Picture of Alastair MacFadden

Alastair MacFadden M.A., B.Sc. Interim Director and Executive-in-Residence, U of S

Interim Director and Executive-in-Residence, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan campus; Associate Director, Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation Policy

Areas of Interest

  • Participative leadership and public engagement in government
  • Defining success, demonstrating value for money and measuring the things that count
  • Data analytics, and data leadership and governance
  • Human service impacts on mental health and well being
  • Behavioral economics and psychology
  • Intergovernmental collaboration, planning and negotiation

Before joining the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School as the interim Director of the University of Saskatchewan campus (2021) and as an Executive-in-Residence (2020), Alastair MacFadden served as the Deputy Minister of Immigration and Career Training (2018-20) and as Assistant Deputy Minister of Labour Market Development (2013-18) for the Government of Saskatchewan. These roles involved reconciling labour market agendas for Canadians and newcomers, negotiating investments in Saskatchewan workers and businesses, expanding the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program, working to improve student transitions into post-secondary institutions and into the workforce, and preparing the system—of training, education, immigration, employment and related services—to adapt to a changing economy and context. Alastair is inspired by the future and what could be. At intergovernmental tables, he advanced strategic agendas and plans while engaging in friendly competition and ensuring Saskatchewan’s labour market ranked among the best in Canada.

Alastair has a great desire to continuously improve and is excited by the process of learning. He is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan with degrees in biochemistry (B.Sc.), psychology (Hon. Cert) and brain and behavioral psychology (M.A.). He began his public service career in the non-profit sector working with youth and adults with disabilities and their families. This led to a variety of opportunities within the Government of Saskatchewan, where he steered efforts to document outcomes and value for money for taxpayers and decision makers. His career journey shaped a lifelong commitment to use data, visuals, metaphors and stories to advance public policy.

Alastair takes immense satisfaction in being busy and productive. His focus on achievement invited teams to prioritize and take action. While working with the Government of Saskatchewan, Alastair’s collaboration with community-based organizations supported the evolution of outcomes-based contracts for career and employment services for various target groups. The model was designed to empower community organizations by enabling them to launch innovative practices. His work with employers, industry groups, organized labour, post-secondary institutions and other ministries helped to inform the design and evaluation of labour market interventions at a provincial and pan-Canadian level. Activities included leading an inter-ministerial collaboration on data leadership and governance, and the design and launch of a national not-for-profit focused on collection, analysis and distribution of labour market information.

Alastair takes a strengths-based approach to his own career and his work with others, believing that the greatest gift is helping someone realize their own potential.