Phyllis Yaffe

Phyllis Yaffe is a Canadian politician and media executive and the former Consul General of Canada in New York, United States.

Phyllis Yaffe
Consul General of Canada in New York, United States
Assumed office
July 2016
Personal details
Born1949 (age 73–74)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Governor General's Award (2015)
  • Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcast Hall of Fame (2007)

Education and early careerEdit

Yaffe obtained a BA from the University of Manitoba and Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Alberta. She subsequently moved to Toronto to obtain a Masters of Library Science at the University of Toronto. After graduation, she worked as a branch librarian at the Winnipeg Public Library from 1972 to 1973.[1] Following this, she worked as a librarian at Seneca College in Toronto before becoming the executive director of the Canadian Children's Book Centre in 1976. [2] Between 1973 and 1979 she launched and co-edited Emergency Librarian, alongside Sherrill Cheda, a publication focused on feminist issues in librarianship.: 136 [3][4]: 89 

Publishing, media and directorshipsEdit

In 1980 Yaffe became the executive director of the Association of Canadian Publishers. In 1985, she became the vice-president of marketing for the popular Canadian children's magazine OWL.[2]

Yaffe joined Alliance Atlantis Communications in 1993, subsequently serving in several C-suite and executive positions including as COO from 2004 to 2005 and CEO from 2005 to 2007.[1] While at the company, she oversaw the development and launch of several popular specialty channels, including Showcase and the History Channel.[5] She was also responsible for the internationally successful television series CSI.[6]

During and since her time at Alliance Atlantis, Yaffe has been involved with several media, publishing and entertainment companies. She has served on several boards for corporations and non-profits. These include: the Cineplex Entertainment Group, for which she was chairman of the board from 2009 until 2016; independent director of Torstar Corporation from 2009 until 2016, ending her time as lead director; director of William F. White International Inc. until 2016; independent director of Astral Media since 2009; and director of Blue Ant Media.[1]

Non-profits for which she has served on the board include: board member for the World Wildlife Fund; chairman of the Canadian Abilities Foundation Board; chairperson of the foundation to Underwrite New Drama for Pay Television; and chairman of the board and vice-chairman of board of governors at Ryerson University.[1] She currently serves as a member of its board of governors.

Yaffe is the founding chair of WAMS (Women Against Multiple Sclerosis), which was cited in the announcement of her Governor General's Award. [5]

Work as Consul GeneralEdit

The aluminum and steel tariffs imposed on Canadian industries by the American Trump Administration were a significant issue during her tenure, particularly in the Upstate New York areas of Buffalo and Rochester.[7][8]


  • Canadian Women in Communications' Woman of the Year, 1999
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Women in Film and Television (WIFT), 2000.
  • Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcast Hall of Fame, inducted 2007
  • Governor General's Award, 2015

Yaffe holds several honorary degrees, including an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Manitoba, an Honorary Doctor of Literature from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Ryerson University.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Phyllis N. Yaffe: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b Keung, Nicholas (20 July 2016). "Phyllis Yaffe thrilled with new role as consul general in New York | The Star". Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  3. ^ Rooney, Frances (1 September 2008). "Emergency Librarian ::". Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  4. ^ Edwards, Gail; Saltman, Judith (2014). Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Children's Illustrated Books and Publishing. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442622821. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Ms. Phyllis Yaffe, C.M". The Governor General of Canada. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b Government of Canada, Global Affairs Canada (17 October 2018). "Phyllis Yaffe, Consul General of Canada in New York, United States". GAC. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  7. ^ Kline, Allissa (26 February 2019). "Consul General Yaffe: Steel, aluminum tariffs need to end". Buffalo Business First. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  8. ^ Robinson, David (5 August 2018). "David Robinson: Challenging times for Canada's top diplomat in New York". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 8 March 2019.