Formal Government Processes for Policy Production in Canada: Diagram

George Hoberg
June 3, 2011

Looking for a description of how Canadian governments, federal and provincial, formally produce public policies? Here’s one attempt to do it graphically.

I find myself increasingly teaching the policy process to students who have no background in Canadian government, other than what they might have learned in high school if they happened to do that in Canada. I actually enjoy the lecture I’ve designed that outlines the roles of the Governor General, Parliament, cabinet, the Prime Minster, etc. This year when teaching this to a class of graduate engineering students, I was asked for a diagram. I set out to find one in the literature, and came up with nothing. So with the help of Stephanie Taylor, I created two versions. One that works for provincial governments (I work mostly on environment and resources so those are the dominant jurisdictions), and one that generalizes across the Government of Canada and the provinces.

In these diagrams, we’ve tried to show the flow of policies from enabling legislation through implementation in ministries, their impact on target groups, and formal feedback between society and government through votes and taxes. We also tried to capture the role of courts in influencing policy.

I’ll be continuing to teach this material, so I’d be grateful if you could point me to similar diagrams, or have any suggestions for improvement.

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