Pari Johnston serves as the 8th President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada. A dynamic senior executive with 25 years of experience driving the transformative impact of Canada’s skills, research, and innovation ecosystem for the benefit of Canadians, she is a recognized national postsecondary leader who builds strong and healthy organizational cultures while delivering results.
Prior to joining CICan in late 2023, Pari served as Vice-President of Policy and Public Affairs at Genome Canada, providing strategic leadership to its federal advocacy, ecosystem partnership and corporate development agenda. Known as a strategic alliance-builder in complex multistakeholder environments, she successfully promoted the organization’s mission and cross-sectoral impact among parliamentarians, senior officials, industry, community partners and the public, leading to new investments and a strong genomics future for Canada.
Pari’s professional journey includes a noteworthy two-decade tenure with Universities Canada, where she ascended to Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs until 2019. Before that, as Director of Member Relations, she transformed the association into the premiere national forum for Canada’s university presidents. In earlier roles, Pari focused on advancing Canadian universities’ global mission at home and abroad.
A passionate community volunteer, Pari serves on the Board of Trustees of The Royal, Ottawa’s only specialized mental health care, teaching and research hospital. Inspired by her family’s experience, she founded Housing Through an Autism Lens, a national solutions lab funded by the CMHC designed to create solutions to housing challenges faced by autistic young adults in Ottawa. She was also a founding board member of The Conversation Canada/La Conversation Canada, the national digital media organization for academic journalism.
Fluently bilingual, Pari has an MA in international affairs from Carleton University and a BA in French literature from the University of Regina.