Our Facilitators

The JSGS Executive Education Policy Workshops Series is facilitated by JSGS Executives-in-Residence who are accomplished and experienced former senior public servants. Having them deliver training to current public servants allows for institutional knowledge transfer—creating efficiencies and improving productivity. It’s more than just theory—our facilitators use actual examples that public servants can relate to and learn from.

L-R (top-bottom): Ken Acton, Jennifer Ehrmantraut, Kevin Fenwick, Dan Florizone, Louise Greenberg, Jerome Konecsni, Jim Marshall and Doug Moen.

Ken Acton Jennifer Ehrmantraut Kevin Fenwick Dan Florizone
Louise Greenberg Jerome Konecsni Jim Marshall Doug Moen

Workshop Offerings

Our curriculum has been developed, reviewed and tested by leading scholars and experienced practitioners and delivered 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.

Workshop formats:

  1. Private offering - Private offerings are delivered on a contract-basis with a government ministry and/or non-government organization. In these cases, the workshop content is tailored to suite the experience and academic backgrounds of the participants. 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.
  2. Public offering -  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. 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 topics include:

The Role of the Public Servant, Dynamics of Public Policy Development and Basics of Public Policy are orientation workshops that provide public servants with an introduction to public policy making.

The unique role of government has a significant impact on the structure and function of government ministries and crowns. The Role of the Public Servant provides an interactive introduction to that unique role and its influence on the processes of decision making and accountability in the public sector. It also presents practical tools to use when engaging in policy design and implementation. You will explore challenges to creating good policy in today’s complex context and discuss some ways to address these challenges (full day workshop).

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. You will examine the policy cycle in a way that will provide clarity on what makes, and how to implement, 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 Development workshop examines various components of collaborative policy making, including skills, knowledge and strategies to develop collaborative solutions to complex public policy issues and to 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, you 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. manage in a collaborative, networked environment.

Data has become a huge commodity across the world. It really is pieces of captured information. It can be used as fuel for change based on the analytics that are used. Data has value and knows no social norms or organizational boundaries. Every second data is being collected on all of us - from the grocery store, the internet, the gas station, our Fitbit, the ATM, Facebook, the medical lab, our favourite charity, online shopping, to the library. We have access to so much data in government; how and where do we start to use it to make better policy and informed decisions, especially as we face financial and social challenges in government? What problems are we trying to solve in analyzing the data? How can you make better policy and informed decisions? Analyzing data for the sake of analyzing is not the solution. There are also ethical issues to be considered in gathering and analyzing data. This includes privacy; manipulating data; use of data for purposes other than what it was collected for, and open data.

By the end of this workshop, you will:

  1. be familiar with basic information on big data and analytics;
  2. identify opportunities and challenges in data analytics; and,
  3. recognize possibilities to innovate, shift our thinking and use different tools to create better policy and informed decisions.

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; and,
  5. select strategies for communicating the results of citizen-centred processes.

In times of major crisis public servants and elected officials must pull together to coordinate an extensive management effort with little or no notice. Often this means working across large geographical areas and coordinating with multiple government ministries and agencies as well as stakeholders, citizens and private organizations. This workshop explores the unique challenges and exceptional skill sets that come to bear at times of crisis. You will explore what it takes to respond to a disaster and other large scale crisis, as well as how these strategies and skills are relevant to the varied challenges faced by public servants on a regular basis.

By the end of this workshop, you will:

  1. describe the unique factors that are in play at a time of crisis;
  2. identify strategies for responding to crisis in a timely and effective manner; and,
  3. apply the skills necessary for large scale crisis response in other challenging circumstances.

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.

The Leading Engagement 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. You will become familiar with the principles of public engagement and the impact of social media and other web‐based platforms. You 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 you 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 provides 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 highlights how this historical context plays a role in the Calls to Action highlighted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The workshop also examines current Indigenous policy and review engagement strategies and relationship-building tools that public servants can use with Indigenous communities.

By the end of this workshop, you 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.

Budget is the universal language between all areas of government. The Budget Process and Financial Literacy workshop increases your fluency in public sector budgeting and financial management in the Government of Saskatchewan. This workshop provides 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 examine the phases of the budget process, including strategic planning and decision-making; 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 program management;
  2. examine the financial planning cycles of government and the elements of sound financial planning and management in public sector entities; and,
  3. gain understanding of financial decision-making processes and elements of financial and program accountability within the context of public decision-making processes

The Comparative Public Policy workshop provides you 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 you 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, you will:

  1. understand why comparing policies will aid in your 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.

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; and,
  3. appreciate the value of business case analysis as a method of program and initiative development.

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

By the end of this workshop, you 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.

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 focuses on the key areas to successful policy implementation.

By the end of this workshop, you will:

  1. understand 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 during the planning phase;
  4. plan to allocate appropriate resources to achieve the desired result; and,
  5. be prepared to develop your communications strategy for each group involved.

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 The Role of the Public Servant. You will gain insight into the exact mechanisms that allow each policy tool to work, the advantages and disadvantages of each tool, and how to select effective policy tools to respond to public policy needs. We also explore how to identify policy response options for governments.

By the end of this workshop, you will:

  1. be able to identify the objectives of policies;
  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 Working with Public Sector Boards workshop examines the unique circumstances that exist for public servants who regularly interact with agencies governed by their own boards. We 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, you 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 and Evaluation workshop provides public servants with an introduction to monitoring and reviewing government programs and discusses the principles and purposes of program evaluation. We will introduce you to the main approaches of program review and discuss how program success may be measured.

We will teach you how to use logic models in program measurement and review and how to distinguish the goals of programs, focusing on outcomes. We will discuss the merit and worth of programs and how to distinguish program efficiency and program effectiveness, performance management, benchmarking, and program review and evaluation design. We will show you how program measurement and evaluation are used to improve program outcomes and enable programs to meet targets and achieve its purposes. You 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. know 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. know processes within the Government of Saskatchewan; and,
  4. be able to apply a basic methodological approach to create and use logic models.

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 examines 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 explores the role that organizational culture plays in maintaining a positive environment and the impact of culture on individual choices and behaviour. You will take part 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; and,
  3. understand the role of trust, competence and courage in ethical leadership in public service.

The Effective Communications in Government workshop familiarizes participants with different types of government documents and discusses key components, structure, and communication styles. You will discuss the general rules of writing for government documents, learn how to structure and write 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, you 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.

Cabinet Decision Items (CDIs) are the single most important decision-making tool used by cabinet governments. The ABCs of the CDI workshop is designed to provide Saskatchewan public servants 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 CDIs; and,
  3. apply tips and techniques to write better CDIs.

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; and,
  3. apply tips and techniques to write better briefing notes.

The Innovation workshop begins by defining innovation and examining types of innovation. The workshop examines the different types of innovation as well as the compelling reasons for governments to emphasize and encourage innovation in services and programs. You will explore the unique challenges that government innovators are faced with and consider different approaches to address these challenges. We will focus on execution 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 a implementing a successful innovation strategy; and,
  3. be able to apply a planning process that is appropriate for your context and resources.

Do you possess the traits that make an innovator? Can you build those traits or gain tools to support innovation? Find out! While our first Innovation workshop focused on how to conduct organizational assessments and identify systems and cultures conducive to innovation, the Traits and Tools for Innovation workshop identifies four categories of skills, attitudes, and behaviours required by individuals so they may contribute to an organization’s capacity to innovate. You will explore specific strategies and tools for innovation. This workshop compliments our existing Innovation workshop and both those who have and have not attended the initial Innovation workshop are encouraged to attend.

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to identify skills,attitudes and behaviours that:
  1. turn ideas into strategies, capabilities, products and processes;
  2. facilitate creative problem solving and continuous improvement;
  3. enable assessment of risks and strategies to mitigate risks; and,
  4. build relationships and networks as resources necessary for successful innovation.

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. Starting in 2017, JSGS was pleased to work with several Treasury Board Crowns on policy workshops for their public servants. These sessions have specific eligibility requirements for Government of Saskatchewan employees only.

Senior Management Development Program in Public Administration

In 2014, the JSGS launched the Senior Management Development Program 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 five workshops, with the intention of providing skills and knowledge for senior public administrators to perform leadership roles within their organizations.

If your organization is interested in the program, please contact us for a custom proposal.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: