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How the System Works and How to Work the System is a multi-part series of online sessions in early 2021 focused on the principles, practices, skills and strategies of effective public-policy advocacy in Canada today. It’s intended for both relatively novice policy-advocates and would-be lobbyists as well as advocacy veterans interested in reconsidering approaches that maybe aren’t working. Special emphasis will be given in the series to the advocacy challenges faced by environmental groups and related progressive causes.

The series was developed by Sean Moore, a semi-retired, forty-year veteran of organized public-policy advocacy and Principal of Advocacy School. Each session includes a “moderately interactive” 25-35 minute presentation, followed by a 25-30 minute Q&A and discussion component. Sessions will also be videotaped and available on a restricted-access basis for registered users for sixty days.

Recordings of the webinars and copies of the presentation slides will be provided to registrants. Please note, all participants will receive a confirmation email and a link to join the webinar through Zoom.

Session 1: How the System Works and How to Work the System
A Primer on Effective Public-Policy Advocacy

Tuesday, February 16, 1:00-2:00 PM ET, $35

Session 2: Mapping the Political and Public-Policy ‘Ecosystem” of Your Key Issues
Tuesday, February 23, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
$50

*Missed Sessions 1 & 2? Contact laura@sustainabilitynetwork.ca to purchase access to a recording and presentation slides.


Session 3: Strategic Inquiry: The Important Starting Point in Any Advocacy Effort
Tuesday, March 2, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
$50

Strategic Inquiry is designed to guide you through a quick, efficient process of exploring and assessing the political and public policy environment before launching an attempt to try to influence a decision by political or bureaucratic decision-makers in Government.

Themes addressed include:
· Why “strategic inquiry”?
· The central importance of getting to the right “ask”
· The elements of “persuasion”
· What a “strategic inquiry” looks like and what it should produce
· How to get started

Session 4: Strategic Meetings: How to Get the Most out of In-Person Meetings with Public Officials
Tuesday, March 9, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
$50

This session is designed to help you and your organization get more positive results from your meetings with both elected and appointed public officials; ideal for stimulating a re-think of how your organization lobbies politicians and bureaucrats as part of its advocacy activities.

Themes covered include:
· The role of “meetings” in influencing decisions and building relationships
· How to make your meetings with officials more strategically significant
· “Before,” “during” and “after” phases of maximizing impact of your meetings with government officials
· Maintaining and sustaining the value of meetings with public officials
· Meetings in the Pandemic Era

Session 5: The Rules of Lobbying
Tuesday, March 16, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
$50

A session about what all public-policy advocates need to know about the current – and emerging - rules of lobbying and political action in Canada, covering such matters as lobbyists registration, conflicts of interest, political finance, recently modified advocacy rules for registered charities; impacts on ENGOs, other NGOs, professional and trade associations.

Themes include:
• Similar features of current federal and provincial lobbyist registration laws – and points of difference; new, emerging themes and features of lobbying disclosure rules
• Tips on proactive and on-going compliance with various public ethics rules including lobbying and election rules
• How to mine lobbying registration databases for strategic information
• Common government rules on hospitality and other interactions with public officials

Session 6: Developing an Advocacy Strategy and Plan
Tuesday, March 23, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
$50

This session serves as an introduction to the elements of developing a strategy and a plan for the execution of a public-policy advocacy initiative. Its principal themes are:

• Role of “mapping”, “strategic inquiry” and other research in developing an advocacy strategy and plan, including “key contact list”
• Discerning and crafting an optimal “ask”
• Managing internal and external advocacy resources (Board members; consultants etc.)
• Identifying and enlisting: (1) Champions/Sponsors inside government and (2) Allied stakeholders

Advocacy School is an Ottawa-based social enterprise that provides professional-development learning opportunities and mentoring / coaching designed to enhance the in-house capacity of civil society organizations (in both the community non-profit and professional / trade association sectors) to constructively and effectively influence decisions of government. Its objective is to develop and deliver a body of learning tools of broad relevance for use by individuals and organizations whose goals include legitimately influencing public opinion, institutional behaviour and public policy.

Presented by:

Sean Moore

Sean Moore is Founder and Principal of Advocacy School and one of Canada’s most experienced practitioners, writers and teachers on public-policy advocacy. He has more than 30 years experience in public-policy and advocacy related to local, provincial/state and federal government affairs in Canada and the United States. He is a former Partner and Public-Policy Advisor withe national law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, a former president of what was then then Canada's largest government relations consulting firm and a vice-president of a Washington, DC-based public-policy research and consulting company.