Stephen S. Poloz, MA’79, PhD’82, speaks to both Main Street and Bay Street. As Governor of the Bank of Canada, he sets policies that bring confidence, stability and strength to Canada’s economy. And his views on monetary economics and policy came into focus at Western.
Dr. Stephen Poloz, MD. That may have been Poloz’s signature if not for one decision.
He entered Queen’s with plans to pursue a parent-approved medical career. But with a spot to fill in his undergraduate course schedule, Poloz discovered the world of economics.
That random encounter piqued his curiosity, which led Poloz (MA’79, PhD’82) to complete graduate work in economics at Western. In 2013, he was named the Governor of the Bank of Canada.
After graduating from Western, Poloz considered an academic life. However, a summer job at the Bank persuaded him to follow a policy-making career. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, including 14 years with the Bank during the 1980s and early 1990s.
Poloz spent five years with Montreal-based BCA Research, an independent provider of global investment research. In 1999, he joined Export Development Canada (EDC) as its chief economist. He was appointed EDC president and chief executive officer in January 2011.
Beyond his academic and bank credentials, he is billed as a communicator and listener, an inquisitive mind unafraid to challenge. He pushes his people for clarity.
“You can’t just say ‘Trust us, we believe this’, to the public,” Poloz said. “I like to offer up the ‘kitchen table version’ of how the dots connect together so regular folks, business people especially, can monitor things for themselves.
“If they cannot hear what the bank is saying, and understand how it impacts their business plan, then we have failed.”
Poloz is equally – and proudly – grounded in both economic theory and business reality. It’s a diverse skillset he discovered at Western.
“I went to Western with the mind that I very much wanted to go back to the Bank some day,” he said. “So, it always gave me a more practical lens through which I looked at all the stuff passing by me in economics at Western.”
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