Rick Smith


Rick Smith is a Canadian author, environmentalist and non-profit leader.  Since 2013 he has been the Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute.  Under his leadership the Institute has grown into Canada’s pre-eminent progressive policy and training organization with offices in Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.  

From 2003 to 2012, Rick served as Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada. He is the co-author of two bestselling books on the health effects of pollution: Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health (2009) and Toxin Toxout (2014). A Quill & Quire “Book of the Year”, Slow Death by Rubber Duck has been featured by the Washington Post (which said it “is hard-hitting in a way that turns your stomach and yet also instills hope”), Dr. Oz, Fox News, and Oprah Magazine, and translated into six languages.

Rick has led many successful campaigns for important new public policies at the federal and provincial levels related to environmental and consumer protection, urban planning, green jobs creation, democratic reform and progressive taxation. He is a co-founder of Blue Green Canada (an environmental/trade union movement collaboration) and the Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregate initiative, the first attempt in the world to create a green standard for the vertically integrated aggregate and cement industry. 

Originally from Montréal, he holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Guelph. He has been a Director of Équiterre, a founding Director of the Greenbelt Foundation, and is a former member of the Panel of Environment and Sustainable Development Advisors for the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development of Canada.  Rick is a regular commentator on progressive politics for Canadian media and an adviser to Loblaw Companies Limited, the largest food and pharmacy manufacturer and retailer in the country.

When not working in an airport terminal somewhere, Rick lives in east end Toronto with his wife Jennifer Story — a public school board Trustee — and their two young boys.