Born in Rockland, near Ottawa, Robert J. Giroux holds both a bachelor’s degree in commerce (economics) and a master’s degree in science (economics) from the University of Ottawa, where he has also taught statistics and public administration.
Mr. Giroux was Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Ottawa from December 2009 to June 2017.
From 1995 to 2004, Mr. Giroux led the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Earlier in his career, from 1982 to 1986 he was deputy minister for Customs and Excise with Revenue Canada and deputy minister at the Ministry of Public Works from 1986 to 1990. He was president of the Public Service Commission from 1990 to 1994 and was then appointed Secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada and Comptroller General of Canada in 1994 and 1995.
During his career in the public service, Mr. Giroux contributed to several projects and international programs providing him with an in depth knowledge of global issues, which in turn contributed to his thorough understanding of the complex policy environment in which universities operate.
He took the reins of the AUCC at a difficult time. Universities were concerned with such issues as accountability, performance indicators and new funding formulas. Universities were at a critical juncture in terms of their contribution to Canada’s prosperity.
His exceptional leadership, diplomacy and dedication gave a new dimension to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of the AUCC. Applying these qualities wisely, he was able to address important issues.
Robert Giroux’s active commitment to and knowledge of the University is reflected as a member of the advisory committee to the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, and his work as a member of the board of directors for the Université du Québec en Outaouais and the board of governors of the University of Victoria in British Columbia. He is a member of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Trudeau Medal awarded by the uOttawa’s Telfer School of Management, and a recipient of honorary doctorates from the Royal Military College of Canada, McMaster University, Université de Montréal, McGill University, Brock University, the University of Victoria and the University of Ottawa.
Mr. Giroux was a member of several organizations such as the Australian Education Office, the Canadian Labour and Business Centre, the Education Marketing Advisory Board, the Canadian Centre for Management Development, the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the Commission on International Education of the American Council on Education. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the Canada Foundation for Innovation and as chair of the board of the Canada Council on Learning.
Over the last 15 years, he has also been part of the board of the Ottawa Hospital, the Public Policy Forum, the Université du Québec en Outaouais, the National Film Board of Canada and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada where he was also president. He was also chair of the selection committee for the Ordre de Gatineau from 2005 to 2008.