The Action Canada Fellowship is a 10-month public policy leadership program with a proven record that aims to enhance emerging leaders’ understanding of the country and public policy choices for the future. In 2023, Action Canada is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Since the creation of the Fellowship in 2003, we’ve achieved this goal by bringing together outstanding young Canadians whose talents, experiences and perspectives represent the mosaic of our country, and by connecting them through shared experiences in communities and places across Canada.
The overarching objective of the Action Canada Fellowship is to foster a range of leaders with a deeper understanding of Canada and public policy, equipped with the tools, leadership skills, and relationships to serve their country in an impactful way.
This has four main components:
A diverse group of public policy leaders learning from each other in a challenging space to reflect and grow as leaders.
Action Canada creates a learning environment for its fellows, mentors and speakers to allow for candid and productive dialogue. The high level of trust among the participants during each session allows the fellows to pause, listen and reflect on their leadership practice. In addition, we provide them with many opportunities to hone their leadership skills such as effective writing, public speaking, media relations, team building and more.
By visiting communities from coast to coast to coast and meeting with local, national and Indigenous leaders in business, government, academia, media and the arts over the 10-month Fellowship, the Fellows are exposed to the beauty and diversity of the country. We are proud to include experiential learning experiences for fellows, which contribute not only to their understanding of complex policy issues, but also to their understanding of Canada and its complexities.
The Fellowship aims to contribute to Canada’s public policy ecosystem in a non-partisan way by examining the policy-making process and giving the Fellows a platform to examine issues, offer new perspectives and feed fresh and innovative ideas into policy discussions. We adopt a different and relevant policy theme each year, which focuses the program curriculum and allows Fellows in subgroups to choose a policy issue that aims to address a current challenge under the main theme.
Opportunities to spend time with recognized leaders (mentors, speakers, Alumni) from all sectors provide fellows with an enriched understanding of public policy leadership in Canada, develop fellows’ own leadership skills, and allow fellows to make invaluable connections.
Each year’s Action Canada theme aims to inspire the Fellows to apply a specific lens to the many potential policy angles to pick under that policy theme. The goal of the Action Canada task force groups is to research and identify potential policy solutions and start to develop policy options for Canadian governments.
Significant parts of the curriculum for each study tour will be designated to increase our understanding of the policy process and development overall as well as to explore the different regions, places and communities in Canada. Each study tour will dedicate a significant portion of the curriculum to the region, place and specific community we will visit.
Leadership skills and topics
We provide the Fellows with many formal and informal opportunities to develop and grow as leaders during the program. During each virtual meeting or study tour, we will focus on a leadership topic such as resilience, teamwork, collaboration, values and ethics, or currencies, to allow Fellows to reflect and strengthen their leadership practice and gain self-awareness.In addition, many sessions will address tangible leadership skills such as effective policy writing, data visualization, public speaking, media relations, team building, negotiation and entrepreneurship.
Fellows have the opportunity to share personal or professional challenges, and to work through them in a confidential and supportive environment with an executive coach and the Fellows in their task force group.
We value diversity. Leadership is a complex undertaking involving a synthesis of values, ideas, insights and perspectives. We think good leaders use diversity to make better choices and we value highly the many different interpretations that emerge from presentations and discussions.
We inspire change by identifying potential areas to influence and asking difficult questions intended to understand trade-offs.
Fellows self-reflect and learn from each other. We encourage Fellows to learn from others’ diverse experiences and, in turn, to share their own stories about leading in their organizations and communities.
Fellows add value. Fellows experience the very best learning resources as leaders share perspectives and hard-won practical insights. We encourage Fellows to reflect on the topic at hand and ask thoughtful questions that add value to the session and enhance everyone’s learning. We share, collect, analyse and appreciate different perspectives
Fellows are responsible for their own development. Our job is to create the conditions that enable Fellows to develop. We will strive to create a safe and supportive reflective learning space, but, to be clear, the work of development is the Fellows’ responsibility.
Fellows can expect new relationships. The Action Canada Fellowship offers opportunities to develop relationships with Fellows and program team.
Learning continues after the program. Our hope is that these experiences and relationships will extend and expand the learning journey so that Fellows continue to develop their leadership practices.
Each Action Canada Fellowship brings together a diverse group of emerging leaders across sectors. These Fellows address policy issues that reflect the interests and concerns of importance to Canadians. A diversity of perspectives, languages, professional backgrounds, regions and identities is demonstrated in each Action Canada project, including publications, videos, vlogs and discussions.
Fellows explore one primary policy area that is timely and relevant to federal and provincial policy makers, to Canada’s history, and to its future, and which will serve to increase civic engagement of the Fellows and other young Canadians who become involved in this program. Examples of these timely topics include but are not limited to: artificial intelligence and automation, the Canada-China relationship, the future of work, climate change and energy transition, the future of food, immigration, economic growth, inclusion and diversity
In keeping with PPF’s mandate, the Action Canada Fellowship program is also designed to engage and inform a wider audience of Canadians around policy issues, especially a younger audience (30 and under). We will do that by using new channels and ways to communicate public policy ideas such as short videos, place-based vlogs, podcasts, social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) as well as crowdsourcing platforms.
Annually, the reports and blogs are accessed more than 5,000 times and the website as a whole receives over 31,000 individual visitors who view more than 80,000 individual pages. The program generates more than 200,000 social media impressions annually.
We prioritize the development of Indigenous leaders and strongly encourage Indigenous candidates from across the country to apply We also encourage emerging leaders who might not yet have had the opportunity to build meaningful connections with other Canadians outside their existing networks and daily life to apply. Leadership can take many different forms. There is no minimum educational or professional requirement to become an Action Canada Fellow.
The Fellowship has created a unique and unparalleled platform for emerging leaders to build bridges of understanding, connection and collaboration, in an initiative that has wide ranging positive impacts for Canadians. PPF and Action Canada’s combined success in bringing together leaders who inspire and often challenge each other has resulted in more inclusive civic engagement, more diverse voices engaged in public policy discourse, and important steps towards reconciliation through a deeper understanding of Canada’s rich and sometimes difficult history.
Each year, Fellows are inspired by a critical policy issue that they examine over the Fellowship year. The 2022/23 policy theme is housing. Working in teams, Fellows select, analyze and research an important question under the theme. They confer with national experts, establish partnerships with stakeholders, and publish a policy report that feeds innovative ideas into the public policy ecosystem. This will be presented at the Final Conference in March 2023.
The theme for the 2023/24 Fellowship year will be announced after the selection of Fellows.
To make the best use of time and resources, the program will be in delivered in a hybrid format with some sessions/study tours taking place virtually and study tours focusing on experiential and collaborative learning.
The study tours and intersessions for 2023/2024 will take place during the following weeks. Selected Fellows must attend the entirety of each study tour.
Fellows must also participate in virtual intersessions from 7-9 p.m. ET on the following Wednesdays:
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