In 2014 Alex Himelfarb was appointed  Director emeritus of the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, at York University. He served as its Director from 2009 to 2014 and also led the Centre for Global Challenges which, stressing the interplay of domestic and global issues, brings together decision makers, researchers, practitioners, and students to explore challenges confronting Canada in a changing world.

Alex Himelfarb was a Professor of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick from 1972 to 1981. During this period, he undertook an Executive Interchange with the Department of Justice as Head of the Unified Family Court Project from 1979 to 1981.

In 1981, he joined the Public Service with the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada. He held a number of positions of increasing responsibility since that time, including Director General, Planning and Systems Group, with the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada (now Public Safety); Executive Director of the National Parole Board; Executive Director, Planning and Program Review, Citizenship and Immigration; Executive Director, Systems and Informatics, Department of Justice; Special Advisor on Constitutional and Aboriginal Affairs to the Deputy Minister of Justice; Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Social Policy Development with the Privy Council Office; and Associate Secretary of the Treasury Board. While serving as Associate Secretary of the Treasury Board, he also headed the federal Task Force on the Social Union. In June 1999, Dr. Himelfarb became Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage.

He was appointed as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet in 2002 and served 3 Prime Ministers until 2006 when he was made Ambassador of Canada to the Italian Republic with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Albania and the Republic of San Marino, and as High Commissioner for Canada to the Republic of Malta.

He received the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement award for Public Service in 2000; Honorary Fellow, Royal Conservatory of Music in 2005; Honorary Doctor of Law, Memorial University, 2006; Premio Internazionale, University of Naples in 2009.

Alex Himelfarb is a graduate of the University of Toronto where he obtained a Ph.D. in Sociology. Since retiring he has Chaired WWF Canada, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and CCPA Ontario and served on a number of Boards including the Trudeau Foundation. Currently he serves on the Public Service Foundation, The Narwhal (chair), Canadians For Tax Fairness, the Atkinson Foundation, CCPA national (chair), the National Advisory Committee to Fair Vote Canada, the Panel on Misinformation for the Council of Canadian Academies (chair), and the Advisory Committee to the Auditor General. He is also a Broadbent Fellow and a fellow of the Parkland Institute.

He has published numerous books, articles and papers on Canadian society and public policy.

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