Media Releases

Being in the Public Service – Then and Now presentation

November 26, 2012

TORONTO, ON — “Being in the Public Service: Then and Now” is the third in the Governance in Toronto series presented by Cities Centre at the University of Toronto. Each event in the series pairs presentations by a practitioner and an academic, and allows generous time for audience-led questions, discussion and debate following the presentations.


WHAT: Being in the Public Service – Then and Now

WHEN: Tuesday, November 27, 2012  6:30-8:30pm

WHERE: FitzGerald Building, 150 College Street, Room 103, University of Toronto

What is the role of the public service? Has amalgamation changed Toronto’s public service, and if so, how? What are the structures and relationships of our public service? How have they changed over time, and why? These are a few of the questions the forum will examine

The presenting speakers will be Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, former City of Toronto public servant, and Professor Martin Horak. Audience and panel discussion, moderated by Richard Stren, will follow the presentations.

Ms. Ramkhalawansingh will trace the changing “tug-of-war” in relations among senior City staff, elected officials, the media, and the public.

The Toronto public service is charged with developing and administering long-range policy.  Professor Horak will address challenges to this process, such as the effects of amalgamation and an unstable council.

The Governance in Toronto lecture series seeks to clarify the formal and informal ways in which large and presently underutilized opportunities for improvement in governance exist in Toronto.

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh came to Canada in 1967 with her family from Trinidad and Tobago. Before joining the Toronto Public Service where she worked for three decades managing diversity and human rights programs, she was and continues to be a citizen activist on land use and heritage conservation issues, an academic, author, researcher and policy analyst. She has been engaged in local, provincial, national and international endeavours on social justice issues and has served on the boards of several NGOs.

Ceta has contributed to several books and journals and has received many awards including the New Pioneers Award (1999) and U of T’s Arbor Award (2000). In 2002 she became an Honourary Member of U of T’s Women and Gender Studies Institute (2002) to recognise her role in establishing the Women’s Studies Program. She holds U of T degrees and diplomas at the graduate and undergraduate level.

Martin Horak is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Local Government Program at the University of Western Ontario. His book, Governing the Post-communist City: Institutions and Democratic Development in Prague, won the American Political Science Association’s prize for best book in urban politics. He has published work on a number of aspects of politics in Toronto, including amalgamation and multilevel policymaking. His current work focuses on the comparative study of multilevel politics in a number of fields, including neighbourhood poverty and urban transportation.

Moderator Richard Stren is Interim Director of Cities Centre and Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Toronto.

RSVPs are requested at


For more information or for media RSVP, contact:

Richard Stren, Interim Director
Cities Centre
Professor of Political Science and Public Policy
University of Toronto
Tel: (416) 978-0350
Cell: (416) 817-1330