Thank You, John Stapleton — Celebrating Over a Decade of Innovation and Impact

The Metcalf Innovation Fellowship program was created to provide critical thinkers with the opportunity to tackle hard questions and propose solutions to systemic issues. A Metcalf Innovation Fellow since 2006, John Stapleton has been the absolute embodiment of this purpose — publishing 11 reports with the Foundation while shaping policies to improve income security for the most vulnerable and marginalized in Canada.


The Metcalf Innovation Fellowship has enabled me to pursue a post-public service career where I have been able to examine income security at all levels in Canada for individuals of all age groups across a wide spectrum of lived realities. I am enormously grateful for the support, resources, and opportunities that Metcalf has provided me to engage in this work.

John Stapleton

Metcalf Innovation Fellow, 2006-2020

We have had the pleasure of collaborating with John and seeing the impact of his work reverberate across the country for well over a decade. With his Innovation Fellowship concluding this past year, we wanted to look back at the remarkable work John has led and the impact it has had in Toronto, and beyond.



John’s seminal report, The Working Poor in the Toronto Region: Who they are, where they live, and how trends are changing, co-authored with Brian Murphy and Yue Xing, is released and receives an incredible response as the first report to deeply examine working poverty in Toronto.

Select media coverage:



John publishes the following reports with Metcalf:

John is one of three individuals to receive appointments across all levels of government to improve social assistance programs and guide poverty reduction strategies:



John publishes the final two reports as part of his Innovation Fellowship:

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, John examines the impact of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) on provincial and territorial benefits with Anne Tweddle, releasing the Maytree policy backgrounder, Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) interactions with provincial and territorial social assistance and subsidized housing programs and youth aging out of care.

John’s work has influenced policy at all levels of government and his perspectives are widely sought after as one of Canada’s foremost social policy experts.

Supported by Metcalf, John helped to establish the Informal Economy Project at the West Neighbourhood House, which both provides low-income informal workers assistance to file taxes and access benefits and conducts research to influence tax policies.

The free automatic tax filing system finally announced in the 2020 Throne Speech, which will help many low-income and vulnerable Canadians receive tax benefits, is no doubt a testament to his long-time work and advocacy in this area.

Most recently, John’s research examining the link between multi-family households and COVID-19 received attention for showing that the places where multiple working adults are sharing a household are the places that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

John’s impact has been remarkable. He has been a formidable resource and tireless participant in virtually every effort to address issues of justice and decency for low income people over the last decade and beyond.

Sandy Houston

President and CEO, Metcalf Foundation

Along with celebrating our long-standing partnership with John and his many accomplishments, we want to express our deep gratitude.

Thank you, John — for your generosity, wisdom, and deep commitment to social justice and equity. You have left a real mark here at Metcalf and we will continue to learn from your expertise and your resolve.