This course is designed for analysts, officers, and managers of all levels who are/will be directly involved in the development and implementation of public policy, but whose training has lacked a firm grounding in the politics of public administration. It is also designed for public servants at all levels who are not directly engaged in the policymaking process but seek career development by exploring decision-making and career-pathing in government.


Effective public servants bring a strong sense of self to their work. They know their place in the organization -- where they fit in the hierarchy and how they figure into complex decision-making processes. They know their role in the organization’s successes and shortcomings, the boundaries of their influence, and their opportunities to contribute meaningfully. More than this, our best public servants know their purpose in Canadian democracy, have a strong sense of political acumen, and can distinguish between what they accomplish at work and their broader sense of self-fulfilment. Even the most effective of us struggle on these points from time to time. This workshop guides participants through challenges related to the ever-changing org chart, the convoluted and opaque nature of policymaking, the politicization of public policy, and the demoralizing aspects of churn and changes in government direction.

Instruction Methodology

This is an intensive, one-day workshop involving a series of expert commentaries and active learning activities designed to give participants hands-on experience and practical tips for finding their fit in government.


This workshop is based on the top-selling Public Servant’s Guide to Government in Canada, and builds on the following themes:

  • Politics, Power, and Policymaking in Canada
  • The Public Sector Bargain
  • The Politics of Public Policy
  • The Politics of Public Administration
  • Navigating Life in Government
  • Building Roles and Competencies in Government
  • Achieving Your Career Goals

Skills Taught

As a participant in this workshop, you will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the real world of public sector decision-making, including its political dimensions
  • Establish a firm sense of self in relation to others in the policy process, including the distinct roles of elected and non-elected officials
  • Distinguish and find alignment between personal and professional fulfilment
  • Develop a more systematic approach to career-pathing in the public sector
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Course Outline