Young campaigner awarded the Jack Layton Progress Prize for No Tax on Tampons campaign



Winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research stands out for her research on precarious work

OTTAWA — Charles Taylor and Olivia Chow on Saturday awarded two leaders in policy research and campaigning with prizes named after two great Canadians at the country's flagship progressive policy conference.

Jill Piebiak, who spearheaded the successful No Tax on Tampons campaign last year, accepted the Jack Layton Progress Prize on behalf of Canadian Menstruators, an organization founded by Piebiak to press the federal government to eliminate tax on tampons; the group secured over 70,000 signatures on an online petition as part of a larger winning campaign.

Piebiak graduated from the Broadbent Institute’s cutting-edge training program in the fall of 2014. Camp Progress, a six-week training programme in the United States offered in partnership with Barack Obama strategists at 270 Strategies, involved placements in Democratic campaigns across the U.S. 

Leah Vosko, winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research, is a professor of political science and Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Gender and Work at York University, where she conducts research on labour market insecurity. The impact of Vosko’s academic contributions on precarious work spanning two decades is felt well beyond the academe, reshaping the ways in which academics and policy-makers understand labour market membership and social protection. 

“It was such an honour to watch Jill Piebiak secure a win for Canadian women with a campaign that is now a model for others around the world,” said Chow, the former MP who presented the award named after her late husband at Progress Summit 2016.

“Leah Vosko is exactly what we need in the academic world – someone whose works produces leading scholarship rooted in real world concerns,” said Taylor, professor emeritus at McGill University and recipient of the prestigious Kyoto and Templeton prizes for his own academic work.

The Jack Layton Progress Prize is named after the former leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, a leader himself of many issue-based campaigns. In his honour, and in partnership with Chow, the prize is awarded annually to an individual or organization who has run a particularly noteworthy political or issue campaign reflecting the ideals exemplified by Layton, including justice, sustainability and democracy.

In recognition of Taylor’s rich legacy of politically resonant scholarship as one of the great Canadian thinkers of the last century, the Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research is awarded annually to a researcher whose work has made an important contribution to policy debates relevant to building a more socially just Canada.

Progress Summit, the country’s largest annual progressive policy conference, is hosted annually in Ottawa by the Broadbent Institute.

Saturday's lineup includes a keynote by France’s former Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who resigned in January over a dispute over the government’s anti-terror policy. World renowned economist James Galbraith and BC NDP leader John Horgan are also speaking following a debate on proportional representation.

Postmedia News columnist Andrew Coyne and Alex Himelfarb, the former clerk of the Privy Council (arguing for) and are up against Conservative MP Michelle Rempel and Tasha Kheiriddin, National Post and iPolitics columnist (arguing against).

On Friday, Progress Summit 2016 speakers included feminist icon Gloria Steinem, New Republic Senior Editor Jeet Heer, Federation of Canadian Municipalities CEO Brock Carlton, Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Barack Obama ad maker John Del Cecato, Guardian columnist Owen Jones, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, and CNN political commentator Sally Kohn.


For more information, please contact Caitlin Kealey, Progress Summit 2016 media coordinator, media[at]mediastyle[dot]ca or 613-818-7956.