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Ontario Public Service Breakfast

Our annual breakfast in early October in downtown Toronto starts bright and early, and attracts a large gathering of students and alumni eager to hear from a government representative or senior official from the Ontario Public Service on the latest provincial policy and administration priorities. Strategic direction, vision and leadership play a crucial role in any initiative, and effective management and innovation are a must in the ever-changing and challenging environment faced by policy-makers and the public service. Always interesting for seasoned public servants and our faculty, and a valuable window into the practice of public service for new students, the event is an exciting opportunity for discussion between academia and practitioners.

Brian Fior, keynote speaker.

2020 Virtual OPS Breakfast focused on creating the conditions for public service innovation and excellence by building an engaging workforce culture enabled by talented, inclusive leaders

Brian Fior, Ontario’s Chief Talent Officer and Associate Deputy Minister, Office of the Public Service Commission Treasury Board Secretariat, served as the keynote speaker at the event and provided an insider’s perspective into a new strategy for the public service titled The OPS Inclusion and Diversity Blueprint. The Blueprint is a roadmap to harnessing diversity to create a public service workforce for the future.

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Past Events

The 2019 event focused on the Ford government’s recent large-scale reorganization of the OPS, and the challenges and opportunities involved in the process. Janet Menard, Deputy Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Deputy Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, accepted the School’s invitation to serve as the keynote speaker at the event this year and provided an insider’s perspective into how the public service manages such transformations.

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The 2018 event featured Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk as keynote speaker. Other attendees included former YorkU president Ian MacDonald and Anthea English, former Assistant Comptroller General for Internal Audit at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. In her remarks, Lysyk focused on the role of the Auditor General, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts as well as several high profile reports she and her office have recently worked on including Ontario’s Pre-Election Report; the Fair Hydro Plan; pension accounting issues related to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and Ontario Public Sector Employees Union Pension Plan (OPSEUPP); and select 2017 and 2018 Value-for-Money Audits.

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The Hon. Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, delivered the keynote address of the event on combatting systemic racism – the foundation of Ontario’s three-year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan. Other attendees included Akwatu Khenti, Assistant Deputy Minister with the Anti-Racism Directorate; George Bancroft, Policy Advisor with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services; Greg Sorbara, York University Chancellor and Barbara Hall, former mayor of Toronto and Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

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The 2016 event featured the Honourable Deborah Matthews, then serving as the chair of Cabinet, minister of Advanced Education & Skills Development, minister responsible for digital government and deputy premier of Ontario. Matthews covered a range of issues, including women’s involvement in elected office, their impact on public policy decisions and the interaction with the non-partisan professional public service.

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York University alumnus Steve Orsini was the guest speaker at the annual Ontario Public Service (OPS) Breakfast, presented by the School of Public Policy & Administration (SPPA) on Oct. 1, 2015. Orsini, who graduated from York with an MES and now serves as the secretary of cabinet, head of the OPS and clerk of the executive council, provided an inside look at government through his keynote speech “Leadership in a Dynamically Changing World.”

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