Minister of Finance's Policy Forum Details

Welcome to the Minister of Finance's Post-Secondary Policy Forum! The Policy Forum is an invitation to students across Canada from the Minister of Finance to engage with the Government and present innovative policy ideas that address national priorities. It is an educational and outreach program designed to encourage students to learn more about the public policy development process and the Department of Finance. Interested teams are requested to read these details carefully as well as the key considerations and judging criteria while preparing their submissions.

The First Round

The Government is consulting with Canadians on public policy issues across a range of economic growth challenges faced in Canada (e.g., labour markets, innovation, trade and investment, physical and social infrastructure). For this Policy Forum, submissions are being sought from young Canadians that address a central issue challenging policymakers today: inclusive growth. Inclusive growth is a concept that advances the idea of promoting economic growth with the benefits being experienced by every section of society.

Submissions will propose innovative and creative policy ideas that will incubate economic prosperity for middle-class Canadians and those seeking to join the middle class. Strong submissions will recognize both the challenges and opportunities in the rapidly changing global economy, and will propose long-term solutions to help Canadians meet these challenges by seizing the opportunities of the future.

The precise topic for your team's submission is left open for you to determine. Importantly, however, all proposals will be assessed on their demonstration of benefits for inclusive growth in Canada. Please use the template provided to help guide the structure of the policy proposal and refer to the judgment criteria describing how submissions will be assessed. The deadline for submissions for the First Round is December 23rd, 2016.

Written submissions will be judged by a panel of policy experts from the Department of Finance Canada, with 5-10 successful proposals being selected to present in the Final Round.

The identity of the teams' school affiliation will be withheld from the judges until they have reached their final decisions.

The Final Round

The Final Round will be conducted in mid-January. In this round, successful teams will be provided with a template to design a slideshow and will prepare a 15-minute presentation on their policy initiative. Presentations will be done from their university by videoconference in front of a panel of Department of Finance Canada judges and will be followed by a 10-minute question and answer session. As quick turnaround and tight timelines can be typical in policy work, teams will be given a maximum of two weeks to prepare for their presentations. More information on what judges will be looking for and how to successfully pitch public policy ideas will be provided.

The identity of the teams' school affiliation will be withheld from the judges until they have reached their final decisions.

The Winning Team

The winning team will be invited to attend Budget 2017 activities in Ottawa, including the Minister's speech in the House of Commons and the following reception. Transportation, accommodation and other related expenses will be covered for the winning team.

The Rules

Neither the winning proposal nor any other proposal is expected to be a part of Budget 2017. This is solely a simulation exercise intended to promote knowledge of the public policy development process amongst Canadian students.


The Policy Forum is open to students enrolled at Canadian post-secondary institutions. A team will consist of three to five students and one Faculty Advisor. Multiple teams are eligible to represent a single institution but each team must have a distinct Faculty Advisor from their institution.

Teams are formed through their institution's own selection process. A team can be formed in a number of ways; for example, as part of an extracurricular activity, as the result of a class- or school-based competition or selected by the Faculty Advisor. Students interested in participating in the Policy Forum should contact their institution's Government Relations office.

Although the team members alone will represent the university in the Final Round, additional students may contribute to the preparations for the submission by gathering and analyzing any data and background information, by researching important concepts and issues that are likely to be important to the submission, by preparing charts and other parts of the presentation, or by judging practice sessions and providing feedback, for example. Team membership must not change during the Policy Forum, except in exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of the Department of Finance Canada.


All correspondence, including questions from participants and final submissions, will be done electronically through email to Faculty Advisors and students are responsible for checking notices and posted materials; email messages should be read carefully.

Media and Communications

The Department of Finance Canada will proceed with communications activities to promote the Policy Forum, which may include media releases, messages on social media, photos and videos. Universities are encouraged to do their own complementary communications, including on-campus advertising or other forms of promotion in advance of the Policy Forum.

The Department of Finance Canada may name participating universities in external communications. Names, photographs and video images of participating students may also be used by the Department of Finance Canada throughout the Policy Forum.

Code of Conduct

To foster an efficient and respectful environment throughout the events of the Policy Forum, the Department of Finance Canada reminds students, faculty advisors and judges to adhere to the Code of Conduct:

  • The Policy Forum is an educational and outreach program that encourages students to learn more about public policy and the Department of Finance Canada and to spur interest in public policy as the basis for a possible career.
  • All participants should recognize that their participation in the Policy Forum is a privilege and should act in a responsible manner. They should conduct themselves professionally, respectfully and with integrity during all the events that constitute the Policy Forum.
  • Participants should not engage in verbal or physical behaviour that, according to reasonable sensibilities, stigmatizes or victimizes an individual on the basis of race, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability.
  • Participants should not engage in verbal or physical behaviour that threatens or harms any individual involved in the Policy Forum.
  • Any family relationship between a participating student and a current or former employee of the Department of Finance Canada should be disclosed to the Department in advance of registration for the event.
  • All decisions made by the judges are final. Students and faculty advisors should not approach the judges with questions, comments or concerns about the judging process, feedback or scoring of teams. These questions, comments and concerns should be referred to the Minister of Finance's Public Policy Forum committee members, who will address them.

By participating in the Policy Forum, you agree to abide by this code of conduct. Failure to follow the code of conduct may result in your or your team's immediate disqualification from the Policy Forum and from other current and/or future programs organized by the Department of Finance Canada.