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Mark Winfield

Mark Winfield


MES Program Coordinator, MES/JD Program Coordinator, Co-Chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI)


PhD Political Science, University of Toronto
MA Political Science, University of Toronto
BA (Honours) Science & Technology Studies, University of Toronto

Research Keywords

Sustainable Energy; Climate Change; Environmental Policy; Environmental Law.

Graduate Supervision

I supervise students in the graduate programs in MES, MES/JD and Environmental Studies Ph.D.

Mark Winfield

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

416 736 2100 (ext 21078) |

Research Interests

I am a professor at the new Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) at York University, co-chair of the Faculty's Sustainable Energy Initiative, coordinator of the MES and MES/JD programs and a member of the York University Senate. I have published articles, book chapters and reports on a wide range of climate change, environment and energy law and policy topics. I have acted as an advisor to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and federal Commissioner for Environment and Development. I was a member of the Conseil d'administration (board of directors) of Transitions energetique Quebec, a Crown corporation established in to implement a low-carbon energy transition strategy for Quebec, from 2017 to 2020.

Research Projects

Addressing Global Challenges to a Canadian Low-Carbon Energy Transition (Principal Investigator 2021-. This project is focused on exploring and understanding the drivers of the right-wing populist turn in the politics of the global north, particularly its relationship to climate change and low-carbon energy transition strategies. The major outputs of the project would be two books. An edited volume on low-carbon sustainable energy transitions in the age of populism and pandemic for UBC Press brings together an interdisciplinary team of leading researchers on climate change policy and low-carbon energy system transitions. The second volume would examine wider long-term sustainability transition challenges for Ontario in the context of populism and COVID-19. 

A Blueprint for Energy Efficiency and Conservation in a Low Carbon Sustainable Energy Transition in Canada.  Principal Investigator 2018-2020. Project explores governance models for energy efficiency in context of populist challenges to climate change policy. Outputs included a technical report for governmental and institutional sponsors, a public report, paper presented at the June 2019 International Sustainability Transitions conference (Gaede, Haley, Harbinson, Love, Winfield 2019) and a formal paper in the Energy Research and Social Science (Haley, Gaede, Love and Winfield 2020).

Community Energy Knowledge and Action Partnership ( – Co-Investigator 2017-2020) CEKAP is an SSHRC-funded partnership that has been established to facilitate collaboration between researchers, practitioners and community groups across Canada in the area of community energy planning (CEP). Core partners have included five universities and seven municipalities across three Canadian provinces, QUEST Canada, a number of governmental, non-government and community partners. Major research outputs include several research reports, and a forthcoming special edition of the Canadian Planning and Policy Journal featuring papers contributions from CEKAP researchers, including Prof. Winfield and FES students affiliated with the project.  Prof Winfield has also led development and delivery of a professional development course on CEP for planners in conjunction with QUEST Canada.

NSERC Energy Storage Technology Network (NESTNet)  Co-Investigator 2015-2020) NEST collaboratively explores many different types of energy storage, including flywheels, lithium-ion batteries and compressed air, while determining how best to integrate these technologies into electricity grids. In addition, researchers consider the implications arising from the increasing adoption of energy storage and how consumers will perceive, adopt and interact with these technologies. Research outputs have included two formal articles (Winfield, Shokrzadeh and Jones 2018Winfield and Gelfant 2020), along with five technical working papers (for example Gross 2019), one policy white paper (Winfield 2020) with two more formal papers in development. One BES (Jones 2015) and five MES theses/major papers have also been completed through the project (Zeeman 2016Gelfant 2017Hurtado 2019Lev 2019Sooch 2020).

Joint Climate Change Transportation Research Partnership (JCCTRP) Co-Investigator 2017-2020)   The JCCTRP is a coordinated, integrative research effort that explores the various technical, economic and political dimensions of efforts to reduce emissions in the transport sector, in Quebec, California, Ontario and Vermont. The ultimate goal of the JCCTRP is to identify technical, economic and political factors shaping the potential for effective, cost-efficient, and politically viable low-carbon transport and climate policy in each jurisdiction, and understand their implications for emissions trading. The project has led to the completion of an FES Ph.D. dissertation (Kaiser 2020), and working papers on transportation and climate change issues in Ontario.

Prof. Winfield has also undertaken research related to Ontario-Quebec energy and climate change policy linkages (Gaede 2016), and smart grids (Winfield and Weiler 2018) as well as a variety of related articles and book chapters dealing with energy and climate change policy (Winfield; 2015; Winfield 2016; Winfield 2019; MacWhirter and Winfield 2019; Winfield and Macdonald 2020), principally in Ontario and at the national level. 

Research Output

Book Chapters

D.Macdonald and M.Winfield “Federalism and Canadian Climate Change Policy” for G.Skogstad and H.Bakvis, eds., Canadian Federalism (4th ed) (Toronto: Oxford University Press 2020).

Refereed Articles

Purdon M, Giuliano G, Witcover J, Murphy C, Ziaja S, Kaiser C, Winfield M, Séguin C, Papy J and Fulton L (2021) Climate and Transportation Policy Sequencing in California and Quebec. Review of Policy Research 00:1-35.

Winfield, M., Wyse, Susan M., and Harbinson, S., “Enabling community energy planning? Polycentricity, governance frameworks, and community energy planning in Canada,” submitted to Canadian Planning and Policy Journal  Volume 2021, June 2021.

Non-refereed articles

Winfield, M., and Sooch, S., “A life-cycle view essential on EV battery opportunities and risks,” The Hill Times, June 21, 2021.  

Winfield, M., “Fixing Ontario’s Hydro Mess,” Policy Options January 15, 2021.  

Winfield, M., “Canada’s newest nuclear industry dream is a potential nightmare,” Policy Options, November 18, 2020 .


Winfield, M., “Ontario nowhere to be found at climate summit,” The Hamilton Spectator, October 30, 2021.  

Winfield M., “Federal election made big strides for climate, environment,” The Conversation, September 30, 2021.  

Winfield, M., “Climate action hangs in election balance,” The Conversation, September 14, 2021.  

Winfield M., “Ford still in the lead heading into election year despite failures,” The Hamilton Spectator, August 16, 2021.

Winfield, M., “Ford government endangers gains on water quality,” The Hamilton Spectator, June 28, 2021. 

Winfield, M., “How Ontario can recover from Doug Ford’s COVID-19 governance disaster,” The Conversation, April 27, 2021, The Hamilton Spectator, May 20, 2021. 

Winfield, M., “Ontario back in the business of building roads to sprawl,” The Hamilton Spectator, March 9, 2021. 

Recognition & Awards

  • York University Visiting Scholar at Massey College, University of Toronto, 2020-21.


Course CodeTitle
ENVS 2410Environmental Policy and Governance
ENVS 3130Energy and the Environment in Canada
ENVS 5178Environmental Policy: Ideas, Institutions, and Interests
ENVS 6178Environmental Policy Implementation and Evaluation