The nation-wide event, organized annually by the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA) and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), provides students with an opportunity to compete against students from policy schools across Canada. The event simulates the work of professionals inside the public sector. Students must work in teams to analyze a complex scenario and present the issue, options and recommendations to a panel of senior-level officials from across government and other sectors.
This year’s competition required students to provide recommendations to their respective provincial/territorial cabinet on how best to balance the needs and demands of those who reside in and interact with local homeless encampments, while protecting their dignity, health, safety and security. JSGS students presented polished and well-researched recommendations based on a client-centred perspective and evidence that encouraged community-driven solutions that are culturally relevant and trauma informed.
“The team’s performance, our final ranking and the feedback from the judging panel were exceptional,” said Dr. Loleen Berdahl (PhD), JSGS executive director. “What makes this extra special for JSGS is that our students were coached by two outstanding JSGS alumni and current public servants. We are very proud of the entire team, and how they demonstrated the strength of our JSGS community.”
Representing JSGS this year were Master of Public Administration students Heather Barlow, Iryna Laurynovich, Abimbola Ojo, and Sushant Sharma, and alternates Sheldon Grant and Anastasiia Kalugina. They were joined by coaches Nancy Carlson, senior trade policy analyst with Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Trade and Export Development, and Derrick Lepine, director of labour market intergovernmental, Saskatchewan Ministry of Immigration and Career Training. In addition to Carlson and Lepine, the students benefited from preparation events with other experienced public sector leaders.
“Our training sessions with the students were greatly enhanced through the support of numerous JSGS executives-in-residence and members of the Saskatchewan public service,” said Carlson. “As coaches, we had no trouble finding help as there were so many people eager to provide their time and expertise to the students.”
Hosted by Carleton University, this year’s competition featured a record 14 teams from policy schools across Canada. JSGS students competed against teams from the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, Carleton University, Concordia University, Dalhousie University, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University, Université de Laval, York University, and Glendon College. Carleton placed first in the competition.
“The national case competition was an incredible experience and definitely the highlight of my time at JSGS so far,” said Barlow. “I really value opportunities like this to put my learning into practice outside of the classroom on issues as important as homelessness in our province. I am confident that the skills I gained from the competition will serve me in my career in the public service or elsewhere.”
To watch presentations from this year’s event, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnVNIDwSA9A.