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April 11th, 2022 · No Comments

Former Trillium CEO, Andrea Barrack, joins race for MPP

Andrea Barrack sees Doug Ford’s unwillingness to make evidence-based decisions and make tough decisions as a fundamental flaw. COURTESY ANDREA BARRACK

By Joshua Snow

Andrea Barrack, Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank, and former CEO at the Trillium Foundation, is running as the Ontario Liberal Party candidate for University-Rosedale. Barrack’s motivation is her belief that she can be an effective voice for her constituents, and that the Ontario Liberals can get Doug Ford out of office.

“We have an opportunity to change the way the government serves the people of Ontario,” Barrack told the Gleaner. “I do think it’s my experience in the health care sector, the public sector, the private sector, in a variety of social, environmental, and economic roles, that kind of gives me a unique skill set to be able to do that.”

She adds that the government of Ontario is a huge enterprise, and getting things done in a large organization requires the will to build shared solutions and consensus. 

“People say, well, we want better health care. Yeah, well, we do, but that’s really broad and really vague,” said Barrack, reflecting on the time she has spent knocking on the doors of potential constituents. “So we actually need to drill down on issues, to say specifically what do we mean and how would we hold ourselves accountable? And that’s the only way, in my experience, that we are able to have real change happen.”

Thinking back on her time as CEO of the Trillium Foundation, she feels that outcome-based strategies can effectively bring about change. 

“What I was tasked to do as CEO was to say, well, how would we demonstrate value for the money we spent? It’s critical to be super clear about what you’re trying to do, and then measure whether you did it. Then report on it, and be transparent.”

She adds that the Ford government’s lack of transparency throughout the pandemic motivated her to run for office.

“In the beginning, every government screwed up, and that was fine. No one knew what they were doing.  But now that we’re two years in, we should do better. And so when people feel like rules are arbitrary or not evidence-based or unfair or that government doesn’t care about them, that’s a problem for society. And so we need to listen to that and be cautious of that. But we also need to pay attention to the fact that the role of government is sometimes to make tough decisions. And I think what we’ve seen from Ford, quite frankly, is he doesn’t want to do that. He wants everyone to like him.”

Most importantly, though, Barrack says that her own life experience compels her to work towards building a more equitable Ontario.

“I was actually a pretty troubled kid who had an unplanned pregnancy at 16. I had that kid and I relied on social assistance, relied on childcare funded by the government so I could go to school, relied on having affordable housing when I was sort of a student,” says Barrack. 

“What I worry about is that a lot of people now who do fall off course don’t have those same options. I care so much about that, and that should not happen in Ontario. We’re a rich province. We’re the smart province and so we should have a society where people can get back on track.”

–With files from Meribeth Deen

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