Assistant Professor | Balsillie School of International Affairs Fellow

Heather WhitesideAreas of Specialization

Political Economy

Public Policy


  • I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
  • I am currently a co-investigator on two multi-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grants investigating varieties of austerity and alternatives to austerity.
  • I am an associate editor and board member of the journal Studies in Political Economy and an International Corresponding Editor for Urban Studies.
  • I am co-cordinator of the Waterloo Political Economy Group (WatPEG).


My research interests include: 

  • My research and publications centre on the political economy of privatization, financialization, and fiscal austerity.
  • I have published articles in journals such as Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A, Studies in Political Economy, Urban Studies, and Health Sociology Review.
  • My books are: About Canada: Public-Private Partnerships (2016, Fernwood Publishing), Purchase for Profit: public-private partnerships and Canada's public health care system (2015, University of Toronto Press), and Private Affluence, Public Austerity: economic crisis and democratic malaise in Canada (with Stephen McBride, 2011, Fernwood Publishing).

Purchase for Profit: Public-Private Partnerships and Canada's Public Health-Care System

Canadian provinces have increasingly begun turning to the private sector to finance and construct large-scale infrastructure projects. From a critical public policy perspective, the danger of these public-private partnerships (P3s) is that they are more than just new ways to deliver public infrastructure. They are neoliberal projects that privatize and corporatize the basis of public services.

Analyzing four Canadian P3 hospital projects, Heather Whiteside argues that P3s not only fail to fulfill the promises made by their proponents but also compromise public control of health policy, outcomes, and future plans. Yet, despite these disadvantages, the use of P3s is being normalized and expanded in BC and Ontario through capital planning frameworks and special government agencies that support and encourage P3 projects. Based on extensive interviews with academic experts, union representatives, provincial government decision-makers, and private sector partners, Purchase for Profit will be important for those studying public policy in any of the areas in which P3s are now being adopted.

Current teaching

  • PSCI 499 Special Honours Thesis
  • PSCI 428/631 The State and Economic Life
  • PSCI 300 Foundations of Political Economy
  • PSCI 231 Government and Business

Experiential Learning courses:

  • PSCI 497 Study Abroad
  • PSCI 498A Current Issues in Political Science
  • PSCI 498B Research Assistant
  • PSCI 498C Civic Engagement

Teaching philosophy: I teach political science courses from a political economy perspective, my aim being to inspire students’ curiosity into the dynamic relationship that exists between the political and the economic (variously conceived).  Students in my classes learn not only about political economy theory and practice, they engage in critical thinking about how these forces shape society and their everyday lives.

Current supervision

2016: University of Waterloo Accredited Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor (ADDS) status awarded.

PhD Dissertation Supervision

2017-               Committee member, Justine Salam (Alberta oil royalties)

Master's Thesis Supervision

2018-9             Supervisor, David Biledeau (corporate social responsibility)

Master’s Research Project Supervision

2017-8             Co-Supervisor, Kristen Myers (populism)

2017-8             Second Reader, Aidan Barrett (corporate financialization)

Selected publications 


Whiteside, H. 2016. About Canada: Public-Private Partnerships. Fernwood Publishing: Winnipeg and Halifax.

Whiteside, H. 2015. Purchase for Profit: public-private partnerships and Canada’s public health care system. University of Toronto Press: Toronto.  

McBride, S. and Whiteside, H. 2011. Private Affluence, Public Austerity: economic crisis and democratic malaise in Canada. Fernwood Publishing: Winnipeg and Halifax.


Whiteside, H. 2019. “Is, ought and being careful what you wish for.” Dialogues in Human Geography. September 9, 2019, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2019 “Public-Private Partnerships: Market Development Through Management Reform.” Review of International Political Economy. July 3, 2019, online first

Whiteside, H. 2019. “Critical Commentary: Advanced Perspectives on Financialized Urban Infrastructures.” Urban Studies. February 14, 2019, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “Austerity as Epiphenomenon? Public Assets Before & Beyond 2008.” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. September 19, 2018, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis and Paradoxes in Critical Urban Studies.” Urban Studies. May 29, 2018, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “Public Works: Better, Cheaper, Faster Infrastructure.” Studies in Political Economy. 99:1, pp. 2-19.

Whiteside, H. 2017. “The state’s estate: devaluing and revaluing ‘surplus’ public land in Canada.” Environment and Planning A. August 2, 2017, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2017. “The Canada Infrastructure Bank: Private Finance As Poor ‘Alternative’. Studies in Political Economy.  98:2, pp. 223-237.

Peck, J., and Whiteside, H. 2016. “Financializing Detroit.” Economic Geography. 92:3, pp. 235-268.  

Whiteside, H. 2013. “Stabilizing privatization: crisis, enabling fields, and public-private partnerships in Canada.” Alternate Routes: a journal of critical social research. 24, pp. 85-108.

Whiteside, H. 2012. “Crises of Capital and the Logic of Dispossession and Repossession.” Studies in Political Economy. 89, pp. 59-78.

Whiteside, H. 2011. “Unhealthy Policy: the political economy of Canadian public-private partnership hospitals.” Health Sociology Review.  20:3, pp. 258-268.

McBride, S. and Whiteside, H. 2011. “Austerity for Whom?” Socialist Studies. 7:1/2, Spring/Fall, pp. 42-64.

Whiteside, H. 2009. “Canada’s Health Care ‘Crisis’: Accumulation by Dispossession and the Neoliberal Fix.” Studies in Political Economy. 84, December, pp. 79-100.


Christophers, B., and Whiteside, H. forthcoming. “Fictions of surplus: commodifying public land in Canada and the United Kingdom.” In Lake, B., and Ghertner, A., eds. Land Fictions. Cornell University Press: Ithaca.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “BC’s Recurrent Austerity: victory unfettered from success.” In Fanelli, C., and Evans, B., eds. The Public Sector in an Age of Austerity: Perspectives from Canada’s Provinces and Territories. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal and Kingston.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “Healthy Profit: private finance and public hospitals.” Brownlee, J., Hurl, C., Walby, K., eds. Minding the Public’ s Business: Critical Perspectives on Corporatization in Canada. Between the Lines: Toronto.

Peck, J., and Whiteside, H. 2017. “Neoliberalizing Detroit.” In Pavlovkskaya, M., and Schram, S. eds. Rethinking Neoliberalism: Resisting the Disciplinary Regime. NY: Routledge. 

Whiteside, H. 2017. “Profiting Off Austerity: private finance for public infrastructure.” In McBride, S., and Evans, B., eds. Austerity and the State. University of Toronto Press: Toronto.

Whiteside, H. 2016. “Neoliberalism as austerity: the theory, practice, and purpose of fiscal restraint since the 1970s.” In Springer, S., Birch, K., MacLeavy, J., eds. Handbook of Neoliberalism. Routledge: London. 

Peck, J., and Whiteside, H. 2016. “Financializing the Entrepreneurial City.” In Schönig, B. and Schipper, S., eds. Urban Austerity: Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on Cities in Europe. Theater de Zeit: Berlin.

Whiteside, H. 2016. “How Ottawa Shifts Spending: private financing and the municipal infrastructure gap.” In Doern, G. B., and Stoney, C., eds. How Ottawa Spends 2015-2016. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal and Kingston. 

Whiteside, H. 2015. “Austerity budgets and public sector retrenchment: crisis era policy making in Canada, the UK, and Australia.” In Boychuk, G., Mahon, R., and McBride, S., eds. After ’08: Social Policy and the Global Financial Crisis. University of British Columbia Press: Vancouver.

Whiteside, H. 2015. “Colin Leys and Colin Hay: market-driven politics and the depoliticisation of health care.” In Collyer, F., ed. Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine. Palgrave Macmillan: London.

Whiteside, H. 2014. “P3s and the Value for Money Illusion: orchestrating future austerity?” In Baines, D., and McBride, S., eds. Orchestrating Austerity: Impacts and Resistance. Fernwood Publishing: Winnipeg and Halifax.

Whiteside, H. 2014. “Tarnished yet tenacious: examining the track record and future of public-private partnership hospitals in Canada.” In Atasoy, Y., ed. Global Economic Crisis and the Politics of Diversity. Palgrave Macmillan: London.

McBride, S. and Whiteside, H. 2013. “The Canadian State and the Crisis: Theoretical and Historical Context.” In Fowler, T., ed. From Crisis To Austerity: Neoliberalism, Organized Labour, and the Canadian State. Red Quill Books: Ottawa.

Book Reviews

Whiteside, H. 2019. “The new enclosure: the appropriation of public land in neoliberal Britain, by Brett Christophers, London, Verso, 2018, ix-362 pp., $29 (Hardback), ISBN: 9781786631589.Urban Geography


Whiteside, H. 2017. “New Canada infrastructure bank plays poker with public assets.” Toronto Star. March 17.

Whiteside, H. 2016. “The Canada Infrastructure Bank: Theft by Deception.” The Hill Times. December 7. 

Whiteside, H. 2016. “The Canada Infrastructure Bank: Theft by Deception.” The Bullet. November 27.

Whiteside, H. 2016. “No admittance except on business: how P3s are produced and the secret of their profit making.” The Bullet. February 19. 

Current grants

2016-2020: “Varieties of Austerity.” Insight Grant. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Co-Investigator.

2016-2018: “Austerity and Its Alternatives.” Partnership Development Grant. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Co-Investigator.

Current editorial and review service

Associate Editor, Studies in Political Economy

Editorial Board, Studies in Political Economy

International Corresponding Editor, Urban Studies

Grant Proposal Reviewer, Awards to Scholarly Publications Program, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences


Office: Hagey Hall 309
Phone: ext 30312

University of Waterloo

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