Canada’s professional, non-partisan and permanent public service is a cornerstone element of governance in our country. All Canadians have a stake in the effective operation and renewal of the public service at all levels of government. Today, we find ourselves in an era of great change within public service, as governments seek to become more imaginative and collaborative in policy development, while generational change brings about a new focus on the next generation of public service leaders.

As Canada’s Public Policy Forum celebrates its 25th anniversary, we are keen to look back at the changes in public service across Canada over the last 25 years, and look forward to the opportunities presented by the continuing evolution of public service at all levels of government. Our work is closely linked to the federal public service and to provincial, territorial and municipal governments across the country. Public servants are essential leaders and practitioners of many of the policy outcomes of Forum dialogues, and we strive to ensure that, through our work, the public service is able to collaborate with representatives across all sectors in the formation of timely and effective public policy.

The Forum has, as its raison d’être, the goal of building better governments. While almost all Public Policy Forum work involves public service to some extent, much of our work focuses directly on the paramount importance of the public service to our country.


Public Service Next
With a renewed strategic focus on public service and governance over the next three years, the Forum is undertaking a number of key projects under the umbrella of Public Service Next. In collaboration with various partners and stakeholders, we will explore changing dynamics in government and innovative strategies for shaping the public service of tomorrow. PS Next will examine a range of top-of-mind issues in the public sector, such as adapting to new technology, developing productivity measures, and redefining leadership competencies for the future.

The Gordon Osbaldeston Lecture
This prestigious lecture, hosted annually in Ottawa, honours Mr. Osbaldeston's distinguished 35-year career as a public servant by raising awareness about the challenges, issues and opportunities facing Canada's Public Service. The most recent lecture was delivered by Allan Gregg, On Authenticity: How the Truth can Restore Faith in Politics and Government. Other lecturers include Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) CEO John Furlong, and former UBC President Martha Piper. Please click here visit the lecture site.

Workplace Innovation in Canada’s Public Service
This discussion paper explores how better work practices including collaborative approaches, dynamic workspaces, and enabling technology can help manage cost pressures and deliver greater value to Canadians at a time of fiscal restraint. The short paper is based on consultations with over 100 public servants and private sector leaders. Please click here to read the report.

Innovation in Government: Conversations with Canada's public service leaders
The Forum, in partnership with Deloitte engaged more than 100 public service leaders in all three levels of government across Canada in one-on-one conversations about the challenges they face and the efforts they have taken to bring about innovation in their government. Please click here for the report.

10 Tough Jobs 2010
A report outlining the challenges faced and skills required by incumbents in 10 of the Federal public service's most demanding positions. Please click here to read the report. Ten Tough Jobs 2010 is an update of a publication first done in 2002 that explores the changing nature of leadership within the Government of Canada.

Past Work

The recent work of the Forum in the area of public service builds on a strong tradition of study seeking to explore new and creative ways to understand how to make public service institutions more effective and efficient.

Destination: Excellence (2008) which articulates a set of principles to guide the public service and puts forward 10 recommendations based on a national series of consultations. Please click here to read.

A Vital National Institution: What a Cross-Section of Canadians Think About Canada's Public Service (2007).

Leading by Example: 50 Prominent Canadians Talk to us About the Federal Public Service and why Leadership Matters (2007).


Chronic Disease: an app for that?
Article on innovating health care, Chronicle Herald, March 7, 2012

Authenticity is in the Eye of the Beholder
Andrew Potter discusses Allan Gregg's Gordon Osbaldeston Lecture, The Ottawa Citizen, January 5, 2012

Government can work smarter
David Mitchell and Paul MacMillan, The Ottawa Citizen, July 5, 2011

Open Government: can BC take the lead in transparency?
Don Lenihan, Huffington Post Canada, June 27, 2011

Don’t Write Off the Public Service Yet
David Mitchell, The Globe and Mail, June 22, 2011

From the deputy churn to the deputy shuffle: keeping the best and brightest in Ottawa
David Mitchell and Ryan Conway, Policy Options, May, 2011