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Cpl General

CPL is Canada's first and only certificate in public sector leadership course which focuses on large, complex programs involving the delivery of multiple project elements. Participants learn to strategically guide programs using the structure and best practices that ensure continued senior-level oversight. 

Please contact us at registration@iog.ca if you are interested in this program. 

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The Program

The Certificate in Program Leadership (CPL) is intended for executives, senior and mid-level program managers and senior officers looking to acquire the strategic skillset and tools needed to deliver large, multifaceted programs in a changing and innovative government environment. 

The curriculum answers public sector needs based on proven best practices in public and private sector organizations.

Ten in-depth modules provide participants with the opportunity to focus on complex program management discipline using proven principles, strategies and results for leading large-scale efforts that include parallel project delivery typically governed by a simple management structure. 

The cohort delivers 2 modules per month over a 4-month period.  The cohort meets for a day of instruction and interactive learning every two weeks and each module consists of 1-2 days of coursework. Throughout the program, participants complete assignments and evaluations to validate learning and ultimately earn the Certificate in Program Leadership.

Participants who successfully complete the program are entitled to use the Certified Program Leader designation in pursuing their careers in the public sector.

The Strengths of Two Institutions

The Institute on Governance (IOG) and the Professional Development Institute (PDI) of the University of Ottawa have partnered to deliver the CPL program. 

The cohort program builds on the strengths and track-records of both Institutes. The expertise and diverse networks of these Institutes ensures CPL taps into the very best learning available and remains current with innovative approaches and practices as participants benefit from tandem delivery. The IOG and PDI provide accomplished facilitation and instructional experts for the delivery of the ten cohort modules. 

Launch Dates

Please contact us at registration@iog.ca if you are interested in this program.

Why a Certificate in Program Leadership?

The Government of Canada’s Policy on Results instructs deputy heads with ensuring departments maintain the capacity to deliver results for major programs in their Inventory. 

The Certificate in Program Leadership is designed to ensure leaders in government are adept and assured at leading public sector programming in a digitally enabled world where fast-paced change, ambiguity and risk are the norm. Certificate graduates are prepared by the program to lead and ultimately deliver measurable success.

The CPL focuses on large, multifaceted government endeavors involving the delivery of various program components. Components may include central agency requirements, new and changed business models, heightened public expectations, demands of political leaders, and overall changes to the structure and capabilities of the public service.

The goal in delivering complex programs is that priorities are delivered on time, on budget and within scope. Further, in accordance with TBS requirements, these programs and their implementation must be properly aligned to the Departmental Results Framework and the Program Inventory while Performance Information Profiles are maintained.

The certificate program nurtures participant competencies in strategic thinking; understanding risk while assessing program effectiveness and efficiency even as priorities invariably shift. The cohort program emphasizes the importance of data for enhanced decision-making while building the necessary skill set required to work effectively across diverse teams and with stakeholders both within and outside government. The program provides the template to allow participants to define and frame complex problems while actively creating opportunities for disruptive innovation.

What do we mean by a government program?

The CPL defines a government program as a complex, multi-year initiative that involves a significant expenditure of public funds. It requires the commitment and active involvement of a team and stakeholder organizations to achieve the desired outcomes. It delivers, or enables, one or more benefits i.e., measurable improvements resulting from an outcome and perceived as an advantage by one or more stakeholders.

What is program leadership?

Program leadership uses inputs to achieve results and outcomes of strategic relevance. "Traditional" project management approaches are insufficient for complex, long-term undertakings.

Good program leadership creates the structure and practices needed to lead the initiative and enable senior-level leadership, oversight and control. Strategically, it encompasses the relationship between oversight and the department's overall business, and sets the stage for a disruptive future. It encompasses all decision-making roles and responsibilities involved in the program effort.

Who should attend?

The CPL is designed for executives, senior and mid-level program managers and senior officers involved in complex, multi-year programs and who:

  • Are accountable at a strategic level to executive sponsors for delivering projects.
  • Manage schedules, budgets, teams/partners/stakeholders, and the performance of all program elements.
  • Lead high-level sessions for program planning and development.
  • Review/approve project plans to conform to high-level program strategy, plans and schedules.


The fee for the IOG Certificate in Program Leadership is just $18,000. As a not-for-profit, the IOG does not charge HST.

The fee includes pre-program testing, 10 days of classroom time with expert instructors and professionals, all resource materials and post-program testing.

Discounts are available for groups of more than one candidate and for out-of-town participants.

To Register

Send an email to registration@iog.ca with the following information about the participant:

  • Name
  • Organization and position
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • City/Province

All participants are required to demonstrate a basic understanding of how the government functions before they are permitted to attend the program. This test will be administered online.

The participant will receive a registration kit with details to prepare for the program. 

Timing and location

Sessions will run from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. 

Participants meet for a day every two weeks (10 sessions over 4-months). Participants will be hosted at either IOG's offices (60 George Street) or the Professional Development Institute on the 12th floor of the Desmarais building (55 Laurier Ave East) in Ottawa's downtown core. 

For more information

Heather Heagney, Senior Administrator, Leadership & Learning

E - hheagney@iog.ca

P - 613-562-0090 ext 240

Institute on Governance

60 George Street, Suite 203, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, ON
K1N 1J4

Professional Development Institute

55 Laurier Avenue East, 12th Floor
Ottawa, ON
K1N 6N5

Group Pic
Cohort 1

What Participants Say About the Program

"I would like to express how much I enjoyed, and benefited, from the program. Collectively, the facilitators, program staff, and my colleagues provided me with an excellent understanding about both the theory and how elements have been implemented across government."