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the Dais

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The Dais is where ideas meet action.

The Dais is a public policy and leadership think tank at Toronto Metropolitan University, working at the intersection of technology, education and democracy to build shared prosperity and citizenship for Canada.

Another think tank? Think again.
To us, bold ideas plus deliberate actions create positive change.

That’s why we bring together people confronting big challenges, put our research and solutions into the hands of decision-makers, and equip leaders with the knowledge and skills to act on the issues.

Since 2015, our team has worked across Canada and internationally to develop new ideas and better leaders, resulting in measurable change in economic, education and technology policy, and thousands of people whose lives have been changed through our leadership programs.

From our home at TMU, we have direct access to scholars, students, entrepreneurs, leaders and networks who can develop new ideas and challenge old assumptions — with national and global reach.

Our Story

A rising tide lifts all

The promise of Canada has always been as a place of equal and shared opportunity.

Here’s what it feels like: And yet, the systems that create this opportunity — our economy, our education institutions, the democratic system itself — are, for too many, not working to fulfill Canada’s promise.

What’s more, runaway technologies — ultra-powerful Artificial Intelligence and online platforms — are enabling a runaway economy and democracy. A runaway economy that is creating a few winners, but leaving many people worried about how they’ll build an economic future. A runaway democracy where shadowy forces push buttons to win a game, rather than work to build ladders of opportunity.

These runaway forces overwhelm our leaders and institutions, threatening to leave Canada and Canadians behind.

But here’s what this time could be: An era of tremendous promise and innovation. One that empowers more people. A time in which, if we get with the program, Canada can lead.

How? By adopting new technology to grow our economy and governing it responsibly. By including more voices without a backlash that poisons our public square. By developing leaders who can challenge and change institutions from the outside, and from within those institutions.

That’s why we’re building the Dais. We believe that the leaders and institutions of power — government, the private sector, schools, post-secondary institutions, and other public purpose organizations — can get trust back.

We haven’t given up on them. But it’s going to take bold public policy ideas and better public policy leaders, to bring back that possibility of equal and shared opportunity.

New voices and paths to power

It’s time to encourage better leaders — of all ages and stages — to step up and tackle Canada’s most urgent challenges. Leaders who will help future-proof our institutions from erosion and attack, and ensure that policies respond to the changing needs of Canadians. Leaders equipped with the bold ideas we need to respond to this era of massive, digitally-driven dislocation. That’s what we’re building at the Dais.

Built on a strong foundation of success

The Dais is built on the proud legacies of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and the Leadership Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University.

We’re calling you in to help us defend our democracy, build the economy we deserve, and fight for a better future. How will you step up?

What we stand for

Our shared values are our strength


We are all in. We bring an equity lens to everything we do.


We believe that people have the power to make a better future.


We challenge perception with rigorous data and evidence.


We marvel at each opportunity to learn something new and innovate.


We don’t back down from hard questions, thorny problems or entrenched interests.


We fight for progress, but not at any cost. Our health is our wealth.

Our roots

The Dais brings together two organizations at Toronto Metropolitan University: the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) and the Leadership Lab.

Brookfield Institute

Founded in 2015, the Brookfield Institute became the leading policy think-tank developing data-informed research to prepare Canadians for the opportunities and risks in the shift to an innovation-driven economy. The Brookfield Institute was made possible through a generous $16 million donation from Jack Cockwell along with the Brookfield Partners Foundation.

Leadership Lab

The Leadership Lab was created in 2017 to develop people and solutions to make progress on our most pressing civic challenges, and mobilize a new generation of skilled and adaptive leaders to build a more trustworthy, inclusive society.

Brookfield-Leadership Lab merger

In 2023, with a mutual desire to amplify our impact, the two organizations combined our talents to begin a new era of putting leading policy research into action and developing leaders for a more inclusive innovation economy and thriving democracy in Canada.

The Dais

Today, we are the Dais, Canada’s platform for bold policies and better leaders.

Our Partners


The Dais proudly engages a diverse group of funders to support and catalyze our work, consistent with our values and TMU’s policies, and subject to a thorough internal review. We derive almost all of our revenue from external contributions – only about $1 in every $7 comes from TMU. Our sustainability is dependent on our reputation for high-quality, independent policy research and programming.

As a non-partisan, public-interest think tank, we only accept funds from organizations that enable us to undertake our work independently, with full editorial control.  For each project or initiative, the names of all of our financial supporters are publicly and transparently displayed on all online and printed material.

We will only accept funds from organizations that allow us to: 

  • Retain editorial control over our work
  • Remain non-partisan
  • Produce policy research, programs, and events that result in bold ideas and better leaders, and do not solely serve the commercial interests of a particular funder. 

We will not accept funds from organizations that: 

  • Are political parties or have explicit affiliation with political parties
  • May damage our reputation, by negative affiliation or by clear conflict with the project or the mission of the Dais or Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Restrict our liberty of action, research independence, or policy recommendations

We are always looking for new partners. Interested in working with us? For more information, contact Mark Hazelden, our Senior Director of Partnerships,