied career contributing to important and challenging areas of public policy with local, national and international scope.

Dominique Gross joined the School in 2005 and contributed greatly to building the School and the development of our curriculum. She came to us from a distinguished career as an academic economist with substantive policy and research positions in international organizations. She brought to the School a dedication to analytical rigour in her own work and that of her students. Dominique developed the macroeconomic half of the core course in ‘Economic Foundations of Policy Analysis’, and elective courses in globalization, economic and social sustainability, and advanced quantitative methods. She was deeply concerned about sustainable development, poverty alleviation, and the worldwide impacts of environmental degradation and climate change on different countries and brought these issues into her courses.

She was a major force in the supervision of Capstones, bringing her impressive analytical skills from her own research on immigration, labour markets, and foreign direct investment to her mentorship. Her students benefitted from her high standards, dedicated, and detailed feedback. Many of her students were recipients of Capstone prizes in the School and in the national student research paper competitions. She was a core member of the School, passionate about her teaching and research. As a native French speaker, Dominique did frequently note that we are a bilingual country, and the School should have room in the curriculum for students to acquire or enhance the French language skills that would enhance a policy career in the federal government. Sadly, we were unable to deliver on that request.

Following her PhD in Economics at the University of Toronto, Dominque worked as a policy economist for high profile international organizations including the Swiss National Bank, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and from 2000 to 2004 for the International Labour Organization in the important role as Research Director and Senior Management Advisor in charge of establishing research programs in four African countries. In this role, Dominque spent considerable time in Benin, Ghana, Senegal, and Zimbabwe working on crucial areas that trained and worked with economists in those countries to enhance research skills and incorporate local knowledge that could be applied to policy development in the financial sector, employment creation, and poverty alleviation.

Dominique’s work in these policy-focused agencies translated well into her academic work and student supervision that focused on many aspects of immigration and labour markets. She brought this focus to Canadian policy with her research on issues related to temporary foreign workers. She received the Vanderkamp Prize for the best paper in 2013 in the premier public policy journal in Canada, Canadian Public Policy for her joint work with Nicolas Schmitt on “Temporary Foreign Workers and Regional Labour Market Disparities”. Dominique was also called to present her work on temporary foreign workers to the federal government. Her work on these important policy issues is just as salient today as when she contributed to the literature and government deliberations.

We miss our daily dialogues and discussions with retired colleagues and thank Dominique whole heartedly for her many contributions to the School and her commitment to MPP students, public service and public policy.