The Donner Prize - The Award for the Best Book on Canadian Public Policy

For further information

Sherry Naylor, Prize Manager
The Donner Prize
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Toronto, ON M4K 1P5

(416) 368 8253



Michael J. Trebilcock’s Dealing With Losers wins $50,000 top prize

Toronto, Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – The winner of the Donner Prize, the annual award for the best public policy book by a Canadian, was announced this evening by Allan Gotlieb, Chairman of the Donner Canadian Foundation, at a gala awards dinner at The Carlu hosted by Jeffrey Simpson, national affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail.

Michael Trebilcock was awarded the $50,000 Donner Prize for Dealing With Losers: The Political Economy of Policy Transitions, published by Oxford University Press.

Whenever governments change policies, typically there will be losers: people or groups who relied upon and invested in physical, financial or human capital predicated on the pre-reform policies, and whose losses will have to be mitigated during a transition phase. In Dealing With Losers, Professor Michael Trebilcock addresses an issue ubiquitous across the policy landscape: when and how to mitigate the costs associated with policy changes.

Dealing With Losers explores both the necessity for, and the complexity of, transition cost mitigation strategies in a number of concrete public policy contexts. Michael Trebilcock’s book is one that every elected and unelected official, at whatever level of government, should read and take to heart.”
—Donner Prize Jury

Michael Trebilcock is a Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He was a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School in 1985 and 2005 and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School 2011-2012. In 2007 he was the recipient of the Ontario Attorney General’s Mundell Medal for contributions to Law and Letters. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Ontario Premier’s Discovery Award for the Social Sciences. He was previously nominated for the 2005 Donner Prize for Rethinking the Welfare State: The Prospects for Government by Voucher, with co-author Ronald J. Daniels.

The other nominated titles, each of which received $7,500, were:

  • Réinventer le Québec: Douze chantiers à entreprendre by Marcel Boyer and Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy (Éditions Stanké)
  • Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World by Derek H. Burney and Fen Osler Hampson (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
  • Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring Sanity to Our Politics, Our Economy, and Our Lives by Joseph Heath (HarperCollins)

The winner of the Donner Prize was chosen from an impressive list of 80 submissions by the five-member jury: A. Anne McLellan (Jury Chair), Jean-Marie Dufour, Peter George, V. Peter Harder, and Denis Stairs.

Jury Chair Anne McLellan commented on this year’s shortlist: “The four finalists dealt with diverse subjects, all of which have serious, and immediate, implications for thoughtful public policy formulation and implementation. In choosing our shortlist we consider the importance of the subject, the soundness and originality of the analysis, the presentation of evidence, the support for the conclusions reached and the accessibility of the text.”

The Donner Prize, established in 1998, annually rewards excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy thinking, writing and research. In bestowing this award, the Donner Canadian Foundation seeks to broaden policy debates, increase general awareness of the importance of policy decision making and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse.

For further information, please contact:
Sherry Naylor, Prize Manager
Phone: 416 368 8253