Glen Milne

Making Policy

The September 2013 Edition

making policy: a guide to the federal government's policy process, 2009

A Guide to the Federal Government's Policy Process

by Glen Milne – 80 pages with charts and illustrations


Aussi disponible en Français sous le titre:
Le processus de formulation et d'adoption des politiques fédérales: Un guide pratique


Prime Minister Harper's Changes

This edition includes the changes announced to date by Prime Minister Harper for the structure of cabinet, the organization & powers of central agencies and departments, and the processes and documents for policy & major decisions.

Why do most Canadians not know 'who, why and how’ policies & major decisions are made by the federal government?

Textbooks focus on institutional structures and are quickly out of date. Media reports tend to incite rather than inform. Only a few people have been in the room when Cabinet and the Prime Minister decide on the issues and proposals - and they trade their knowledge carefully. The resulting lack of knowledge and misconceptions erode understanding, trust, and participation in our democratic institutions.

Provides both a foundation & up-to-date briefing

The Guide provides a complete up-to-date briefing on the federal policy marketplace and its dynamics based on 30 years of policy work at all levels of government, from working for a Prime Minister to remote communities, and constant research on recent changes. It has been continuously updated via 10 editions in the past 5 years.

Understandable & comprehensive

Diagrams, text and cartoons are combined to describe in a reader-friendly format the roles and powers of the Prime Minister, Cabinet, MPs, Parliamentary committees, the PMO and other central agencies, departments, the media, and other stakeholders. We follow the process from the origins of the Government's agenda to Cabinet decisions, funding battles with central agencies, & implementation by departments. Suggestions are provided on how to access and influence policy making at each stage.

Strategic Charts

The Guide now contains charts describing

  • The federal policy marketplace
  • Governance in Canada
  • Cabinet and its committees
  • The origins and organization of the Government of Canada
  • Central and common service agencies
  • A typical federal department
  • The origins of policy
  • The policy process
  • The annual planning cycle
  • Cabinet MC paper system and process
  • The potential roles of government in society
  • The legislative process
  • Annotated drawings of the House of Commons and Senate

A credible source

The credibility of this publication is indicated by its regular use for policy training by: federal departments and training agencies; the Teachers Institute of Parliament; EMBA and other university programs; business, voluntary and aboriginal organizations; individuals competing for positions in the public service; lobbyists, briefing new MPs on how government works; and civic minded folks.

Price List & How to Order

First copy of an order: $50 plus GST
Each additional copy: $40 plus GST

For example, the cost for an order of 3 copies is:
1 x $50 + 2 x $40 = $130, plus 5% GST $6.50 = $135.50

• Shipping included. Please provide postal address.
• Discounts available for larger volume orders.
• Copies shipped within two days with invoice payable in 30 days.
• No returns.

Please address orders and questions (preferably by email) to

Glen Milne
Cognitus Associates
1909 Lauder Drive
Ottawa, ON, K2A 1A9, Canada
T: 613.562.4333 |

© 2009 Glen Milne | T: 613.562.4333 |