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APAP Annual Report

AETP poster graph

Advanced Policy Analyst Program
2015-16 Annual Report

Table of Contents



The Advanced Policy Analyst Program (APAP), formerly the Accelerated Economist Training Program (AETP), is one of the Government of Canada’s signature leadership recruitment and development programs. For over 25 years, the program has developed high potential individuals for senior policy roles in the public service through immersion in the government’s high-level decision-making processes.

In 2008, under Strategic Review, all centrally funded and managed development programs were eliminated below the EX level.  Recognizing the value of the program and its graduates, DMs subsequently explored options and organized themselves to support a decentralized ‘pay to play’ model of the program.  The decentralized program model has operated successfully since 2010.


Terms and conditions for the governance of the APAP are laid out in the program’s 2014-19 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will be in force through the graduation of the
2019-21 cohort. 

Departments were invited to join the program in a 2013 call-out, with commitments made at the Deputy Minister level.  Departments could opt to sponsor either annually or biennially.

The APAP Steering Committee did not limit participation in the 2014-19 MOU to a set number of “shares”, opting instead to keep participation inclusive and to review overall membership response against year-to-year budgets and availability of quality assignments at the Central Agencies.

Steering Committee

Simon Kennedy - Chair

Michael Keenan
Stephen Lucas
Marta Morgan
Ron Parker

Alumni Advisory Board

Chantal Maheu – Chair

Neil Bouwer
Bryce Conrad
Marian Campbell Jarvis
Jean-Guy Forgeron

Annette Gibbons
Marcel Saulnier
Maxime Beaupré – Alumni Relations Committee Chair
Steven Coté


Glenn Mason – Executive Advisor

Nick Xenos – Deputy Executive Advisor
Shannon Bradey – Program Coordinator


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canada Revenue Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Employment and Social Development Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Finance Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Global Affairs Canada

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Health Canada

Natural Resources Canada

Privy Council Office*

Transport Canada

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat*

Western Economic Diversification Canada

* host only, no sponsorship of trainees



2014-2015 Trainees
2014-2016 Trainees - Listed in order from L-R above.
2014-16 Trainees Sponsoring Department
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Rene Toupin-Piper Health Canada
Ottawa, ON
Madeline Green Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Toronto, ON
Danielle Hoegy Indigenous and Northern Affairs
Cambridge, ON
Michalina Lipa Transport Canada
Poznan, Poland
Lisa Huang Global Affairs Canada
Guangdong, China | Ottawa, ON
Read Guernsey Employment and Social Development
Halifax, NS
Niya Karpenko Finance Canada
Vancouver, BC
Matthew Bock Natural Resources Canada
Prince George, BC
Justin Meikle Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Barrie, ON
Laurence-Camille Richard Innovation, Science and Econ Dev
Québec City, QC

Program Advisors

Michelle Bailey, Jaimie Boyd, James Clark, Eiad El Fateh, Francis Nolan-Poupart

  • Madeleine Green elected to withdraw from the program ahead of her 4th assignment and return to CIC.
  • Lisa Huang will return in July of 2016 to complete her final two rotations and graduate with the 2015-17 cohort.


2015-2017 Trainees
2015-2017 Trainees - Listed in order from L-R above, front row first.
2015-17 Trainees Sponsoring Department
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Jason Dolny Health Canada
Winnipeg, MB
Geoffrey Brouwer Environment and Climate Change
Nanaimo, BC
David Holysh Canada Revenue Agency
Vancouver, BC
Alexia Jablonski Global Affairs Canada
Coquitlam, BC
Esther Kwan Employment and Social Development
Vancouver, B.C | Hong Kong
Rochelle Wagner Innovation, Science and Econ Dev
Hardisty, AB
Alexandra Epp Finance Canada
Waterloo, ON
Erik Stenlund Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Windsor, ON
Andrew Chisholm Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Port Hawkesbury, NS
Jean-Philippe Bernier Natural Resources Canada
Sainte-Claire, QC
Kayle Hatt Transport Canada
Hamilton, ON
Program Advisors

Philippe Descheneau, Anne-Christine Poulin, Benjamin Rankin, Julia Wallace

Recruitment: 2016-18 Cohort


Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada


The number of applications received for the 2016 intake of the program was up 13% (334 vs. 295) from the number received in 2015. 


The proportion of French candidates invited to interviews was even between 2014 and 2015 applicants, at approximately 20%. Alumni campaigning at Quebec universities continued.


Interview Method

Proportion of Interviews 9/58 16%
Qualified for Program 3/24 13%
Appointed 0/12 0%
In Person Interviews
Proportion of Interviews 49/58 84%
Qualified for Program 21/24 87%
Appointed 12/12 100%


Invited to Interviews 45% 55%
Qualified for Program 50% 50%
Appointed 42% 58%
Invited to Interviews 52% 48%
Qualified for Program 57% 43%
Appointed 55% 45%

Employment Equity

Of the 12 appointed candidates, self-declarations included: Aboriginal Peoples (1); Visible Minorities (2); Persons with Disabilities (1)

Geographic Profile

Place of residence (at the time of interview) of the 58 candidates invited to interview
31 Ottawa/Gatineau
8 Greater Toronto Area
4 Ontario
6 Québec
5 Western  Provinces (BC, AB, SK)
1 Eastern  Provinces (NS)
3 International ( Dubai | Washington, DC | Portland )

2015-16 APAP-Driven Activities

2015-16 APAP-Driven Activities
April 2015 Site visit and discussion at the House of Commons APAP participants toured Center Block, which was followed by a presentation and discussion with Eric Janse, Assistant Clerk of the House of Commons, on the legislative process and financial parliamentary procedures.
May  2015 Speaker Series on Treasury Board and the Public Service Beginning with a discussion on the TB and supply process, Mr. Ron Parker, then Associate DM of TBS, then opened the floor to APAP participants to discuss all TBS-relevant matters, including the management agenda, blueprint 2020 and workplace renewal.
June 2015 Site visit to RCMP Government Operations Centre and discussion with Mr. Gilles Michaud, Assistant Commissioner of National Division  APAP participants took a tour of the RCMP Government Operations Centre. Then, they spoke with the head of RCMP’s National Division Mr. Gilles Michaud, who spoke with us about policy development and implementation within the context of the October attack on Parliament Hill.
June 2015 APAP Policy Retreat The 2015 APAP Policy Retreat focused on Medium-Term Planning, with participants discussing a range of issues, including: Indigenous, international, economic and social.  Findings were compiled into a report to be used for the MTP exercise that was underway across government.  
July 2015 Welcome Party for new participants Every year, the second year APAP cohort welcomes the new participants at a party that features an opportunity for them to network with peers and get advice from colleagues.  
September 2015 Speakers Series on Government Transition In the run up to the 2015 Federal election, APAP participants and alumni were invited to hear from Dr. David Zussman, who led the Jean Chretien’s 1993 transition team and had recently published an academic book on the topic of transition. Dr. Zussman, who had also served as a PCO Deputy Secretary  and chair of the Public Policy Forum, shared his insights on managing through a possible change in government. Given the transition the following month, it was a very timely discussion
November 2015 Speakers Series on Privacy Issues As part of the ongoing Speaker Series, Barbara Bucknell, Director of Policy and Research in the Legal, Policy and Parliamentary Affairs Branch of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), gave a presentation on the role of the OPC and emerging challenges in the protection of Canadians’ privacy. Participants asked questions and discussed the role of privacy in the digital, “big-data” age.
November 2015 Site visit and discussion at Environment Canada on Climate Change APAP Participants visited the offices of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Directors from the strategic policy and international affairs groups at ECCC gave a presentation focused on Canada’s approach leading up to COP21 UN climate negotiations, followed by a Q&A. Discussions focused on collaborating with federal departments, provinces and territories, as well as other countries the international partners.
The discussion was valuable not only because the timeliness of the COP21 and the importance of climate change, but participants also learned about negotiation processes in general.
December 2015  APAP Holiday Party APAP had another very successful holiday party, where participants had the chance to meet and network with program alumni. This year we had over 100 current participants and alumni attend the Holiday Party. In addition, the event raised $260 for the Ottawa Food Bank.
February 2016 Speakers Series Event with David Coletto, CEO Abacus Data David Coletto was invited to give a talk, followed by brief Q&A with attendees, on the use of public opinion research as a policy analysis tool. His talk included a discussion of the theoretical and technical dimensions of public opinion research as well as a discussion of key issues relevant to the APAP community including optimizing communications of policy ideas and evaluating the effectiveness of policy decisions. This event was open to both current APAP participants and alumni.
March 2016 Speakers Series event on Blueprint 20/20 Serge Demers from the Privy Council Office gave a presentation focused on the activities of Blueprint 2020 to date and the year three themes of pride, identity and culture. This served as a great opportunity for program participants to learn about innovation in the public service and opportunities to get involved.
March 2016 Attending the PCO Innovation Hub’s conference on Behavioural Economics for the Public Sector In March, many of the current APAP participants attended a conference put on by the PCO Innovation Hub on Behavioural Economics for the Public Sector. Participants learned about policy innovation, using behavioural insights in program design, and using policy experimentation to get better results. Speakers included innovations experts from the White House and UK, senior government officials and academic experts.

Evaluation Update

A formal evaluation of the Advanced Policy Analyst Program took place in 2014, led by Finance Canada’s Internal Audit and Evaluation group.  The results of the evaluation are available online in English and French. A total of four (4) recommendations were made, which the DM Steering Committee have committed to responding to within set time frames.

Evaluation Update

Evaluation Recommendation

Management Response and Planned Action

2015-16 Status

1.  To facilitate the planning and administration of funds, Program administrators should explore options to improve timing of fund transfers and cost recoveries, as well as to reduce the overall complexity of the funding structure.

1.1 Financial settlements with the Central Agencies will take place in Q2 of each fiscal year to ensure consistency for internal planning and financial forecasting.
Q3 2014-15

1.2 The program will also explore options, within the framework of current government human resource directives, to streamline the program’s funding model.
Q4 2015-16

Completed. This is now a regular part of APAP cost recovery procedures. Financial settlements take place on a predictable basis in September of each year.

In Progress. An interim proposal to streamline the program’s funding model under the current MOU will be put forward at the next DM Steering Committee.

2. To maintain high-quality assignments, Program administrators should consider:

(a) Providing assignment supervisors with background information of their assignees early in the process, allowing them to arrange for suitable and high-quality assignments.

(b) Establishing a method of tracking assignment quality, such as brief post-assignment surveys to be completed by the participant, in order to identify lessons-learned and opportunities for improvement.

2.(a) The APA Program will review its procedures with respect to establishing and communicating the assignment schedule, with a view to establishing best practice guidelines and associated time frames in sharing and finalizing information about assignments.
Q3 2015-16

2. (b) The APA Program will pilot and implement post-assignment surveying. Outcomes will be shared with member departments on an annual basis.
Q3 2015-16

Completed. The program now conducts assignment scheduling 6-8 weeks in advance of placements, with regular, established procedures in place with each of the Central Agencies. Procedures are revisited annually to ensure they continue to meet the needs of the CAs and trainees.

Completed. The program now conducts post-assignment surveying of trainees after each six month placement, as well as a post-grad questionnaire. Outcomes from the first two rounds of surveying will be shared with the DM Steering Committee, with an aggregate version to be released to member departments in

3. To help promote a positive transition back to the sponsoring organization, Program administrators should consider the following. Some of these steps have been outlined in the latest MOU (2014-19). However, the implementation of these should be monitored annually.

  1. Clearly communicating to the participants, at the outset, the requirement to return to their sponsoring organization (department/agency).
  2. Encouraging the sponsoring organizations to foster a closer and more proactive relationship with the sponsored participants as outlined in section 3, Schedule B of the 2014-19 MOU.
  3. Encouraging sponsoring organizations to take participants’ interests into consideration to a greater extent when preparing the three post-graduation job offers, as outlined in section 6 and 7, Schedule B of the 2014-19 MOU.

3. The APA Program has taken steps to address the home department transition through changes to the 2014-2019 APAP MOU.

The program will continue to work with member organizations, trainees, and alumni to identify and implement further improvements to the home department-trainee relationship, including guidance materials, documenting and sharing best practices, and mentorship opportunities.

  • Monitoring of progress will occur annually, at a minimum.
  • Non-compliance by member departments with the terms of the MOU will continue to be reported to the DM Steering Committee.

Q3 2015-16

Ongoing. Efforts in support of this recommendation will continue to evolve as the program gathers information through post-grad surveying.

Communication of the requirement to return to sponsoring departments is now an established part of the APAP website, recruitment efforts, APAP Orientation Week messaging, welcome letters, and candidate letters of offer.

Through regular communication with Departmental Coordinators sponsoring organizations are clearly informed of programmatic expectations with respect to section 3, Schedule B of the 2014-19 MOU. This is reinforced through facilitated trainee contact and encouragement through Program Advisors to meet at least once per rotation.

Post-graduation job offers continue to be limited or pre-determined at a few sponsoring departments.
Non-compliance is reported to the DM Steering Committee, and may impact future program membership decisions.

4. To promote seamless functioning of the Program in the future, Program administrators should consider putting in place a succession plan for key positions such as the Executive Advisor and the Organizational Coordinators.

The APA Program Secretariat will explore options to ensure key program positions have a succession strategy in place
Q2 2015-16

Completed. The APAP Secretariat now operates with a Deputy Executive Advisor and is also in the process of hiring an Administrative Coordinator to ensure stability and handover for Executive Advisor and Program Coordinator succession.


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