Since 2008, the JSGS has been providing educational opportunities to the public sector through a wide range of workshops. The key to our success is two-fold: we work with our clients and customize our training curriculum to their needs and we pair seasoned practitioners and academic scholars in the training room so that the participants get the best of both worlds, including practical examples and best practices along with leading research findings and analysis of the latest trends.

Indigenous Leadership Program

In partnership with the First Nations University of Canada, the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy is pleased to offer the Indigenous Leadership Program.  The program is intended to enable community leaders to learn about the legislative frameworks that impact their members, the skills and capacities needed for effective leadership, the main principles of good governance, and effective ways to engage their communities.  The target audience includes the community’s elected leadership, as well as senior Band administrators who have regular interaction with elected officials. Working with First Nations communities, our facilitators will identity the unique needs of each client group and custom the 2-day workshop to ensure the training is successful. The goal of the Indigenous Leadership Program is to equip participants with essential leadership skills and tools they will use to implement good governance in their communities.      

If you are interested in bringing this workshop to your community, please contact us to discuss learning needs, costing and scheduling:

Mike Dubois ( or 306-337-2961).

Public Offerings

Public workshops are offered by the school and assist participants in developing practical skills in leadership, communication, financial management, and policy development, and they provide unique networking opportunities. Attendees of public workshops are charged on a per-person basis, and to allow for more interactive discussions, public workshops are limited to 25 participants. Online registrations are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and due to popularity, workshops typically fill up very quickly. Audiences include individuals employed in the provincial, federal, and municipal governments, as well as in the non-profit and private sectors.

Workshop Offerings

Our curriculum has been developed, reviewed and tested by leading scholars and experienced practitioners and delivered by JSGS facilitators to public servants of all levels of government. The content is tailored to suit the experience and academic backgrounds of participants.

Our workshops are suited to classes of 25 participants to allow interaction and discussion-based learning. We apply a combination of lecture-style delivery with an applied learning component, usually taking the form of a case study, simulation or exercise. The JSGS conducts a post-workshop evaluation that is shared with facilitators and the client.

We have half day and full day workshops; full day workshops can be condensed to a half day -or- half day workshops can be expanded to a full day based on the needs of the client

The Policy Cycle

Dynamics of Public Policy Development and Basics of Public Policy are orientation workshops that provides public servants with an introduction to public policy making.

The Dynamics of Public Policy Development workshop ensures that public servants understand the structure of government and the principles of the Westminster System.  Further, facilitators will discuss the role of the elected and the role of the public servant (half day workshop).

The Basics of Public Policy workshop is designed to introduce public servants to where policy direction comes from in the context of the policy cycle.  We will walk through the policy cycle in a way that will provide claritt on what makes and how to drive implementing good policy.  The workshop also focuses on providing a tool box of policy options that can be used to meet any policy need and exposes participants to assessing which policy tool(s) are most likely to work in a given situation. Being well-versed in the policy cycle and policy tools will be the foundation to navigate how to make an impact as a public servant (full day workshop).

The Collaborative Policy Management workshop examines various components of collaborative policy making, including skills, knowledge and strategies to develop collaborative solutions to complex public policy issues and manage collaborative partnerships. This workshop provides public servants with an introduction to developing policy through consensus-driven dialogue and participatory practices. It explores various strategies that may be used to craft solutions in both planning and implementation.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be familiar with different approaches to collaborative policy making;
  2. Understand how and why to get the public to participate in a collaborative process; and,
  3. 3) Be able to manage in a collaborative, networked environment.

This workshop focuses on the work necessary to understand root causes of public issues, from the perspective of the client (or the patient, citizen, student, etc). Facilitators will discuss how necessary it is to truly understand the needs of those we serve and how public servants can approach policy development when focused on the citizen.

Public engagement is the cornerstone of good public policy development. Interacting with citizens to help define problems and co‐design solutions is another aspect of an engaged democracy. Public policy processes are increasingly characterized by complexity with the methods used to facilitate participation shifting dramatically. As our system of democracy evolves, public sector leaders will be responsible for developing alternative participation methods to encourage people to be more involved.

This workshop provides an in‐depth look at the concept of public engagement and the emerging smart practices of participation including how these initiatives need to go beyond information gathering.
Learners will become familiar with the principles of public engagement and the impact of social media and other web‐based platforms. Participants will also be supplied with a toolbox of participation methods including the instruments’ strengths and weaknesses. Using a case study approach, this intensive session will challenge learners to understand how to design effective engagement practices, and the consequences of ignoring public involvement in defining the problem and identifying solutions

This one-day public workshop will provide an overview of the historical events and policies that have shaped the current relationship between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people in Canada. The workshop will highlight how this historical context plays a role in the Calls to Action highlighted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The workshop will also examine current Indigenous policy and review engagement strategies and relationshipbuilding tools that public servants can use with Indigenous communities.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand how historical events, policies and current legislation have shaped the current social, health, and education inequalities for many Indigenous people;
  2. Be familiar with relationship-building tools and engagement strategies; and,
  3. Have the background knowledge necessary to initiate the implementation of selected TRC Calls to Action.

This workshop focuses on the budgeting systems, player and their roles in a public sector setting. Participants will also understand how finances impact policy development.  Facilitators will discuss managing budget allocations and assist participants with financial literacy.

The Comparative Public Policy workshop provides participants with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to conduct comparative analysis. Due to globalization and communication growth, the comparative approach is even more accessible and relevant. This session will provide participants with an understanding of why it is useful to compare cross-national and cross-provincial public policies and how to do so.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand why comparing policies will aid in the understanding of your own policies;
  2. Know where to start and what questions to ask to extract lessons from studying other policies and programs;
  3. Be aware of the main challenges and appropriate methods for choosing better jurisdictions within Canada and abroad to study; and,
  4. Know how comparative analysis may be used to draw lessons to find, fine-tune, and present resourceful policy options to decision-makers.

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the idea of business case analysis in the public sector, including problem definition, development of alternatives, cost/benefit analysis, risk assessment and the development of recommendations.

The Legislative Processes workshop will describe how policy becomes legislation and what choices are available prior to introducing draft legislation in the Assembly for debate and decision. It will also discuss the legislative process and the scope of amendments and the regulative process. Facilitators will also discuss examples of various approaches to legislation and focus on how this should
be considered when public servants work on public policy development.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Better understand how laws are made in the Legislative Assembly;
  2. Appreciate the process and consideration for translating public policy into law;
  3. Better understand what material is required by Ministers and Members when they prepare and present legislation for consideration; and,
  4. Appreciate the nuances of the legislative processes.

This workshop focuses on working with public servants to understand and be prepared to implement all the the options that are put forward and the implications of that concept when researching and developing options. This session also spends time on issues of change management and addressing benchmarks and measurement criteria.

The Working with Public Sector Boards workshop will examine the unique circumstances that exist for public servants who regularly interact with agencies governed by their own boards. Discussions will focus on understanding the governance structure of agencies, the relationship between agencies and executive government, and how public servants can best support these agencies.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand why governments establish boards and the roles and responsibilities of public servants and ministries;
  2. Understand the need to align government objectives with agency goals;
  3. Understand how public policy is motivated and designed within government and the impact on board oversight; and,
  4. Understand the accountability mechanisms governments use to guide the work of agencies and measure agencies’ performance.

The Program Measurement, Review and Evaluation workshop provides public servants with an introduction to monitoring and reviewing government programs and discusses the principles and purposes of program evaluation. The workshop familiarizes participants with the main approaches to program review and discusses how program success may be measured.

Topics to be covered in the workshop include use of logic models in program measurement and review, distinguishing goals of programs, focusing on outcomes, understanding merit and worth of programs and distinguishing program efficiency and program effectiveness, performance management, benchmarking, and program review and evaluation design. The workshop demonstrates how program measurement, review and evaluation are used to improve program outcomes and enable the program to meet its targets and achieve its purposes. Participants will be asked to contribute to
discussions, partake in several applied exercises, and learn how to comprehend evaluation reports, interpret findings, and design an evaluation plan.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be familiar with the value and uses of program measurement, as well as the key concepts;
  2. Be able to apply different approaches to develop program measurement, review and evaluation frameworks;
  3. Be familiar with processes within the Government of Saskatchewan; and,
  4. Be able to apply a basic methodological approach to create and use logic models.

The Effective Communications in Government workshop will familiarize participants with different types of government documents including the key components, structure and communication styles. Participants will learn about the general rules of writing for government documents, how to structure and write for different documents including briefing notes, information items and
decision items and review the importance of stating the ‘why’ in enabling decisions to be made.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand the importance of effective communications in government;
  2. Know the functions of different written communication instruments and how to use them effectively; and,
  3. Have improved communications skills that can be used in any format including verbal communication.

The service of the public requires a commitment to adhere to general values to work in good faith and carry oneself in a professional manner. This requires diligence to many policies such as privacy, anti-harassment, conflict of interest, protocols and fraud. However, the concept of ethics goes deeper than this. The Public Service Ethics workshop will examine the concept of “the public trust” and the role that individual public servants and the leaders have as caretakers of the public trust. The workshop will explore the role that organizational culture plays in maintaining a positive environment and the impact of culture on individual choices and behaviour. This workshop will engage participants in a series of interactive discussions and exercises.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be familiar with ways to establish and sustain interpersonal and public trust;
  2. Understand how to play a leadership role in shaping ethics, serving as a role model, and demonstrating integrity; and,
  3. Understand the role of trust, competence and courage in ethical leadership in public service.

The Innovation workshop begins by defining innovation and examining types of innovation. The workshop will examine the different types of innovation as well as the compelling reasons for governments to emphasize and encourage innovation in services and programs. Participants will explore the unique challenges that government innovators are faced with and consider
different approaches to address these challenges. The emphasis will be on execution as the focus to increase the odds of success in a field that experiences a high failure rate; learning from failures and managing change are important components to consider for public servants striving for innovation.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand the compelling forces that are driving the public sector to an innovation agenda;
  2. Identify the key predictors of a implementing a successful innovation strategy; and,
  3. Be able to apply a planning process that is appropriate for your context and resources.

Senior Management Development Series in Public Administration

In 2014, the JSGS launched the Senior Management Development Series in Public Administration as a series of five one-day workshops aimed at public servants in the manager level looking to progress to more senior roles within government. This program takes a single cohort of up to 25 individuals through a program of five workshops, with the intention of providing skills and knowledge for senior public administrators to perform leadership roles within their organizations.

Workshop 1 - Public Goods in Theory and Practice

In this workshop participants learn about the qualities of public goods that set them apart from private goods and lead inevitably to a process of collective decision-making. These unique qualities demand decision-making structures centered on community values and a separation of roles between decision-makers and managers that is unique to public institutions. Participants learn about the basis of accountability in the public sector and public service impartiality and independence, and they examine a model of decision-making that applies comprehensively in all types of public organizations.

Workshop 2 - Informing the Decision-Making Process and Strategic Planning

In this workshop participants learn about the responsibility of managers to provide useful information to the decision-making process and the role of evidence-based policy analysis in supporting decisions in government. The workshop discusses the roles of social monitoring, forecasting and enviromental scanning, and how to develop meaningful and useful policy alternatives and program options. Also discussed are the elements of strategic planning and their roles in ensuring a full understanding of goals and objectives, as well as the roles that programs and policies play in supporting those objectives.

Workshop 3 - Designing and Implementing Programs and Policies

This workshop discusses how to use tools such as program logic models to understand the objectives of programs and policies and to design and implement effective programs that meet public needs and adhere to directions from decision-makers. It also includes discussion on designing, implementing and monitoring programs and policies to ensure maximum effectiveness. Participants will learn how to get clear direction from the process and how to interpret and implement decisions. The workshop will also discuss the roles and responsibilities of decision-makers and program managers and how to know their limitations.

Workshop 4 - Accountability in Public Institutions

Participants in this workshop will learn the importance of accountability frameworks in public institutions. This workshop includes discussion on public reporting, annual reports, program and policy reviews, and program and policy evaluation. The workshop also covers the importance of, and differences between, efficiency and effectiveness in programs and policies.

Workshop 5 - Application of the Model - The Budget Process

In this workshop participants see how the model of government discussed in the previous four workshops is applied in the budget process. It also examines alternative budgeting systems, the roles and responsibilities of various players in the budget process, and how budget decisions are made in the public sector. Participants will examine the phases of the budget process, including strategic planning and decision-making, budget implementation and financial managment, and budget reporting, accountability and evaluation.

Government of Saskatchewan Workshops

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy has worked with the Government of Saskatchewan since 2008 to deliver many training initiatives, including the Policy Workshop Series.  These sessions have specific eligibility requirements for Government of Saskatchewan employees only.

Other Options

The JSGS has enjoyed the opportunity to partner with others to organize workshops on important policy issues. For example, in partnership with the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre, we have developed and offered the following public workshops:

  • Foundations of Aboriginal Policy Development; and,
  • Children as Citizens: The Child Welfare System and Indigenous Peoples.

We are also pleased to work with organizations to create workshop options that address their unique public policy and public administration learning needs. The JSGS will work with your organization to tailor existing workshops to develop a unique program. 

Contact Us

For more information on the above executive education options, please contact: