Senior Public Sector Leader Program

Prepare to meet the challenges and opportunities of leadership in the public sector. Explore emerging horizons, reinforce key skills, and build a lifelong network of peers.


Average Participant Rating <

Rating based on the standardized participant surveys submitted at program completion


$17,490 CAD

Fall Session
fees icon $17,490 CAD <

Program fee includes meals, accommodations and materials. Program fees are tax exempt.

date icon October 21 - October 25, 2024
clock icon 5 days
locationicon London, Ontario, Canada <

Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre

date icon April 9 - April 11, 2025
clock icon 3 days
locationicon London, Ontario, Canada <

Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre

Purpose and Impact

Leaders in public service face unique challenges that stem from the complex, dynamic, and high-stakes nature of their roles. Limited resources, political pressures, high standards of transparency and accountability, complex bureaucratic structures, and a constantly evolving social landscape make it more complicated–and more important–to drive meaningful change in organizations and communities.

The Senior Public Sector Leader Program is a comprehensive, results-driven leadership development initiative designed to cultivate and enhance the skills of senior leaders in Canada’s public sector. This program equips you with the necessary tools, knowledge, and competencies to navigate the complex public administration environment, enabling you to lead more effective teams and inspire successful outcomes in any context.

The program covers a range of topics tailored to the unique needs of Canada's public sector leaders, such as change management, strategic innovation, collaborative negotiation, and inclusive leadership. Working with a curated group of peers and top faculty members from Ivey Business School, you will develop an action-oriented plan to immediately apply your learning and address real-world opportunities in your role. Through the Senior Public Sector Leader Program, you will join a robust network of like-minded professionals, enhance your approach to leadership, and prepare to elevate your impact in Canada’s public sector.

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Purpose and Impact

Participant Profile

The Senior Public Sector Leader Program is designed for individuals that have recently advanced into high-level federal or provincial government roles. Participants are generally accountable for far-reaching people and team management responsibilities, the leadership of major projects, and significant budget oversight. You will renew and reinforce critical leadership capabilities, explore research-backed insights on contemporary challenges, and set the groundwork for long-term success in the senior levels of Canadian public service.

Applicants commonly include individuals in Assistant Deputy Minister, Crown Corporation VP, or Assistant Secretary roles. Program admission in each annual cohort is limited, and each participant must be sponsored by a Minister, Deputy Minister, or equivalent leader. Each participant will need to work with their sponsor to select and develop an action learning project, which is a key component of the program.

Earn a Subscription to Ivey

Graduates of the Senior Public Sector Leader Program receive bundled enrolment in two additional virtual Ivey Workshops. These faculty-led live online experiences extend your learning journey and elevate your impact in critical areas including:

Learning Outcomes

Centering on Leadership Character

  • Unpack your personal approach to leadership through the lens of Ivey’s Leader Character Framework.
  • Explore the intersection of humility, accountability, courage, and integrity as the foundation of effective leadership in the public sector.
  • Enhance your self-awareness as a leader by completing a 360 assessment and working with a dedicated leadership coach to identify your habits and unique strengths.

Empowering people and teams

  • Model best practices for performance management and get commitment from others — even in remote, hybrid, or otherwise distributed teams.
  • Practice negotiation, influence, and persuasion to create shared value in any context.
  • Encourage a culture of mutual support, respect, and trust in your team.

Driving strategic change

  • Apply essential innovation and change management practices to lead transformative growth.
  • Collect and interpret the right inputs for informed decision-making.
  • Manage broad–and sometimes competing–interest groups, aligning values and goals to build consensus.
  • Balance short-term priorities with long-term strategic planning to ensure sustainable outcomes.

Contextualizing public sector leadership

  • Analyze the disparity between intended policy direction and actual impacts in externally oriented policies (e.g., trade, housing, climate, infrastructure) and internal policies (e.g., diversity, IT, departmental and government structure).
  • Critically appraise the relationship between politics and public administration at senior levels within the shared Westminster system adopted by the Government of Canada and provincial governments.
  • Explore the mechanics, shared experiences, and opportunities for governance and program delivery reforms in a decentralized federal-provincial and municipal context.

Overcoming barriers to inclusion

  • Examine your positionality and better understand intersectional identities in historical, cultural, and social contexts.
  • Map the power dynamics and structures that reinforce inequality and exclusion in organizations.
  • Find opportunities to intervene — and recognize your responsibility to engage in allyship and advocacy.

Building awareness of emerging trends

  • Predict the impact of new technologies and shape the path of digital transformation in your organization.
  • Navigate social connectivity in the public sector and identify strategies to boost transparency and accountability.
  • Apply a Systems Thinking lens inside and outside your organization.

Leadership Coaching

Through our certification program, Ivey Coaches master our unique experiential learning approaches and stay connected with leading-edge trends and frameworks. With diverse backgrounds across the private sector, government, and non-profit organizations, our coaches deliver firsthand insights on modern leadership challenges and develop one-to-one partnerships with executives. 

During the Senior Public Sector Leader Program your coach becomes a confidential thinking and sparring partner, sharing and challenging your ideas. You'll work with your executive coach to understand and interpret the results of a 360-degree assessment using contributions from your leader, peers, and direct reports at work. You already know Ivey’s proven, real-world case method. Working with an Ivey Coach, you become your own case study.

Action Learning Projects

Measure ROI and drive organizational change throughout your learning experience. Learning Embedded in Action and Practice (LEAP) Projects give you an immediate context to apply takeaways from the program. By referencing a specific challenge in your role at work throughout the program, you’ll have the opportunity to build an action plan with objective feedback from other public sector leaders and our faculty experts. Following the program, you’ll work with your coach to take measurable steps toward solving your challenge. The LEAP model not only stretches you to see new perspectives — it drives tangible progress on a real-world opportunity.

How You Learn

The Senior Public Sector Leader Program is deeply experiential, grounded in case research, and facilitated by expert faculty from Ivey Business School. Our real-world approach to learning is about practical application. You'll finish the program with new skills, crowdsourced wisdom, and a clear strategy to tackle specific challenges back at work.

Learn more about the Ivey Experience
Expert Faculty Led Sessions
Expert Faculty Led Sessions
Peer Learning Teams
Peer Learning Teams
Simulations And Role Play
Simulations And Role Play
Industry Guests
Industry Guests
Action Learning Projects
Action Learning Projects
Assessment Tools
Assessment Tools
Executive Coaching
Executive Coaching
Peer Learning Teams
Peer Learning Teams
Ivey Case Method
Ivey Case Method

Return on Investment

  • Enhance your awareness to become a more effective, inclusive, emotionally intelligent leader.
  • Work with a leadership coach to complete and unpack a 360-degree assessment.
  • Expand your perspective on critical business issues to navigate disruption in the business landscape.
  • Earn a certificate and digital credential from Ivey.
  • Form lifelong connections with peers through learning and social events.
  • Join The Ivey Academy Alumni Network, a long-term resource for participants to seek advice on professional challenges.
  • Receive discounts on select programs, exclusive event invitations, and curated collections of thought leadership.
  • Overcome real-world challenges and act on new opportunities through action learning projects.
  • Accelerate innovation and digital transformation to drive strategic success.
  • Plan for succession and create a leadership pipeline to develop and sustain future leadership capability in public sector organizations.
  • Adopt insights and best practices from Ivey faculty, industry experts, and other organizations to jump-start new ideas.
  • Encourage an inclusive culture to foster belonging and well-being.
  • Attract, identify, and retain employees to maintain relevance in a competitive talent market.
  • Connect with top Ivey faculty to gain new perspectives on critical organizational challenges.

Industry Guests

Peter Wallace
Peter Wallace


Participant Testimonials

The program allowed me to stretch my strategic horizons. Connecting me with peers, expanding my perspectives, and hearing about new research — while at the same time allowing me to delve deeply into my personal values and character as a leader.

Marian Campbell Jarvis, Assistant Deputy Minister, Minerals and Metals Sector, Natural Resources Canada

I recommend this program to public sector leaders who want to deepen their leadership skills and advance their careers. The challenges presented in the case studies and other materials resonate with the issues we face as senior public servants and offer a different level of understanding. Working through complex situations with new colleagues from different levels of government is an unforgettable experience.

Helen Angus, Associate Deputy Minister/ Transformation Secretariat, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care


$17,490 CAD

The program fee covers all program materials, meals, and hotel accommodations. Program fees are tax-exempt.

Applications must be submitted by August 30, 2024.


What is the application process? plus small icon minus small icon

Participants must be sponsored by a Deputy Minister, Crown Corporation CEO, or equivalent leader, and then approved by the Program Director. On the program page, select 'Apply Now' and submit the program application form along with your resume or CV in PDF format. A program advisor may contact you to discuss your eligibility for the program. Once your application is approved, you will be billed directly or receive an invoice. Payment of program fees is due within 30 days of receipt of invoice and no less than 15 days before the program start date.

Who should I contact about accessibility? plus small icon minus small icon

We strive to make our learning experiences accessible for all. Please get in touch with your Program Manager, or our Learning Advisors, at any time before or during your program with questions or information about your accommodations needs. We are happy to work with you to provide individualized accommodations for your best learning experience.

Will I receive a credential? plus small icon minus small icon

Upon completing the program, you will receive a digital credential from Ivey — Canada’s top-ranked business school. Your digital badge connects to a unique URL, allowing you to showcase your commitment to professional development on social media, websites, portfolios, and professional networks. Stay connected with Ivey and enjoy exclusive thought leadership content, event invites, and networking opportunities with your fellow alumni.