Policy makers must pivot quickly in a post-pandemic world…


After surviving the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic, Canadians now find themselves facing even more challenges that affect nearly every aspect of their daily lives.

These include economic pressures, global warming, a stalemate in the healthcare system and changes in the workplace.

For policy makers, there are no easy, out-of-the-box answers. The policy environment in the late-pandemic and post-pandemic era poses new obstacles to effective policymaking unless adapted.

Our new environment is characterized by three main features.

trio challenge

first time, .

A recent survey found that more than half of respondents agreed with the “of the event.”

In addition, policymakers are grappling with increasingly complex and interrelated challenges, calling for coordinated and sustained intergovernmental efforts.

Finally, the compounding impacts of global issues like climate change mean that we face a more uncertain policy environment, making long-term planning increasingly difficult. It is

The outlook, announced by the newly formed , of which I am a senior executive, makes it more difficult for governments to implement effective programs and policies, while increasing the need to solve key problems more than ever before. suggests that it is on the rise.

All delayed or ineffective efforts to strengthen the economic security of Canadians, including the provision of affordable housing units, run the risk of further eroding public confidence and reducing public engagement and outreach. undermine the future efforts of

Langford, British Columbia has announced a grant to help homebuyers cover a two-bedroom condo down payment worth up to $450,000. In this photo, Langford’s condos are under construction.Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito policy tension

Canada’s existing approach to policy-making has shown some tension for some time.

Many Canadians struggle to access medicines and mental health services.

It leaves behind many part-time, temporary and self-employed workers.

There is general consensus about the challenges before us and the goals we want to achieve. Less understood and little changed over the decades are the mindsets, cultures and tools available to policy makers to achieve their goals.

Here are three opportunities for policy makers to consider.

1. Focus on the long term

Many of the problems we face today are the result of a prevailing mindset characterized by a short-term approach and a failure to impartially consider the needs of people, especially those most vulnerable, in decision-making processes. is.

Climate change is a case in point, set to bear the greatest costs of inadequate action today.

Refocusing on the long-term consequences of the choices made today and their impact on different communities requires a change of mindset and thoughtful engagement of more diverse perspectives. Done well, meaningful engagement not only leads to better program and policy outcomes, but also helps rebuild trust in public institutions, especially among marginalized communities.

2. Respond quickly to emerging issues

As challenges become more complex and their impacts more uncertain, the lag between emerging policy issues and policy responses is growing. Emerging technologies are changing human behavior in record time, making it difficult for regulators to rely on traditional tools to protect citizens while fostering innovation.

Traditional models of policymaking cannot anticipate a complex set of challenges. Digital platforms such as uber and airbnb are examples.

They expanded very quickly ten years ago and disrupted the sector. Policy makers want to build city roads and .

Implementing regulatory innovation practices that create room for policy makers to experiment can help bridge the gap between emerging issues and policy responses.

Taxi drivers protest against Uber at a rally on Capitol Hill in February 2016. canadian press/adrian wyld 3. Broaden your collaboration

The most pressing policy challenges are complex and cross sectoral and jurisdictional boundaries. But policy solutions are rarely considered with this in mind. Traditional policy-making tools limit and restrict potential solutions and breakthrough opportunities.

Data sharing and collaboration within governments and trusted partners need to be greatly improved to understand difficult problems.

For example, a key challenge to eradicating homelessness is knowing exactly how many people are experiencing homelessness. For this purpose, the bc data innovation program was developed.

A woman addresses a crowd during a protest against Vancouver’s removal of a homeless encampment on the east sidewalk of downtown in August 2022. canadian press/darryl dyck

Using administrative data for the first time, the BC government was able to produce an estimated number of people experiencing homelessness.This evidence base will lead to better policy making and service delivery.

The new environment calls for new approaches to policy making that can more effectively navigate the complexity of today’s world. Many of our basic policies and programs were developed decades ago and have remained largely unchanged.

we know what we need to do. Now is the time to rethink how we do it.

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