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Institute on Governance

About Us

The IOG is Canada’s independent organization dedicated to advancing and applying good public governance.

Our passion is making public sector governance in Canada stronger, to serve Canadians better.

At the IOG, we know how to apply good public governance structures, processes, and practices that work for public sector organizations and the public servants who work within them.

What is Governance?

Governance is how organizations and societies organize themselves for a common purpose.

That purpose could be as general as democracy itself or as specific as delivering a public service. It is the structure, processes, and practices put in place to achieve that common purpose.

Good governance is what enables public organizations to address complex public challenges and to deliver services efficiently and effectively. It stipulates how elected and unelected officials manage public resources and administer public institutions.

Good governance keeps citizens and their needs at the forefront, thereby building trust and fostering legitimacy – all part of maintaining a healthy democracy.

There are many types of governance in principle.  But, in practice, each type revolves around these four governance dimensions, asking: 

  • Who has authority?
  • How are decisions made?
  • How are people’s voices heard?
  • How is accountability rendered?

Applying answers to these questions for public sector organizations is what the IOG does.

Good Governance Matters.

The IOG believes governance is a public good. Good governance is owned by, and owed to, Canadians. Good governance is the foundation for Canada’s modern-day system of responsible government.

Good governance puts people first. It is the means to deliver public services efficiently, effectively, and fairly to meet people’s needs. It keeps governments responsive and reliable.

Good governance strengthens our democracy and our public institutions. It fosters legitimacy and builds trust between governments and people through transparent, accountable governance.

Good governance is the enabler that allows Canada to accomplish big, important things. It enables governments to look ahead, identifying and preparing for new and complex public policy challenges on the horizon.

Why good governance matters.

  • It makes public services efficient, effective, and fair.
  • It strengthens our democracy by putting people first.
  • It builds trust between citizens and their governments.
  • It fosters public legitimacy through transparency and accountability.
  • It keeps governments responsive and reliable.
  • It enables governments to look ahead, identifying and preparing for new, complex public policy challenges.
  • Good governance is the foundation for modern-day Canada’s system of responsible government.

We Get Governance.

Founded in 1990, the IOG has over thirty years’ experience in exploring and developing approaches to advancing good governance in the public sector, both in Canada and abroad. We work directly with governments and civil society organizations across Canada, at all levels, to determine how custom governance solutions can be developed with them and applied for them. Our work is marked by independent thought and systematic analysis informed by extensive experience and knowledge of best practices.

Knowing and applying best governance practices is what we’re about.

Over our three decades, we have worked with federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments, as well as not-for-profit organizations, in over 35 countries. As public challenges become more complicated and demanding, we recognize that governance structures and processes need to adapt. Today, we are focused on the 21st century challenges to good governance that links and supports Canadian public institutions, public servants, and the public interest.

We are an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit registered charitable organization overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors.

Read our most recent Year in Review.


Applying good governance to serve Canadians better.


Canada has the best public institutions and public servants in the world.

Our Purpose

We are an independent, non-partisan public purpose organization that exists to advance good governance in public institutions, with public servants, and in the public interest.


Independence. We are independent and non-partisan in our approach and governance.

Collaborative. We believe that working collaboratively with clients and partners makes both of us stronger and leads to better results.

Respectful. We act respectfully always towards our clients, partners, and each other.

Inspiration. We are inspired by our vision and mission and motivated by the power of good governance to serve people better and make a stronger, better Canada.

Diversity. We believe in diversity of thought and people.

Excellence. We strive always for excellence in what we do and how we do it.