Message from the President

David Lindsay Headshot

Everyone in Ontario benefits from a strong postsecondary education system.

This year alone more than half a million students will experience outstanding opportunities to learn, develop, and realize their full potential at one of Ontario’s 21 publicly supported universities. In turn these individuals will help ensure our shared economic and social prosperity.

Ontario’s university graduates are well placed to make their mark on the global stage, and to lead prosperous and rewarding lives. The university experience fosters the in-depth knowledge, employability skills, and confidence students need to realize their ambitions. They will contribute to their community and excel in some of the most demanding jobs in Canada and around the world.

University innovation, research and entrepreneurship are the future of our economy. Our universities have made discoveries and broken new intellectual ground that has dramatically changed and enhanced the way we live. Never before has the connection between the research being done at universities and the training of young minds in innovative ways been so intrinsically linked to the economy of today – a global economy.

However, as competition in the global knowledge economy intensifies, Ontario will need to continue to innovate and adapt.  We must continue to invest – or risk losing ground.  We must maintain and strengthen the culture of innovation on which our prosperity depends.

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) understands the transformative power of universities and what they contribute to our lives.

While funding challenges exist, the importance of what we contribute is well recognized by our students and those engaged in discovery and invention. The value of an education for the individual – and the contribution of our universities to the social and economic vibrancy of our province as a whole – is powerful. We must continue to invest in the future.

Just consider the number of Ontario university applications received each year. These aren’t just statistics – there is a person with dreams, there are families with aspirations for their loved ones behind each and every one of those applications. They’ve taken the time to consider our institutions and determine which will provide them with the best future – the best opportunity to achieve those hopes and dreams.

I’m inspired by how students look at the world. Our students see the world in a variety of different ways and from so many different perspectives – they are the driving force behind the work we do at COU, every day.

I invite you to explore COU’s work, vision, news and research through our website and follow us on social media – we’re at @OntUniv on Twitter. Discover why we believe so strongly in the intrinsic importance and value of what universities do.

I look forward to advancing the contributions of universities for the good of students and their families, the betterment of our economy and for the good of the communities we serve.

David Lindsay
President and CEO
Council of Ontario Universities

President’s Bio

Appointed President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities in January 2016, David Lindsay is committed to a strong postsecondary education system that advances the contributions of universities for the success of our students, the betterment of our economy, and the vitality of our communities.

As President and CEO, David works with government, business and other key stakeholders to help our students and the province adapt and thrive in tomorrow’s changing world.

He has a wealth of public policy experience and a proven track record in the leadership of public sector organizations. He was most recently the President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada. Before this, he was a senior Deputy Minister in the Government of Ontario serving in the portfolios of Energy and Infrastructure, Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Natural Resources, and Tourism and Culture.

David served as President and CEO of Colleges Ontario and was the founding President of the Ontario SuperBuild Corporation and the Ontario Jobs and Investment Board. He also served as Principal Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Premier of Ontario.

A Fellow of the Queen’s University School of Policy Studies, David has also been a past Director of the Ireland Park Foundation, the Ontario Innovation Trust, the World Wildlife Fund, the Canadian Tourism Commission, the Public Policy Forum, and the Empire Club of Canada.