Faced with a global pandemic, governments throughout Canada responded in real-time to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), testing the resiliency of our government and public institutions. Government responses not only varied across the country between First Nation communities, municipalities, the provincial governments, and the federal government but also within their respective public services. Within a short amount of time, governments had to drive adequate public-health responses and respond with robust economic interventions to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihoods of Canadians. Due to the fast-moving pace of change, government institutions had to be quick, innovative and agile, often taking a collaborative and cooperative approach, which has led to many extraordinary governmental responses. This project seeks to embrace and recognize the approach taken by public servants in embracing uncertainty, learning from experimentation and innovation, and working collaboratively across different sectors and jurisdictions.


May to November 2020


The project seeks to find, capture and recognize the outstanding and groundbreaking work being done by the public services across Canada in supporting citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations, First Nation communities and municipalities in these unprecedented times. By taking a 360˚ approach and engaging stakeholders within and outside of the government through a series of interviews, the project aims to provide in-depth coverage into 10 – 15 governmental responses (or initiatives) or case studies from anywhere between the policy development to agile implementation and operational innovation. We will use an ethnographic and storytelling approach to the case study development that will make each response or story more accessible and engaging for a broad audience.

As governments continue to develop policies, test new approaches and find solutions, the coverage could help public servants, public sector leaders and decisionmakers in addition to Canadians across the country to better understand the key factors and necessary conditions for an agile and robust government response to a crisis, and thus aiding efforts to fight the pandemic.

As part of the PPF Academy, the government case studies identified would serve as immediate, medium and long-term learning and leadership development tool and create the building blocks of an innovation and leadership case study bank for the Federal public service.


Jonathan Perron-Clow, Project Lead