Layton-Taylor 2020 Awards

Jack Layton Progress Prize


The late Jack Layton served as leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada from 2003 to 2011, when he became the Leader of the Official Opposition.

During his long career in public service, Layton was fond of a great campaign. Whether working with local environmentalists to erect a windmill on the Lake Ontario shore, co-founding the White Ribbon campaign for gender justice, shining a light on the scourge of homelessness, or running in multiple political campaigns at the municipal and federal levels, Layton loved nothing more than the creation of empowering efforts to rally people around a common cause.

In his honour, and in partnership with Olivia Chow, the Jack Layton Progress 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.




  • Commitment to progressive/social democratic values and movement
  • Primary responsibility for executing the campaign in question over the previous year or exemplary movement building gaining significant momentum in the previous year
  • Vision, engagement, imagination, and effectiveness as an individual or organizational leader, including representing and/or engaging the diversity of Canada 

2021 winner: Hoodstock
2020 winner: Catherine Abreu
2019 winner: Leilani Farha
2017 winner: Cindy Blackstock 
2016 winner: Jill Piebiak (Canadian Menstruators)
2015 winner: February 14th Women's Memorial March Committee 

Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research


Charles Taylor is one of the great Canadian thinkers of the last century, and Prospect magazine has called him perhaps “the most important philosopher writing in English today.”

The author of countless articles and the groundbreaking Sources of the Self and The Malaise of Modernity, Taylor has also received the prestigious Kyoto and Templeton Prizes. As a philosophically committed social democrat, much of his work has been rooted in real world concerns. He has been a candidate for the federal NDP and president of the Quebec NDP and, in 2007, was co-chair of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodation with regard to cultural differences in the province of Quebec.

In recognition of Taylor’s rich legacy of politically resonant scholarship, 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.



  • Commitment to progressive/social democratic values
  • Primary responsibility as the lead author/creator of the policy, research or philosophical contribution in question for each year
  • Priority given to persons whose work has had demonstrable impact on policy making, governance or the political discourse

2021 winner: Martha Friendly
2020 winner: Marjorie Griffin Cohen
2019 winner: Akwasi Owusu-Bempah
2017 winner: Daniel Weinstock
2016 winner: Leah Vosko 
2015 winner: Charles Taylor





2020 Layton-Taylor Award Winners

The Institute is pleased to announce its 2020 Layton-Taylor Award winners: Catherine Abreu is the recipient of the 2020 Jack Layton Progress Prize and Marjorie Griffin Cohen is the recipient of the 2020 Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research.

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director of Climate Action Network - Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada, is the 2020 Jack Layton Progress Prize winner for her international leadership on climate policy and action, and transformative work as Executive Director of CAN-Rac. Established as one of the most influential players in Canadian and international climate politics, Catherine Abreu has developed CAN-Rac into a powerful coalition of more than 100 organizations across the country.

Marjorie Griffin Cohen, professor emeritus of Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University is the recipient of the 2020 Jack Layton Progress Prize for her extensive leadership and research on the intersection of gender and sexuality issues, and climate and labour policy. She has also served on a number of boards in BC, including the first Chair of the BC Fair Wages Commission.

Catherine Abreu

One of the world’s 100 most influential people in climate policy as named by Apolitical, Catherine builds powerful coalitions to advance transformative action on climate change. She played a central role in the release of world scientists’ groundbreaking report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees as Head of Delegation for international civil society at the October 2018 IPCC meeting. In 2017, Catherine founded the Environment and Energy Working Group of the G7. Under Catherine’s leadership, the impact and influence of Canada’s Climate Action Network has grown dramatically - adding 25 member organizations, quadrupling the organizational budget and building an impactful team in the span of 3 years.

Catherine stepped into the role of Executive Director at Climate Action Network - Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada in July 2016, taking over from a previous ED that had worked on a part-time basis. As the person responsible for all fundraising, hiring, and member relations, Catherine has, in 3 years, grown the organization from one half-time to 6 full-time staff, quadrupled the organization's budget, established and maintained contact with all member organizations and added 25 new member organizations to the ranks. She has articulated a clear vision, mission and theory of change for CAN-Rac, and has had a revolutionary impact on the organization's relevance to member organizations, to Canadian government, to international climate action, and to Canadian and domestic media. In short order, she has become one of the most influential players in Canadian and international climate politics, and has become a credible, go-to spokesperson for journalists. All of these achievements have contributed to the successes described above. But most critical has been Catherine's ability to seek out and build strategic relationships of trust with all CAN-Rac members as well as dozens of non-member allies in Indigenous communities, organized labour, health care providers, young people, and the private sector.


Marjorie Griffin Cohen

Marjorie Griffin Cohen is an economist who is a professor emeritus of Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University.  She has written extensively in the areas of political economy and public policy with special emphasis on issues concerning, the Canadian economy, women, labour, electricity deregulation, energy, climate change and labour, and international trade agreements.  

Among her publications are Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries:  Work, Public Policy and Action (2017); Public Policy for Women (2009), Remapping Gender in the New Global Order (2007) Governing Under Stress: (2004), Training the Excluded for Work: (2003), Global Turbulence (2003), Global Instability (2002), Canadian Women's Issues (two volumes, 1995) Women's Work, Markets, and Economic Development in Nineteenth Century Ontario (1988), and Free Trade and the Future of Women's Work (1987)

Professor Cohen has served on several boards and commissions in British Columbia including the B.C. Industrial Inquiry Commission on the Fisheries; Board of Directors of B.C. Hydro; Board of Directors of B.C. Power Exchange; and was the first Chair of the BC Fair Wages Commission.  She was also instrumental in establishing the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in B.C. and was its first Chair.  Her feminist activity has been considerable including being Vice-President and Treasurer of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.