Dr. Charles E. Pascal is an educational visionary with global renown and membership to the Order of Canada. He is a professor of human development at the UofT's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and has published extensively in the fields of education and psychology. He's a regular contributor to the Toronto Star, and delivers workshops and seminars on lifelong learning, strategic philanthropy, early learning, leadership development, policy making and strategic communications.
An indispensable advisory board member, Charles is an incorrigible Upstreamist who has spent much of his career targeting and examined system-level issues to improve education systems in Canada, including structural inadequacies, inconsistency of education and problems with provincial funding in Ontario. Charles knows that a decent education is essential for a healthy life in Canada, and has helped make great strides toward making future generations and communities healthier, for an altogether stronger, happier society.
"Establishing a strong foundation in the early years, and building on it, is the single most powerful factor in Ontario’s social and economic future."
In November 2007, Charles was asked how to best implement full-day learning for 4- and 5-year olds. He produced an important and thorough report called With Our Best Future in Mind: Implementing Early Learning in Ontario, with 20 recommendations to bolster Ontario's early education systems — including comprehensive childcare and even before and after-school programs. It was applauded by government and non-government organizations and has served as an important piece in reform efforts.
Not all of Charles' works have been of exclusively professional and political gravity. In 2013 he produced an innovative and groundbreaking book with a more personal approach, co-written with his daughter Tai Pascal Notar called Too Far From Perfect: A father-daughter conversation about public education.
Dr. Pascal earned his PhD in psychology at the University of Michigan in 1969, going on to teach at McGill University in Montreal where he was a founder of The Centre for Learning and Development and the McGill Community Family Centre which ran from 1973 until 1993, the first ever full-service childcare programme at a Canadian university. Charles also led a training model at the Montreal Children's Hospital to support children with disabilities, and served on many advisory boards and committees in the local community. After transitioning to the UofT in '77 he became was the founding chair of the Higher Education Group, the executive head of graduate studies, and was a member of the university's governing council, along with numerous other prestigious appointments and tenures.
"When it comes to building a better Canada, the top indicator of national progress ought to be reflected in how we support the development of the youngest of our young in a consistent manner across the country."
As Deputy Minister of the Premier's Council on Health, Well-being and Social Justice beginning in 1991, Charles was in a position to research and design policies to build a healthier and more just society, and also contributed to government reforms in welfare and childcare as deputy minister of Community and Social Services in Ontario. But he still wasn't done swimming upstream. Five years later Dr. Pascal became the first ever full-time executive director of the Atkinson Foundation, a key Upstream partner, promoting social and economic justice on a national scale. For fifteen years, Charles drove the foundation to achieve great things for the social determinants of health and social justice fields, and undoubtedly contributed to countless practical and political impacts for the health of Canadian communities.
Charles also has experience across the developing world, including China and South Africa, providing capacity-building expertise for policy design and organizational change. He has honorary degrees from Niagara, Humber and George Brown colleges, and honorary doctorates from Nipissing and Guelph Universities. He received the Humanitarian of the Year award from Yorktown Family Services in 2003, the Egerton Ryerson award for his dedication to public education in 2008, the Excellence in Advocacy award from the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare in 2009, Excellence in Community Service award by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute. He's also coached baseball at the University of Toronto for 12 years.