Offered jointly by the Public Policy Forum and the Telfer School of Managementthe Public Policy Leadership Program (PPLP) is for practicing policy professionals interested in expanding their capacity to navigate the complexities of contemporary government policy development and provide breakthrough policy responses using team leadership, engagement and collaboration. Telfer and PPF have joined forces and leveraged our individual strengths to enhance your understanding of current and emerging policy challenges while developing the leadership skills needed to be effective in an increasingly complex government system.

This program is one-of-a-kind, designed to address an identified gap in learning opportunities for the policy community, with our unique cross-disciplinary approach, integrating personal leadership development with an advanced and applied exploration of domestic and global policy issues.  Graduates of this program will form a stronger network of policy leaders that can address the complex issues facing modern governments.

This eight-day program features two Ottawa-based three-day in-class learning sessions, supplemented by a two-day field visit and real-time peer coaching. Throughout the program you will have time to collaborate with other participants on a public policy leadership challenge that you bring to the program. Invited public policy leaders, Public Policy Forum staff and Fellows, and Telfer faculty will bridge theory and practice, providing practical options to follow in advancing current challenges.

Read the prospectus


Public policy professionals in supervisory or management roles (EX minus 1 & EX-1 or equivalent) who are mid-career and looking to grow and refine your leadership skills to step up to the next level of your career path.  You are intending to deepen your understanding of how to lead groups and teams in a complex public policy environment, while navigating the policy development process.

We welcome participants from all levels of government: federal, provincial, and municipal.


The Public Policy Leadership Program is designed to specifically address the needs and questions of current and emerging public policy leaders.  Our team is focused on working with you to explore following themes:

  • Policy Futures: Taking a strategic look at emergent policy issues in the ever-changing context of government goals, advancements in technology, communications, and relations with the public.
  • Crafting Policy in the Face of Complexity: Navigating different types of policy development, and developing judgment and resilience.
  • Stakeholder Relationships: Knowing when, how, and why to engage stakeholders, and exploring the spectrum of engagement possibilities, from consultation to collaboration, and effective leadership in the context of complex, multi-stakeholder environments
  • Personal Leadership Effectiveness: Identifying strengths and improving skills which are central to policy leadership, including communicating and working with Ministers and their teams, and advancing the policy agenda through effective leadership of departmental, interdepartmental and cross-functional teams.


This highly experiential program is designed with the principles of adult learning in mind, focusing on rich discussion, interactive exercises, and applicable, hands-on learning. In accordance with these principles, we have incorporated the following program highlights to maximize your learning experience:

1. Bright Spot Visits

The second module of the program will be a 2-day field visit to experience first-hand a living case study of policy in practice. Participants will be visiting a Canadian site outside of the NCR (Montreal or the Greater Toronto Area; exact location to be determined) where they will have the opportunity to learn directly from organizations and leaders who have implemented successful policy initiatives or are making meaningful progress as they navigate a complex policy challenge.  You will have the opportunity to ask questions and gather knowledge about what works, what doesn’t and what can be learned along the way.  The 2-day experience will consist of plenary group discussions, small group breakout sessions, interviews with key leaders, and debrief sessions led by program facilitators.

2. Peer Coaching Circles

Peer coaching circles will support the practical application of learning between sessions. Participants will be placed in groups of 3-4 people for the duration of the program and asked to self-organize and support each other through this learning experience. You will set your own individual learning objectives after each module and the coaching circles will be opportunities to share these objectives, get advice from peers, and be accountable to your own progress in this leadership development journey.

3. Content + Process

Each module will feature a balance of both content (i.e. policy topics) and process (i.e. leadership concepts), meaning that participants will be discussing and exploring current policy issues while acquiring leadership frameworks and tools to navigate these complex issues. Each discussion and learning session around policy will be complemented with a discussion of the leadership implications for you as an individual as well as within your team and organization.

4. High Calibre Guest Speakers & Panels

Learning sessions will be complemented with invited guests who bring a wealth of policy experience to discussions. Participants will have the opportunity to hear their stories, learn from the policy dilemmas they have faced over the years, and ask questions in an intimate setting.


A dynamic, integrated, learning experience: The program will cover these and other topics in an inter-disciplinary, integrated way, with each session building on the next.

Applied, practical learning:  We ask that you bring a current, ongoing, and challenging project to use for small group discussions and to apply models and concepts during the program.

Customized sessions:  We will work together to explore concepts, practice new skills, and learn from “real life” experiences through field visits and sessions with selected guests.

Connections to highly respected resources:  Program leads, guest speakers, and Fellows will be experienced executives and policy experts offering their leadership insights.  

Membership in a vibrant professional community: You will have the opportunity to engage with an exciting and diverse group of faculty and co-learners working on dynamic questions and real-world leadership challenges. Peer coaching circles will support the practical application of learning between sessions.

For more information

Contact: Jonathan Perron-Clow

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