Who else plays a role in public policy?
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So, who else plays a role in public policy?
In a democracy like Canada, elected officials and politicians make policy, working with public servants to do so. But many others, like think tanks, lobbyists, the media, non-profits, public employees also play a role in informing, shaping, and implementing public policy. Action Canada Fellows share how they influenced policy in the following ways:
- Associations can engage decision-makers, such as elected officials, to address specific issues. They can provide their own research and ideas to advocate for policy changes.
- Non-profit organizations often build relationships with community members and learn about their needs and interests. They can then bring forward what they’ve learned about community needs to policymakers, often with the goal of obtaining tangible policy outcomes, such as funding for services.
- Business often employs lobbyists, who represent their interests to the government. They engage in proactive discussions, highlight the impact of legislation on business, and make recommendations for change.
- Media contribute to public policy bringing public attention to issues. This can prompt action from policymakers that might not have occurred without media attention.
Fellows featured in this module
Paul is a strategist, urban planner and Executive Director at the Black Health Alliance.
Paul has spent the last decade designing interventions focused on improving outcomes for Black children, youth and families as it relates to: health and well-being, community violence, mental health and addictions, and the social service sector. His work is currently focused on social planning, health equity, and addressing the causes of neighbourhood distress and inequality.
Joey Coleman is an independent journalist practicing in Hamilton, Ontario. As Canada’s first locally crowdfunded journalist, he specializes in coverage of municipal politics, civic affairs, and the Ontario Land Tribunal. Previously, he covered post-secondary education nationally. Joey was a Southam Fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto during the 2019/2020 academic year.
A former Crown Ward, Joey’s life path has informed his journalism and community involvement. He plans to use the skills he obtains during the Action Canada Fellowship to improve his understanding of policy-making processes and solutions being implemented across Canada to the challenges he covers as a local journalist.
At one time, Joey was a member of a competitive pinball league, once ranking among the top 1000 players in Canada. He is presently rated 43720th in the world by the International Flipper Pinball Association.
Joey lives in Downtown Hamilton, Ontario, where people joke that his usual seat at the farmers’ market is his real “office.”
Jasmine (Jas) Irwin is a Senior Associate at Springboard Policy, a public policy consulting firm that helps organizations to use their voices and expertise to shape important policy conversations. Jas has always been drawn to good ideas and driven to maximize their impact by helping to communicate those ideas to others in clear and compelling ways. She has eight years of experience working at the intersection of communications and policy to build consensus and spur change.
In her current role, Jas has spearheaded projects ranging from mapping the infrastructure gap in Canada’s North, to examining the role of artificial intelligence tech on children’s privacy rights, to researching career guidance as a policy tool for those with barriers to work. Before joining Springboard, Jas worked as a Policy Advisor and Press Secretary to Ontario’s Deputy Premier, where she worked on key policies like the transformation of Ontario’s Student Assistance Program. She began her career working in post-secondary student advocacy, creating province-wide campaigns on issues like tuition affordability and pay equity.
Raised in London, Ontario, Jas has a B.A. in Media and the Public Interest from Western University, and an M.A. in Political and Legal Thought from Queens University. At Queens, her research focus was on corrections policy in Canada and the overrepresentation of Indigenous women in high-security settings.
Jas also enjoys reading, lightly interrogating friends and strangers about the things they are interested in, and performing live comedy.
Anna Laurence currently works as Senior Manager, Government Affairs at Rogers Communications, where she focuses on Rogers federal government relations issues relating to broadcasting, copyright, accessibility, and cyber security. Prior to joining Rogers Anna worked in government relations with The Canadian Real Estate Association, dealing with a variety of housing issues and leading the internal coordination of the association’s annual grassroots lobby days – one of the largest of its kind in Canada.
Anna has long been passionate about politics and grassroots involvement. She first directed grassroots advocacy efforts as the Chapter Advocacy Coordinator of STAND Canada, a student led human rights advocacy group. She later pursued her interest in politics working on Parliament Hill while taking part in the Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP). Since finishing PIP she has assumed various roles on the alumni Board, including as President. She is a board member of Voice Found Canada, a survivor led national charity that aims to increase awareness of and educate individuals and organizations on how to identify, prevent and respond to child sex abuse and sex trafficking. She also actively volunteers with the National Capital Region YMCA and chaired the organizing committee for the 2018 Y Cycle for Strong Kids. A former competitive fencer, equestrian and soccer player she likes to keep active. Having hung up her foil nowadays she teaches spin classes on a regular basis instead. A proud maritimer Anna may live in Ottawa but still calls Halifax home. She holds an MA in Political Science from McGill University and a BA in Political Science and Film from Carleton University.
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