We are Canada's home for democratic innovation and public strategy. Since 2007, MASS has led some of the country's most original and ambitious efforts to engage citizens in tackling tough policy choices while pioneering the use of Civic Lotteries and Reference Panels on behalf of forward-thinking governments.
Fundamentally, we believe in people. Given the opportunity to participate in a thorough, fair and inclusive process, citizens are ready to provide constructive advice, offering officials the intelligence, perspective and sensitivity that difficult public issues require.
To date, MASS has conducted twenty-five major reference panels, citizens assemblies and commissions for government involving more than 1000 Canadians, and reaching 250,000 households. Cumulatively, this represents some 30,000 hours of deliberation on significant public issues, making MASS an internationally-recognized and unparalleled leader in the design and delivery of deliberative processes for government.
In addition, we provide a range of services to public sector organizations including strategic planning and communications, custom research, facilitation and hosting, as well as event coordination and logistics.
Meet our team
Principal and Founder
Director of Research
Director of Business Development
Dr. Rachel Magnusson
Director, MASS West
Alumni and friends:
MASS is fortunate to have worked with many great people through the years, as staff, researchers and associates. We're proud of the careers our former colleagues are building and to count them as part of our extended family. Since 2007, there have been almost fifty staff, facilitators, and associates, and more than 30 interns who have made MASS their home. Learn more.
George Gosbee, Co-founder
George Gosbee is the Chairman, President and CEO of AltaCorp Capital Inc, an investment bank that he founded in 2010. Before AltaCorp, George was Chairman, President & CEO at Tristone Capital Global Inc., a global investment firm that he founded. He left Tristone in 2009 after it was purchased by Macquarie Bank. George is an Alternate Governor on the National Hockey Leagues Board of Governors, and he is the Co-owner of the Arizona Coyotes. He is a Director and past Chairman of the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, past Chairman of the Board for the Alberta College of Art and Design, and past Director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. George is also a Director and former Vice Chair of Alberta Investment Management Co (AIMCO) in Edmonton, a former board member of Chrysler Group LLC in Detroit, and a former advisor on the Government of Canada's Economic Advisory Council. George was named by the World Economic Forum as one of 200 Young Global Leaders, he received the Haskayne School of Business' Distinguished Alumni Award, he was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year for the Prairie Region by Ernst and Young, and he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Premier of Alberta.
Dana Granofsky, CSO (2010-2014)
Dana Granofsky has extensive experience in event and office management, community development, and small-business entrepreneurship. She has a strong interest in adult education and literacy and worked with the YWCA to develop Words for Women, an adult literacy program. She also co-founded the St Henri Community Language Exchange, a free service that brings together adults in this low-income Montreal community to improve their French and English language skills. In 2003 she founded the telecommunications company Univocal Communications Inc., sold in 2006. Dana holds degrees in history and political science from Concordia University, and a Masters degree in political science from the University of British Columbia, where she wrote on the potential of deliberative democracy to resolve conflicts in multicultural societies.
Morwenna Marwah, Director, Communications and Planning (2009-2013)
Morwenna Marwah graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in French Literature before moving to Paris, where she lived and worked for three years. She developed a strong background in bilingual communications and event management working for IBM and Starbucks and smaller non-profit agencies including the Historica Foundation of Canada. She has executed local and national media campaigns, worked closely with Canadian dignitaries from Newfoundland to Nunavut, and is the features editor for an online design publication. In recent years, Morwenna has also taken up fencing, she has led an anti-packaging campaign, and she has hiked through Corsica. Morwenna has also been a member of Guiding for over twenty years.
Chi Nguyen, Director, Participation and Process (2007-2010)
Chi Nguyen has fifteen years of experience in developing community-based programs primarily for young women, including the McGill Women in House program, Young Women Vote: the 20,000 Project, and The Little Black Book: A Guide to Sexual Health for Grrrls by Grrrls (Annick Press, 2006, 2nd ed.). Chi has also worked with the Citizenship Foundation, the National Association of Women and the Law, the Toronto Women's City Alliance, and as political staff to Dr. Carolyn Bennett, MP, St. Paul’s. She also serves on the board of the Canadian Women's Health Network. A recipient of the 2004 Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, Chi holds an MSc from the London School of Economics in Health, Community, and Development.
John Grant, Director, Research and Learning (2007-2008)
John Grant has a PhD in political theory from the University of London. He has a special interest in participative research methodologies and has explored how political principles affect social order and transformation. His research on theories of public action has been presented at international conferences in Canada, the United States and Britain. He also lectures regularly on ideology and democracy.
Joslyn Trowbridge, Director, Research and Learning (2009-2011)
Joslyn Trowbridge studied democratic theory and innovation and received her Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany. Her research interests include deliberative democracy as a method of public decision-making, citizen engagement, and opinion-shift through learning and dialogue. She garnered significant experience in large-scale citizen dialogue with AmericaSpeaks in Washington, D.C., and collaborated on several projects on global governance, public space, and the social determinants of health at the Hertie School. At MASS LBP, Joslyn worked with municipalities and organizations in the health care and climate change sectors. Prior to her MPP, she founded and directed a Montreal-based youth program, managed violence-prevention programs for young women at the Girls Action Foundation, and assisted her Member of Parliament in his constituency office. She has consulted on youth engagement strategies for Canadian Policy Research Networks, UN Habitat, and the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies.
Aaron Ettinger, Project Coordinator (2009-2010)
Aaron Ettinger is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University. Aaron joined MASS LBP as an intern in November 2008 and joined the staff as project coordinator in February 2009. He has worked with Elections Canada, Elections Ontario and the Centre for Elections Studies at the University of Waterloo. Aaron holds an MA and a PhD in political studies from Queen's University.
MASS invests confidently in creating opportunities for young people with an interest in public policy and public engagement. Each year we offer three paid internships which broadly follow the academic year. Our interns come from many academic backgrounds, ranging from politics and sociology, to systems design and law. We value interdisciplinarity, and our interns gain experience in a wide range of skills, including strategy, communications, logistics, research, facilitation and public programming. Learn more.
Who are we looking for?
We need bright and energetic people who want to work with a company that is changing the way public decisions get made. Although there are no specific prerequisites, candidates are typically interested in some combination of current affairs, politics, sociology, law, systems design and public policy. As well, ideal candidates will be able to thrive in an open workplace where people are expected to muck in and champion their ideas while working either collaboratively or independently.
But will this lead to a job?
No. It's important to be clear about what you can expect. You should think of your internship with MASS as an opportunity for professional development — not step one to securing a staff position. When you join MASS as an intern, you should already be thinking about where it can lead and where you'll head next.
Preparing your application: We ask all candidates to provide a CV, two letters of reference from former employers and/or teachers/professors as well as a cover letter indicating in specific detail what you would bring to MASS LBP and why you would like to work with us. Take some time to tell us about your studies and any past work or experiences that you think are relevant and match the ethos of our company. It's also helpful if you can tell us what you're thinking about current affairs, public policy or the future of democracy.
Prospective applicants: Please note that there are three internship terms each year. Check the table below to decide when you should apply. We do not accept applications outside the five day application period. MASS Interns are paid the provincial minimum hourly wage to a maximum of 35 hours per week.
Autumn: Sept 1 - Dec 20 | Application details posted to website: Aug 1 | Applications accepted: August 10 — 15, 1:00pm (EST)
Winter: Jan 4 - Apr 29 | Application details posted to website: Nov 1 | Applications accepted: Nov. 25 — 30, 1:00pm (EST)
Spring: May 4 - Aug 31 | Application details posted to website: Apr 1 | Applications accepted: Apr 10 — 15, 1:00pm (EST)
MASS Digit Hall of Fame:
036: Cadhla Gray (Summer 2016)
035: Abbas Ali (Summer 2016)
034: Zahra Syed (Winter 2016)
033: Geordie Summers-Lubar (Autumn 2015)
032: Ian Scholten (Summer 2015)
031: Kate Wilkes (Winter 2015)
030: Shirven Rezvany (Autumn 2014)
029: Zannah Matson (Summer 2014)
028: Matt Ianucci (Winter 2014)
027: Sanjay Cisiecki (Wagemark / Autumn 2013)
026: Kourtney Pratt (Autumn 2013)
025: Alanna Fennell (Summer 2013)
024: Danielle Johnston (Winter 2013)
023: Peter Wills (Autumn 2012)
022: Max Marcus (Summer 2012)
021: Jon Whitzman (Winter 2012)
020: Rodnie Allison (Autumn 2011)
019: Josh Taylor (Summer 2011)
018: Nathan Perkins (Winter 2011)
017: Jasmine Frolick (Autumn 2010)
016: Andrew Phillips (Summer 2010)
015: Dana Granofsky (Winter 2010)
014: Louise Dalsgaard (Autumn 2009)
013: Joslyn Trowbridge (Autumn 2009)
012: Brandon Thao (Autumn 2009)
011: Mahmood Mustafa (Late Summer 2009)
010: Jennifer Sacco (Summer 2009)
009: Erene Stergiopoulos (Summer 2009)
008: Justyna Werbel (Spring 2009)
007: Aaron Ettinger (Winter 2008-2009)
006: Janette Yuen (Winter 2008-2009)
005: Jean-Sebastian Blais (Autumn 2008)
004: Jordan Benadiba (Autumn 2008)
003: Michelle Granatstein (Summer 2008)
002: Alex Way (Summer 2008)
001: Patrick Baud (Autumn 2007 & Summer 2008)
A timeline of our history:
For nearly a decade, MASS LBP has been a leading pioneer of innovative democratic processes in Canada. Find out how it all began and about the milestones along the way. Learn more.
• With funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Students' Assembly on Electoral Reform launches in 2006 as a parallel process to Ontario's Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform. It provides high school students in Ontario the opportunity to contribute their perspectives on electoral reform. The Students' Assembly is a developed by Student Vote Canada, The Students' Commission and Peter MacLeod.
• Peter gives the convocation address at the Alberta College of Art and Design and meets then ACAD board chair and future MASS co-founder, Tristone CEO, George Gosbee.
• The Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform recommends a new Mixed Member Proportional voting system for the province; it is subsequently rejected during a provincial referendum.
• Peter and George agree to set-up MASS LBP as a company to 'reinvent public consultation' and build on the precedent and experience of the Ontario and BC Citizens' Assemblies.
• In October, Chi Nguyen and John Grant join as the first hires, along with the first MASS intern, Patrick Baud.
• In May, MASS moves to its first office, a storefront at 392A King Street East, near Parliament St — an auspicious address for a democracy company.
• MASS is hired by the South-Eash LHIN to conduct it first Civic Lottery and Citizen's Panel, recruiting 65 Kingston-area residents to develop a vision for health care in the region.
• Chris Ellis brings his direct mail expertise from the Walrus Magazine where he oversaw subscriptions and joins the team as Director of Business Development
• Peter receives the Public Policy Forum's Emerging Leaders Award
• Several LHINs engage MASS to run longer Reference Panels to provide citizen input to their first Health Service Plans. The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care takes notice and commissions a report on patient and public engagement
• Joselyn Trowbridge becomes the second director of research as John Grant leaves to take up a teaching post at Brock University
• The Black Deck presentation gets its debut at a AMO conference in Hamilton
• The Northumberland Hills Hospital Citizens' Reference Panel is formed to advise on local service priorities; it earns a positive mention from the health minister at Queen's Park
• Dana Granofsky joins MASS becoming its first and only Director of Sunshine and Operations
• MASS launches the first major event anticipating Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017 and invites 400 people to a two day event complete with public concert at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa
• MASS publishes Helen Davies' Politics of Participation: Learning from Canada's Centennial Year
• MASS hosts major events in Toronto and Vancouver for leading inequality researcher and best-selling author of the Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson
• Morwenna Marwah joins as the first Director of Communications
• MASS convenes the first municipal Reference Panel for Halton Region, and follows quickly with panels for Toronto Community Housing, and a special panel addressing growing income inequality in Toronto
• MASS provides the first of several years of programming support to YMCA Canada following the completion of its new strategic plan
• The Citizens' Reference Panel on Ontario Health Services prompts significant interest from the province and other jurisdictions
• MASS is commissioned to develop a panel to review Ontario's Condominium Act; amendments to the act receive all-party support in the legislature two years later
• MASS develops a new strategic plan for the Trans Canada Trail and assists the United Way of Greater Toronto connect with its community
• New Reference Panels tackle privacy and regional transportation investment
• MASS hits the road with CBC to host 12 conferences across Canada marking the upcoming 150th anniversary of Confederation
• MASS works with Vancouver Coastal Health to develop a next generation health strategy in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
• Concerned with growing inequality, MASS launches the Wagemark Foundation
• Alex Way returns from Harvard becoming the first Director of Strategy.
• Danielle Johnston returns from a year in Zambia and becomes a project coordinator.
• The New Canada Conference lands in PEI welcoming 100 young Canadians who spend four days imaginging the future of the country
• Peter MacLeod gives the convocation address at Denmark's Kaospilots where he has been a long-time guest lecturer
• MASS West opens led by Rachel Magnusson; the Grandview-Woodland Citizens' Assembly is formed in Vancouver to review more than 200 land-use proposals from the city
• A second panel is formed to project new direction to incoming regional councillors in Halton; a Reference Panel in Toronto advises the LHIN on protocols for opening the city's first supervised injection site
• Caitlin Myles joins as the newest Director of Research
• Working with the Community Foundations of Canada, MASS launches the 150 Alliance — with more than 500 civic and cultural organizations celebrating 2017
• MASS hosts the first national and bilingual Reference Panel for the Mental Health Commission of Canada
• MASS launches new panels on municipal finance in Calgary and urban planning in Toronto
• MASS partners with the Public Policy Forum to launch Wonk Prom
• Peter MacLeod becomes co-chair of the Wellesley Institute
• MASS celebrates its 1000th Canadian panelist and its 250,000th civic lottery package — an international precedent
• Alex Way becomes the first Managing Director
• MASS moves fifty metres to its new home at 3A Gilead Place — a remarkable space owned by Agathom Architects
• Peter MacLeod and former MPP Ron Kanter are asked by Peel Region to facilitate its governance review
• Working with the Canadian Association of Community Living MASS develops the Vulnerable Persons Standard — a seminal contribution to the national debate on physcian-assisted dying
• MASS hosts its second national Reference Panel, this time on pharmacare, and a municipal panel on councillor employment and compensation pay in Lethbridge
Compensation and transparency:
MASS LBP is a highly collaborative organization that we think works better and smarter when we're open and honest about money. We know the value of a dollar and the importance of conducting our business in full public view. There are only two salary levels at MASS. We are fortunate to work on projects often funded with public monies and we want our clients and citizen-participants to know where we stand – and we think that includes knowing what we earn. Learn more.
Currently, senior staff with one year of service earn $80,000 per year. Junior staff earn $60,000. Part-time staff earn either of the two rates on a pro-rata basis. Why disclose our salaries? Because it seems like the right thing to do. MASS is also proud to be a Wagemark-Certified company.
MASS LBP processes are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Peter MacLeod is the co-founder and principal of MASS, and one of Canada's leading experts in public engagement and deliberative democracy. Under his leadership, MASS has led some of Canada's most original and ambitious efforts to engage citizens in tackling tough policy options while pioneering the use of Civic Lotteries and Citizen Reference Panels on behalf of a wide array of clients.
He is a former researcher at Britain's Demos think tank, and a long-time friend to Denmark's Kaospilots, a school for business design and social innovation. A graduate of the University of Toronto and Queen's University, he writes and speaks frequently about the citizen's experience of the state, the importance of public imagination, and the future of responsible government. He is an Action Canada fellow (2003), the 2008 recipient of the Public Policy Forum's Emerging Leaders Award, and a director of environmental charity Tides Canada, and GenSqueeze. In 2013, he launched Wagemark, the first international wage certification standard aimed at reducing workplace pay disparities while promoting corporate competitiveness. He was also appointed to serve on the Ontario government's open government task force. In 2015, he was elected co-chair of Toronto's Wellesley Institute for Urban Health.
Caitlin provides in-house research and analytic skills at MASS. Most recently she has worked on projects for the Toronto Arts Council, the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and the Government of Ontario. Caitlin is passionate about the use of new open technologies and the prospect for grassroots social change - interests that arose from her work in international development. In 2014, Caitlin completed an MSc at the University of Oxford in Social Science of the Internet, where she wrote her thesis on a crowd-mapping application that enables women to report instances of sexual harassment and assault in Egypt.
Previously, Caitlin worked with the Think Tank Initiative at the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, driving their efforts to better track and evaluate their grantees’ work. She has also worked with community organizations in Zanzibar, Tanzania, as an Aga Khan Foundation Canada International Development Management Fellow, and with microcredit recipients in the Dominican Republic. Caitlin also holds an MA in Economics from the University of Western Ontario and a BSc in Physics and International Development Studies from McGill University. She brings strong quantitative and analytics skills to the MASS team from her background in science and economics, and she is also fluent in French and Spanish.
Alex Way is the managing director and works with clients to develop more collaborative approaches to decision-making. He is a graduate of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he completed his Master in Public Policy as the Pforzheimer Non-Profit Fellow. While at Harvard, he also completed research for the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. He has worked as a community organizer for a social service agency in Toronto's inner suburbs, as a support worker in northern First Nations communities and with youth groups in East and Southern Africa, and as an advisor to foundations focused on economic inclusion. Alex has led many high profile projects while at MASS, including a Health Strategy for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, digital privacy rules for the BC government, responses to patient safety incidents in Ontario hospitals, transportation funding for Metrolinx, condominium law in Ontario, radioactive waste remediation and disposal for AECL, Health Quality Ontario’s Patient Engagement Framework, United Way Toronto’s strategic plan, and a new national action plan for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Chris Ellis is Director of Business Development at MASS where he is responsible for outreach to new clients, as well as many of the core functions that underpin our work. While at MASS he has pioneered and professionalized the use of civic lotteries — a distinctive, world-leading approach to convening groups of randomly-selected residents. Under his stewardship, more than 900 Canadians have been selected and enjoyed the opportunity to provide insights to government. Chris is the former Director of Circulation and Marketing for The Walrus magazine, Canada's premiere magazine of ideas and culture. He holds a Masters degree in Publishing from Simon Fraser University, and an Honours degree in History and General Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University. He is a longtime volunteer in Toronto, serving several local organizations.
Rachel is the Director of MASS West and has been a senior facilitator with MASS in both BC and Ontario since 2008. Most recently, she was Chair of the Grandview-Woodland Citizens Assembly for the City of Vancouver, and led the Citizens Commission on Municipal Infrastructure in Calgary. Rachel has a PhD in Political Science from York University, and has a Bachelor’s of Education from the University of Toronto. She is a former researcher at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's University and at Sarai: the New Media Initiative in Delhi, India. Her academic research focuses on democratic engagement, and is inspired by her work in the field.
Rachel is a passionate educator, with extensive experience as a teacher. She has taught high school in Toronto, worked as an educator and facilitator for the YMCA, taught courses for the School of Environmental studies at the University of Victoria, and currently teaches courses on democratic theory and public engagement at Simon Fraser University. Over the past 15 years, Rachel has also been involved in community work as a support worker for a crisis phone line, a disability advocate, an organizer for youth engagement initiatives, and an event coordinator for an international film festival.
Jane leads the urban practice at MASS and excels at bringing people together for constructive dialogue and creative city-building initiatives. Drawing on a strong background in journalism, and facilitating complex multi-stakeholder dialogues, her career highlights include stints as a CBC Radio One host and producer, a best-selling author, an executive assistant at City Hall, and dynamic emcee and moderator at countless events. She was the founding director of Jane's Walk, a global movement of free, citizen-led walks that celebrates urbanist Jane Jacobs’ ideas. Since its founding in 2007, Jane’s Walk has become a global phenomenon inspiring people in over 130 cities to walk and share stories about their communities and connect with neighbours.
At MASS, Jane has worked on multi-stakeholder planning studies and consultations of local and regional significance with The City of Toronto, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and Metrolinx. The Toronto Community Foundation recognized Jane's contribution to urban resiliency with a Vital People Award in 2010. As well, she was an advisor to the World Pride Human Rights Conference and sits on the External Advisory Board at York University’s City Institute.
Danielle Johnston is a project coordinator at MASS. She has an honours degree in Political Science and Development Studies from St. Francis Xavier University. She was inducted into the President's Circle of Young Alumni in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the university community during her four years. She is also a certified ESL teacher, and has taught ESL to recent immigrants in Vancouver.
Danielle has extensive experience in event coordination and management. She has planned education programs in rural Indonesia, helped establish a participatory monitoring and evaluation system for a women's economic empowerment project in rural African communities, and organized a national conference to mobilize support for women's rights during a constitutional referendum process in Zambia. She has also coordinated public consultations at the local and national level in Canada on a wide range of subjects. Danielle currently sits on the Board of Directors for Canada World Youth.
Shane Pointe (Ti’te-in) is a highly respected Musqueam community member, ceremonial traditional speaker and cultural educator, and he is a proud member of the Musqueam and Coast Salish people. Shane has advised MASS and provided support and counsel to panel and event participants on projects including the Citizens’ Reference Panel on the Mental Health Action Plan for Canada and the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan Citizens’ Assembly in East Vancouver.
Shane provides protocol and ceremonial guidance for local, national, and international cultural events. He has worked in various capacities, including Aboriginal Support Worker, Trial Support Coordinator for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, Native Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program worker with the Musqueam Indian Band, in the Longhouse Leadership Program at the First Nations House of Learning (University of British Columbia), and most recently providing support as an Elder Advisor to the Aboriginal Mothers Centre.