Essay Competition

The competition is designed for graduate and post-graduate students to share their ideas for how to improve the Public Service of Canada or how to improve public-policy making and implementation more generally.

Every year the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), under the direction of a coordinating committee, coordinates the National Student Essay Competition. The coordinating committee includes representatives from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), CAPPA, and founding members from Dalhousie University and the University of Regina.

The competition is designed for graduate and post-graduate students to share their ideas for how to improve the Public Service of Canada or how to improve public-policy making and implementation more generally. The competition is usually launched in the spring, with papers being submitted before the end of the year. A winner is selected by March.

Previous competitions have invited students in fields such as public administration, international relations, public policy, business/management, health administration, law and journalism as well as disciplines in the social sciences, humanities and applied sciences to participate. The papers typically address various themes, such as:

  • public policy development and implementation
  • networked governance and collaborative arrangements
  • citizen engagement
  • delivery of public services
  • public management and leadership
  • improving workplace culture
  • communicating and identifying the role of the Federal Public Service to Canadians
  • private and public sectors working together for the benefit of Canadians

There are two prizes: the Grand Prize and the Public Choice Award. Winning the Grand Prize is a significant achievement: there are several rounds of adjudication, students make videos, participate in an online voting contest, and discuss their ideas via web-conferencing with a panel of senior public service executives. Finalists are announced with their papers posted on the IPAC website. The public is then able to vote on their favourite, and the paper with the most votes wins the the Public Choice Award.

Past Grand Prize Winners have been invited to attend the Manion Lecture in the National Capital Region (expenses paid).

Michael Wernick, Clerk of Privy Council, presents 2016-17 National Student Essay Competition Award to Hope Caldi
Michael Wernick, Clerk of Privy Council, presents 2016-17 National Student Essay Competition Award to Hope Caldi

For more details and to see past winners, visit the IPAC website at https://www.ipac.ca/iPAC_EN/Programs_Services/...

Essay Competition Winners

For more details and to see past winners, visit the IPAC website at http://www.ipac.ca/blueprint2020-news.

Past Competitions and Results

The winners of the 10th National Student Paper Competition (NSPC 2022-2023) have been identified!

The Canada School of Public Service, in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA), the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (GAGS), is proud to announce that David Jones (from the University…

Climate change, globalization, and inequality: How vector-borne infectious diseases are threatening human health in Canada

By Aisha Barkhad of McMaster University   Global environmental change, driven by avertible anthropogenic catalysts that amplify greenhouse gas emissions is the single most arduous threat facing humanity today. Canada is considered one of the top 10 countries most vulnerable…

Canada needs a national strategy for disaggregated race-based data to ensure equitable decision-making in health

By Dina Idriss-Wheeler and Karine Coen-Sanchez of University of Ottawa The lack of access to and reporting of disaggregated race-based data does not allow for evidence linking race to health outcomes to reveal sub-population health inequities. The current COVID-19 situation…

Fourth Annual Blueprint 2020 National Student Paper Competition Winner Announced | Résultats de la 4e édition annuelle du Concours national d’essais universitaires sur l’avenir de la fonction publique du Canada organisé dans le cadre d’Objectif 2020

(La version française suit.) The Grand Prize winner of the Fourth Annual National Student Paper Competition is Hope Caldi, for her paper, “Offering a Warmer, Wiser Welcome: Recommendations for Reforming Canada’s Immigration Loan Program”. The Public Choice Award winners of…

2016-2017 Essay Competition

Fourth Annual Blueprint 2020 National Student Paper Competition on the Future of the Public Service of Canada For 2016-17, the Competition invited Master’s and PhD students in fields such as public administration, international relations, public policy, business/management, health administration, law…

2015-2016 Essay Competition

Third Annual Blueprint 2020 National Student Paper Competition on the Future of the Public Service of Canada The annual Blueprint 2020 National Student Paper Competition tapped into the innovative thinking of Masters students from across Canada on the future of the…

Essay Competition Sponsors

Essay Competition Sponsor Logos