PPTI Master Class 2024

Make Your Policy Advocacy More Effective

A professional development program for senior policy advocates in Canada’s charitable sector

Public policy advocacy is a key tool for many Canadian charities. They do it because they understand that policy choices governments make can have profound impacts – positive or negative – on the communities and causes they serve. To help build the skills and expertise of policy advocates in the charitable sector, Max Bell Foundation has, for 16 years, offered the Public Policy Training Institute (PPTI). There are a number of similar programs across the country offered by Maytree, United Way BC, United Way Halifax, and others. Taken together, these programs constitute important capacity-building infrastructure that strengthens the impact of charities on the development of better public policy.

In 2024, Max Bell Foundation and The Muttart Foundation are offering an addition to that infrastructure. Designed as a deeper dive for individuals with significant experience doing policy advocacy, the 2024 PPTI Master Class will provide a professional development experience that is expert-led, practical, and experiential. It fills a gap between our existing PPTI (and comparable programs) and master’s degree programs in public administration or public policy.

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Applications are due by the end of business on Friday, April 19, 2024.

Master Class Objectives

(1) Deepen participants’ skills and knowledge base related to public policy advocacy with particular emphasis on:

  • understanding how governments make policy today
  • strategy development for more complex asks
  • tactics in a time of political polarization
  • when and how to work in collaboration with other policy advocates
  • building your organization’s policy advocacy capacity

(2) Provide a networking opportunity for policy advocates from different parts of the country and with different policy interests.

The Course

The Master Class will consist of three 3-full-day sessions in the fall of 2024 as follows:

Module One: Policy Advocacy Essentials and the Current Context
September 25, 26, 27

Module Two: Managing Tensions and Strategy Development
October 22, 23, 24

Module Three: Organizational Management for Policy Advocacy and Case Presentations
November 26, 27, 28


There will be virtual touch points with faculty between modules. The program will be delivered in English.


Confirmed faculty include:

Jeni Armstrong

Ken Boessenkool

Paul Boothe

Mel Cappe

Brenda Eaton

Elizabeth Mulholland

Christopher Ragan

Jennifer Robson

Brian Topp

Jared Wesley

Bob Wyatt


Who Should Apply

The PPTI Master Class is designed for individuals employed full time by Canadian registered charities whose responsibilities include public policy advocacy on behalf of their organizations. Ideally, applicants will have completed some professional development in policy advocacy (e.g., the Max Bell, Maytree, or United Way programs referenced above).

To qualify for admission to the cohort of 25:

  • you must be employed by a registered charity whose work is in Canada;
  • you must be working on a real policy advocacy file for your organization for the duration of the program;
  • you must commit to attending all dates.

Fees and Subsidy

There will be no fees for admitted applicants.

A receipt-based subsidy for approved travel and accommodation will be provided. Eligible expenses are limited to:

  • return economy airfare (when you must travel from outside of the city where the module is hosted), and
  • 3 nights of accommodation per module at the special rate secured for the events.

Each module will include two group dinners, three breakfasts, and three lunches.

Travel and Accommodation

Admitted applicants will be responsible for making their own travel and accommodation arrangements. Reduced rates have been secured at the hotels where the modules will be delivered.

How to Apply

Applications are due by the end of business on Friday, April 19, 2024. They will be vetted by a sub-committee of the faculty. Finalists will be interviewed. Admission decisions will be made by Friday, May 10, 2024. The application is online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WQ7DK9Y


The online form asks you for the following, which you may wish to prepare before accessing the online application:

  • Contact information, including your organization’s charitable registration number (If you don’t know it you can search for it here).
  • A Statement of Interest in which you briefly
    • Summarize your professional background.
    • Summarize the purpose/mission of your organization.
    • Summarize your organization’s public policy advocacy work.
    • Summarize your personal learning goals for the Master Class.
  • A short summary of the public policy “ask” you will be working on for the duration of the Master Class. During the Master Class, you will complete a number of in-class and written assignments based on a real-life example of a public policy “ask” you are working on. A public policy ask is a specific, actionable request made of government. Please outline the public policy ask you would be leading on behalf of your organization during the Master Class.
    • Be as specific as you can at this point (e.g., not “reduce poverty,” but “increase minimum wage from X to Y over Q years”).
    • Your ask may be a work in progress. We expect you’ll refine it as the Master Class progresses.
    • We are not likely to admit participants whose “ask” is simply a request for funding from government.
  • Previous policy advocacy training (e.g., Max Bell Public Policy Training Institute; Maytree Policy School; United Way BC Public Policy Institute; United Way Halifax East Coast Public Policy Training Institute; etc.); and years of experience doing public policy advocacy.

You will also be asked to upload a copy of your resume, and a signed letter from your supervisor (CEO, Board Chair, etc.) confirming your organization’s commitment to release your time to attend the Master Class.