Mark Ferdinand is a public policy and strategic design consultant based in Ottawa. He is passionate about health, science, social and economic policy, as well as research and innovation. He provides clients with unparalleled insights on how to create evidence-informed public policies.
As a professional member of DMI: Design Management Institute since 2010, Mark thoughtfully applies design management principles to every mandate he works on. He is currently developing a new curriculum and practitioners’ guide, called Public Policy by DesignTM, which combines research and practice from the fields of evaluation, anthropology, political theory, communications design, complexity theory, design thinking and implementation science. He is also developing a new venture, Loupe: Policy Design Lab, aimed at applying machine learning algorithms to constitutional and administrative law issues.
Public, Private and Not-for-Profit Experience
Since 1998, Mark has advised Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Presidents, CEOs and Executive Directors to strengthen relationships, maximize opportunities and minimize risks. As a former trade association and not-for-profit executive with over 10 years’ experience as a registered lobbyist, Mark works with businesses, associations and charities to develop, plan and implement strategies aimed at supporting or creating good public policy.
Mark has extensive experience as a federal public servant, political advisor and public policy researcher developing and communicating public policies related to health and mental health promotion, human rights, education, child and family services, employment, social security, housing, personal finance, seniors policy, primary care reform, suicide prevention, criminal justice, and nutrition. As a former Cabinet Affairs and Corporate Affairs advisor, Mark has written scores of briefing notes on social, economic, health and economic development issues affecting individuals, industry sectors and SMEs across Canada.
While working in the private and not-for-profit sectors for more than 12 years, Mark collaborated regularly with academic, industry and government stakeholders on a range of issues and opportunities in health, science, skills development, economic development, research and mental health policy. While working for the private sector, he facilitated the co-development of consensus-based solutions on a number of complex regulatory issues involving multiple stakeholders. For example, between 2012 and 2013, he successfully co-led the creation and day-to-day management of Canada’s first industry-driven drug shortages reporting database (www.drugshortages.ca), which is still active today and managed by a multi-stakeholder steering committee.
He also has deep, practical experience supporting the development of mental health, mental illness and addictions policy, and continues to support the development of good mental health policy in Canada as Executive Director and a public policy volunteer with the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED).
A frequent public speaker, Mark has delivered numerous keynote and refereed presentations on a range of topics, including innovation, Canada’s competitiveness, health policy, as well as a variety of scientific and regulatory issues. He has had the honour of delivering the Opening Address to BioQuebec’s BioContact 2009 and has appeared as an expert witness before the Canadian Academies of Health Sciences, as well as Standing Committees of the House of Commons and Senate of Canada.
Over the last 30 years, Mark has actively volunteered on a number of advisory bodies and Boards of Directors. He has served as President of the Board of a community legal aid clinic in Ottawa, a member of the Quebec Education Mathematics and Science Alignment Project (QEMSAP), a member of the Advisory Council to the third Annual Canadian Science Policy Conference, and Chair of the Governance Committee of the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC).
A trilingual, dynamic professional, Mark earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Italian (First Class Honours) from McGill University, and was awarded the Prize of the Embassy of Switzerland for the highest graduating CGPA in Italian. He also holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (droit civil) from the Université de Montréal, and maintains an active interest in constitutional and administrative law issues.