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Avoiding a Bridge to Nowhere – Crossing the chasm between policy making and evidence

October 17, 2016 at 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM

Location:5345 Herzberg Laboratories
Key Contact:CUIDS


Evidence-based decision making (EBDM) has contributed to a wide range of policy making efforts, with the health sector being the primary beneficiary since the inception of EBDM in the early 80s. Today, there is increasing pressure on most public sectors to enhance decision making processes through the effective and timely use of the most available evidence possible.

However, public policy faces unique challenges when trying to fully embrace EBDM, with some claiming most public sector EBDM efforts are fraught with insurmountable barriers. As a result, increasing effort is being taken in what can be more accurately described as evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) – a small but important distinction with EBDM – where evidence is more fully considered in comparison to past practices, while seeking to account for public sector considerations.

Data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other “big-data” capabilities are being increasing sought out for their benefits to improve the public policy making process. However, as outlined above, such advancements are necessary, but not sufficient to close the gap in enhancing public policy making. Important non-technical considerations of the public policy environment are an integral component of the decision making process – and may be inadvertently overlooked by data scientist, resulting in ineffective or even rejected solutions.

In order to address and overcome some of the challenges applying EIDM in a public policy context, a novel framework will be presented as a means to identify opportunities for closing the evidence-policy gap. The framework will also propose means to identify were evidence is constrained in addressing public sector challenges. The framework will reference the relative importance of data sciences, technology, decision theory and leadership styles, among many factors, in extracting the most value from available evidence.

Numerous case studies, from medical devices and energy technology, to defence procurement and spectrum policy, will be provided as examples of the challenges and opportunities in bridging the provision of more sophisticated forms of evidence and public policy making.


Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dan attended the University of Ottawa, completingdan his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering (Magna Cum Lauda, ‘88), where he also received the faculty Kipling Award. As an NSERC Scholarship recipient throughout his graduate studies, Dan completed a Master’s Degree (’90) in Chemical Engineering at McGill University, in the area of Medical Nanotechnology.  Mr. Duguay furthered his academic career as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, developing statistical models and methodologies to enable the design of degradation-resistant polyurethanes for medical devices and other biological applications.

Making a transition to the private sector, Mr. Duguay worked at Nortel Networks in various engineering, new product introduction and management roles associated with a range of products, including GaAs Semiconductors, Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) Filters, Advanced Phased-Array Radar and 10Gb high-speed optical modules. Mr. Duguay was then involved in a number of technology start-ups in the area of advanced photonics and nanotechnology-based products. Building on his science, technology and product-commercialization experience, Mr. Duguay was principal at c2iConsulting, which provided services for assessing the manufacturability of novel products and proofs of concept.  Mr. Duguay has also been a part-time lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa, where he developed and taught a graduate level course in semiconductor manufacturing and nanotechnology.

In 2004, Mr. Duguay joined the Government of Canada as Research Program Manager for the Climate Change Action Plan, a program that supported the development of advanced technologies in the areas of energy, environment and climate change. In 2005, Mr. Duguay was seconded to support the workings of the Federal Government’s National Advisory Panel on Energy Science and Technology, a 10-member panel of prominent Canadian and international experts asked to identify Canada’s energy technology priorities and mechanisms for their support and commercialization.

Following completion of the Panel’s report in May 2006, Mr. Duguay was called to support the launch of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises, Acquisitions branch, Public Works and Government Services Canada. As its first Director of Strategic and Horizontal Policy, Mr. Duguay oversaw diverse policy issues including innovation and public procurement, SMEs in public procurement, green procurement, aboriginal/minority suppliers, defence procurement and supply-chain issues.

Linking the innovation and public procurement policy sectors, Mr. Duguay joined Industry Canada in early 2008 as the Director of Science and Technology (S&T) Policy, where he oversaw the development of S&T policies, as well as the monitoring of key S&T metrics. In late 2008, Dan was appointed to lead up the government’s Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) Policy which provides the framework for leveraging federal defence procurement to enhance industrial and regional business development within Canada. During his tenure, Mr. Duguay oversaw the creation and implementation of the most substantive round of IRB Policy changes in the policy’s history – along with an overhaul of the policy’s operational framework.

Mr. Duguay was appointed as the first Executive Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Affairs, Communications Research Centre (CRC) Canada in March of 2012, where he supported the most substantive restructuring of the CRC in its history. As EVP, Dan was instrumental in the development and implementation of new corporate structures, enhanced business processes, as well leading the creation of the centre’s new R&D priorities and program framework based on R&D “Grand Challenges”. In early 2014, Dan was seconded to the engineering, planning and standards branch, Industry Canada, where he led the development of recommendations to the Prime Minister for the allocation of spectrum in support of new public safety broadband services in Canada; Dan was subsequently appointed as Director General, Engineering, Planning & Standards, Industry Canada.

In February 2016, Dan joined Thomson Reuters as Senior Director Business Development – Canada, where he leads the corporation’s strategic initiative to position Thomson Reuters for success in the public sector in Canada.

Mr. Duguay is an avid aikido practitioner and motorcyclist. He is married to Nicole and they have three children.

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This seminar is free and open to all. Complimentary coffee, tea and light snacks will be provided beginning at 1:15 p.m. We hope you can join us!

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