How Ottawa Works, for Scientists - Institute on Governance

How Ottawa Works, for Scientists

This webinar acts as a “user guide” for scientists and researchers working with or in the federal government. Learn the foundations of how the federal government works, and your unique role as a science-based public servant.


Course Description

  • Scientists play a special role in the federal government. Among other duties, they produce research evidence used to inform federal decision-making. If you have ever wondered how Canada’s government works and how science fits in, this special three-part webinar is for you.
  • In the first part of How Ottawa Works, for Scientists, our facilitators will review how government works: an overview of the structures, processes and players of the Canadian government, how the government is organized and why, and what that means for you.
  • The remainder of this webinar acts as a “user guide” for scientists and researchers working with or in the federal government. We will examine the unique roles that science-based departments and agencies play in the federal government, the science-policy interface, the process by which scientific knowledge is translated into policies, programs, services, regulations and diplomatic affairs, and the value of plain language communication.
  • You will have plenty of time to interact with your peers in How Ottawa Works, for Scientists. You will engage in a discussion about the two cultures of science and policy, and explore how to work effectively across those two cultures, which we call the science-policy interface.
  • How Ottawa Works, for Scientists is delivered in three, two-hour segments, delivered over three days for a total of 6 hours of learning. You should attend if you work as a researcher or scientist in the federal public service, if you are new to the federal government, or if you are in a new role that requires a greater understanding of the science-policy interface.

Learning Objectives:

  • You will learn the foundational knowledge covered in How Government Works: the Westminster model of government in Canada, including the roles and responsibilities of Parliament, Cabinet and ministers and how these elements work; the roles of the Prime Minister including as chair of Cabinet; the planning cycles and decision-making processes surrounding Cabinet and its committees, including the Treasury Board; the role of central agencies; and more. 
  • You will explore the role of the scientist within the public service. 
  • You will gain an understanding of the science-policy interface. 
  • You will leave with an appreciation of the realities of scientists and policy analysts in the federal public service. 
  • You will gain practical tools for improving plain language communication. 


This webinar is not eligible for bundling. You can learn more about IOG’s Science and Innovation Governance Area of Practice here

Customize This Webinar:

This webinar is eligible to be customized as a private offering for your team and organization. Contact us at to discuss your needs. 

Group Discounts:

If you have more than two people attending, you may be eligible for a group discount. Contact us for details at 613-562-0090 or


Jeff Kinder

Executive Director, Science and Innovation

Expertise: Science and Innovation  Degree(s): PhD Public Policy; MA Science, Technology and Public Policy; BS Physics  Jeff has over 30 years’ experience in government science, technology and innovation policy in the US and Canada. His US experience includes the National Science Foundation, the National Academies and the Naval Research Laboratory.  In Canada, Jeff has worked at Industry Canada, Natural Resources […]

Rhonda Moore

Senior Practice Lead, Science & Innovation

Expertise: science and innovation, science communications, facilitation  Degree(s): Bachelor of Public Relations (BPR), Mount Saint Vincent University, Masters in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (MSc), University of Edinburgh  For almost 20 years, Rhonda Moore has worked at the intersection of communications, research, and policy analysis and development. At that intersection, Rhonda has sought out opportunities to build relationships, to […]

This course had 2 facilitators: Jeff Kinder and Rhonda Moore. Both were fantastic. Extremely knowledgeable and great presenters. They did a great job at delivering the material and engaging with the audience. Their delivery felt very “natural” and not rehearsed which created a good atmosphere. 

Past Webinar Participant

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