Sylvia Ostry

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Sylvia Ostry
Sylvia Knelman

(1927-06-03)June 3, 1927
Winnipeg, Manitoba
DiedMay 7, 2020(2020-05-07) (aged 92)
Toronto, Ontario
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge, Girton College, McGill University
OccupationEconomist and Civil Servant
Spouse(s)Henry Isidore Wiseman, Bernard Ostry
AwardsOrder of Canada
Order of Manitoba

Sylvia Ostry, CC OM FRSC (June 3, 1927 – May 7, 2020) was a high-ranking[clarification needed] Canadian economist and public servant. She was educated at McGill University and the University of Cambridge.


Born Sylvia Knelman in Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 3, 1927, she received a Bachelor of Arts in economics from McGill University in 1948, a Master of Arts from McGill in 1950, and eventually earned her Ph.D. from Girton College, Cambridge in 1954.

Girton College, University of Cambridge

After studying at the University of Cambridge, she was a lecturer at McGill, becoming an assistant professor from 1952 to 1955, and becoming Associate Professor at the Université de Montréal from 1962 to 1964. [1][2] From 1972 to 1975, Ostry was Chief Statistician of Canada at Statistics Canada.[3] From 1975 to 1978, Ostry was Deputy Minister, Consumer and Corporate Affairs. From 1978 to 1979, she was Chairman, Economic Council of Canada. From 1979 to 1983, she was Head of the Department of Economics and Statistics of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris. From 1984 to 1985 she was Deputy Minister, International Trade, and Coordinator, International Economic Relations. Later, in 1986 Ostry became a member of the influential Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty.

From 1991 to 1996, she was Chancellor, University of Waterloo. In 1997 she was appointed Chancellor Emerita, University of Waterloo.

From 1990 to 1997, she was Chair of the University of Toronto's Centre for International Studies. Since then she has been a Distinguished Research Fellow there.[4]

She was married to the late Bernard Ostry, by whom she has two children, Adam Ostry (a senior federal civil servant himself) and Jonathan D. Ostry (Deputy Director, Research Department, International Monetary Fund). She died in Toronto on Thursday May 7, 2020.[5]



In 1997, a lecture series was begun in her honour by Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.[9] Some of the lectures in the series were published in a book in 2003.[10]

Select publications[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ She was divorced from Henry Isidore Wiseman in 1955
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Lauded economist slams census decision". The Globe and Mail. 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  4. ^ "Sylvia Ostry". 2008-07-07.
  5. ^ "Former public servant and economist Sylvia Ostry dies at 92". 2020-05-08.
  6. ^ View/Search Fellows of the ASA, accessed 2016-08-20.
  7. ^ Brown, Michael. "Sylvia Ostry, b. 1927". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  8. ^ Sanders, Carol (2009-05-13). "Sylvias up for Order of Manitoba". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  9. ^ "Sylvia Ostry | International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development".
  10. ^ At the Global Crossroads. The Sylvia Ostry Foundation Lectures. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. 2003. JSTOR j.ctt805fk.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
J. Page Wadsworth
Chancellor of the University of Waterloo
Succeeded by
Val O'Donovan