The Centre for Spatial Economics (C4SE)

Assessing past, present and future economic and demographic change in Canada


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About the Centre

The Centre for Spatial Economics was formed in July 2000 through an initiative of two consulting firms: Strategic Projections Inc. (SPI) and Stokes Economic Consulting Incorporated (SEC).  These two firms specialize in demographic and economic research.  A key part of this research has been the geographical distribution of demographic and economic activity.  The Centre was established as a partnership of SPI and SEC to improve the quality of information and research conducted in Canada and to make the information and results of this research available to organizations that have a need for such information, and to the public as the opportunity arises.  The Centre draws from a list of academics and research consultants on an as needed basis to minimize overhead costs and to obtain the best researchers for the topic at hand.


Below you will find a list of our staff, their respective titles and a brief summary of their experience.

Ernie Stokes - Managing Director

Tom McCormack - Executive Director

Robert Fairholm - Director of Canadian Economic Forecasting Services

Robin Somerville - Director of Corporate Research Services

Sam Patayanikorn - Western Director (Edmonton, Alberta)

Aaron Stokes - Staff Economist

Tara Schill - Staff Economist


Staff Background

Ernie Stokes

Ernie Stokes is the Managing Director of the C4SE, as well as the President of Stokes Economic Consulting.  He has more than thirty years experience as an economic advisor in both the private and public sectors.  Stokes has worked both in North America and developing countries.  He has a Ph. D. in economics from Queen’s University (1979).  Prior to establishing Stokes Economic Consulting in 1995 he served as Managing Director, the WEFA Group, Canada (1989 to 1994), as senior economist with the Alberta Energy Company (1987 to 1989), as a senior official with the Canada Department of Finance (1985 to 1987) and as Director of the National Forecasting Group with the Conference Board (1978 to 1984).

Tom McCormack

Tom McCormack is an Executive Director of the Centre for Spatial Economics and the president of Strategic Projections Inc., which he established in 1989.  He has thirty years of experience in economic and demographic forecasting having held a variety of positions with the federal government in Ottawa and in the private sector in Toronto (with Data Resources Inc. and Compusearch).  Tom has an MA degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario (1970).  He is a member of the Province of Ontario’s Sub-Panel on Central Zone Smart Growth Strategy and a member of the board of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (Pearson International Airport).  He has served on a number of provincial and local government committees including as a member of the premier’s Task Force on the Future of the Greater Toronto Area in 1995.

Robin Somerville

Robin Somerville has fifteen years of experience in economic analysis, modeling and forecasting.  Prior to joining the Centre for Spatial Economics as an Associate Director, Robin was a consultant with DRI-WEFA (1990 to 2002) and a research associate with the Bank of Canada (1986 to 1988).  Robin has an MA degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario (1989).  He has extensive experience managing and conducting work for public and private sector clients with assignments typically focusing on either policy analysis or forecasting.  Robin's policy analysis work is in such areas as the costs of GHG mitigation, regional economic competitiveness strategies, and the economic impact of tax and regulatory changes or infrastructure projects.  Robin has also built econometric models to forecast activity such as sales by type of restaurant, commercial floor space additions, tourist visits and spending, as well as national and regional macroeconomic models.

Robert Fairholm

Robert Fairholm was the Managing Editor of the International Bank Credit Analyst from 2001 to 2003, and provided a monthly forecast of interest rates, equity markets commodity prices, economic trends and currency movements in the world’s principal economies. From 1993 to 2001, Robert Fairholm directed the Canadian forecasting operations of Standard & Poor’s DRI.  He was responsible for all the Canadian macro, industrial and provincial forecasts and related services. Since Mr. Fairholm first became manager of DRI’s Canadian forecasting group it won the KPMG, Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the Financial Times awards for forecast accuracy 5 times, including the Watson Wyatt Crystal Award presented in 2001 for the best predictor over the previous five years.

Sam Patayanikorn

Sam has over 25 years of experience in modelling and economic analyses in governments and the private sector.  He has an M.A. in Economics from the University of Ottawa and worked for the Bank of Canada before moving to Alberta.  Prior to joining the C4SE he worked as a Senior Consultant with Stokes Economic Consulting, a Senior Economist with EPCOR, an Econometrician with Yukon Economic Development, and a Statistical Methodologist with Alberta Bureau of Statisics.  Sam is currently the Western Director of the C4SE.

Aaron Stokes

Aaron has been working with the C4SE since its inception in 2000, initially as a summer student and, since 2004, as a full-time analyst.  He is responsible for updating and maintaining our various models and assists with the preparation of studies and forecasts.  He has a BA in Economics from the University of Waterloo. 

Tara Schill

Tara joined the C4SE in 2005.  She has a BA in Economics from the University of Waterloo.  At present, Tara is assisting with the preparation of forecasts and economic studies along with the maintenance of the C4SE models.







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