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Hon. Hugh D. SegalOC, O.Ont., CD

Senior Advisor

Hugh Segal brings many years of experience in public policy, domestic, international and regulatory affairs to his role as Senior Advisor. He has served as Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney), Associate Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary to the Premier of Ontario (Mr. Davis) and was named to the Senate of Canada as a Conservative from Ontario, appointed by Liberal Prime Minister Martin. While in the Senate, he chaired the Senate Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee and the Special Anti-Terrorism Committee, and served on the Agriculture and Forestry and the Urban Poverty subcommittees. In these various roles, his assignments included negotiating on behalf of Ontario during the patriating of the Constitution and the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1981-1983) and supporting the NAFTA negotiations between the Mulroney and George H.W. Bush administrations (1991-1993).

His private sector professional experience includes senior roles in the advertising and marketing industry for a multinational beer and food company and portfolio management firm on Bay Street.

Hugh has taught public policy and governance at Queen’s School of Policy Studies for over twenty years, where he is a Donald Mathews Fellow in Global Studies. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

During his time in the Senate (2005-2014), he was appointed Canada’s special Envoy to the Commonwealth, with responsibilities around institutional reform, protection of democracy, rule of law and human rights. This took him to meet with government officials in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Malaysia, Singapore, Tanzania, South Africa, Trinidad, Barbados, Malta, Australia and the U.K. He sat on the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, which reported on these reforms to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, in 2013, where the report was adopted. This resulted in the “Charter of the Commonwealth” signed by the Queen on the subsequent Commonwealth Day celebrations in London, England. For three years, Hugh was Co-Chair of the D-10 Strategy Forum, a grouping of 10 established democracies who meet at least annually to compare challenges on trade, security, migration and rules-based international order, involving senior foreign policy officials and leading foreign policy think tanks.

A former President, CEO and now lifetime Fellow of the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal, his period there (1999-2006) saw the development of new research streams on national security and defense, a research program on strengthening democracy and a new peer-reviewed research stream on evergreen priorities for Canada.

In June 2019, Hugh completed a five-year term as Principal of Massey College, the residential graduate college of the University of Toronto. Hugh has served on public company boards in the dairy, financial service, construction, engineering and energy industries. He is a former Vice-Chair (Research) for the Canadian International Council and Chair of the Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies. He is Honorary Chair of the Naval League of Canada and the Honorary Captain (Navy) of the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Ottawa, Royal Military College and Queen’s University. Hugh is a graduate in History from the University of Ottawa and studied International Trade Policy at the Patterson School of International affairs at Carleton University.

Awards & Recognition

  • Officer, Order of Canada, 2016
  • Member, Order of Ontario, 2016
  • Vimy Award Laureate for "Singular Contributions to National Defence" of the Conference of Defence Associations in Ottawa, 2015
  • Churchill Society Laureate for excellence in the advancement of Democracy, 2014 
  • Honorary Captain, Royal Canadian Navy
  • Member, Order of Canada, 2003

Professional Involvement

Professional Activities

  • Principal of Massey College
  • Distinguished Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs
  • Chair, NATO Association of Canada
  • Fellow, Institute for Research on Public Policy
  • Chief of Staff, Prime Minister of Canada
  • Associate Secretary, Cabinet for Federal-Provincial Relations
  • Secretary, Policy and Priorities Board in Ontario
  • Legislative Secretary, Leader of the Opposition in Ottawa
  • Chair, Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism
  • Chair/Member, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Director, Atlantic Council and Conference of Defence Associations in Canada
  • Member, Eminent Persons Group of the Commonwealth of Nations
  • Member, Canada's Special Envoy for Commonwealth Renewal
  • Member, Agriculture and Forestry Committee
  • Member, Cities subcommittee of Social Affairs
  • Vice-Chair, Senate Committee on Official Languages
  • Fellow, Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute in Calgary
  • Life Fellow, Institute for Research on Public Policy
  • Council Member, Institute for Democratic and Electoral Assistance
  • Member, Working Group on National Security, Cranfield University's Centre for Security Sector Management
  • Former Chair, Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Former Council Member, International Institute for Strategic Studies, U.K.
  • Vice-Chair, Canadian International Council

Community Involvement

  • Special Gifts Chair, Kingston United Way
  • Chair, Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation

Teaching Engagements

  • Adjunct Professor and Lecturer, Queen's University School of Policy Studies 
  • Adjunct Professor and Lecturer, Queen's University School of Business 
  • Lecturer, University of Toronto Law School
  • Guest Lecturer, Yale University
  • Guest Lecturer, Harvard University
  • Guest Lecturer, The Royal Military College of Canada


  • Honorary Doctorate, Royal Military College of Canada
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Ottawa
  • BA, Canadian History, University of Ottawa
  • Graduate Studies, International Trade Economics, Carlton University