Press releases

IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Awards winners demonstrate courage and innovation in periods of crisis and transformation

Alberta Public Service (APS) Leadership, Nova Scotia Health Authority and New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development are honoured by IPAC and Deloitte

Toronto, February 6, 2017 – Today, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and Deloitte announced the winners of the Public Sector Leadership Awards program for outstanding leadership demonstrated by taking bold steps to improve Canada, through advancements in public policy and management. Winners were recognized at a luncheon on February 6 at IPAC’s 12th Annual Leadership Conference in Toronto. This year’s recipients demonstrated leadership through periods of transformation in ways that have made a positive impact to healthcare for Nova Scotians, delivered prompt disaster relief in the wake of forest fires in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and provided enhanced mental health services for children in New Brunswick, respectively.

“Services provided by the public sector are critical to the health and success of our communities,” said Frank D’Onofrio, Distinguished Public Servant in Residence at Ryerson University’s Department of Politics and Public Administration and Jury Chair of this year’s awards. “When innovation, strategic thinking, trust, team building, vision, effective collaboration and partnerships are injected into public service, the result is a better outcome for all.”

“The public sector plays a key role in helping individuals and organizations thrive,” said Paula Gallagher, Partner, Consulting at Deloitte in Canada. “It takes courage and bold leadership to deliver innovative programs that make an impact.”

Three winners and four honourable mentions were selected from a group of finalists who presented to a jury panel. Two organizations were awarded gold category recognition. Applicants represented public and para-public sector organizations in sectors including public order and safety, economic affairs, environmental protection, housing and community amenities, health, recreation and culture, education, and social protection.

The 2017 IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Awards winners are:


Alberta Public Service (APS) Leadership
Province of Alberta - Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Wildfire

One of the costliest disasters in Canadian history began on May 1, 2016, when a forest fire broke out in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). Within days, the fire encompassed 2,600 hectares, crossed the Athabasca River and entered the city of Fort McMurray, ultimately destroying 2,400 buildings and homes. During the initial phase of the disaster, a ministerial task force was convened to consolidate knowledge and coordinate emergency response. That’s when Alberta Public Service (APS) members stepped up, working with the task force and public service leaders to activate the province’s Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) for the first time. The deployment of resources to distribute emergency financial donations, and to manage the operation of reception centres and other social supports, captivated the public and global media for weeks. Critical to managing the crisis were APS leaders, innovating on the fly and developing communications briefing sessions and information ‘town halls.’ Messages were live-streamed through YouTube – and routinely led by the Premier, Minister of Municipal Affairs, senior officials and the Prime Minister of Canada. Managing an unprecedented outpouring of support from Canadians also required APS and the province to create the Alberta Wildfire Donation Centre and distribute almost $100 million in financial relief to the region’s 96,000 evacuees, all using Canada Post’s MoneyGram, a new model that demanded considerable coordination and implementation.

Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA)
Creating Opportunity out of Challenge: A Focus on Quality and Sustainability

Until recently, Nova Scotia’s healthcare system comprised of nine distinct district health authorities, an arrangement that duplicated services, multiplied expenses and constrained the sector from planning its services within a holistic provincial perspective. An additional burden of a $29 million deficit, plus another $41 million in contractual and inflationary pressures sent a clear message to the province that change was in order. In April 2015, the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) was launched in an effort to improve not only the system’s financial planning and organizational design, but its research goals, its engagement of communities and patients, and its commitment to quality and performance. The transformation has been significant. In just over a year, the NSHA has restructured its financial department, introduced new supply chain initiatives, shared best practices amongst stakeholders, realigned its corporate resources and tested the results of these changes amongst management and staff – all thanks to support from senior and physician leaders. The outcome was a balanced $1.8B budget for the new healthcare authority, but also an impressive reduction in wait times for hip and knee surgery, a 38 per cent decrease in waitlisted patients for long-term care, the completion of 745 more MRI scans against the previous year, and the healthcare support of several hundred refugees arriving in Nova Scotia.


New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Integrated Service Delivery for Children and Youth with Emotional, Behavioural and Mental Health Issues

Cutting across entrenched public sector policies and practices is a difficult and often time-consuming task. But the province of New Brunswick has done exactly that by implementing the research-driven Integrated Service Delivery (ISD) framework – a cross-boundary initiative intended to improve services to children and youth with complex social, emotional, physical and/or mental health needs. Supported by numerous departments and agencies, the new approach was launched with the development of a framework for demonstration at two sites. Although the change process was challenging (with government changing hands three times over six years), evaluation of the initiative’s preliminary results revealed that wait lists for services have been eliminated, the number of youth receiving services doubled, duplicated services have been streamlined and costs positively addressed. The result is a strength-based framework for a child-centred, community and school-focused approach where teams follow children under the age of 21 along a pathway or continuum of schools. Not only does this eliminate interruptions in key relationships. Youth are no longer required to tell their stories multiple times, a step that helps break down stigma and reduce anxiety for clients and their families. The government of New Brunswick has now committed to expand the ISD model province-wide by 2018, with rollout of the model to 47 per cent of schools and 33,000 students by September 2017.

Honourable mentions:



Eastern Regional Health Authority,
Newfoundland and Labrador

A Journey in the Big Land:
Enhancing Cancer Care Services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Labrador

Ministère de la Famille

Concerted Action Plan to Prevent and
Counter Bullying, 2015-2018, Government of Québec

Ministry of Children and
Youth Services (MCYS)

The Pikangikum Model:
Prevention Initiatives in Remote
High-Need First Nation Communities for Children, Youth and their Families

Natural Resources Canada

Incubating Innovation for the Public Sector: IN.spire Innovation Hub


About IPAC
Founded in 1947, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) is a dynamic association of public servants, academics, and others interested in public administration. IPAC is a membership-based organization that creates knowledge networks and leads public administration research in Canada.

About Deloitte
Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

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