man in suit and tie smiles at camera
Stephen Jarislowsky

Stephen Jarislowsky, a proponent of business ethics and accountability in corporate governance and a long-time University of Guelph benefactor through the Jarislowsky Foundation, received an honorary degree from U of G on Nov. 1.

Founder and former chair of the investment counselling firm Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd., he endowed the Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work at U of G in 2002.

Currently held by political science professor Dr. Deborah Stienstra in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS), it was the first academic chair in Canada to address integration of work and family responsibilities as critical economic and social policy issues.

“Mr. Jarislowsky is a visionary business leader and philanthropist whose career demonstrates the ability to pursue excellence alongside ethics in business,” said president Dr. Charlotte Yates. “In recognizing him with this honorary doctor of laws, we are delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate his illustrious career and his long-standing support of the University.”

The Jarislowsky Foundation supported by Stephen and Gail Jarislowsky has nurtured institutes, fellowships and endowed more than 40 research chairs in varied fields in Canada and the United States.

At U of G, the endowment has enabled the Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being, now called the Live Work Well Research Centre, to study workplace policies and family supports under Stienstra’s direction.

The chair’s inaugural holder was Dr. Donna Lero, now University professor emerita in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition in CSAHS.

“In our new world where both partners work and where divorce is so simple – leaving behind single-parent families, doing two jobs at once – it is difficult to do justice to both,” said Jarislowsky, noting that current research at the centre focuses on people with disabilities and the workplace.

“It is a field where solutions are difficult at best, even if both the employer and the employee know what they are in for. It is a field where research for viable solutions is essential to allow proper parenting.”

Dr. Byron Sheldrick, acting dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, said, “We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of Dr. Jarislowsky for the important research and scholarship conducted at the University of Guelph. His support has enhanced our ability to both conduct cutting-edge scholarship and effect concrete policy change that enhances the lives of families and those living with disabilities.”

Jarislowsky has made important contributions to economic growth and stability, to culture and the arts, and to corporate governance and accountability.

He co-founded the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance and has supported university chairs in corporate governance, democracy, environment and climate change, Canadian art and other humanities topics.

Among numerous honours, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors, has been inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and is a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Grand Officer of the Order of Quebec.

He founded Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd. in 1955 on a $100 initial investment and was its president for 63 years. Based on quality work and low fees, the company became one of Canada’s largest independent investment management firms. Sold to the Bank of Nova Scotia in 2018, it remains autonomous with its own board of directors, and its head office remains in Quebec.

Jarislowsky continues to speak out against corporate excess and for decision-making and management processes based on principles and evidence-based results.