Daniel Trefler was born in 1959 in Toronto and remained there until completing his B.A. at the University of Toronto. He did his graduate work at Cambridge University (M.Phil.) and UCLA (Ph.D.), worked at the University of Toronto’s Department of Economics starting in 1989 and commuted to the University of Chicago during 1994-1996 before deciding to return home permanently to Toronto. In 1997, he moved over to the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, which provided him with resources to enhance the effectiveness of his public policy initiatives. He was awarded a prestigious Canada Research Chair in 2004.

Trefler is a research fellow at several international organizations: the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, Mass.), the Centre for Policy Research (Europe), and the International Growth Centre (London, England). In Canada he is a Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Studies (CIFAR).

Trefler was a long-standing co-editor at the Journal of International Economics, the top-ranked journal in his field (2005-2014). He also served on the Editorial Board of the American Economic Association’s Journal of Economic Literature (2010-2013).

Trefler has received all three major awards of the Canadian Economics Association (the Harry Johnson Prize, the John Rae Prize, and the Innis Lecture, the latter in recognition of contributions to economics in the broadest sense).  His advocacy on behalf of children earned him the Noma McDonald Award from the Canadian Paediatric Society. He was the 2011 Ohlin Lecturer (Stockholm), the most internationally prestigious lectures in his field. (Two Ohlin lecturers are Nobel Laureates.) He has received major funding from SSHRC (continuously since 1993) and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Trefler has given countless lectures and seminars around the world, including Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Chicago, Yale and the LSE. He gives public lectures and keynote speeches from coast to coast in Canada. Recent public lectures abroad include Brown University, Harvard University and the Beijing Forum.

 He makes frequent media appearances both in Canada and abroad, including a term as an invited columnist at the Globe & Mail, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper.