Robert J. Williams

Professor Emeritus
Robert Williams portrait

Areas of specialization

Canadian municipal government & politics

Ontario provincial politics

Public policy for the arts and culture

Robert J. Williams was an active member of the Department of Political Science from 1971 until his early retirement at the end of 2006. During that time, he primarily taught courses in the Canadian politics field with emphasis on parliament and parties, plus courses on provincial, Ontario and municipal government and politics and arts policy.

Over the years he served in administrative positions in the Department (Chair, Graduate and Undergraduate officer and a variety of other roles), in the Faculty (Chair of Arts Faculty Council and of both the Admissions and the Examinations and Standings committees) and the University (as a member of Senate and the Board of Governors, as well as the Board of the Faculty Association). He also volunteered as mediator in the University’s Conflict Intervention Programme and as a resource person for the Resolution Support Programme.

From 1994 until 2003 Dr. Williams was Academic Director of the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme at Queen’s Park. In addition, he was active in the Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America, serving as President in 1995-1996.

Building on his long-standing interest in municipal government and the role of the arts in Canada, Dr. Williams served as President of Municipal Cultural Planning Inc., a not-for-profit organization created in late 2009 to advance the practice of municipal cultural planning in communities across Ontario. He also served as Chair of the City of Waterloo’s Advisory Committee on Culture and the Board of Directors of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery and has been an active member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Volunteer Committee for more than twenty years.

In retirement, Dr. Williams has been engaged independently or with Watson and Associates to conduct or advise on ward boundary and electoral system reviews in more than forty municipalities in Ontario and Nova Scotia. He has testified as an expert witness before the Ontario Municipal Board/Ontario Land Tribunal in several cases involving electoral arrangements. He served as Integrity Commissioner for the Township of Wilmot from 2013 to 2023 and for the Town of Erin from 2014 to 2018 and on the regional Municipal Elections Compliance Audit Committee since 2010.