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Case Study: Enhancing Multi-Stakeholder Distributed Governance

Summary: The IOG was commissioned by a federal department to undertake a review of one of its Federal-Provincial-Territorial forums for senior officials. It needed a review of its governance structure as it sought incorporation as a separate organization independent from the Government of Canada. Work included a review of the existing governance structure, an analysis of options for the future organizational model, as well as the development of a recommended collaborative, distributed governance model best suited to the mission and mandate.


The IOG conducted a structural governance diagnostic and design involving the following elements:

  1. Review of Existing Structure: The first step involved a thorough examination of the current governance framework, including structures and processes. This review aimed to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
  • Comparative Research: The IOG researched analogous case studies of intergovernmental advisory councils or comparable organizations. These case studies served as valuable benchmarks and sources of best practices.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Key stakeholders were interviewed to gain insights into their perspectives, challenges, and expectations regarding governance structure and processes. These interviews provided qualitative data essential for informing the redesign efforts.
  • Governance Assessment Framework: We used our proprietary analytical tools to assess organizational design to ensure that structures, processes, and practices allowed the organization to deliver on its mandate. Governance Assessment Framework pillars assessed: Staying on Mission and Delivering on Mandates.


Based on the findings from the structural governance diagnostic, the IOG proposed a new governance structure designed to enhance collaborative, distributed governance while being aligned with the organization’s public service role. The key features of the recommended structure included:

  1. Increased operational efficiency: The new structure was nimble and efficient, allowing for the organization to be responsive to changing demands.
  2. Greater opportunity for stakeholder engagements: The model allowed for a greater inclusion of external stakeholder perspectives as required.
  3. Intergovernmental collaboration: The model enabled seamless intergovernmental collaboration, which is key to the organization’s mandate.

Through a systematic structural governance diagnostic process, the IOG successfully guided the intergovernmental advisory council towards a new corporate structure that considered the diversity of provincial and territorial realities and supported shared governance.