Why you should apply
The Action Canada Fellowship is a unique opportunity to discover Canada, upgrade your understanding of public policy, refine your leadership skills and build a network of other dedicated leaders.
Each year, we select Fellows from a wide variety of backgrounds—both personal and professional—who want to have a significant impact on how public policy is made in their communities and across Canada.
Follow the links below for more information:
- Click here to register for the Indigenous information session in partnership with Indspire
- Click here to register for the information session in French
- Click here to register for the information session in English
In A Few Words
Who should apply
We are looking for emerging leaders who:
- Are curious;
- Have an intense desire to learn and understand Canada and its future public policy choices better;
- Are strongly motivated to share, collect, analyse and appreciate different perspectives;
- Inspire change by identifying potential areas to influence and asking difficult questions intended to understand trade-offs;
- Are interested in self-reflection and stretching themselves as leaders;
- Are excited by the idea of collaborative leadership, working in teams and taking action;
- Are open to develop real relationships and long-lasting friendships with a diverse group of leaders;
- Want to engage in civic engagement and dialogue;
- Have a track record of leadership, work experience, achievement and impact in their respective field or community; and
- Can commit to an intensive and immersive learning experience consisting of four week-long study tours, 10 virtual sessions and 8-10 hours of individual work a week on their research project throughout the Fellowship year.
- There are no fees associated with the participation in the Fellowship program;
- All costs associated with the Fellowship (travel, accommodation, meals, etc.) are covered by the Fellowship program;
- The Action Canada Fellowship is open to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents;
- The program is for emerging leaders, with a focus on those under 35, but there is no age maximum for Action Canada Fellows;
- We accept applications from all sectors, regions in Canada, in English and French;
- Bilingualism is not a selection criterion;
- Each Action Canada Fellowship cohort aims to reflect the country’s population in geography, cultures, political views, economic background, language and gender, and represent a range of personal and professional experiences; and
- We are committed to reducing barriers to applying to ensure all interested individuals can apply.
How to apply
The application process for the 2024/25 Action Canada Fellowship is now open! Completed written applications must be submitted by 11:59 am PST, Monday, March 11th.
The written application includes the following elements:
- Basic information about yourself (i.e. address, date of birth)
- Details from your curriculum vitae
- A letter of motivation
- A policy essay
- Contact information for two references
The selection process is made up of three stages and all candidates will be informed of whether they have passed to the next stage of the process or not:
Stage 1 – Written Application: Written applications for the Action Canada Fellowship are open from January to mid-March each year. This year’s deadline is March 11th, 2024.
Stage 2 – Group Discussion: Candidates invited to the second stage will participate in a 30-minute group discussion with a small group of other candidates. These discussions will take place from April 9th to 18th.
Stage 3 – Interviews: Candidates selected for the final stage will be invited to a 30-minute online, one-on-one interview with an alumnus. These interviews will take place April 19th to 29th at a time that is convenient to both the alum and the candidate. All finalists will also be invited to a 30-minute online panel interview with the National Selection Committee on May 4th or 5th.
All candidates can submit their written application, discuss, and be interviewed in the official language of their choice. Alumni, past mentors, and staff evaluate candidates based on the selection criteria (below).
- Recent record of leadership, achievement and impact;
- Open-mindedness, curiosity, energy, motivation to learn new things and acquire new experiences;
- Demonstrated teamwork ability and interest in working with others;
- A passion for Canada, with the potential to become a leader in Canada and the commitment to make a positive contribution to Canada;
- A noted interest in public policy; and
- Demonstrated understanding of the program’s commitments and workload, with a desire to fully commit to these obligations.
Emerging Indigenous Leaders
Indspire and the Action Canada have embarked on a partnership to support the development of the next generation of Indigenous leaders. A cohort of Indigenous Fellows will be selected and be part of the greater cohort. By increasing the number of Indigenous Action Canada Fellows, the Fellowship has benefited from a broader range of Indigenous perspectives, informing conversations on public policy, leadership and the country.
“Collaborations like this one stand at the intersection of policy and practice and serve as powerful examples of what can be accomplished when Indigenous voices and Indigenous experience are centered.” – Indspire’s President and CEO, Mike DeGagné.
The Action Canada Fellowship program is an intensive and immersive learning and development experience for Fellows and will demand your full presence, active participation and openness to learn, be challenged, and take charge of your own leadership development.
In addition to your presence and active participation in all the virtual sessions and study tours, Fellows must also commit to:
- Task Force project: Fellows will be divided into three teams at the beginning of the program and will independently, with the support of a mentor, develop a research project and write a policy report to be presented at the end of the program. This commitment typically represents 8-10 hours of work a week, with the potential for longer hours in the final stages of the report.
- Op-eds: Each Fellow will write an op-ed on a topic of their choice.
- Blogs or vlogs: Fellows will be asked to write a blog or record a vlog after one of the study tours that will be published on the Action Canada website to capture and share their experience.
- Roles during virtual sessions and study tours: Each Fellow will be tasked several times over the program year with roles such as being discussant lead during presentations, thanking the speakers, etc.
- Public policy videos and podcasts: Fellows will be asked to participate in the creation of videos and podcasts about public policy-making.
The approximate time commitment for Fellows over the 10-month Fellowship program is six to eight weeks of intensive full-time work, time that is concentrated (study tours) and spread out (research project work). We strongly encourage you to consider this carefully before applying and discuss the commitment with (if applicable) your employer, team, family, partner, and broader support system.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. All candidates can apply for this program.
No, there is no age limit or minimum age to apply. This program is principally destined to emerging leaders and the government of Canada defines youth as under 35. However, we recognize that some people may be an emerging leader at a later point in their lives for a variety of reasons and we also welcome those applications.
All application documents must be submitted online by Monday, March 11, 2024 at midnight PT.
The letter of motivation should answer the following questions:
- What are your leadership aspirations?
- In what areas do you need to develop to achieve these aspirations, and how do you hope this Fellowship will help you grow in those ways?
- How have you demonstrated civic engagement and how do you want to contribute to Canada?
- How have you turned ideas into action?
- In what ways have you sought to understand differing perspectives to understand public policy issues?
Please provide contact information for two professional references who know you well and will be able to answer specific questions about your suitability for the program. At least one reference should have worked with you in a supervisory-type role. If references are contacted, it will be at the very final stage of the process.
Candidates should approach the policy essay is an opportunity for you to communicate to us what you think is a major policy issue facing the country. It gives you the chance to demonstrate how you think about policy. Give us your point of view on the issue: how you understand it and why you’ve come to see it that way.
Evaluators are interested in understanding candidates’ perspectives on the country. There are many major issues facing Canada today, so the issue you identify in this essay helps us understand your worldview. We are looking to put together a cohort of Fellows with a broad range of views. There is no single or correct answer. As this is a public policy fellowship, we are also interested in understanding how you approach policy and how you think critically about it.
Think of AI as your friend, and how it might be appropriate to call on a friend for help with your application. Can you brainstorm ideas with a friend? Ask a friend to proofread? Of course! Can you ask your friend to write your policy essay for you? No.
As a leader, adopting new technology that can help you be more efficient is one way you can be more impactful. As a leader, we also expect that you demonstrate integrity by presenting ideas that are yours, written by you.
Applications should be addressed to the Action Canada Fellowship, National Selection Committee.
The Fellowship is open to individuals from all sectors and professions. Prior or current studies in a particular discipline or a specific type of work experience are not requirements of this program.
Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
No. While the commitment to participate in the Action Canada Fellowship is substantial (approximately 8-10 hours a week between study tours and 4 weeks of travel over the 10-month Fellowship), participation in this program can be undertaken in conjunction with the applicant’s regular work or studies with their employer’s or educational institution’s support.
The time commitment is substantial (approximately seven to eight weeks in total over the 10-month Fellowship) and it is a part-time program. Fellows must be available to travel and participate in four, four-to-eight-day (at times scheduled around weekends) intensive study tours. Study tours will be held in different communities across Canada. We endeavor to have the travel fall within the dates indicated for the study tours, however there may be exceptions for Fellows in remote locations. Additionally, Fellows generally have meetings with their task forces once a week over the Fellowship year to work on their research project and work independently 8-10 hours a week. Fellows must also attend all virtual sessions, draft an op-ed, and contribute a blog/vlog or social media coverage.
This year’s program will begin in late May 2024 and conclude in early March 2025. Fellows must be available for the entirety of each study tour and all virtual sessions according to the following schedule.
- Week of June 16-22, 2024
- Week of September 15-21, 2024
- Week of November 17-23, 2024
- Week of March 2-8, 2025
Fellows must also participate in virtual intersessions from 7-9 p.m. ET on the following Wednesdays:
- Wednesday May 29, 2024
- Wednesday Jun. 5, 2024
- Wednesday Jul. 17, 2024
- Wednesday Aug. 28, 2024
- Wednesday Oct. 9, 2024
- Wednesday Oct. 23, 2024
- Wednesday Nov. 6, 2024
- Wednesday Dec. 11, 2024
- Wednesday Jan. 15, 2025
- Wednesday Feb. 5, 2025
Travel and accommodation costs for all components of the program are covered by the program. Please note that as we are a non-profit program, Fellows share accommodation. Meals are also provided as part of each study tour. For additional questions, please contact the Action Canada/PPF team at firstname.lastname@example.org.