School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

2017 Policy Forum: The Academy and the Policy World: How can universities help respond to Canada's complex policy changes? [image]


Saturday November 4, 2017

Donald Gordon Centre, Queen's University
421 Union St W, Kingston, ON


Most public policy problems are complex, with interdependent aspects requiring a collaborative approach to policy development and implementation. Some problems have come to be called “wicked” because their shape keeps shifting depending on the perspectives of multiple stakeholders: each aspect seems to be a symptom of some deeper problem, and solutions seem impossible. How can policy research be useful in the face of such “wicked” problems?

The purpose of this Policy Forum, part of the School of Policy Studies’ Public Policy and Canada’s 150 initiative, is to ask how relations between the academy and the policy world have changed. What external research, analysis and advice do policy practitioners now need to do their jobs effectively? How do they make sense of the explosion of information and advice from disparate sources? How can the academy help?

A focus on solving complex policy problems reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of the academy. On the one hand, universities are deep repositories of sophisticated knowledge about every aspect of collective life. On the other hand, since universities are organized by discipline, academic success is achieved by contributing to the evolution of each discipline’s understanding of the world. This impedes the multi and inter-disciplinary approaches needed to tackle today’s complex policy challenges. How must the academy change to make its knowledge and expertise available whenever and however  they are needed? How must governments change to make better use of the knowledge, ideas and innovation in the academy? Can the academy be useful both for addressing acute and longer-term policy problems? 

Registration Fees:
General Registration:  $125 (plus tax)
Student Registration: $25 (plus tax)

2016: Open Government

Queen's Policy Forum 2016 | April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016

Goodes Hall, Room 108
Queen's University, 143 Union Street, Kingston, ON



Digital technology has transformed the way government can manage and share information, and the ways in which it can serve and engage citizens. Citizens’ expectations have also shifted; citizens expect greater access to information, more transparency and more opportunities to affect decisions.

Both the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario have Open Government policies, as have many municipalities in Canada. The new federal government has promised even more openness in government and has begun to demonstrate this in its relationships with provinces and territories, stakeholders and the media.

The 2016 Policy Forum will explore the objectives, tools, processes, and experiences of Open Government in Canada. It will probe the following questions: If the ultimate objective is a more engaged citizenry, a more robust democracy, and better public policies and services, how can the tools of Open Government best be used? What is known about best practices, opportunities and challenges? How does Open Government mesh with, and ideally strengthen, the oversight role of Parliament? Will greater openness and transparency result in more understanding and respect for the work of government?


Expand to see the full agenda.

10:00 AM Welcome
10:05  - 10:45 AM Session One: Setting the Stage
Don Lenihan, Senior Associate, Policy and Engagement, Canada 2020
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM Session Two: Open Data
  • What is meant by “open data”?
  • Advantages and uses of Open Data
  • Risks and pitfalls of Open Data
  • How can citizens take advantage of open data?

Stephen Walker, Executive Director, Information Management and Open Government, Chief Information Officer Branch, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Brian Fior, Director, Open Government, Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Ontario
Pamela Robinson, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Special Projects (Faculty of Community Services) and Associate Professor, Ryerson University

12:15 - 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 - 2:30 PM Session Three: Open Policy
  • What is meant by “open policy”?
  • Opportunities and risks of ‘open policy development
  • What barriers exist to advancing open policy-making?
  • How does open policy-making mesh with Cabinet and Ministerial responsibility?

Amanda Clarke, Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University
Peter Macleod, Founder and Principal, MASS LBP
Anatole Papadopoulos, Executive Director, Policy Innovation Canada (Canadian Heritage), and Secretariat to the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Policy Innovation

2:30 - 2:45 PM Break
2:45 PM - 4:15 PM Session Four: Case Studies
  • What are some examples of ‘open data’ and ‘open policy’ and what do they tell us about how to advance Open Government?

Prashant Shukle, Director General, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation, Natural Resources Canada
Emily Fan, Civic Tech Toronto
David Brezer, Executive Coordinator, Cabinet Office, Government of Ontario




2015: Rethinking Canadian Policy in a Digitized World

Rethinking Canadian Policy in a Digitized World Banner

April 24, 2015

Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts
390 King St. W,  Queen's University, Kingston, ON 


What are the implications for Canadian policy of an inter-connected world grappling with the digital revolution and constant technological change? Do current public policies, for example in the areas of culture and communications, security and privacy, make sense when the internet knows no borders and big data is the name of the game? How can technology be used to improve the delivery, safety and security of public services? What are the challenges that need to be addressed? What are the opportunities that these new realities present?

The Policy Forum at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University will explore these questions through three very different lenses and from different perspectives during the day:

  • Security and Privacy Policy: How do we ensure the privacy and the security of individuals given the increased collection of data and surveillance by so many of so many ? Are there trade-offs that must be made and by whom?
  • Innovations in Health: What are the benefits and risks of innovations such as e-health records, computerized assistance to health care workers in diagnostics and treatment, or robotics/remote delivery in health care?
  • Culture Policy: Do we need to rethink our current approach to Canadian broadcasting, publishing, film and music industries? How do we ensure that the Canadian story continues to be told and that Canadian identity continues to survive and thrive?

2015 Donald Gow Memorial Lecture

Jerry Dias | National President Unifor

The day will conclude with our annual Donald Gow Memorial Lecture. This year we are pleased to announce that the Gow Lecture will be delivered by:

Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor

"Rethinking Worker Rights in a Digitized World"



Session 1:  Security and Privacy Policy

Craig Forcese - [PDF 5.9 MB]

John Adams - [PDF 45 KB]

Session 2: Innovations in Health

Shelagh Maloney - [PDF 1.1 MB]

Andrea Tait - [PDF 380 KB]

Edward Brown - [PDF 2.5 MB]

Session 3:   Culture Policy

Michael Hennessy - [PDF 1.2 MB]

2014: Global Shifts: Opportunities and Risks for Canada

Global Shifts | Opportunities and Risks for Canada | 2014 Policy Forum

April 25, 2014

Queen's University, Biosciences Complex, 116 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON  
Biosciences Lecture Theatre 1103


Ninety years ago, Sen. Raoul Dandurand famously characterized Canada as a “fireproof house”. Today, many Canadians still assume that their country is largely insulated from the currents of the global political economy. The 2014 Policy Forum seeks to question this assumption by examining the ways in which global shifts affect Canadians and Canadian policy-makers at both the federal and provincial levels. The Forum will examine three major trends: 

First, global economic power is shifting south and east; international commerce is increasingly driven by global value chains; and major shifts are under way in energy and resource markets. The Forum looks at the implications for Canadian firms, workers, regions and policy-makers.

Second, today foreign policy and security concerns increasingly originate not between countries, but within countries, usually at the nexus of poverty, oppression and insecurity, with effects spilling over to regions and geopolitics. The Forum asks about the implications for international security and development policy, and military and civilian responses.

Finally, the world is witnessing increasingly complex and protracted humanitarian crises that not only have implications for stability and economic development within countries but inexorably trigger waves of international migration. The Forum will examine the challenges for Canadian public policy at home and abroad.  

2014 Donald Gow Memorial Lecture

Thomas Mulcair M.P.

The day will conclude with our annual Donald Gow Memorial Lecture. This year we are pleased to announce that the Gow Lecture will be delivered by

The Hon. Thomas Mulcair, MP for Outremont and Leader of the Official Opposition.

"Canada in the 21st Century: A Vision for Peace, Prosperity and Global Leadership"



Session 1: Economic and Resource Shifts: Risks and Opportunities In Global Markets

Ari Van Assche

Session 2: Arcs of Instability and Conflict: the Nexus of Security and Development

Morris Rosenberg
Roland Paris

Session 3: Humanitarian Crises: Implications at Home and Abroad

Howard Adelman
Margaret Biggs

2013: The Role of Evidence in Policy Making

The Role of Evidence in Policy Making | 2013 Policy Forum

April 26, 2013

Queen's University, Biosciences Complex, 116 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON  
Biosciences Lecture Theatre 1101


Good evidence can lead to better decisions and better outcomes.  In a progressively more complex and increasingly integrated policy environment, amidst the current constrained fiscal climate, it is even more important that policy-makers are able to access good quality data to inform policy development, monitor changes and evaluate outcomes. But what constitutes good quality data, and how should it be used? These questions face those both inside and outside government as they seek to collect and analyse evidence to support policy development and evaluation.

This year’s Policy Forum on “The Role of Evidence in Policy-Making” brings together scientists and other researchers, think-tank analysts, parliamentary officers and senior public servants to discuss how  different kinds of evidence have and can contribute to good policy outcomes in science, social and economic policy domains.

2013 Donald Gow Memorial Lecture

Bob Rae M.P.

The day will conclude with our annual Donald Gow Memorial Lecture. This year we are pleased to announce that the Gow Lecture will be delivered by

Bob RaeM.P., Interim Leader, Liberal Party of Canada

"Action This Day: Why Canada's First Nations People Can't Wait"


2012: Ontario at the Crossroads

Ontario at the Crossroads | 2012 Policy Forum

April 27, 2012

Queen's University, Biosciences Complex, 116 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON  
Biosciences Lecture Theatre 1101


The Government of Ontario turned for informed advice on these issues to three members of the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University. Don Drummond chaired the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services; David Walker prepared the report on Caring for our Aging Population and Addressing Alternate Level of Care; and Munir Sheikh, co-commissioner for the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario.

This year’s Policy Forum considers these three reports. We ask what evidence-based policy analysis can contribute to creating the public services that Ontario citizens deserve.

Each panel will be chaired by a senior Ontario government official. The authors of these reports will present their main conclusions and recommendations, and a discussant will offer commentary. Ample time will be available for discussion and debate from the floor.

The day will conclude with our annual Donald Gow Memorial Lecture. Recognizing that the forces that are changing Ontario come in large part from outside Canada, our Gow Lecturer this year will be The Honorable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

2012 Donald Gow Memorial Lecture

The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The day will conclude with our annual Donald Gow Memorial Lecture. This year we are pleased to announce that the Gow Lecture will be delivered by

The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs

"Ontario at the Crossroads"


2011 and past

2011: The Future of Democracy in Canada

April 29, 2011

Conference program [PDF 869KB]

2011 Donald Gow Memorial Lecture

The Honourable Peter Miliken

The day will conclude with our annual Donald Gow Memorial Lecture. This year we are pleased to announce that the Gow Lecture will be delivered by

The Honourable Peter Milliken, M.P.

"Can Governments Cope?"



2010:  Canada after the Great Recession: Peering into the Future

April 30 - May 1, 2010

Conference program [PDF 1.75MB]

2010 Donald Gow Memorial Lecture

Gregory Selinger, Premier Manitoba

The day will conclude with our annual Donald Gow Memorial Lecture. This year we are pleased to announce that the Gow Lecture will be delivered by

Gregory Selinger Premier, Manitoba

"Canada After the Great Recession: Peering into the Future"