In addition to the above challenges, the public service is facing its own well-known demographic crisis. It has more employees over 45 than under, and is facing the imminent retirement of a generation of employees. Government must renew its workforce quickly at a time when a strong labour market creates tough competition from all sectors for the top graduates of universities and colleges. What the government must do is create a public service that can effectively advise ministers and deliver programs but will also be more creative in its thinking, efficient in its work processes, effective in risk management, and fully accountable for its performance.

In order to meet growing expectations the public service of Saskatchewan will need to have a strong plan for recruitment, strong leadership and a commitment to developing talent within a clear regime for human resource development. What is also needed is to invest in the pool of leaders that will ensure strong guidance is in place as well as having the right skills and the required specialized expertise in the workforce to meet the many contingencies. The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) is pleased to offer Saskatchewan public servants the Policy Workshop Series to help the Government of Saskatchewan meet these objectives.

Target Audience

The target audience for new participants entering the Policy Workshop Series is Government of Saskatchewan employees who are directly involved in various aspects of development and implementation of public policy or who manage and provide oversight of the policy process. Typically, this employee cohort would consist of permanent employees at or above (in-scope) level 8 or (out-ofscope) MCP06. Once an employee has completed six workshops, they receive a Policy Workshop Series Certificate of Completion from the PSC and JSGS. Starting in the fall of 2017, JSGS will be introducing half day workshops as well as full day workshops. Two half day workshops will equal one full day workshop for the purpos of ascertaining whether an individual has attended enough sessions to be eligible for a Certificate (6 workshops).


Public servants must complete the Dynamics of Public Policy Development (half day) and the Basics of Public Policy (full day) introductory workshops prior to attending any other workshops. Public servants who have completed a Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Public Policy (MPP), or GSPP or JSGS 801: Governance and Administration are exempt from this workshop prerequisite.

Winter 2018 Schedule

JSGS is pleased to offer the following Policy Workshops in the Winter of 2018.

The Policy Cycle

Cabinet Decision Items (CDIs) are the single most important decision-making tool used by cabinet governments. The ABCs of CDIs is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to better prepare these documents. The workshop covers a number of areas: the function and purpose of the CDI, the organizational format, and the importance of getting the recommendation written properly. You will leave with practical tips and guidelines to help you prepare and write better quality CDIs in the future.

By the end of this workshop, you will

  1. appreciate who your audience is
  2. know the attributes of good Cabinet Decision Items
  3. apply tips and techniques to write better Cabinet Decision Items
  4. understand what to include when briefing verbally

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 is 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, you will

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

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 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, you 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
  3. understand the role of trust, competence and courage in ethical leadership in public service

Writing a briefing note can be considered an art. It is not just a cut and dry writing exercise. The Art of the Briefing Note provides Saskatchewan public servants with a number of points to consider in writing better briefing notes. The workshop covers a number of areas: your audience and what their needs are; the why, how and when of using briefing notes; as well as writing tips to communicate effectively. You will also get a chance to gain experience through practical exercises, including giving a verbal briefing.

By the end of this workshop, you will

  1. appreciate who your audience is
  2. know the attributes of good briefing notes
  3. apply tips and techniques to write better briefing notes
  4. understand what to include in a verbal briefing

The Program Measurement and Evaluation workshop provides participants 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, you 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 public sector in Saskatchewan
  4. be able to apply a basic methodological approach to create and use logic models

Do you think business case analysis is only useful in private industry? Think again! In Business Case Analysis, you will be introduced to the idea of business case analysis in the public sector, including problem definition, development of alternatives, cost-effectiveness analysis, risk assessment and the development of recommendations. We will discuss the theory underpinning business case analysis and review public sector examples to demonstrate how this approach can be useful in the public sector.

By the end of this workshop, you will

  1. understand how to approach a public sector business case analysis
  2. gain experience by participating in hands-on examples of case analysis
  3. appreciate the value of business case analysis as a method of program and initiative development

Do you want to know how to use policy tools to nudge citizens towards positive outcomes? Choosing Policy Tools: The Economics of Nudging provides a deeper understanding of the various policy tools introduced in Basics of Public Administration. You will gain insight into the exact mechanisms that allow each policy tool to work, the advantages and disadvantages of each tool, as well as
how to select effective policy tools to respond to public policy needs. We will also explore how to identify policy response options for decision makers.

By the end of this workshop, you will

  1. identify the objectives of policies
  2. understand a number of alternative mechanisms to achieve policy objectives
  3. evaluate policy alternatives and make recommendations on those most likely to be effective

Budget is the universal language between all areas of government. The Budget Process and Financial Literacy workshop will increase your fluency in public sector budgeting and financial management in the Government of Saskatchewan. This workshop will provide you with an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of various players in the budget process and how budget decisions are made in the public sector. We will examine the phases of the budget process, including strategic planning and decisionmaking; budget implementation; financial management;
and budget reporting, accountability, and evaluation.

By the end of this workshop, you will

  1. understand the role that financial considerations play in formulating policy and in program management
  2. examine the financial planning cycles of government and the elements of sound financial planning and management in public sector entities
  3. gain understanding of financial decision-making processes and elements of financial and program accountability within the context of public decision-making processes

You have already defined and researched the problem, analyzed the potential solutions, chosen criteria to evaluate the options and recommended a course of action. Now comes the easy part - right? Wrong! The number one reason that policy fails is that not enough time and focus is given to implementation. The best policy on paper will not deliver outcomes if it is poorly implemented. On the flip side, even poorly developed policy can succeed if implemented well. The key to achieving outcomes is being able to implement the approved decision successfully. This workshop will focus
on the key areas to successful policy implementation.

By the end of this workshop, you will

  1. describe the importance of planning ahead for implementation, it doesn’t just happen
  2. seek to dedicate time to proper implementation
  3. pursue the involvement of those who will be implementing suring the planning phase
  4. plan to allocate appropriate resources to achieve the desired result
  5. be prepared to develop your communications strategy for each group involved

Serving citizens is at the core of the public service and the principles of citizen-centred service are contained in the core values of the Saskatchewan Public Service Commitment to Excellence. But what is citizen-centred service really about? It is more than paying lip service to citizen engagement. It requires going beyond public consultation that can be more about selling a product than
designing it. True citizen-centred service is about engaging the public early and often as programs are designed and policies are implemented. But how do we do that in meaningful ways?

By the end of this workshop, you will

  1. identify the essential elements of citizen-centred service
  2. differentiate between various models of engaging citizens in program and policy design
  3. evaluate when to use citizen engagement and when to avoid it
  4. determine when and how to introduce your agency’s interests into the process and how to balance them with citizen’s needs
  5. select strategies for communicating the results of citizencentred processes


The registration process for the Policy Workshop Series ensures that participants are able to achieve a Certificate of Completion by completing six workshops within two to three years of attending the pre-requisite workshops, Dynamics of Public Policy Development (half day) and Basics of Public Policy (full day). Registration will be accepted online only using the Government of Saskatchewan Learn system on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the priorities and dates listed below. No exceptions will be made to these dates and times.

New participants will not be accepted in the Winter 2018 semester. Typically, new program participants from each Ministry are nominated by their supervisor(s) and registered in the pre-requisite workshop, Dynamics of Public Policy Development (half day) and Basics of Public Policy (full day). The number of seats available for new participants is based on the size of each Ministry.

In November 2017, all existing participants of the Policy Workshop Series will be contacted via email by the PSC, outlining the number of courses they have yet to complete for certification and the registration procedures. They must use the Government of Saskatchewan Learn system to register online for courses on a priority basis, as outlined below.

Priority 1: Existing participants with one or two Policy Workshops remaining to complete a Certificate

  • Registration for Priority 1 will open in Learn at 1:00 pm on November 16, 2017 and close at 3:00 pm on November 17, 2017.
  • Priority 1 includes employees with one or two days of workshops left to complete the Certificate.
  • The advanced registration period for Priority 1 provides an opportunity for students nearing certification to complete their classes and access their preferred workshops. By allowing those close to completion the opportunity to achieve their Certificate, we also create greater capacity for bringing new students into the program.

Priority 2: Existing participants with three or more Policy Workshops remaining to complete a Certificate

  • Registration for Priority 2 will open in Learn at 1:00 pm on November 20, 2017 and close at 3:00 pm on November 21, 2017.
  • Priority 2 includes employees who have three or more days of workshops left to complete the Certificate.

Priority 3: Existing participants who have completed six or more Policy Workshops

  • Registration for Priority 3 will open in Learn at 1:00 pm on November 22, 2017.
  • Currently there are more than 500 employees who have completed the six workshops necessary for a Certificate.
  • While these employees may have completed what is required, there may be situations where employees may benefit from additional exposure to the Policy Workshop Series.
  • Although these learners are not a current priority for the Series, they may still be eligible to participate in workshops, subject to availability, after the other two priority groups have registered.

Participants should ensure that their Learn account is active, that they remember their username and password, and that the supervisor listed in their Learn account is correct.

Participants must ensure they check Learn regularly for their registration status. Participants are not considered registered until they receive confirmation.

If you have questions about how to use the Learn system or how to register for the Winter 2018 Policy Workshop Series, please contact the Learn Help Desk by email at or by phone at 306-798-2344.

  • Registration for the Policy Workshop Series is only accepted online using the Government of Saskatchewan Learn system.
  • Each session is filled to capacity on a first-come, first-serve basis, based on the three priorities registration groups.
  • There will be 30 participants in each workshop; with 21 spots held for eligible employees from Executive Government (the other 9 spots per workshop are held for eligible Treasury Board Crown employees).
  • There is no charge to participants. These sessions are funded through a partnership agreement between the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and the Government of Saskatchewan.
  • Confirmations will be sent once registrations are processed, and due to high volumes of registrations, confirmations can sometimes take several days. If registrants did not receive an email confirmation, they should not assume that they are registered.
  • Cancellations must be received 1 full business day before the beginning of each Policy Workshop or a cancellation fee of $100.00 will be applied. Please log into Learn and cancel your attendance as soon as possible, even if you are just on the waitlist.
  • If participants do cancel, we will find an alternate from the waitlist. In the event that the waitlist is exhausted, we will consider a substitution.
  • When there are multiple offerings for a Policy Workshop, registrants are to indicate the dates they are available to attend, and we will register them accordingly.
  • If an individual is registered for an offering of a Policy Workshop and is no longer able to attend, he/she is required to withdraw from that workshop. Due to large waitlist numbers, switching workshop offerings with other participants cannot be accommodated.
  • We accept completion of a Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree as an exception to the pre-requisite requirement, whether the degree was completed through JSGS or another recognized graduate-level policy school. We also consider completion of the individual, equivalent class, JSGS 801: Governance and Administration. If you have completed this class or an MPA or MPP degree, please indicate this on your online registration form, and we will confirm completion by accessing your academic records.
  • There may be a photographer present at one or more events. Photos taken at these events may be used for promotional purposes. Should you not wish to be photographed, it is your responsibility to identify yourself to our photographer and staff at the event.

Certificates of Completion

The Public Service Commission of Saskatchewan and JSGS are pleased to present Certificates of Completion to individuals that complete six (or more) Policy Workshops. The completion of at least six Policy Workshops provides public servants with a solid foundation of understanding and skills in public sector policy and administration. Two half day workshops will equal one full day workshop for the purposes of ascertaining whether an individual has attended enough sessions to be eligible for a Certificate.

JSGS monitors Policy Workshop attendance and distributes Certificates each year at a recognition event. The yearly distribution of Certificates is based on workshops attended prior to March 31 of each year. More than 500 individuals have received Certificates of Completion since 2008.

Contact Us

Jamie Mayor-Bauche
Program Coordinator, Executive Education
Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

Location and Mailing Address

Physical Address: 110-2 Research Drive, Innovation Place, Regina  SK, Canada  S4S 0A2
Mailing Address: University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK, Canada  S4S 0A2