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 typically one day and 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.

Dynamics of Public Policy Development is an orientation workshop that provides public servants with an introduction to public policy making.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Appreciate the unique role of government in the production of public goods;
  2. Recognize how the role of government affects the policy process, the role of the elected, and the role of public servants;
  3. Understand the structure of government and the principles of the Westminster System; and,
  4. Know how to best provide policy advice.

The Policy Tools for Government workshop focuses on providing a tool box of policy options that can be used to meet any policy needs and teaches participants how to assess which policy tools are most likely to work in which situation.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be able to identify the objectives of policy;
  2. Understand a number of alternative mechanisms to achieve policy objectives; and,
  3. Be able to evaluate policy alternatives and make recommendations on those most likely to be effective.

The Effective Written Communications in Government workshop familiarizes participants with different types of government documents and discusses their key components, structure, and communication styles.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand the importance of effective written communications in government;
  2. Know the functions of different written communication instruments and how to use them effectively;
  3. Have improved communications skills that can be used in any format; and,
  4. Understand why writing is often unclear and how we can be clear.

The Social Media in the Public Sector workshop examines the instruments, applications, and purposes of social media in the public sector context.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be familiar with key social media and Government 2.0 concepts;
  2. Have a general knowledge of different social media instruments, applications, and purposes;
  3. Understand some of the key social media challenges facing the Saskatchewan public sector;
  4. Be able to assess when and where digital tools will advance public sector goals and priorities; and,
  5. Be able to apply provincial best practices in social media.

The Collaborative Policy Management workshop examines the skills, knowledge and strategies used to develop collaborative solutions to complex public policy issues and teaches participants how to manage collaborative partnerships.

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. Be able to implement strategies to include key actors in collaborative policy development and to manage in a collaborative, networked environment.

Having adequate data to ensure well-informed policy analysis is crucial for today's public servants. The Research and Policy Analysis workshop explores how to find the quantitative and qualitative data needed, how to select appropriate data, and how to best present the data collected.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand arguments for “evidence-informed policy”;
  2. Appreciate how the practice of utilizing research evidence in the policy development process is affected by the real world of policy development, which is often resource constrained and time sensitive;
  3. Be able to identify general strengths and limitations of dominant research methodologies as they relate to public policy; and,
  4. Be able to more effectively evaluate the methods, claims and arguments made by researchers and others.

Preparing Briefing Notes provides participants with an introduction to writing effective briefing materials. Participants will learn how to target the information according to the intended audience, how to structure and write an informational briefing note, and how to communicate effectively in providing advice.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand the types of briefing notes and their purposes and functions;
  2. Be able to identify the key components of briefing notes;
  3. Be able to effectively organize information within a briefing note format;
  4. Be able to communicate complex ideas and information more effectively; and,
  5. Be able to prepare briefing notes that are more useful for their audience.

Preparing Better Cabinet Decision Items is designed to provide Saskatchewan public servants with the knowledge and skills to prepare superior Cabinet decision documents. The workshop will review the decision-making context in which these documents are used to better understand their function and ultimate purpose - that is, to help Cabinet make decisions.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Have an appreciation for the use of Cabinet decision documents through an understanding of the Cabinet decision-making process;
  2. Be able to analyze the components that make up Cabinet decision documents including their individual and collective purposes and functions; and,
  3. Have the skills to write effective Cabinet decision documents.

The Comparative Public Policy workshop provides participants with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to conduct comparative analysis. 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. Be familiar with the terminology and core concepts in comparative public policy;
  2. Understand the main challenges and appropriate methods for choosing pertinent case studies within Canada and abroad; and,
  3. Know how comparative analysis may be used to find, fine-tune, and funnel pioneering and resourceful policy options to decision-makers.

The Legislative Processes workshop describes how policy becomes legislation and what choices are available in order to introduce the resulting draft legislation in the Assembly for debate and decision. The workshop will also discuss enactment and promulgation when an Act is agreed to by the Assembly.

By the end of the 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 in a parliamentary setting; and,
  4. Appreciate the nuances of the legislative processes in a parliamentary setting.

The Strategic and Operational Planning workshop examines how the complexity of policy goals and objectives in public institutions requires a systematic approach to planning in management.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand the fundamental elements of strategic planning and operational planning;
  2. Be familiar with different models of planning and how they are used for different purposes;
  3. Understand how different types of plans co-exist within an organization; and,
  4. Know how and why one constructs a plan. 

The Evaluation workshop provides Saskatchewan public servants with an introduction to monitoring and evaluating government programs. The workshop familiarizes participants with the main approaches to program evaluation and discusses how program success may be measured.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

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

Please note: Evaluation includes a section on Logic Models, which can also be presented as a separate workshop.

Public servants negotiate both within the bureaucracy and with the general public, over matters as diverse as the adoption and implementation of public policy, intergovernmental affairs, supply contracts, labour issues, and of course, budgets. The Negotiation workshop provides an opportunity to think systematically about how we negotiate and to experiment with our bargaining skills in a non-threatening context.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be able to apply a methodology for analyzing negotiation problems;
  2. Be able to identify factors for choosing appropriate bargaining strategies and tactics;
  3. Have improved communication, negotiation and problem-solving effectiveness;
  4. Understand systematic ways of conducting competitive and cooperative negotiation;
  5. Be able to evaluate negotiation performance; and,
  6. Have more self-confidence so that negotiations are fun, not dreaded.

The Policy Planning Cycles workshop describes the government planning cycle, the individual activities within the cycle, and how the individual activities interact with each other. The workshop will also discuss the role of the policy analyst, senior management, and the elected government within the cycle.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Have insight into the dynamics of the government planning cycle;
  2. Understand the details of planning cycle activities, including strategic planning, budget planning, and annual reporting, within the context of the legislative cycle;
  3. Be able to plan within the complexities and overlap of cycles; and,
  4. Understand the role of the public service and the elected government in each of the cycles.

The Budgeting and Financial Management workshop provides participants with an understanding of different types of budgeting systems that governments use and the roles of different decision‐making bodies in setting government budgets.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be able to contribute to budget decisions in public sector organizations;
  2. Understand how to manage a budget allocation effectively; and,
  3. Know how use budget processes and adjustment processes to maintain effective programs in government.

Public servants are often called upon to provide information, based on their professional and technical expertise, to senior and elected officials who have limited background in these areas. The Conducting Technical Briefings workshop provides a practical guide to conducting technical briefings for senior officials.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Be familiar with the roles of senior officials and politicians;
  2. Understand how technical information assists management and decision-making;
  3. Understand the roles of technical advisors in these processes; and,
  4. Be able to more effectively use communication tools to reach a variety of audiences.

The Conducting Verbal Briefings workshop provides participants with a practical guide to verbally briefing senior officials.

Be the end of this workshop, participants will:

  1. Understand the different roles within a ministry;
  2. Know the basic principles and steps in verbal briefings;
  3. Be able to give more effective verbal briefings; and,
  4. Understand the methods available for presenting technical information.

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.

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: